The Tricks to Table Topics

Toastmasters Table Topics TricksTable Topics is a long-standing Toastmasters tradition intended to help members develop their ability to organize their thoughts quickly and respond to an impromptu question or topic.

On Sept. 20, Morningstars Toastmasters Club will put the impromptu speaking skills of its members to the test with the Table Topics contest. To help you take your next Table Topics speech to the next level, contest or not, here are a couple of tips!

1) Own the Question
Whether it is in competition or during your regularly scheduled meeting, focus not on your thoughts but the question. Think, believe, that this question is YOUR QUESTION. The one specifically meant for you. This focuses your thoughts on what the speaker is saying . . . and not the panic-filled thoughts going through your head.

2) Breathe
Doing something that your body does naturally gives you time to calm your nerves and think about what it is you want to say. Also, taking a moment to ground yourself helps to ease the tension in your body and mind.

3) Go With First Instinct
Often times, our minds sift through a stack of ideas, vetoing this one or that as not being the ideal one. Go with the gut. Take the first thing that pops into your mind and run with it. There was a reason it jumped up and said, “Pick me.”

4) Pick Your Premise
This is when you seize your idea and make your statement. Form your opinion and share it with others. “My favourite holiday is . . . ” This gives your mini speech the beginning foundation and something to build upon.

5) Add Structure
Insert a structure into your speech that will help bridge the gaps between thoughts. Whether it is pros vs cons or three main points, this will help to elaborate your premise.

My favorite is the “Six Honest Serving Men” from Kipling’s poem:

I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
I send them over land and sea,
I send them east and west;
But after they have worked for me,
I give them all a rest.

Answering the “What, Why, When, How, Where and Who” in my story help to trigger ideas of discussion that lead to a roughed out speech.

6) Share What You Know
Put a bit of you into each mini speech. Share your favourite quote, anecdote, view or experience. Pick something that helps to illustrate the topic and drive home your point.

7) Know When to Say When
Often times in Table Topics, we start off slow and then gather steam as our minds warm to the ideas running full speed through our heads. But knowing when to pull the brakes, summarize and take a seat helps to end your speech with punch.

Now is the time to put your Table Topics speaking to the test! Table Topics will beo ne of the fall contests held at Morningstars Toastmasters meeting on Wed., Sept.20 at 7am at Harmony Hall.

To sign-up to compete or to help with the contest, please contact our VP of Education, Neil Booth.

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The Tricks to Table Topics

Toastmasters Table Topics TricksTable Topics is a long-standing Toastmasters tradition intended to help members develop their ability to organize their thoughts quickly and respond to an impromptu question or topic.

1) Own the Question
Whether it is in competition or during your regularly scheduled meeting, focus not on your thoughts but the question. Think, believe, that this question is YOUR QUESTION. The one specifically meant for you. This focuses your thoughts on what the speaker is saying . . . and not the panic-filled thoughts going through your head.

2) Breathe
Doing something that your body does naturally gives you time to calm your nerves and think about what it is you want to say. Also, taking a moment to ground yourself helps to ease the tension in your body and mind.

3) Go With First Instinct
Often times, our minds sift through a stack of ideas, vetoing this one or that as not being the ideal one. Go with the gut. Take the first thing that pops into your mind and run with it. There was a reason it jumped up and said, “Pick me.”

4) Pick Your Premise
This is when you seize your idea and make your statement. Form your opinion and share it with others. “My favourite holiday is . . . ” This gives your mini speech the beginning foundation and something to build upon.

5) Add Structure
Insert a structure into your speech that will help bridge the gaps between thoughts. Whether it is pros vs cons or three main points, this will help to elaborate your premise.

My favorite is the “Six Honest Serving Men” from Kipling’s poem:

I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
I send them over land and sea,
I send them east and west;
But after they have worked for me,
I give them all a rest.

Answering the “What, Why, When, How, Where and Who” in my story help to trigger ideas of discussion that lead to a roughed out speech.

6) Share What You Know
Put a bit of you into each mini speech. Share your favourite quote, anecdote, view or experience. Pick something that helps to illustrate the topic and drive home your point.

7) Know When to Say When
Often times in Table Topics, we start off slow and then gather steam as our minds warm to the ideas running full speed through our heads. But knowing when to pull the brakes, summarize and take a seat helps to end your speech with punch.

Now is the time to put your Table Topics speaking to the test! Sign up to participate in the Sept. 21 club contest at Harmony Hall at 7am by logging onto Turbobase.

 

February 2016 is Toastmasters Month

Contributed by Johanna R.

Johanna at the Gibsons Town Meeting Toastmasters Month
Johanna at the Gibsons Town Meeting

Last Tuesday, Feb. 2nd, I accepted, on behalf of our Morningstars Club, the Town of Gibsons’ Proclamation that February 2016 be Toastmasters Month in our town, signed by Mayor Wayne Rowe.

I had been told that I could speak for 1-2 minutes after the Mayor read the proclamation.  When I arrived at the council chambers, I was given another direction that speaking was optional.

“Optional!” I exclaimed.  “ I am a Toastmaster and this is an opportunity to speak”.  Had we just had the theme of “it’s a fine line” at our last meeting?  Yes, I was pushing the envelope. My role is Public Relations for the Club, after all, and I needed to showcase the ease of speaking that we are all developing and promoting.

Well, what happened was that I was asked to speak before the Mayor read the proclamation, so my beginning acclamation planned…”What wonderful recognition!” did not get set up as I had anticipated. My colleague, who attended the event, later told me that I initially looked nervous.

She added, however, that after someone asked a question of me, my whole demeanor lightened up. There is a good take away for me, and to now share. Imagine already answering a question from the audience before beginning the speech. It was more fun relating to the audience than addressing them.

When the mayor, Wayne Rowe, did read the proclamation after I spoke, it validated what I had spoken about.  Here are the words that he read:

WHEREAS: Toastmasters International, a non-profit educational organization, is a leader in making effective oral communications a national and international reality for all persons;

AND WHEREAS:  The ability to speak clearly and effectively is a powerful and important skill that can help individuals overcome barriers to effective performance in virtually every endeavour and line of work;

AND  WHEREAS:  Toastmasters programs help people develop skills in speaking, listening, giving feedback, enhancing leadership potential, and promoting self-actualization;

AND WHEREAS: Toastmasters International has designated February as Toastmasters Month;

NOW, THEREFORE: I Mayor Wayne Rowe, do hereby proclaim February 2016 as Toastmasters Month in the Town of Gibsons. (Feb. 2nd, 2016)

I ended my Town of Gibsons speech saying our motto: (Speak from heart/Speak from Mind) and that on behalf of our Morningstar and Beachcombers clubs, we send a “heartfelt” Thank You to the Town of Gibsons for their proclamation.  The proclamation indeed said it all… in both word and deed.