As a guest, you can return to Goodyear Toastmasters or another club for free as long as you want. You’ll see what goes on but cannot give a speech or perform any of the roles.
There’s an exception: Table Topics. This is your opportunity to participate. You can opt out but are encouraged to try.
The ProcessIn Table Topics, you speak for 30 to 75 seconds about a topic drawn randomly drawn from an envelope. The topic often relates to the meeting theme chosen by the Chair. This week, Drinks were the theme and the focus of Table Topics.
How do you tell how long you’ve been speaking? We use “traffic lights”. The Green light comes on at 30 seconds, amber/yellow at 60 and red at 75. If you stop talking before green or after red, you’re disqualified.
If that’s not enough, you’re also to use the Word Of The Day (which was “nebulous” this week). If you don’t, you’re fined 50 cents, which goes towards the club. Guests are exempt from the fine but encouraged to use the Word Of The Day.
The Table Topics Master can change the rules. Last week, the timing was 48 to 72 seconds and each participant got their own Word Of The Day.
What’s The Point?You can probably talk about your interests with ease when you’re with your family or friends. Standing in front of a room is different. Talking for a specified length of time is challenging. Using a specific Word Of The Day adds more complexity.
Isn’t that enough? What’s the point of speaking about a topic you know nothing about?
You get an opportunity to develop your skills. If you can talk about a random topic, you can certainly talk about a subject you know. You’ll probably find that you’re better at Table Topics than you expect. Your performance will vary each time. Sometimes the words will flow. Other times you may get stumped. Regardless, you’re getting better and more confident.
The RibbonAttendees vote for the person they thought was best at Table Topics. The winner gets a ribbon. The competition is jovial. There’s no way to predict who will win in advance. Some members have won more than once.
If you lose, you don’t lose much. If you win, you feel great. That’s a nice boost.
- Table Topics: The Tropics
- Table Topics: Inventions
- Table Topics: Red
- Table Topics: Memories
- Table Topics: What do you want to be when (if) you grow up?
- Table Topics: Interpreting quotes
- Table Topics: Speaking and interpreting a nonexistent language
- Table Topics: Summer foods
- Lessons from one year in Toastmasters
- image courtesy of Svilen Milev (Bulgaria)
Promod Sharma won the ribbon the first time he tried Table Topics and again this week. His website is promodsharma.com.