Table Topic Master

As Table Topics Master, you preside over the Table Topics segment of the Education Session. You decide on a theme and choose questions based upon that theme.


Before the meeting…

  1. Ask the Vice President of Education how much time is allotted to the Table Topics segment.
  2. Choose a theme for the session.
  3. Prepare at least 6 to 7 questions, although you may only have time for 4 or 5 questions. Make questions as concise and understandable as possible.
  4. Prepare props or any other materials you plan to use.

During the meeting…

  1. Using your own words, give a brief description of Table Topics (2 to 3 minutes). Be positive and try not to scare potential speakers.
  2. Mention the benefits of Table Topics and their importance.
  3. Explain how Speakers should answer the questions and where they should stand.
  4. Ask the timer to describe the timing procedure.
  5. Explain the voting procedure and any awards that are given.
  6. Ask the questions.
  7. Check the Agenda and, preferably, call on members who have no other speaking role or else have minor speaking roles only.
  8. Call on the newer members first so that they won’t be overwhelmed by the performances of more experienced members.
  9. So that everyone listens carefully, ask the question first and THEN announce who should answer.
  10. If you would like a guest to participate, approach him or her privately before the meeting and obtain their permission. If a guest does wish to speak, wait until 2 or 3 members have spoken so that he will be aware of the correct procedure to follow.
  11. At the end of each table topic, choose a toastmaster to perform an instant evaluation for the table topic.
  12. Check with the Toastmaster or Chairperson of the meeting to ensure that you are on schedule.
  13. At the conclusion, thank the speakers for their participation and ask the timer if there were any disqualifications.
  14. Invite members of the audience to vote for the person they felt best answered the question.
  15. Remind the audience of the names of the speakers and their respective topics (be brief, don’t repeat the entire question).
  16. Ask the Sergeant-at-Arms to pick up the ballots.
  17. Return control of the meeting to the Toastmaster


Remember, the aim of Table Topics is not to embarrass the Speaker, but rather to challenge him/her.
Avoid long and detailed questions that will only confuse the Speaker.