The following guideliness and tips will help ensure your success in the important role of Table Topics Master.

Please arrive at the meeting by 6:15. Once you are at the meeting, it is very important that you check with the Toastmaster and General Evaluator to see if there have been any changes to who is filling which role or how many speakers we are having. You will need to take these changes into account when deciding which members to call on. You will want to make a list of all members at the meeting who are not scheduled for any speaking role. Please continue to visually check the room until at least the start of the meeting for late arriving members.

Unless there are not enough members in attendance who are not on the schedule, you should not call on the Presiding Officer or anyone who has an assigned role. This is important because we want to give the maximum number of members the opportunity to participate (speak) during the meeting. It is okay to call on the camera operator.

Depending on the number of prepared speeches, you should have time to call on 5 or 6 members, but you should be prepared to ask 8 questions. Before or at the meeting, you may receive a list of members who should receive priority for being called on. If you receive such a list, you will need to eliminate anyone on it who has an assigned role.

Some suggestions are included below:

  • You may want to sit next to the President or V P of Education, especially if you need help in recognizing newer members or you do not regularly attend meetings.
  • Briefly describe and state the purpose of table topics: To practice our impromptu speaking
  • Before you ask the first question, ask the voter/timer to explain the timing requirements.
  • Keep your own storytelling and anecdotes to a minimum, unless you are using them to set up a question. Long stories use up time and take away opportunities for members to participate.
  • It is a good idea to call on a more experienced member for your first question so that he or she will hopefully demonstrate proper form for newer members.
  • If you are calling on a new member, try to give them one of your easier questions. In addition, one technique to help new members is to give a lead-in to your question that indicates a possible answer. For example, you could say my favorite subject in elementary school was math because I was so good at it. What was your favorite subject in school, John Doe?
  • After you ask the question stay at the podium until the participant approaches. Extend your hand to shake theirs.
  • It is a good idea to keep your questions clear and unambiguous.
  • A reminder that you should ask the question before you say to whom it is directed.
  • If there are 3 or more speakers, you should start your last question no later than 6:59 pm.
  • After the participant has finished answering the question, shake their hand again.
  • After the last participant is finished, ask the voter/timer if everyone qualified.
  • Ask everyone to vote and briefly recap everyone who participated and their question or answer.
  • Return control of the meeting to the Toastmaster.