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When You Are The
June, 2014

And the Topic Is…

Contrary to popular belief, the best part about serving as Topic Master isn’t immunity from being called to answer a Table Topic! As Topic Master, you are entrusted with a key part of each meeting. Your Topics reinforce the meeting theme, ensure that members without a previously assigned role get to speak, and provide drama, suspense and surprise to your meeting. It’s both a responsibility and a privilege.

Here are some creative ideas for the next time you lead Table Topics.

Can You Sell It?

George Marshall of Star Search Toastmasters (Fremont California) asks respondents “What is it?” as they reach into his grab bag a pull out obscure objects: grandma’s old kitchen implements, odd garage shop tools or other miscellaneous items. Whether respondents give truthful or fanciful explanations it’s all good fun! A variation on this approach: asks respondent to “sell” their club the item.

Can You Define It?

At Rossmoor Toastmasters in Walnut Creek California participants are shown an obscure word from the dictionary and asked to define it. Truthful or not, a compelling explanation always wins. How would you define the words Eccedentesiast, Interfenestration or Sgiomlaireached? (Now reveal the true meaning after each response.)

Presenting the Past: 

Use an old newspaper, magazine or Toastmaster magazine from 40-50 years ago, issue each respondent a headline. Using their imagination, respondents create a plausible story to match.


When he’s Topic Master, Doug Mills of Dimond Toastmasters (Anchorage Alaska) has shown children’s drawings and asked respondents to interpret and tell a story about each.

The Progressive Story

The Topic Master starts the story and ends it. In between, each member is also expected to contribute exactly one sentence. Listening intently, participants co-create a story a line at a time, in 1-2 minutes.

— Craig Harrison DTM, PDG

NB: For more creative ideas when you're the Topicmaster, read Craig's September 1998 article in Toastmaster magazine about How to Be A Creative Topicmaster

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