Last updated: July 26, 2023
Table Topics Questions Guide
Practice Table Topics and learn how to speak confidently in an impromptu fashion which is vital for your career and personal relationships.
I've been a Toastmaster for many years, and coming up with Table Topics questions is still an enjoyable experience! But what's all the fuss? This guide will address everything you need to know about preparing, hosting, and coming up with questions for Table Topics!
What are Table Topics?
Table Topics are impromptu questions you ask a group of friends (or in a Toastmasters International club meeting) to get brief, unscripted answers. The goal is to help you learn to think quickly and formulate a thoughtful speech with no prep time.
It sounds easy, but you would be surprised how often you find yourself stumped on a conversation starter or going off-topic on a tricky, random question.
You must speak for 1 - 2 minutes; that time can seem like an eternity if you are stumped. Sometimes you will feel like there are no easy table topics questions, but keep practicing, and you will get comfortable answering impromptu questions.
What is a Table Topics Master?
A Table Topics Master is a role in a Toastmasters meeting, responsible for preparing and conducting a Table Topics session, a part of the meeting where members give impromptu speeches. The Table Topics Master will typically select a theme or topic for the session and then randomly call on members to speak on that topic for a set amount of time, usually one to two minutes. The Table Topics Master's role is to create a fun and engaging environment for the members to practice their impromptu speaking skills.
How do you make Impromptu Table Topics fun?
One fundamental way to make Table Topics fun is by selecting engaging topics to spark conversation and excite people to share their thoughts. The role of the Topicsmaster is crucial in this regard, as they are responsible for selecting and introducing the topics for discussion.
Another way to make Table Topics more fun is by creating a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. Encourage participation, foster an inclusive environment, and provide positive feedback to those who speak.
Additionally, incorporating games or interactive elements, such as impromptu storytelling or acting out scenarios, can add fun and creativity to the experience. Overall, the key to making Table Topics fun is being open-minded, creative, and encouraging participation from all members.
How To Answer Table Topics Questions
Since the Table Topic question is unknown until asked, the key is to be comfortable and confident speaking in front of a group of people, in virtual meetings, or even a party of one when you are networking, for example. Impromptu speaking will be your most common form of public speaking in life.
Joining a public speaking club, like Toastmasters, can work wonders in these situations. The more exposure and practice in these settings, the easier it gets. You weren't comfortable the first time you drove a car, so being put on the spot can be jarring the first time. Like anything else, practice makes perfect.
In your answers, try to convey confidence and approachability. Feel free to pivot if you don't know how to answer the question. The point is to improve your impromptu speaking skills.
There is no rule as to how you must respond to a question. For example, if someone asks you, "What is your favorite holiday tradition?" and you're not fond of any holiday traditions, you could pivot. Your answer can be as follows: "My family does not have many holiday traditions, but my favorite tradition I have with my friends is that we get together every year to watch the Superbowl...". Try to get creative and have fun - nobody likes a dull speaker.
- Practice makes perfect. Join a Toastmasters club and participate.
- Be confident.
- Think of an easily relatable story in your life. You will learn that you have lots of fun table topics ideas floating in your head. Have some of these stories in your back pocket for when the moment arises. Look at our Icebreaker Table Topics Questions for some easy ones to start.
Why is Table Topics important?
We generally envision a public speaker performing in a packed room to an adoring audience, and I would argue that our daily public speaking is more high-stakes. How so?
You will "perform" impromptu speaking at your job, making a sales call, in a networking session, making a good impression on a first date, on a job interview, communicating with your kids, and so on.
The ability to think quickly and sound confident without the preparation allowed on a prepared speech can greatly improve your credibility and leadership ability.
People are impressed by those who can quickly speak about any subject or deep questions and make their point.
Public speaking is a skill they really should begin teaching in high school. Practicing your Table Topics speaking may be an essential skill you sharpen in Toastmasters.
Table Topics Ideas and Themes:
Below are great topics themes I have used in the past, and hopefully, they can provide you with some inspiration:
- New Year's Day
- President's Day
- MLK Day
- Valentine's Day
- Mother's Day
- Memorial Day
- Father's Day
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- Columbus Day
- Election Day Table Topics
- Veteran's Day
- Halloween Table Topics
- Thanksgiving Table Topics
- Holidays: Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa
- Letters from Santa - Christmas Table Topics
Getting to Know You:
Interests and Hobbies:
- At the Movies
- Technology theme
- Travel theme
- Giving Back
- World Cup
- College Sports
Use your Imagination:
- Growing old gracefully (aging)
- Time Travel