Sometimes we think Toastmasters should be called TableTopicsMasters. After all, toasts are a pretty small part of most TM meetings, and a small slice of the public-speaking spectrum. But Table Topics! This no-time-to-prep segment is the pumping heart of the matter. Everyone agrees it’s the most fun, most surprising, most usefully sweaty-palm inducing and, ultimately, most productive part of the TM experience.
VanCore chair Connie, who ran today’s Table Topics session, underscored why it’s such a valuable skill to hone. She’d recently been at a function to mark the 60th birthday of a friend. Well into the night the host said, “Does anyone have anything they’d like to say about our guest of honour?”
“And you know what happens the moment anyone says that,” Connie noted. “Everyone looks at their feet.”
No one was coming forward. So Connie did. And spun a lovely tribute, off the cuff. That’s the way it works. Get good at skating in TM, and you can skate out in the world, whatever the occasion.
Connie’s own Table Topics questions invited us to spin memories or reflections of summer. Getting up on water skis that first time. Walking the beach at sunset. Paddling upstream. Getting sand … everywhere.
Everyone stepped up. Victor, ably chairing his first meeting ever, anted in a story about the beachwalk of his dreams. Veterans Borzo and Cory each offered a stemwinder from summers past. And visitor Ray, with his buttery Irish accent, described hiking in the high alpine, with hundred-mile views from every ridge and glacier-fed lakes spread below.
It was enough to leave us speechless.