Toastmasters Table Topics: The Definitive Guide
How can I be a Toastmasters Table Topics Master?
Successful Toastmasters Table Topic Masters do three things:
- They research their audience.
- They prepare.
- They gather the BEST questions to lead to the BEST impromptu speeches.
From a Toastmasters Table Topic Session to an Evening with Friends, this Guide has Everything You Need
- A Little Background to Table Topic Questions
- Benefits of Impromptu Speaking
- Fun Table Topics to Get The Whole Crowd Smiling
- Skyrocket Reflection with these Interesting Table Topics
- Tested Toastmasters Table Topics for the Seasons
- Easy Table Topics that are Proven to Encourage
- My all time Favorite Table Topic Idea Twists
A Little Background to Table Topic Questions
Toastmasters is a global organization that has helped millions of people learn public speaking and leadership skills.
Toastmasters table topic questions have a long history and are one of the key components of the club programs in the Toastmasters organization.
What better way to have speakers think on their feet, internalize the structure of a speech, and at the same time grow their rhetorical skills?
If you’d like to practice your table topic skills, or if you have the responsibility of serving as the Toastmasters table topics master this completely FREE list of table topic questions will be just what you were looking for. (You can also check out this Table Topics Master Script which comes directly from the New York Toastmasters, who created this script to guide people through the process so they can develop confidence in impromptu speaking.)
The only thing that I ask is that you share these with anyone else in the need of a great set of table topic questions for their next event.
Remember the format…
During Toastmasters table topic questions (There is normally a specific section in the meeting for this) participants pick a random question and have only 2 minutes to give their speech.
This helps them improve their impromptu speaking skills and develop their speaking and critical thinking skills.
So try to make sure if you come up with any of your own they are not easy to answer with just a “yes” or a “no.”
Questions from the list below will help you come up with your very own perfect table topic question in the future if you just put your mind to it!
As you can imagine…
Table topic questions can also be used at dinner parties, fun gatherings, and at other events to liven up the atmosphere and break the ice with a few quick words from the guests that came.
Now for the sample questions for table topics – here’s what we’ll cover: fun table topics, interesting table topics, tested Toastmasters table topics for the seasons, easy table topics, and my all time favorite Toastmasters table topic idea twists.
The Benefits of Impromptu Speaking
Just the thought of speaking in front of a group with no preparation might seem horrifying, but becoming skilled at it can have amazing benefits.
This takes practice, a systematic approach, and self-confidence.
But once you have impromptu speaking mastered, doors will open for you.
You will have the ability to nail last-minute presentations, shine during important meetings, and think on your feet while speaking each and every day.
So although this guide is focused on leading Toastmasters Table Topic Sessions, keep in mind that there is a major benefit for those that participate.
Fun Table Topics to Get The Whole Crowd Smiling
Toastmasters table topics don’t always have to be serious – humor is one of the greatest persuasive tools in the communication toolbox.
Helping people to develop and understand how to communicate through the use of fun table topics is a great way to get first-time and even experienced speakers to improve their skills.
Here are a few fun table topic ideas:
- How do you feel about putting mayonnaise on french fries?
- What’s the strangest thing a friend has ever done at your house?
- Should you eat pizza with your hands or with a fork and knife?
- What is now considered classy, but used to be very trashy?
- If animals could talk, which would be the most charming?
- What is something that is popular now, but in 10 years we might be ashamed of?
- If you time travelled naked 200 years in the past, how would you prove that you were from the future?
- What are a few fun ways to answer the boring question of “what do you do for work?”
- What was your favorite thing to do as a child that you would love to still be able to do as an adult?
Skyrocket Reflection with these Interesting Table Topics
In order to learn a little bit more about a person, it’s always great to ask them to dig a little bit deeper when it comes to table topic questions.
Many times the answers you will get are filled with sincerity and honesty, you’ll uncover some great moments with these interesting table topics.
*For help with one on one interactions, check out this expert resource for topics to talk about*
Remember, no matter where you are these questions will be great topics for any speaker to start on, no one knows a subject better than their own feelings and thoughts.
Here are some interesting table topic example questions:
- Who inspires you?
- If you could switch lives with anyone currently living for an entire day who would it be?
- Whitewater rafting, hiking, or skiing?
- How did you meet your best friend?
- What motivates you?
- What is something you’ve always wanted to try but have been too afraid to?
- What is your hidden talent?
- What is something you’ve tried but would never do again?
Tested Toastmasters Table Topics for the Seasons
It’s the old cliche that everyone can talk about the weather, well, it’s true.
As a world traveler, I know a thing or two about rain, sunshine, and snow. That’s why I’ve decided to include Toastmasters table topics for every season, people are always passionate to talk about different times of the year.
Even more interesting, you might be surprised if someone never experienced snow in the wintertime which will lead to an even more captivating speech.
Giving individuals relatable table topic questions is a great way to get the entire group attentive and ready to listen.
Here are a few great table topic ideas for Summer:
- If you could describe summer in 3 words, what would they be?
- What is your favorite summer memory?
- What is your most memorable summer vacation?
- What is your favorite way to cool off in the summertime?
- What is your favorite family activity for summertime?
- Which do you prefer, summer or winter?
Toastmasters table topics for Fall:
Now that we’ve warmed up, let’s move onto Fall.
- What is your favorite Fall festival?
- Have you ever made apple cider or any other special drink from scratch?
- If you could, would you like go experience Oktoberfest in Munich?
- What is the scariest movie you’ve ever seen?
- Have you ever been camping?
- What is your favorite way to spend a lazy day?
Toastmasters table topics for Winter:
It might seem normal for some, but for others, winter is something they’ve never experienced. Snow, ice, and everything related to this time of year is something many will never see.
Here are some table topic question ideas for winter, don’t forget to add “and why” as needed:
- What is your favorite winter sport?
- If you had the chance to go to the north pole would you take it?
- Skiing, snowboarding, or sledding?
- Would you ever go ice-fishing?
- Did you ever have the chance to make a snowman? If so, what was your best one? If not, what would you start with?
- There are 50 Eskimo words for snow, what is something that you think we need more words for?
- What do you think about Santa Claus?
Toastmasters table topics for Spring:
Spring is all about growth, life, and energy – very closely related to Toastmasters table topics. Rounding out the four seasons, here some table topic ideas for spring:
- What food would be at your ideal picnic?
- Jogging, cycling, or swimming?
- Have you ever been horseback riding?
- You’re on your way to an important meeting and you get caught in the rain without an umbrella, what do you do?
- If you could build a garden with only 3 plants, which ones would you grow?
Easy Table Topics that are Proven to Encourage
If you are the Table Topics Master for a group that might be new to this type of impromptu speaking it’s a good idea to ease people into it.
To help people easily organize their speech it’s good to give them 2-3 points to cover in the question.
After a first success people typically feel much more comfortable the next time around, therefore, do your best to encourage participants who have never stood up for a table topic question before. Give them one that is a bit easier to formulate a response to.
Here are some fail-safe and easy table topic example questions:
- What are your 3 favorite personality traits?
- If you could only take 2 items with you to a deserted island, what would they be?
- Do you prefer dogs or cats and why?
- Who are 2 people in your life that inspire you and why?
- What are 3 things you look for in a good friend?
- If you had a genie that could grant 3 wishes, what would they be (you can’t wish for more wishes)?
My all time Favorite Table Topic Idea Twists
Now that we’ve had fun, interesting, seasonal, and easy table topic questions – it’s time to come to my all-time favorite toastmaster table topic idea twists.
The truth is, the reason why I like them so much is because they aren’t just standard questions. You take the core goal of impromptu speaking, but give the speakers a surprising twist.
Can you Sell?
It works like this – you as the Table Topic Master present the idea that you are in charge of picking the next sales director for your Multinational company. You should come with a bag full of unique items (they can be simple pens, notebooks, toys – or more unusual items). When the table topic speakers come to present they get to reach into the bag and grab one item.
Their job is to sell the item they have to the audience for as much money as possible. They get to keep the money that they sell the item for, and the highest priced selling presenter “wins” the table topic session and will go down in history as the best seller in the group.
One person starts a story. The second speaker has to continue the story and so on until all the speakers are done.
Quotations and Cookies
Quotations are a great way to hand to speakers for impromptu table topics – step it up a notch and use fortune cookies and give them a snack afterward.
The way that it works is that if someone receives the quotations:
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
They would construct their impromptu speech around the meaning of that quotation
Everyone in the audience picks a number, the 1st person has to tell an unbelievable story that happened to them.
“I once caught the biggest fish ever on record, we were sailing off Fiji when my hook was taken by…”
End the 2-3 minute speech by asking the next person to “Top That!”
“How Can I Use This For my Next Toastmasters Table Topic Session?”
I created a free cheat sheet and easy to clip question page so you can easily use the information from this post at your next table topic session.
The cheat sheet contains all of the best questions segmented per category….
…. and awesome table topic ideas with a twist.
Click below to download the free checklist:
Did I miss something?
If you want to add some of your favorite Toastmasters Table Topic Ideas let me know in the comments below and let’s build an even better resource for anyone looking to improve their skills.