Being the table topics master for the first time!

Denise Tham
3 min readAug 24, 2021



Have you been a Table Topics Master recently? What was it like?

I joined the Money & You Toastmaster KL Club! I was super excited to be invited to be the Table Topics Master for the meeting! It was my second meeting as a club member πŸ˜„ and it is my first time being the TTM ever!

How does table topics segment work during a Toastmaster meeting? The Table Topics Master hosts the segment by presenting 7 to 8 question numbers (aka topics). These questions are related to the Toastmaster meeting theme and the word of the day. I, as the Table Topics Master (TTM), invites a volunteer or a nominated speaker to respond to the first topic. The speaker then picks a question number then the question is revealed! The speaker then responds with a speech between 1 to 2 min.

Why do we use table topics? Table topics are designed to develop four essential communication skills: Listening, Thinking, Organising and Speaking, to effectively β€œthink on our feet”. We do this via responding to unrehearsed questions with the table topics segment.

The theme is Independence Day, riding on the coming celebration of πŸ‡²πŸ‡Ύ Malaysian Independence Day on 31 Aug!

When preparing the questions, I aimed for these elements:

🌱 fun topics that are rarely in our media or casual chat: the key here is let your mind wander to create compelling questions!

🌱 bright colours on the slides to grab attention β€” I focus on using only the colours of the Malaysian flag (red, blue, yellow and white)

🌱 high text readability to help the speaker to read the question

🌱 help ease speakers’ response by preparing questions that are generic enough while staying relevant to the theme. Overly cultural or historical centric questions make it too narrow for a response.

I also practised how I would share my slides via zoom then unshare at the right timing so that the focus is on the speaker when one is responding. I had tons of fun preparing and presenting with Canva!

I got some solid advice when it came to the evaluation of how I did!

πŸ‘‰πŸ½ Repeat the questions so that participants get a chance to consider their response to the topic

πŸ‘‰πŸ½ Find a way to display the remaining question numbers that have not been picked yet β€” this helps the following speaker a lot! For example, once question 1, 3, 4 have been responded, then state clearly to the following speaker can now pick question 2 then 5 to 8.

To be honest, I was very sure that I would decline the invitation to be a TTM β€” my brain was filled with β€œOh NO!” with flashing red lights πŸ˜‚ Then after a few seconds of letting the chatter come, another side of me said: Why not? Let’s get into it!

I said yes purely to find out the gems I would find β€” the lessons to understand myself and most of all, have fun and get a good laugh! Imagine I nearly declined the invitation πŸ˜„

Do check out the slide deck here. πŸ‘‹ Could you give some advice for future table topics session?