Table Topics Ideas

Dec 13

Table Topics can be far and away the most creative part of the meeting! Not just in what the Table Topics speakers say, but what the Topicsmaster comes up with. Look for approaches to Table Topics that have never been tried in your club before. Once in a while, turn common approaches or Table Topics best practices. What if each topic was affected by the previous topic? What if you ran it backwards, letting them talk and then you announce the topic once they finish? What if you give them their topic via charades? What if the audience gives the topics? What if you turn the Table Topics segment into a mini-debate? Don’t be afraid to try something completely unusual… sign up to be Topicsmaster and let your imagination run wild!

Table Topics Suggestions

The most common approach, of course, is to come up with questions related to the meeting theme and ask everyone a different question. Whenever possible, make use of the meeting theme!

Give a quotation. Ask if they agree or disagree and why.

Give them a color.

Give them a single word.

Put some objects in a bag. Have them draw one randomly and talk about it. You can add to this by giving them a question as well. “Draw an object and tell me how it saved your life.”

In a backwards meeting, you can have (experienced) Table Topics speakers just… talk. Perhaps you start off with something like “thank you for that brilliant insight about turkeys and jet engines!” but either way, you would “introduce” the topic after they are done.

Punslinging: not a true Table Topic, but a fun impromptu event. Give two people a topic and make them exchange punny lines on that topic until one of them takes more than 5 seconds to respond.

Tell a story: give the first speaker a line or a concept. They take it, run with it and hand it off to the next speaker.

Ask a question that relates to another person. The speaker gives an answer, perhaps a little story, picking someone in the room to talk about. That person is the next Table Topics speaker. For example: “pick someone in the room and tell me why they should lead the first Martian colony.”

Have the audience shout out random words as the Table Topics respondent is speaking. They try to incorporate each concept into their story as they progress.

Come up with a list of ridiculous book titles. Each speaker gets a random title and is told they are the author of that book and now must tell the audience why they should buy the book.

Use fortune cookies. Bonus: make the participants add “in Toastmasters” to the end of every fortune. “You will go on an exciting journey… in Toastmasters”

Draw a card with a famous person’s name on it. Answer a Table Topics imitation, imitating that person.

Draw from two sets of cards: one with a mode of transportation, one with a travel budget. Talk about the vacation you would have with those two requirements.

Give someone two (or even three!) random words and make them do a Table Topic that links those two together. Tigers and sandwiches… blue and elevators… love and outer space… see what people come up with.

For a Clue-based “Murder Mystery” meeting people drew Clue cards and explained what they were doing (their alibi) at the time of the murder, using whatever people, objects or locations were on the cards they drew.

Break a mock trial out into a set of Table Topics.

Give participants a (toy) microphone and an odd scenario. They act out the part of a newscaster reporting a rain of fish, or whatever is on the card.

Versus – give each participant two related choices. Ask which is better and why. Country or city? Coke or Pepsi? Driving or walking?

Find obscure words. Make up multiple cards for each word; one has the true definition, the others say “make up a definition.” After people give the correct and incorrect definitions as Table Topics, see if the club can guess what the real definition was—or have someone come up and deliver their guess and reasoning as a Table Topic!

Write multiple Table Topics on a ball. Toss it out to the club. Whatever question is under their left thumb is the one they speak on. An alternative would be to have lots of small balls, each with one question, and lob them one at a time.

Give people odd song titles as their Table Topics. It doesn’t matter if they know nothing about the song… in fact, it may be better if they know nothing but the title.

Three piles: one for characters, one for locations and one for problems. Each Table Topics respondent draws a slip from each pile and then tells the story of what that person does with that problem in that location. For example: Abraham Lincoln having a flat tire on a beach in Hawaii.

Funny questions with no answers. For example, if corn oil is made from corn, what is baby oil made from?

“Elevator speeches.” It may not be funny, but it is a useful skill… effectively introducing yourself briefly in an engaging way for professional environments. Of course, you could make it funny by giving people a random, silly occupation and making them give an elevator speech based on that.

Allow people to randomly draw an object and an emotion, and then talk as if they were that. A bitter dictionary? A jealous jello mold?

Questions related to current events.

Provide an unusual photo; the Table Topics respondent makes up with a caption/article to go with it.

Give people an unusual business name (perhaps slogan as well) and tell them to act as if they are giving a commercial. Why should we buy their company’s services?

Dear Abby: the Topicsmaster can find (or make up) examples of people seeking advice. She reads the person’s problem, and the respondent gives advice as their Table Topic. (It can be especially fun to give really bad advice, or have people draw a persona to answer as).

Have people take random words and associate them with Toastmasters. Toastmasters is like a “purse” because… Toastmasters have “chutzpah” because…

Give people smells (try to actually let them smell it, from a candle or bottle or other scented objects) and talk about a memory stirred by that smell.

Use Mad Libs, but just as a starting point. The respondent takes the completed Mad Lib and just keeps talking based on that.

Even More Table Topics Ideas

Resources from other Toastmasters around the Internet, just click for more ideas.

District 46: 101 Ideas for Great Table Topics

District 15: Creative Table Topics

50 Fun Table Topics from The Corporate Toastmasters Club

Northrise Toastmasters: 50 Ideas for Table Topics

Table Topics ideas from Kennebecasis Toastmasters

Table Topics ideas from Early Bird Speakers (videos of responses)

Foster City Toastmasters: Table Topics Ideas

101 Ideas for Great Table Topics, compiled by Mark LaVergne, DTM

(Word document download) 52 Table Topics ideas, one for every meeting of the year, topics in alphabetical order.

Table Topics ideas from Christophe Donahue

Table Topics Ideas from the (unofficial) Toastmasters Wiki

Digest of Table Topics ideas from a newsgroup discussion

Table Topics Products

Go ahead and order some for your club. Even if someone is pulled into the Topicsmaster role at the last minute, they’ll still have plenty to draw on.

TableTalk cards from the Toastmasters International store

Chat Pack cards from the Toastmasters International store

Card sets from

Melissa & Doug Family Dinner Questions

Dixit features cards with beautiful, surreal artwork (but no words). You can just hand one to someone and ask them to speak about the image, or give them a question. “Pick one of these three cards and tell me how it represents you.” “Who in this room seems like the best fit for this card?” “What would you do in the scene on this card?”

Rory’s Story Cubes if you really want to challenge someone, have them roll a bunch of dice and tell a story using all of those concepts, in order. A more common use may be to have them grab and roll several dice, or even for you to randomly pick a die and roll it and call someone to speak on the object showing on the die.

The Book of Questions. The Topicsmaster can flip through this (before or during the meeting) to get ideas for Table Topics to give.


  1. Terry /

    Thank you.
    I’m actually looking forward to the next time I’m topics master.


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