Table Topics Timing Discrepencies

Nov 15

Not many Toastmasters know this, but Toastmasters International is inconsistent on how to time Table Topics.

The back of the Competent Communication manual provides instructions for different roles. In the Timer section (page 70 in the edition I have), it says:

Generally topic speakers should be more or less 15 seconds of allowed time; prepared speakers must be more or less 30 seconds.

Compare that to the rules for the Table Topics contest. You can find the latest version of the Speech Contest Rulebook online. Look in section 6, “Timing of the Speeches”, subsection E.2.

Table Topics contest speeches shall be from one minute to two minutes. A
contestant will be disqualified if the speech is less than one minute or more
than two minutes 30 seconds

Most Toastmasters clubs follow the latter rule already. Most Toastmasters are surprised to find out about the first, conflicting rule. Your club can choose either one to follow. I feel it makes more sense to use contest timing consistently in the club, rather than time one way in meetings and surprise your members by timing a different way in contests.

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