Bringing the Story Game to Table Topics
4th night of Toastmasters (6-29-11)
On this night of Toastmasters, I was the table topics leader.
My dad kicked off the meeting with two jokes. He told a golf one and used his arms and gestures to make the joke more animated. He didn’t look at any notes and I was impressed considering he told me he hadn’t practiced much. Then the wordmaster explained the word of the evening, languid, and then my name was called to lead the table topics.
I felt nervous the moment I entered the building, and even more nervous as it got closer and closer to my time to stand up before the group and give my little introductory speech.
But I smiled, shook Marcy’s hand, and stood at the podium. I started off by saying I hoped this wouldn’t be a languid table topics discussion, which got some chuckles.
I said what I had planned to say without looking at my notes, I smiled, I used my arms, and even leveled my voice a little. The big smiles of my fellow toastmasters put me at ease and comforted me. Beforehand I had tried to imagine this going well and people enjoying my table topics, and I think that helped. I practiced in front of the mirror quite a bit too, and once in front of my mom before I left.
I explained what the purpose of table topics is (to practice impromptu speaking) and introduced my topic. I told them how earlier in the summer I had gone camping and was introduced to a game my friends called “the story game.” I explained how it worked in detail and summarized it once more to make it as understandable as I could. (*Basically, you’re given three words selected by the audience and have to make up a story using them.) I then called Houston up to be the first speaker. She did a great job as she always does. I then called up another person, one by one, until I had pretty much called on a majority of the group. If people weren’t called on to speak I at least included them by asking for the three word suggestions for the speakers to use, which got everyone involved during the 15 minute segment.
After each speaker spoke, I led the applause, shook hands with them, picked another person, and asked the audience for three more words. Everyone really got into it and they all did wonderful. Some stories made the group roar with laughter and I felt like everyone was really enjoying themselves.
Afterward during the break and at the end of the meeting, I was told that I did an excellent job and that I looked very comfortable up at the podium already. I received big smiles and Larry (our new president) told the group that was a very innovative table topics, and that he’d never seen anything like that done before. (Wow!) He said it was a lot of fun and it involved everyone in the group. Others told me that they thought that table topics was a lot of fun too, and I was happy to hear that. I didn’t even know if I should use it for a table topics or not because I didn’t know if telling stories would count as practicing impromptu speeches, but I’m glad I went for it anyway. I was very happy with myself afterward, and I volunteered to be the jokemaster for the following week.
My dad and I were made official members this night too. We were presented with a toastmasters pin, card, and certificate. Everyone had to approve our joining and they all clapped for us at the end. Several said “Welcome, new members”, with a smile. I am now an official Toastmaster!