Table Topics is intended to allow participants an opportunity to practice impromptu speaking. The participants do not know the topic, or that they will be called on to speak. This helps us to prepare for situations in the real world where we would otherwise be caught by surprise. For example, your boss asks you to give a quick summary on a product or a television reporter asks your opinion on an issue on the street.
Table Topics usually runs for 15-20 minutes and is headed by a Table Topics Master. This person creates a list of table topics for the evening, generally trying to incorporate a scheme to their topics. For example, the Table Topics Master could have a series of strange headlines ready and could ask participants to explain what the article was actually about.
The Table Topics Master selects Toastmasters at the meeting. Generally the first TM chosen is an experienced TM - to break the ice. The Table Topics Master then continues to choose participants from the meeting with the usual priority given to people who are not on the agenda.
Partipants speak for 1-2 minutes about their topic and are encouraged to use proper introduction-body-closing style. A table topic is a mini-speech.
The Table Topics Master uses bridging comments to move from one participant to the next.
When time is complete, the Table Topics Master returns control to the chair and the individual participants are given a verbal evaluation from the Table Topics Evaluator.