Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Quotes for Table Topics

I'm a member of See You Speak Toastmasters, a local public speaking group.  If you haven't heard of Toastmaster, you should definitely check it out.  Toastmasters is an international organization focused on building better public speakers, and, through that, our members also become better leaders as well.  Every Toastmasters club is a little different; ours is an informal, small club where we have a lot of fun working on our speaking skills together.  One of my favorite parts of Toastmasters is an impromptu public speaking game that we play called Table Topics.

Table Topics are short speeches that members and guests give during the meeting so that they can work on their off-the-cuff speaking.  I think of this game as the bread-and-butter of the Toastmasters speaking program.  We give longer prepared speeches (usually in the range of 5-12 minutes) that help us to work on our speechcrafting, but Table Topics gives us a chance to practice our speaking skills in the best way: unprepared.  Replying to questions or prompts without having had the time to prepare helps us to become better extemporaneous speakers.

I'm taking on the role of Table Topics Master tonight for one of our meetings.  I've decided to use the theme of "interpreting quotes".  I'm going to pick a few quotes and then have our members and guests interpret what those quotes mean to them.

Here's the list of quotes (from speech and writing) that I'll be selecting from for our Table Topics tonight:

"The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering."
-Bruce Lee

"All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."
-Pablo Picasso

"The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves."
-Victor Hugo

"I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
-Michael Jordan

"Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right."
-Henry Ford

"All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost."
-J.R.R. Tolkien

"Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear."
-George Addair

"We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained."
-Marie Curie

"If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them, and half as much money."
-Abigail Van Buren

"The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom."
-Isaac Asimov

"It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years."
-Abraham Lincoln

We give our members and guests 1-2 minutes to answer the question or prompt for a table topics speech.  What would you say about these quotes in 1-2 minutes?

We follow our round of Table Topics at our meetings with evaluations of how we did during the meeting.  We evaluate the prepared speeches, we evaluate the timing and use of grammar for our speakers, and we have someone called the Quizmaster who's job it is to pay attention during the meeting and then evaluate the club to see if we were all paying attention.  

I highly recommend Toastmasters.  Joining Toastmasters is one of the greatest things I've done for myself in recent years.  It's improved my speaking skills but also helped me to realize that I may have it in myself to become an orator.  

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