Blog of Sara Jakša

Toastmasters - Table Topics That Help With Fillers

The purpose of the table topics is usually to put people on spot and make them improvize a speech. But as a long term member of the Toastmasters club, I don't find the normal table topics as challenging as I used to.

What do I mean as the normal table topics? These are the table topic, where you are given a subject to talk about and left to your own devices. Like talk about you favorite food, last day of your life or describe a plant.

Some subject are challenging, but if the only thing you get is a subject of a speech, then you do not have a lot to think about.

So here I had written some of the ideas, that help with the fillers. So the table topic speaker not only have to think about what to say, but also say it with no fillers.

The first one is what I call the BU exercise. Give the speaker something to talk about. But instruct the audience to say BU every time, that the speaker up front says a filler.

For a beginners or guests, you should pick something easy, like favorite food, or the way from home to the job, or how they start their day.

But don't be afraid to give the older members some more challenging topic to talk about. While speaking, we have to be careful of a lot of things, so giving them more then one thing to concentrate on will be a good practice.

So of you might have heard of the next exercise to get rid of fillers, and some of you didn't. But reading helps with fillers as well. Bring a lots of book from home or a local library and give every speaker a book to read for a minute or two.

Try to chose books, that will be interesting or funny to read. Dictionaries and technical books make for a more interesting table topics and the literature is a good way for the people, that still need exercise. Maybe some children books for people afraid to came on the stage.

For the third one, you will need bonbons. M&M work, but be careful, if some of the people have allergies. Every speaker that came on stage gets a bonbon and he has to put it below his tongue. Then make his whole table topic speech in that condition. After the speech, they are allowed to eat it.

These are just some of the ideas for table topic, that you could use to help you fellow members with the filler problems. So try one of them on your next meeting.

If you want some other ideas, I also wrote a column of Table Topics ideas, that help with the language.