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For Toastmasters: Table Topics

Toastmasters is a structured program to learn how to give good speeches.  One section of a meeting is called “Table Topics,” which is an opportunity for people to speak extemporaneously.  It can be hard to develop good Table Topics questions, so I’d like to suggest two that worked (very well, I got a lot of laughs and applause) for me in our local club.

I call this set of questions, “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.”  The questions are all related to Monty Python but do not require any previous knowledge of it.  Its best delivered with a bad British accent (I grabbed a recording of the theme music from the television show and played it from my cell phone while approaching the lecturn).  Here are the questions I asked:

•    What is your quest?
•    What is your favorite color?
•    What is the air speed of an unladen swallow?
•    Why does nobody expect the Spanish Inquisition?
•    What did you learn at the Ministry of Silly Walks?
•    What was your last experience with deja-vu, that strange feeling we sometimes get that we’ve lived through something before?  (repeat it once)
•    Is the Norwegian blue parrot dead?
•    What is the capital of Assyria?

The second questions I call, “Which One and Why.”  Here are the questions I asked:

•    The place where I live is like a boat – which one and why?
•    My life is like a river – which one and why?
•    My coworkers see me as an architectural structure – which one and why?
•    I am like a famous person, living or dead – which one and why?
•    My friends would say I’m like a song – which one and why?
•    I am like an office supply – which one and why?
•    I am like my pet – which one and why?
•    I see the world as a container – which one and why?

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