Table Topics is a long-standing Toastmasters tradition intended to help members develop their ability to organize their thoughts quickly and respond to an impromptu question or topic. It typically begins after the prepared speech presentations and often cover a variety of topics. The Chair of the meeting will introduce the Table Topics Master, who will give a brief description of Table Topics and then call on respondents (guests or members) at random. Your response should should express your thoughts clearly and succinctly, lasting one to two minutes.
There isn't perfect way of tackling table topics, however the following advice may help you get used to idea.
Table topics may seem daunting at times. All alone, on stage, with no idea what say next. All eyes are focused on you, piercing stares just waiting to the debacle that will happen. But never fear, the unknown is simply something yet to be discovered and not to be feared.
"NOTHING IS NEW UNDER THE SUN"
Table topics can vary widely, however each set of Topics should have a theme. Spend some time beforehand to reflect on the theme and recall a joke, a story, or funny event that somewhat fits the theme. You're looking to talk about something familiar.
Repeat the question
This should be a last resort option, should the time come, and you can't think of a single idea. Speak at length about nothing...Speak but don’t say anything. Use a string of openings, small talk, clichés or even gibberish.
Topic: “To be or not to be”
Out of This World
Why remain on Modern day Earth? Assume the character and sensibilities of another person, perhaps in another time, or dimension. Whether they be real or fictional.
Make use of everyday situations to practice telling a story. Use your alone time to practice giving Table Topics answers. Refine the story and keep track of the more entertaining answers and keep them in the back of your mind for future ideas.
Lastly remember content is only part of the presentation. Body language, inflection, nuance and other embellishments all contribute to a successful topic response.