I was the Table Topics master for our last Toastmasters meeting. All the previous topics were mostly about current affairs or personal experiences. We used to ask for volunteers and almost always the most confident ones used to take the bait. I decided to do things a bit differently this time.
I used Connect The Dots as my template for table topics. I made cards containing three phrases. I randomly chose people from the audience and asked them to talk about the three things in the card making sure that they obeyed the sequence. Here are the phrases I gave:
- Search engine, fishing, Madagascar
- Sky diving, Caterpillar, Global warming
- Hair cut, Roller coaster ride, Nuclear weapons
- Space exploration, Fall colors, Oil drilling
For e.g. you could take the first collection of phrases and come up with a story on selling the search engine for a million bucks, retiring comfortably while learning fishing and realizing that my money would be better spent preserving nature and biodiversity in Madagascar.
I made sure that every one got a chance to participate. I am sure that the less confident ones hated me for picking on them. Here's my word of advice to them - I used to be like you .. but remember that your fears will not magically vanish by virtue of attending a public speaking session. Instead you will have to go out there, stand in front of people, let your fears consume your mind, utter a few stuttering sentences and realize that it was nowhere as terrible as you imagined it would be. Without your knowing, you would have grown a little in stature.