The Table Topics Contest features a 1 to 2 minutes response to a question posed by the Contest chair.
Contestants are taken from the room and each is brought into the room and given the Table Topics question. No contestant hears the question or anyone’s response prior to their turn on stage.
Speech Development is the way the speaker puts ideas together so the audience can understand them. The Table TopicsTM response is structured around a purpose, and this structure must include an opening, body and conclusion. The response is supported by relevant examples and illustrations, facts and figures, if appropriate, and is delivered smoothly.
Effectiveness is your subjective judgement of how the response came across. Were you able to determine the speaker’s purpose? Did the speech relate directly to the given question or topic? Was the response clearly and logically presented?
Physical presentation of the response carries part of the responsibility for effective communication. The speaker’s appearance should reinforce his or her response. Body language should support points through gestures, expressions and body positioning. The speaker makes effective use of and stays within the designated speaking area.
Voice is the sound that carries the message. It should be flexible, moving from one pitch level to another for emphasis, andshould have a variety of rate and volume. A good voice can be clearly heard and the words easily understood.
Appropriateness of language refers to the choice of words that relate to the speech purpose and to the particular audience hearing the speech. Language should promote clear understanding of thoughts and should fit the occasion precisely.
Correctness of language ensures that attention will be directed toward what the speaker says, not how it is said. Proper use of grammar and correct pronunciation will show that the speaker is the master of the words being used.