Add Interest to Your Meetings
by James Carpenter, DTM
- "Spice" up the meeting with actual spice samples, asking speakers to combine them in creative ways and explain the taste/smell they expect to get.
- "Argumentatively speaking", with a judge, witnesses, prosecutor, and defender. My guess is that the more far-fetched the "crime" on trial, the more fun this one is!
- Backward meeting: plan in advance or just spring it on the club if you're brave. Literally turn your agenda on its head and proceed from the end to the beginning. It's a refreshing brain-cleanser; you won't have many brain cells left afterward.
- Theme meeting, plan well in advance, ask speakers and Topic Master to
address the theme, complete with elaborate room decorations (Cinco de Mayo, Halloween, rainbow, harvest, almost any theme can be fun)
- Table Topics meeting; can ask for full-length speeches in response to Table Topics questions; call on evaluators at random--everyone must listen equally well to every speaker, as they don't know which one they'll evaluate.
- "Hot Seat Speaker" who serves as an alternate, in case a scheduled speaker doesn't show (I understand this doesn't happen in YOUR club....). Suggestion: select the Hot Seat from next meeting's speakers; this way they're already preparing their speech.
- Cruise theme, complete with bubbles and umbrella drinks!
- Table Topics: first speaker starts a story, remaining speakers continue it and the final one concludes it. Ask the first speaker to select from a list of authors, then give the first line from one of that author's works as the question.
- Use seasonal themes: sports, holidays
- Table Topics: give one line of a song, ask the responder to sing the song (careful: you could make enemies with this one)
- Meeting where all the speeches are Ice Breakers.
- Stage a debate (hint: order the Debate manual from TI; catalog number 104.)
- Awful home remedies: ask participants to describe their worst ones; or prepare a list of unlikely remedies and ask Table Topics responders to describe what they are supposed to cure.
- Mixed evaluators (sorry, I wrote this down but do not remember what it meant--help?)
- Stage a distracting meeting; bring in crying babies, construction workers, back-row conversations, cell phones. It'll make you appreciate that "positive and mutually supportive environment"!
- Institute an award for members who fill all of your Club's meeting roles
within a time period. "Full Circle Award" and "All Around Award" are two names in use today; pick a creative name for your Club's award!
- Promote speakers' subject material in your meeting publicity: "Natalie Jaworsky will speak on tips for managing multiple priorities at the ABC Toastmasters Club meeting next Tuesday."
- Interactive Table Topics: pick two or three members to work together and
role-play a situation. For example, two could act out a first date; three
could be a difficult customer, a cashier, and another customer waiting in
- Display a member progress chart showing what speech projects each member
- Club interaction: arrange to exchange members with a nearby Club.
- Change location for a special meeting; choose somewhere off-the-wall or
elegant. Caution: publicize the change several times so that first-timers
don't show up at your regular place and miss the meeting!
- Stage an all-education meeting, focusing on modules from the Successful
Club, Better Speaker, and Leadership Excellence Series. Choose modules not
recently presented in your Club.
- Assign a new role of Master Listener. This person listens attentively to
everything and at meeting's end gives a pop quiz on what he has heard.