I never thought Table Topic Contest can be prepared. People who can naturally talk well and have lots of knowledge just rock up and do it well.
Everything in life has strategies.
I came across the channel of Chua Wei Jie (Malaysia) who was a winner of Table Topic Contest and he had so many good tips about how to prepare for table topic contests which opens my eyes.
Step 1: Check Judge’s Ballot paper and Contest Rules
The topics have to be off general natural and must reach the conclusion of opinions.
The topics have to be able to share by everyone regardless age, culture and background.
Jeremy Donovan and Ryan Avery wrote in their book “Speak Leader Champion” talked about virtue that used in Speech Contest
- Love- this is the most possible virtue that is shared by everyone regarding which country you are from and which background. Something everyone is looking for and can talk about.
- Perseverance-Situations that we need to preserve and move forward. Something we can give personal story. Move forward and reach opinion. Open opinion question: for example, “What makes you a better person”? So that you can state viewpoints with evidence and story.
- Mindfulness (these kinds of topics are appearing more and more often now)
- Action (Do I need to say more?)
I now use my own strategies to tackle this. No matter what types of questions it throws at me I will be able to react quickly with effective structural answers that reach a solid conclusion “related to audience”. Yes, always RELATE to AUDIENCE.
- I have a story bank collecting all the personal stories related to love . All sorts of Love. Failure stories is the best when you can twist to positive outcome which all speech audience loves.
- Perserverance- my stories of hyperthyroid history, young artist program fail, public speaking fear are all ready to go when this kind of topics come out.
- Open opinion questions- I will use Past-Present-Future technique. Or PREP (Point, Reason, Example, Point)
- Mindfullness story banks
- Action story banks
I also build a quote bank
The quote such as “If you want to walk fast, you walk by yourself. If you want to walk far, you walk with other people”, I have a list of good sayings like that that I use very often. I can pull out to do for conclusion when it comes to impromptu speech contest.
Yes I know.
Even with so many tips and structures how can we reach so quick after 3 seconds of them announcing the topics?
It all comes down to practice. The more you practice the quicker you become. And also read a lot, write a lot.
You need a lot of input to be able to nail output.
After I nail all these I will start the next stage which is BREAK THE PATTERN.
As you go up the competition the audience and judge will start to know your name. You can not use the same strategies again. That’s when Humour and TWIST comes in.
We will talk about that next time.
Meanwhile. Always learning, always improving.
There is nothing scary about public speaking. There is nothing scary about anything in life.