Table Topics: Once upon a time

Whether in Toastmasters, at a networking event, in an Interview, or maybe doing a Question and Answer section of a presentation…Impromptu speaking skills are important for establishing your credibility and being interesting.

How to prepare a Speaker IntroductionWill we always be great? Not necessarily, yet with practice we will always be better than when we started.

I was in San Diego for a business conference recently and we had to partner up, pull an object from a bag, and then sell it to our partner.

This is an excellent exercise to practice with silly objects and I have asked Toastmaster members to tell stories with their object as the primary character in their story.

Even when speaking for short periods of time, we are striving to have some structure. When working with new speakers, I give them a bag to select an object from and then have them tell a story about the object using a 7-step story technique learned from Ray Mohr…

7 steps to tell a story w/ Ray Mohr & Yvonne Bryant

Room setup: Table Topics Master needs to outline the steps below on a powerpoint, white board, paper on the wall or as a handout to help everybody understand this exercise. You may need a little extra time during this part of the meeting so that the Table Topics Master can explain the outline and do a quick demonstration.

After an object is selected, you follow this outline:

  1. Once upon a time…<Character is introduced>
  2. And every day…
  3. Until one day… <Conflict is introduced>
  4. And because of this…
  5. And because of this…
  6. Until finally… <overcome situation or conflict, a change>
  7. And ever since that day…

Within Toastmasters, you are still trying to speak 1-2 minutes. If you spend at least 10 seconds on each section, you are doing.

The key to this exercise is to really have fun with it! There is no right or wrong answer.


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