One of the most common problems every Toastmaster faces is choosing a theme when you are the Toastmaster of the Day. Every Toastmaster asks Google for help and inevitably, Google returns the common un-imaginative answer.
Let me show you how I solved this problem. I chose a broad theme that appealed to me and than every time I was the Toastmaster of the day, i would make one of the aspect of the broad theme the theme for the meeting.
The broad theme I chose was our Universe and the first time I was the TMOD, my theme was “Stories From Space.” Check out below how I covered this topic in my TMOD session.
STORIES FROM SPACE
The night sky looks so beautiful doesn’t it? As a child I was so fascinated with the moon and the stars that I would often hop to our roof just to gaze at them. I am sure it still fascinates you sometimes when you just look up at the moon. But what if I told you all that the starry night you see is actually a movie that was recorded billions of years ago and is being played now, right at this moment on the canvas that is our sky. Let me explain. Our own star the Sun is the closest star and it takes 8 minutes for light to reach us from the sun. So in a way at any point of time, the sun that you see is actually an 8 minutes old version of it. People use pole star to determine their location but right at this moment, if you were to go up and look at the pole star from your terrace, you would be looking 433 years into the past because it takes light 433 years to travel from pole star and reach our eyes. All this however is merely a second in the context of space. Because with a telescope most of the other stars that you would see along with the pole star would actually be billions of years old. Meaning it took light billions of years to reach the telescope from those stars. To give you some context. life originated on earth only 4.5 billion years ago. So in a way, the star that you would be seeing would in reality be as they were even before life originated on earth.
Perplexed? Well thankfully our toastmaster’s meeting is not that perplexing. For the new members as well as our guests, let me explain how a toastmaster’s meeting is conducted. The meeting is divided into three parts. The first part consists of prepared speeches, where members prepare for a speech in advance, get it mentored and deliver the same. The second part is the exciting, table topic session where any one form the audience including the guest can come up and speak on a topic given by our table topic master for 1 to 2 minute. And the final part is the most important evaluation section where our general evaluator for the day will give a report card on the entire meeting. On that note let me introduce the General Evaluator for the day TM Name.
After this you may start the first session of the meeting – the prepared speech section. Once this section is over, you may continue with the theme as below.
Those were indeed some interesting speeches that we heard today. Sadly, our outer space happens to be very boring. Because for one, there is no sound. So you might see a brilliant firework of stars colluding but it would all be a mute show. This is in direct contrast with the Hollywood movies like Star Wars and ET that we see. They have actually won Oscar prizes for amazing sound effects. However, one planet that may still interest you is Saturn. Scientists have discovered that a very different type of rain happens in Saturn – that of diamonds. Because the planet is so big, it generates massive amount of gravity and crazy pressure and heat that converts carbon mid-air to make it rain diamonds. Diamonds that are big enough to be worn by Hollywood celebrities on their fingers. . Feel excited. Than let’s continue our excitement as it is time for the fun filled Table Topic Session. Let me invite on stage TM Name to host the Table Topic Session.
Once the Table Topic Session is over, you may continue with theme as below.
What an interesting session. To give you an idea of how giant everything in space is consider the following –
There are more stars in space than grains of sand, in every beach on the earth.
68% of the universe is dark energy and 27% is dark matter and both are invisible form telescope which means we have seen only 5% of universe. Now the universe itself is 10 billion light years in diameter which means 10 billion * 9.5 trillion kms. and we have seen just 5% of it. Feel your head heavy. I have just the right tonic. It’s time for the GE to present his report and I am sure he will have something much simpler for us to digest.
Once the General Evaluator is done evaluating the entire session, you may conclude your theme with the following.
There is one topic that no space talk can end without discussion. What is that? Life in outer space. Sadly I have no answer to that. But scientists are hell bent on finding the answer. The United States had even sent a spacecraft that emitted signals with greeting in different languages to make contact with alien life forms. But come to think of it, wouldn’t you say it was a silly move. Great minds like Stephen Hawking have already warned against contact with aliens. Imagine if they indeed had the power of deciphering our signals. It would mean that they are a much advanced and more intelligent species. There is a high probability they would do our planet more harm than good. But the real win will be if we can find a planet that hosts life in microbial non intelligent forms. Already, scientists have been able to spot microbes in places on earth that were previously considered uninhabitable like the pits of volcanoes which have soaring temperatures, pressure and acidic environment. If they can survive in such places on earth, surely they can surely survive in other planets. And if we can find a planet that hosts such life, than perhaps we can improvise upon the planet to make them hospitable for us. Because believe it or not, but at the pace at which we are exhausting earth’s resources and degrading its environment, we barely have 125 years before earth falls out.
That’s all from my side today. It is time for the awards.
What is your broad theme. It can be countries of the world. The first time your are TMOD, the theme can be “All about Australia.” Next time, it can be “Everything England.” And the third time it can be “Into Italy”
Another example of a broad theme can be famous inventors and scientists. Your themes can be “Genius Galileo”, “Intelligent Issac” or “Thank You Thomas Edison.”
The best thing about this approach is you are not afraid to pick up the role of TMOD next time since the most pressing problem – choosing the theme is already solved.
Also, once club members know about the pattern, they are excited about the aspect you may choose to uncover in your TMOD session.
One warning though – don’t overdo it. Its okay to follow the broad theme for 3 or a maximum 4 TMOD session. Beyond that, you may want to find a new broad theme to cover in your TMOD sessions. After listening about Australia, England and Italy, club members may not want to continue listening about France, Germany, Norway etc. etc. etc. So spare them.
What is your choice of a broad theme. Let us know in the comments section below.
RELATED: As a good TMOD, make sure you appreciate your Prepared Speakers well to soothe their nerves. Find here how to do it effectively.
For more TMOD themes, look here.