Guest Contributions · TMOD

A sample TMOD script for the theme “Accidental inventions and discoveries”

One of the main roles of the TMOD is to keep the audience engaged and hooked to the events of the meeting. A great theme for the day plays a crucial role in achieving this. Here is a script by TM Swati from Chennai that does this brilliantly. Have a look.


Can you imagine going for a jog and coming back with a million dollars? Well, in 1941 Swiss engineer George Mestral did. No, it wasn’t a lottery ticket but rather a priceless invention he found stuck to his clothes. George had returned from a hike in the Alps when he noticed his pants and his dog’s fur were covered with tiny parts of cockleburs – a type of flowering plant. Being curious, he studied them under a microscope and found hundreds of tiny hooks in them that attached to the fabric of his clothes and remained stuck. This led to what we call today as Velcro – a feature people look for in their jackets, sneakers etc.

We generally think of inventions and discoveries as serious projects that take years of research and persistence from dedicated scientists. The often repeated analogy of Edison failing 1000 times before finally inventing the light bulb makes us think that scientific breakthroughs are no accidents. But the truth is lots of things we use in our daily life were a result of pure accident. A professor was trying to create a heart rhythm recording device when he accidently picked the wrong transistor and ended up creating a heart rhythm inducing pacemaker. Insulin was the result of doctors trying to understand role of pancreas in digestion by removing it from a healthy dog that gave the dog diabetes. And microwave was invented by an engineer trying to test a new vacuum tube that melted chocolates in his pocket.

Fellow Toastmasters, this is a fairly long list and I will come back to it later. For now, let me tell you how a Toastmaster’s meeting functions. . Every Toastmasters meeting is divided into three parts. The first part is the Prepared Speech section where our members prepare a 5 to 7 minute speech in advance, get it mentored and deliver the same. The second part is the fun and exciting Table Topic Session where anyone can speak for 1 to 2 minutes on a topic given by our Table Topic Master. And the last part is the evaluation session where our General Evaluator will give a comprehensive report on the entire meeting. On that note, let me invite our General Evaluator for the day TM Name.

Once the GE is done explaining his role, invite the prepared speakers. After this session, continue with the theme as under.

As you have seen, a common trend is people attempting to create something end up with something entirely different. So here is a question – what do you think would a person trying to create an ultra-strong industrial grade adhesive end up inventing? Well the answer is post it notes. A 3M scientist Spencer Silver was trying to create an adhesive to be used in aircrafts when he found his glue was just a mild temporary adhesive. He tossed it aside. A fellow worker who knew about this was part of a Church Choir struggling with pages that kept losing. It was this worker who noticed how Spencer’s solution could be an answer to his problem and thus post it notes became a part of our lives. This reminds me of a quote by Victor Hugo – “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” Well right now it’s time for the second session of the day – the Table Topic Session. Please help me welcome the Table Topic Master for the day TM Name.

Once the Table Topic Session is over, continue with the theme as under.

You may be surprised to know that it’s not just products or medicines that are accidentally invented but sports too. Way back in 1891, a PE Teacher James Naismith had a problem. The harsh winter made it too cold to play outdoor sports like football or baseball. His students had too much energy but no way to burn it. James remembered a rock tossing game he played as a child and created a make-do game to keep the students engaged. The rules of the game were simple – players had to throw the ball at a target and teams that tossed the most number of balls at the target would win the game. James nailed the target – a basket 10 ft above the floor and drew up 13 other rules. Word about the game spread and it grew in popularity. James students went to on to become teachers and coaches for the new sport in schools and colleges. This led to the invention of the modern day Basketball.

It’s time now to see how many of our speakers and role players today could shoot their target correctly. I would like to invite the General Evaluator of the day for his report TM Name.

After the evaluation session is over, conclude the theme as under.

Fellow Toastmasters, the inventions and discoveries I mentioned as well as hundreds others I didn’t may be accidental but it was always a person in action doing something who stumbled upon them. Merely Sitting on the couch all day with a bag of popcorn wouldn’t have given George the idea for Velcro. The moral is that we should constantly keep tinkering with something in our lives and it’s only then that we may stumble upon our award winning ideas – accidental or intentional.

It’s time now for the Toastmasters awards.

Thank you TM Swati. This is indeed a great script to keep the audiences hooked during the meeting.

If you have such a script for any role in Toastmasters, do let us know here. For more ideas on scripts and themes for the role of a TMOD, look here.


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