Table Topics Hacks

One of the best ways to learn to do something is to practice doing it. We can try some “short cuts” or “cheats” or “hacks” to help us get through the early practice more smoothly and with less stress.

Here are three hacks to make your Table Topics practice easier and more efficient.

  • Positive Self Talk.

This isn’t the inane “tell yourself you’re great” self-talk advice you get when you succumb to “click bait.” This self-talk is about process: “Opening, Talk about it, Close. I’ll just open with whatever pops into my mind, then run with it. I’ll have some fun with this question.”

Our positive self-talk focuses on process, not vague affirmations.

Every one of us is here because our distant ancestors responded effectively to two situations that involved being surrounded by staring eyes. If they were munching on mastodon and sharing their stories they were bonding with others. If they were alone on the plains, the staring eyes belonged to predators.

Hack two just reminds me which situation I’m facing. I try to imagine I’m at an informal dinner party with my Significant Other and responding to a question from one of the guests. I know I shouldn’t tie up too much time so I’ll just make a few remarks and pass the conversational baton to someone else.

Two differences, and they aren’t threatening: I stand up to speak and instead of “But what do you think, Jean?” I end my turn with “Madam Table Topics Master.”

Significant research has shown that 80% of Journalism and Political Science students don’t notice when a national political candidate fails to answer the questions asked during their campaign speeches.

More locally, I learned by practicing “alternative answers” during TM meetings that only one of 45+ members of two clubs consistently noted that I hadn’t answered the TT question I was asked.

So, if I say anything at all, in a reasonably organized manner, I’ll do well during Table Topics and only David is likely to even notice what I say. I just have to say it.

Try these three hacks to smooth and “power up” your Table Topics.

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