Impromptu Speaking At Its Finest

Thursday September 1, 2022

Post by David Hampton

Margot’s bag of surprises

Each meeting, we practice speaking off-the-cuff. It’s a fantastic skill to develop, whether for work or socially. Members are given a subject to speak about for one to two minutes – no preparation whatsoever, just go. We call these mini speeches “Table Topics” – nobody knows quite why.

I’ve been at Bromley Speakers for 20 years and I have seen all sorts of creative themes for Table Topics in that time. Margot Glover’s session on Thursday was one of the best. She had a suitcase containing all sorts of items, from the useful to the silly, and each person who came up to speak was invited to have a rummage, pick something from the suitcase and then sell it to us. Pink cowgirl hat with integrated tiara? We were sold on that. Giant Elvis sunglasses? Demand was so high we had to have an auction. And our lovely caretaker at Ripley Arts Centre even joined in – she sat at the back to see what this meeting was all about and ended up selling us a multi-coloured towel.

It’s all in the name of skill development of course, but we’re allowed to have fun in the process, and we certainly did that. The highlight, and winner of the vote for the best Topic of the evening, was John Cross selling us a portable compressor. He had the idea of turning this into a home shopping advert and – I’ve never seen this done in Table Topics before – invited another member, James Swift, to come up and help him explain the virtues of his compressor. The two of them latched onto each other’s wavelength immediately and it would have been utterly convincing as a Home Shopping Channel advert if it hadn’t been so funny. I’ll take my pink hat off to that.

Many thanks for a really entertaining session, Margot!

Worthy winners congratulated by our President, James Kirkby