Table Topics Evaluator – What to look out for

The following is about a position in Toastmasters called the Table Topics Evaluator. In it, a person will ask usually four to five people questions, and they will need to present a 60-90 Second speech about it on the spot. An evaluator will be listening and taking notes about how well they done. While it is specifically about the position, the notes could be applied to almost any interactions with people to gauge interest.

I’ve collected some notes of things that I was using to look for while recently in the role of Table Topics Evaluator. This position requires me to listen attentively to someone giving a short speech, with not long to actually write down notes – After each person has spoken the only break is for the Table Topics Master (The person asking the topics/questions) to ask the next question.

Once the questions and speeches are completed, I needed to get up straight away and give my evaluations – It’s a true test of my poor hand writing.

To help me, I have collected and written down observations to keep an eye out for, which could be helpful for you as well.

Evaluator notes

Speaking Position

  • Did they move their chair back, stand behind it?
  • Don’t be afraid to take the time to be comfortable
  • Confident, good use of moment to draw us in. More time on the question? Good use of story.


  • Did they use their hands to support what they were talking about
  • Holding hands – did they show nervousness by holding their hands together the whole time?

Good use of funny gestures. Slow down so we can take them in.


  • Beginning, end and middle. Did they wrap it up? Multiple points or one?

J. Doe told a story, and tied it all together at the end. The ending felt a bit rushed bit time had ran out at that point.

Eye Contact

  • Was their eye contact amongst the crowd?
  • Did they look at the ground frequently?
  • Was it appropriate for the topic? (Slow = serious, casual = moving around the crowd mid sentence)

With the points above, I have plenty of information and things to talk about, by remembering these few things as a leapboard to talk about how the speech went. The overall goal is to find the good things that have been done, and give them a recommendation on something to focus on. Even a speech that you may not have liked could have been very difficult for another person, which means it is important to respect anyone being put in the position to do a speech on such short notice – That’s the idea of table topics, to force you to think on your feet!