If It Ain't Fun, You're Doing It Wrong!
I learned that lesson from one of my good friends and mentors Dr. Jeff Johnson, DTM.
Every Toastmasters club to which I belong embraces that philosophy. We make having fun an integral part of every meeting. My clubs have two success criteria: 1. Did we learn something? and 2. Did we have fun?
Two ways you can have fun is via having meeting themes and through Table Topics...
Some examples from my Keller Communicators club:
One of our club members vacationed in Hawaii. We scheduled her to be Toastmaster for her first meeting back from vacation, so she made Hawaii her meeting theme. She decorated the room with Hawaiian materials, members showed up wearing Hawaiian clothing. In keeping with that theme, our Table Topics Master picked one male member act out their table topic response in "hula dance". We video our speakers, so I've termed that topic response "my retirement plan" as in "how much is it worth to you for others NOT to see your hula dancing?"
In December of 2007 that club celebrated its charter anniversary by conducting "The Trial of Big Bad Wolf for Crimes Committed Against The Three Little Pigs". We appointed members to serve as Judge, Bailiff, Prosecuting Attorney, Defense Attorney, Defendant, Plaintiffs. Our three pigs wore taped-on cardboard pig noses. Some of the members dressed up to be "in character", and what characters they were!! It was hillarious!
I am especially notorious for coming up with two-person dialog/conflict Table Topics. Example: one of you is a used car salesman trying to sell, one of you is prospect who doesn't want to buy. Convince each other!
Steali...er.."Borrowing" an idea from the "Who's Line Is It Anyway?" improv comedy TV series, at one meeting I formed two lines of members then had the first person in each line carry on a conversation with each other. The catch was everything they said had to be questions. Anyone who could not respond with a question, or whom I felt had been talking long enough, I'd "buzz out" and send to the end of their line; the next person had to step up and take their place.
Another meeting had the theme "Disney" (Walt Disney, Mickey Mouse, etc.). Again I was Table Topics Master. I thought - Disney: wholesome, g-rated, cartoons, family entertainment. What is the absolute anti-Disney?? I came up with this Table Topics question: "One of you is Mickey Mouse, one of you is Minnie Mouse. Minnie has something so critically important to tell Mickey, she must do so on national television - specifically on the Jerry Springer show." I then picked a Mickey and a Minnie, "bleep if you gotta, have at it". I thought that would be a funny topic but I had NO idea!! I picked two experienced Toastmasters and they far exceeded my expectations. We laughed and teased about that episode for weeks!
Another silly meeting theme we had was a "wear a silly or favorite hat" meeting. One male member wore a pink cowboy hat with pieces of toast stuck to each side (his "Toast" master hat ).
We've posted some fun meeting theme ideas and links in the Toastmasters categories on our Downloads and Links page. Enjoy!
What have you done to make your meetings fun? What worked? What didn't work? What were some of the funniest or most fun Table Topics scenarios or meeting themes you've experienced?