Posted by: mrpeatie | February 10, 2009

Toastmasters International Speech and Table Topics Contest

tmlogo_s_cEarlier this morning our club hosted its annual International Speech and Table Topics Contest. We had 3 members participate in the speech portion and 5 members participate in the table topics contest. I presided over the contest as Chief Judge (which isn’t nearly as glamorous as it sounds) and we were thankful to have 4 experienced Toastmasters from other area clubs join us as judges.

I wanted to share the table topics question with you this morning. It was a doozey. The Toastmaster who came up with it was the same one I blogged about several months ago when I was impressed with his challenging and creative questions back then. All 5 contestants received the same question which was:

I have two small children and therefore have the complete Mother Goose Stories which I have not read completely until recently. Many of the stories make no sense to me and I will read you one today.

A swarm of bees in May
Is worth a load of hay;
A swarm of bees in June
Is worth a silver spoon;
A swarm of bees in July
Is not worth a fly.

What is a swarm of bees worth this month, February, and why?

I was really impressed in some way with every response. Maybe that’s because table topics is by far the weakest of my Toastmasters skills, but it sure seemed like everyone had some great ideas even if some of the responses were a little disjointed at times which is understandable given the difficulty of the question and the contest environment. Most of responses focused on pollination, the mysterious disappearance of bees, honey, or the joys of getting stung. The winner looked at it from an economics standpoint and felt a swarm of bees in February could be lucrative as he would be able to corner the winter honey market and went into detail about a business model for such an endeavor. It was quite impressive and worthy of the 1st place prize.

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