Evaluating Table Topics

Use the CRC for all your speakers

You may find it a challenge to apply the CRC to Table Topics, but it is a key approach to use.

The main issue in evaluating Table Topics is time management.

Normally in a 15 minute Table Topics session, you will have about 6-8 speakers to evaluate in 5 minutes.

So you will have an average of about 30-45 seconds for each speaker.

There are two ways to go about this

  1. Treat each speaker individually, but briefly. You can give varying amounts of time to individual speakers, using your judgement to give more time to a speaker who needs more advice, and less to others. Watch out for a common fault - too much time for the first three speakers - then you can't give proper feedback to the remaining speakers.
  2. Concentrate on a particular skill and apply it to each speaker. This allows you to identify in detail the key elements of a particular skill and make your analysis with varying times for each speaker. If you use this method, you can also give an individual evaluation to a particular speaker if you think it important.

Examples of particular skills relevant to Table Topics Evaluation

Structure. Did the speaker have a clear beginning, middle and end - that is introduction, body, conclusion?

Eye contact. Did the speaker address all the members? This is very relevant when speaking from the seated position, rather than out at centre front.

Taking up the speaking position. The speaker should give themselves plenty of space by moving their chair well back, or moving behind the chair. If the speaker stands behind the chair, it is important not to grip the chair, because it restricts hand and arm movements (and looks nervous).

Besides these particular skills highly relevant to Table Topics, all the other important speaking skills are relevant. See the help file on Evaluation.

A final bit of advice - use a brief CRC - Commendation, Recommendations and final Commendation - for all speakers. You may find this difficult to handle at first, but it is an important structure for the benefit of the speakers you are evaluating.