Table Topics Grab Bag

Table Topics Grab Bag

On occasions, the theme of the day will be “Grab Bag”.  In this case, the TT has the option to choose whatever they would like for TT.  The idea is to have a special form of TT where the questions are not based on a specific theme but on a style of presenting questions.

To make this easy for you, we have compiled a list of possible choices the TT may use should they be TT for a meeting with a Grab Bag Theme.

NOTE: A grab bag TT theme is NOT the same as a Grab Bag Meeting (which is where all the roles are selected by picking the role from a hat/bag).

If you are TT for a meeting with a grab bag theme, read through the list of ideas below and pick one as the basis for your TT questions.

  1. Ask each TT speaker to describe his/her life as if he/she were an object, i.e., a mirror, a table, a chair, a briefcase, a door, etc.
  2. Ask a member to give an elevator pitch for their company as if they were the founder.
  3. Ask a member to explain why they would be the ideal person to:
  • Be the next Mayor, Senator, etc.
  • Be the Chief of police, fire, etc.
  • Be awarded a Nobel Prize
  • Perform/present at some major event
  1. Ask the speaker to talk about the bumper sticker, real or imagined, on their car. They can include “Sky diving – A Natural High” and “Protected by Smith & Wesson” etc.
  2. Bring in a bag of coins and have each speaker talk about something that happened or something they were doing in the year that is stamped on the coin.
  3. Collect some products off the grocery shelf, your junk box, a hardware store, etc.  and put them in a big bag.  Ask a member to pick one from the bag (without looking) and:
  • Describe what it is and how they would use it
  • Give a sales pitch to make us want to buy it
  • Explain how the item had an impact on their life
  • Without taking the object out of the bag, have them guess as to what it is and what we would do with it, just by touch.
  • Without showing it to us, describe it without telling us what it is.
  • The year is 2525 and the speaker is an archaeologist. They will explain their opinion as to what the item was back in the 20th. Century and how it was used.
  1. Cut pictures (no captions) from the newspaper or magazine. Have the speaker pick one and tell the club what is happening in the picture.
  2. Everyone writes down a secret about themselves that no one in the club knows about. Each speaker takes one of the notes, reads it, and states who they think wrote the note and why.
  3. Give each speaker a “Dear Abby” question and have them give their advice. These could made-up by the Table Topics Master or real ones clipped from the advice columns.
  4. Give each speaker a sheet of paper with weird pictures drawn by a child (or you) and have the speaker be an art critic discussing the significance (or lack thereof) of the work.
  5. Give the speaker a quotation to interpret.  Variation: There’s a saying that the difference between involvement and commitment is like that of a chicken or a pig to breakfast. The chicken is involved, and the pig is committed. When it comes to life, which are you, a chicken or a pig?
  6. Give the speaker a strange and unheard word from the dictionary and ask them tell everyone what they think this word means. At the end, give the real definition.
  7. Give the speaker a title to a book that they have just authored and are promoting and ask them to explain to the members why we should all rush out and buy wonderful book.
  8. Hand out small plastic containers with cotton wool soaked in a scent – dettol, perfume, etc. and asked the speaker what memories the scent evoked.
  9. Have a series of acronyms MMP, IRD, NBC, NASA etc. Ask for new meanings.
  10. Have each speaker discuss a time (real or imagined, but preferably real) when they saw or met a celebrity.
  11. Have each speaker pick from a bowl full of Chinese fortune cookies and have them read their fortune and interpret it to means to them. Note: Make sure everyone gets a cookie whether they speak or not.
  12. If there are people in your club born in different areas (and/or different countries), try this: “What do people think they know about your birthplace that isn’t true?”
  13. If you could be any age again for one week, what age would you be and why?
  14. If you could fly in a hot-air balloon over any city in the world, what city would you choose and why?
  15. If you could go back in time:
  • And talk to yourself at the age of ten, what advice would you give yourself?
  • And meet anyone in your family’s history, whom would you most want to meet?
  • And talk with anyone for an hour, who would you choose and why?
  1. If you were to jump into the future 40 years from now, what would be the most unexpected/unusual thing you will find?
  2. If you had to wear a button with a maximum of five words what would it be and why?
  3. Jeopardy! Come up with six question categories and then make five questions for each category. Take a poster board and make pockets for each question. Label the categories at the top of each column and have the speaker select from a category. You get the idea.
  4. Make personalized license plates, hand one to a person and ask “What type of vehicle are you and who owns you?” Some examples: ‘ICU4DK’ ‘SLO4X4’ ‘RWIDO’ ‘MYCAR’ ‘TRAVLN’
  5. Read a paragraph or short letter from letters to the editor of your local paper and have the members respond with their opinions.
  6. Some people say a little white lie is sometimes okay. What do you think?
  7. Sometimes making change is like teaching a pig how to sing, it only frustrates you and annoys the pig. When was the last time you “tried to teach a pig how to sing?”
  8. Sometimes when you look at a big task, it’s important to approach it just as if you were eating an elephant; one bite at a time. Which end would you start at and why?
  9. Take the first line from a song and have the speaker explain what inspired them to begin the song with that phrase.
  10. Think of 4 or 5 unusual situations that would normally be considered bad news. Challenge your speakers to make them good news instead. Some ideas:
  • You’re the mayor of a city. Godzilla just trashed the downtown area. Explain why that’s good for the city.
  • Aliens just vaporized the some monument. You’re the President. Make the first speech afterwards about why this is good news.
  • You just put your car through the garage door. Tell your spouse or significant other why this is good news.
  1. What annually televised sporting event is an absolute must-see for you?
  2. What national attraction or tourist site should every American see at least once?
  3. Write down different “accomplishments” (best underwater basket weaver, best nuclear power plant designer, best TV remote control switcher, etc.) on pieces of paper.  The first speaker selects the award and must “award” it to another member, explaining why the recipient deserved it. The recipient then must get up and “accept” the award with a speech.
  4. Write words on small pieces of paper or index cards. Have each speaker pick four pieces of paper or cards and make up a story using all 4 words. (You can also require using the “word of the day”.) Variations of the word are ok (If the word is “microscope”, then “microscopic” may be used in the story).
  5. On small slips of paper write out some unusual or very descriptive colors (day-glow orange, pea green, flamingo pink etc.), make a list of questions along the lines of:
  • Explain why all your clothes this summer will be in this color
  • Tell the person to your right why he/she should buy a car in this color.
  • Tell us why you plan to paint your house this color
  1. Have the speaker discuss a weird place to live and defend the place as a nice place to live, such as:
  • Next to a nuclear power plant.
  • In a swamp.
  • Bottom of the Grand Canyon.
  • Top of Mt Hamilton.
  1. Each person would be given one line and would have to weave a story from it. Here are a dozen different story lines to use: “The Impromptu Murders”
  • It was a dark and stormy night as lightning flashed through the window pane…..
  • When the guests heard the noise, they stumbled down the hallway only to discover….
  • The police arrived and asked everyone to….
  • Fearing for my own safety I told the Police, “I couldn’t have done it because I…..”
  • Seeing that now was the right time, the butler stepped forward and declared…..
  • Old Mrs. Marple didn’t think anyone knew about her relationship with the deceased. I then stood up and told the group…..
  • Gasping for breath and holding her throat, the maid stumbled into the drawing room….
  • It was then that the front door burst open and who should step in but….
  • “No!”, I cried. “It was I who did it, for you see the dead man was my……..”
  • Surprising everyone, the dead man picked himself up off of the floor, looked around at the gathering and said…..
  • Just when all had felt the mystery solved, the light went out…..
  • The policeman then stepped forward and announced to the guests, with a big smile on his face….