Table Topics


I recently joined a local Toastmasters club to improve my public speaking. The typical evening comprises slots for prepared speeches and additional support roles. Not surprisingly (and quite cleverly I might add) the supporting roles, such as timekeeper, all have a speaking element. This ensures that most of the people present get to speak.

For those that didn’t have a prepared speech or role, there is something called Table Topics. This is where everyone remaining gets 1-2 minutes to give an impromptu talk on a subject given to them at short notice.

To keep the proceedings in order everything has a time schedule. The current time is indicated to the speaker by use of a mini set of traffic lights, so for instance if you were doing a table topic you need to do at least 1 minute. At a minute you get a “green light” (literally), you’re good – you’ve done the minimum. At 2 minutes an “amber light” (time to wind it down), at 2.5 minutes a “red light” indicating that you went over time.

I was so inspired by this I decided to write a mobile web app with a set of traffic lights and a counter. The timer and image swapping is written with JavaScript, with a small amount of HTML and CSS. You can view it here on your mobile device. I have tested it on iPhone, Android and Blackberry.

Table Topics














Yes it still needs some work, but if enough people use it, I’ll be more than happy to develop it further.

As usual my thanks to for their code examples, which are often so simple, it makes them very easy to build upon, enjoy the app!

One Response to “Table Topics”

  1. 1 Dianna Graveman

    Noel, this looks like a great app. I haven’t participated as time-keeper at my Toastmaster’s club yet, but this is handy–I’ll pass it on. Thanks!

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