oastmasters, many of them for the first time, pass through the doors of the Barclay Building downtown just before noon with
anticipation. This isn't a regular Downtown Speakeasy Toastmasters meeting they are attending. The spirit of competition
causes their finger tips to tingle as they print their names on the sign-up sheet upon entering the door. The turnout is
excellent with eighteen contestants altogether, representing not only other downtown clubs, but various clubs from all across
Extravaganza Toastmaster Hilary Blair
Downtown Speakeasy wanted to jazz up their club meeting for the holidays and find new ways to challenge their members. Matt
Smith, a Downtown Speakeasy member, proposed the idea of putting together a table topics competition and inviting other clubs.
Matt describes what initially sparked the idea: "In my experience, the best path for personal growth in public speaking is
to get in front of new people in unfamiliar environments. However, it has not been easy for me to find venues to accomplish this.
The Table Topics Extravaganza was conceived, with the input of Downtown Denver Speakeasy, to solve this personal issue."
With Hilary Blair at the helm as Toastmaster on contest day, contestants were posed questions running the holiday themed
gamut from topics regarding the origins of “Auld Lang Syne” as well as the reasoning behind candy canes being striped red and
white. In addition to insightful answers to holiday questions from other contestants, Hartley Goldstone of Downtown Speakeasy
creatively led the um, ah buzzer along with the rest of the audience in a spirited Jingle Bells Christmas Carol. In the end,
Chris Reed of Toast of Zachry walked away with first prize, Hilary Blair of Downtown Speakeasy won second prize and Joan Janis
of Cherry Creek Toastmasters placed third.
Extravaganza Organizer Matt Smith
The first Table Topics Extravaganza was a success for several reasons. Not only did the event provide a fun environment where
Toastmasters could hone their extemporaneous speaking skills for the Table Topics Contest this coming spring, it also created
leadership opportunities for Downtown Speakeasy members to promote and organize the event.
Much thanks to Matt Smith, Hilary Blair, Marty Wisott and Downtown Speakeasy Toastmasters for hosting the contest and for
inspiring other clubs to be creative in thinking of ways to keep their meetings exciting. Stay tuned for the next Table Topics