SlideShare Karaoke Toastmaster Table Topics Mashup

By Mark Finnern
June 4, 2009

The YouTube for slides: SlideShare has a nifty little game they call SlideShare Karaoke. You put in a keyword and it randomly selects one deck of slides for you to present.

SlideShare Karaoke

If you want to improve your presentation skills, there is no better way than going to weekly Toastmasters meetings. I am at awe how well run that organization is.

Table Topics is one of the key elements of a Toastmaster meeting The Table Topics master usually prepares some theme and has little papers filled out with topics covering that theme. For example the theme is vacation spots and the little papers contain: Paris, Milan, Hawaii. Participants come up to the podium and select a paper, read the topic and talk 1-2 minutes about it. More details directly from the Toastmaster site.

Fortune Cookie
I try to avoid having to prepare these pieces of paper, so one time a brought in a bunch of fortune cookies and every candidate cracked one open, read his fortune and talked about what she is going to do with it.

When I saw SlideShare Karaoke I was intrigued to try it out in the next Toastmaster meeting.

The tag I selected was "presentation" as "Toastmaster" didn't bring back any slide decks. A candidate would come up to the podium, I hit the random button and like magic a couple of slides show up and are ready to be improvised with for 1 - 2 minutes.

The whole audience was electrified, some even terrified, as it turns out that it isn't easy at all to talk coherently to a deck of slides that you haven't seen before. Try it out in your next Toastmaster meeting.

Here some tips on how you can survive or even shine at SlideShare Karaoke:
  • Welcome the audience
  • Tell them that you don't have time to go through all of the slides, just a couple of highlights,
  • Flip through the slides and stop at one that draws you in, where you may have a story to tell. Tell that story.
  • Jump to the end of the deck, often the last slide is "Thank You" or "Questions?" go to the slide before and it may be the summary. Use it. If not summarize it yourself
  • Thank the audience ;-)
It was a lot of fun and I think we should do it more often. Even if you are not part of a Toastmaster group, I am convinced that SlideShare karaoke is a great way to lighten up long days of meetings.

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