Thursday, November 4, 2010

Games Toastmasters Play

It’s a well-known fact that people come to Toastmasters to learn. It’s also a well-known fact that people come to Toastmasters to have fun :)

And what better way to combine business with pleasure than to practice your English and public speaking skills by playing games? That’s why occasionally we play games at the meetings. There are a lot of speaking games out there and we have tried many of them, until we found two favorite ones, which have the advantage of giving players a great opportunity to use their speaking skills, while being very thrilling and entertaining.

Hide a Word

To play this game, the audience is divided into two teams, and each player gets a piece of paper with a common, fairly everyday use word, which they don’t show to anyone.

Players from each team are then called to the stage in turn to give a one minute speech on a topic provided by the opposing team. The topic can be anything: the weather, fishing, astrology, etc. The key is to use your secret word during this one-minute speech at least once. When the minute is over, the opposing team gets three attempts to guess what the secret word was. If they guess the word, they get a point, and if they don’t guess, then the speaker’s team gets a point.

The trick is to forward your speech in the necessary direction or to slip the secret word into a sentence without going too far off topic; otherwise the opposing team will easily guess it. And here is where your Toastmasters practice comes in handy :)

Of course, the more specific or unusual the topic is, the more difficult it will be for the speaker to use the secret word without going off topic too much, so there has to be a moderator to make sure the topics aren’t completely bizarre.

We usually play a practice round with the game master being the speaker with the secret word and the players giving the topic and trying to guess the word, so that everyone understands the idea of the game.

This game is great for Toastmasters since it develops quick thinking, adept speaking and attentive listening.

Just 1 Minute

Another game we like to play is called “Just 1 minute” and is fairly popular among Toastmasters.

As with “Hide a Word” the audience is divided into two teams. The game master gives one of the teams a topic to speak on and starts the timer. A speaker from this team starts to speak on the given topic and continues until he is stopped by a player from the opposing team. Any player of the opposing team can stop the speaker if he makes any kind of mistake in his speech, like says “um”, takes a pause which is too long, makes a grammatical mistake, or goes off topic. The player who stops the speaker then proceeds to speak on this topic until he makes a mistake and is stopped by the opposing team. The teams continue until the minute runs out. Whoever is speaking at the end of the minute gets a point for their team.

This game is very competitive and thrilling and really keeps you on your toes. It teaches you to think ahead of speaking even when time is limited, producing an eloquent and seamless speech.

Other Games

We are always looking for new ideas to make our meetings even more diverse and interesting, so if you know other speaking games you would like to play at the meeting, don't hesitate and sign up for the Game master role!


  1. I have to admit, these games are brilliant, and very catching!
    There is one trick in “Just 1 Minute”: speak slowly, and think fast. This is the only way you can eliminate fillers. So, after we played it last time for several minutes, the effect lasted for more than a day! Whatever I said, was spoken slowly and thoughtfully. The only side effect was a strong desire to shout: “Stop!” whenever other people stumble.

  2. it, I'm going to use this game at our next tm's meeting as I'm the fun master...thanks...