Our last Toastmasters meeting had a theme of “Trick-or-Treat.” As the Table Topics Master at the meeting, I decided to have a costume party as the focus of my questions.

The purpose of Table Topics is to help people learn to think on their feet and organize their thoughts quickly. The Table Topics Master will ask an open-ended, no-right-or-wrong-answer type of question, and then call on a member to respond. They have to talk for one to two minutes, and responses can range from serious and thoughtful to laugh-out-loud hilarious.

I started the session by explaining that we were all going to a costume party, and we had the services of a makeup artist, hair stylist, seamstress, and clothing designer at our disposal, so we could be transformed into anyone or anything we wanted. Then I told the first person: “You are going to the costume party as someone you greatly admire. It can be any person throughout history, or someone you know personally. Who will you go to the party as?”

The next person I called on was to go as someone or something scary. It could be any real or fictional monster or villain.

The next was to go as someone famous – a sports star or celebrity, for example. And the final person was to go as someone infamous – someone famous, but for all the wrong reasons.

How would you answer these questions? Go ahead, think about it for a minute. It’s not just a silly exercise, and it can tell you a little more about yourself than just how quickly you can think of an answer. When you name someone you greatly admire, you might dig a little deeper and see traits and characteristics you value – in others or in yourself. Or you might recognize that it’s their achievements you admire. Perhaps you want to accomplish something similar.

Figuring out what scary monster or villain you’d like to be for a Halloween costume party probably won’t uncover any “dark side” you should be worried about in yourself, but it might reveal the source of some fears or anxieties you didn’t even realize you had.

The Table Topics response I enjoyed most the other night came from someone who acknowledged being befuddled while trying to come up with someone he would want to be for our Halloween costume party.

“Not to be egotistical,” he said, “but I kind of like who I am right now.” He went on to say that he has a wonderful family, enjoys where he’s living, and belongs to the best Toastmasters club in Georgia. (I have to agree with him on that!) He added that he has too much trouble just being himself to worry about being someone else. “So I’m just going to be me for the rest of the time I have left here on earth.”

I think that’s a great “costume,” and it’s a perfect choice for all of us. On Halloween, and every other day of the year.

November 1, 2021
©Betty Liedtke, 2021

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