Struggling for speech ideas? Read on for suggestions …
Many Toastmaster assignments say you can talk on a topic of your choice. That sounds really helpful on the face of it but when you have the world to choose from sometimes it can be hard to start and actually more daunting.
Remember the best speech you will give will be something you’re passionate about, relating to your life, your personal experience. There is something about this type of speech that makes it authentic and appealing to listen to and if you turn it into a story, that ups the appeal yet another notch.
I’ll share with you how I approach coming up with my speech themes.
Keep a speech ideas list
I keep a list of ideas for future speeches. This is a tip I got from a Toastmasters podcast and is an approach I thoroughly recommend. Every time I think about something funny, challenging or heart breaking that happened to me I make a note of it. Sometimes you can be with your family and someone says ‘remember when you….’ This is the time to prick your ears up and jot it down.
Don’t ignore the everyday chores. You can make a speech out of really mundane things. I made a humorous speech about a visit to the refuse tip during the summer as just a few things struck me as funny. Let’s face it you can’t get any more every day than that! Actually a twist on the mundane can be really interesting as everyone can identify with it. If you think about it, this type of observational humour is what comedians use all the time.
Reading Ahead on Your Pathway
At Toastmasters we select and move through a ‘Pathway’ such as ‘Leadership Development or ‘Effective Coaching’ with various assignments as you go, getting gradually more challenging. It is useful to read ahead on your Pathway to see what assignments you need to do in the future. This way you will unconsciously start noticing and adding to your speech ideas list, topics that will help you in the future.
Many of the Pathways include a speech assignment where you need to research a topic and then write your speech about it including facts and your sources. This is also a great type of topic to use when you have a free reign to come up with your own theme. Again every time you think about a subject you would find interesting to research, add that to your speech ideas list. It could be about the town you live in, a country you would like to visit or a faded industry for example.
At Toastmasters we practice our impromptu speaking via a Table Topics session where you are asked a question you have not prepared for and have 1-2 minutes to respond. If you provide a good answer to one of these questions from your experience, that too could be a topic you had forgotten that you could develop into a full speech.
Hobbies & Interests
Hobbies and interests are other great topics to use as speech themes. One of our members gave a wonderful amusing speech on making sloe gin the other day and another talked about a book she had written and was publishing. Again this is a perfect area as you don’t have to be an expert on the subject – just give your perspective on it and why it interests you.
When you start thinking about it, speech topics are all around you; you just need to open your mind to letting them in.
So start creating your own speech ideas list and maybe the 5 ideas I gave you in this blog might have got your speech writing juices flowing.