Friday, January 28, 2011

How to select a speech topic

One of our distinguished Toastmasters came across an article from Dee Dees, the past International Director of Toastmasters International, and felt this would really help Toastmasters select topics when they can't think of something to speak on.

It's easy to sit down and spend plenty of time thinking about what you can talk on. Little do you know the potential for topics that are all around you!

This post will help you find those topics so that you're idea tank is never running on empty again!

Enjoy! And a big thank you to Dee for creating such a helpful piece of content for Toastmasters all across the globe.


Finding Topics from Your Life:

(Jot down your own ideas for each project)

#1 - Icebreaker (about you - general)
#2 - Organize Your Speech (broad enough for any topic)
#3 - Get to the Point (inform, persuade, entertain, inspire, be specific)
#4 - How to Say It (select right word, eliminate jargon)
#5 - Your Body Speaks (stance, movement, gestures, facial expressions)
#6 - Vocal Variety (volume, pitch, rate, pauses)
#7 - Research Your Topic (use facts, examples, illustrations you’ve gathered)
#8 - Get Comfortable with Visual Aids (appropriate for topic, use correctly)
#9 - Persuade with Power (use logic & emotion, persuade audience)
#10 - Inspire Your Audience (appeal to needs & emotions, challenge audience)

Look Around You for Topics:

(Jot down your own ideas)
Your purse/wallet
Personal observations
Magazine/newspaper articles
Locale (Your space, building, city, state, province, country)
World events

Painless Preparation, Practice & Presentation

• Secret trick:____________________
• Simple outline (O-123-C)
• Mind mapping your topic
• Use lots of stories and antecdotes
• Write it out in full
• Reduce to index cards

• Secret tool:____________________
• Tape record yourself reading it with feeling
• Listen to the “perfect” version
• Edit and re-record if necessary
• Listen to the taped speech regularly
• Review the key words on your index cards
• Practice in “clumps”
• Don’t try to memorize word for word, just remember the concepts

• Secret friend:__________________
• If you need notes, use them judiciously

Prepared: You will be if you...
• Take your manual to every meeting
• Keep note cards & reference material for each speech in your TM binder

Life Topics
  • Achievements
  • Accidents
  • Adult education
  • Ambtions
  • Ancestors
  • Attitude
  • Bad habits
  • Beliefs & Values
  • Best friends
  • Burnout
  • Careers & Jobs
  • Camping
  • Caregiving
  • Causes you believe in
  • Challenges
  • Changes seen/experienced
  • Childhood (yours)
  • Children
  • Christmas
  • Close calls
  • Close encounters (celebrities, etc)
  • Courage
  • Culture
  • Dating
  • Decisions
  • Diets
  • Education
  • Embarrassing moments
  • Entertainment
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Exercise
  • Experiences
  • Fame
  • Family
  • Favorites (flower, music, etc)
  • First love
  • Fitness
  • Friends
  • Gardening
  • Geneaology
  • Goals
  • Grandchildren
  • Health
  • Helping others
  • Hiking
  • Hobbies
  • Home town
  • Hopes & dreams
  • How to... (anything)
  • Immigration (you, parents, etc?)
  • Insights
  • Jobs
  • Keepsakes
  • Lessons Learned
  • Marriage
  • Military service
  • Mistakes
  • Parenting
  • People you’ve known
  • Personal growth
  • Personality
  • Pets
  • Philosophy
  • Raising children
  • Recognition
  • Retirement
  • Running a business
  • Second thoughts
  • Special Occasions
  • Special Interests
  • Spirituality
  • Sports
  • Successes
  • Traditions
  • Travel
  • Volunteering
  • What motivates you
  • Where were you when...
  • Words of Wisdom (for others)

As a reminder to anyone else who is in the Winnipeg area and would like to attend a UM Masters meeting, just let us know! There doesn't have to be an open house to just sit in on a meeting. Come in and experience a Toastmasters club in Winnipeg located at the University of Manitoba!

We look forward to seeing you!

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