I’ve blogged before that I participate in a speaking club in my workplace. One part of our activities is giving short improvised speeches, similar to Toastmaster’s TABLE TOPICS™. Over the course of time, our club became very creative in dreaming up topics and ways to present them, each member trying to outdo the previous. And over time, the improvised speeches became less useful.

The purpose of the improvised speeches it to practice giving impromptu talks, for example answering a question. In these situations, we are asked to talk about things we know. When you talk about something you know, you have an opportunity to work on other aspects of your speech, whether it be organization, tone of voice, gestures, or something else. When you talk about something you do not know, you are stuck trying to find words.

I think the topics for these speeches should therefore be about things you are likely to know. It is your best opportunity to improve. I spent less than 5 minutes today thinking up a list of topics for future meetings.

  • Goals
  • Speaking clubs
  • Business
  • Politics
  • Game shows
  • Role models
  • Villains
  • Heros
  • Museums
  • Travel
  • Art
  • Gardening/plants
  • Music
  • Photography
  • Cleaning
  • Cooking
  • Eating
  • Snow
  • Rain
  • Sun
  • Seasons
  • Jobs
  • Big purchases
  • Driving
  • Sports
  • Exercise
  • TTC (the public transit in the city where I live)
  • Reality TV
  • Actor/actress
  • Movies
  • TV shows
  • Soccer
  • Hockey
  • Shopping
  • Fashion
  • Cell phones
  • Internet

Using these topics is simple. These are just prompts to focus the speech. They are sufficiently limiting that you can’t plan for them, but general enough that most people will have something to speak about.