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Monday, 21 November 2016 01:29

What tips do you have when selecting your speech topics?

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Be the ExpertThis topic seems to have been kicking around on Quora for a while, however the question is still relevant to this day.

The question refers to selecting speech topics for Toastmasters speeches. This changes the focus a little. If you are actively working the Toastmasters educational program, particularly the Competent Communicator program and then into the Advanced Program, you will have to generate a lot of speech topic ideas.

I’ve been a member of Toastmasters for going on 23 years. I’m a few speeches away from completing my 14th & 15th Competent Communicator manual, with #16 partially completed. I have also completed the speaking criteria for my second DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster) designation.

That’s a lot of speeches! How I generate ideas is to keep a running list of ideas that interest me or topics that others seem to know something about that I don’t.

I strategize by sticking a yellow 3M sticky note on each of the projects in the manuals I’m working on. I tend to work with multiple manuals at any given time. As I think of an idea for speech topic, I add it to the list on each of the yellow sticky notes.

I also have a curious mind and research a lot of topics that I want to learn more about. I try to take complicated information and break it down so that it is easily understood. This has lead me to writing and self-publishing four self-help books [so far!] and generated a lot of material for Toastmasters speeches and workshops for the public.

Often I find that the volume of my research and subsequent content generated is enough to create several speeches. If you follow that route I would recommend having each session be a stand-alone speech, not a continuation of a previous one. It can be confusing to an audience member if they weren’t present in the previous installment. It would be like walking in half way through a murder mystery movie and being expected to solve the crime.

Any topic that you research can be used in different ways. Each of our manual assignments has its own particular objectives. It can be relatively easy to rework your speech to fit the new objectives. Within reason of course. I recall one member who gave the same speech 10 times on the same product that he was trying to sell. It would have been okay if he had changed it somewhat and tried to meet the objectives. However, he didn’t. It was the exact same speech … over and over!

Another speech idea that has served me well is to provide educational sessions for my club. Club membership changes regularly. Many educational topics can be repeated annually, often to a different group each time.

Many answers provided here on Quora lead themselves to creating speeches. I have used this particular topic i.e. speech topic generation in the past and may very well use it again in the near future.

Thanks for the question!

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Rae Stonehouse

Author Bio:

Rae A. Stonehouse is a Canadian born author & speaker. His professional career as a Registered Nurse working predominantly in psychiatry/mental health, has spanned four decades.

Rae has embraced the principal of CANEI (Constant and Never-ending Improvement) as promoted by thought leaders such as Tony Robbins and brings that philosophy to each of his publications and presentations.

Rae has dedicated the latter segment of his journey through life to overcoming his personal inhibitions. As a 20+ year member of Toastmasters International he has systematically built his self-confidence and communicating ability. He is passionate about sharing his lessons with his readers and listeners. His publications thus far are of the self-help, self-improvement genre and systematically offer valuable sage advice on a specific topic. He is a long-time member of Kelowna Flying Solo Toastmasters and is the driving force behind its long-term success. 

His writing style can be described as being conversational. As an author Rae strives to have a one-to-one conversation with each of his readers, very much like having your own personal self-development coach. Rae is known for having a wry sense of humour that features in his publications.

Author of Self-Help Downloadable E-Books:

Power Networking for Shy PeoplePower Networking for Shy People: Tips & Techniques for Moving from Shy to Sly!

PROtect Yourself!PROtect Yourself! Empowering Tips & Techniques for Personal Safety: A Practical Violence Prevention Manual for Healthcare Workers.

E=Emcee SquaredE=Emcee SquaredTips & Techniques to Becoming a Dynamic Master of Ceremonies.

Power of PromotionPower of Promotion: On-line Marketing for Toastmasters Club Growth


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