Impromptu Speech Topics

- to stretch the imagination

Coming up with fresh, exciting and interesting impromptu speech topics for either your public speaking class or Toastmaster's Club (table topics) can be a chore. Especially if the task is dropped on you at short notice!

Try these. There are 11 themed lists of topic ideas below.

The aim is fluency and confidence. Park truth or reality to one side and encourage speakers to allow their imagination to free-wheel through the possibilities the topics present. In short, have fun and laugh while you learn!

1. Book Fair

vintage tractor

This list of impromptu speech topics is themed around books with extremely odd titles.

(The titles are real. Google 'odd book titles' and all will be revealed!)

I used them at my Toastmaster's Club recently. As a set-up I announced we were at a book fair. We were all writers of extraordinary works and as such it was our challenge to promote our book to would-be book sellers.

Each speaker was given a title for which they had to provide a synopsis, say who their intended audience was and why they had written the work. The results were wonderful impromptu speeches full of fun.

  • Tractors and The Men who Love Them
  • Attractive and Affectionate Grave Design
  • God's Chewable Vitamin C for the Spirit
  • A Theory of Shopping
  • Beyond Leaf Raking
  • Weeds in a Changing World
  • Let's Get Primitive - The Urban Girl's Guide to Camping
  • Life on the Refrigerator Door - a Novel in Notes

  • Born Standing Up
  • Unscrewed - The Consumer's Guide to Getting What You Paid For
  • Across Europe on Kangaroos
  • Lightweight Sandwich Construction
  • The Making of a Moron
  • The Haunted Tea Cosy
  • Interpersonal Violence: The Practical Series
  • From Coherent Tunnelling to Relaxation


If you need something now - topics themed, formatted & printable, suitable for teens to adults, try these.

Plain Pack Impromptu Speech Topic Cards

You get 98 carefully selected topics per pack & a range of themes to choose from.

They're a great grab n' go reusable resource.


2. Acronyms

CFD

Acronyms are abbreviations formed by taking the first letter of each word in a frequently used phrase.

Ask your speakers to explain what the letters stand for, the history of the acronym and what derivations there are. Again, encourage flexibility. Answers need not be restricted by little trifles like truth!

If you need more than the ones I've listed, check out this wonderful resource: Everyday Acronyms

EOD
MST
PDA
POSH
PTO
TGIF
TLC
RIP
SOP
NIB

CBD
EFT
FIFO
ROE
FFA
ODP
FAR
SWAT
TIN
BLT

3. Life as an Object

ornamental brass door handle

List how ever many commonplace objects you need to cater for your group.

Examples: wheelbarrow, door handle, mouse pad, stapler, coffee mug, window...
You get the idea.

Each speaker is to share what life brings them from the perspective of their object. What's good? What's a nightmare? The biggest thrill?

4. Sentence Starters

retro luggage

Compile a list of starters. The speaker must use that sentence beginning as the basis of their speech.

Examples:

  • 'Girls just want to have fun.'
  • 'It was a dark and stormy night...'
  • 'As soon as I saw it I knew...'
  • 'Why didn't you tell me that...?'
  • 'She said you're absolutely fabulous.'
  • 'It was moving slowly but steadily toward me.'
  • 'I want a large one please.'
  • 'My Mother thinks that...'
  • 'Small children should never...'
  • 'It was the best and worst of times.'

5. Bumper Sticker Wisdom

blue gowned graduates

In this set of impromptu speech topics each speaker must incorporate the bumper sticker phrase you give them into their speech in what ever way they wish.


Examples of bumper sticker sayings:

  • 'Always remember you're unique, just like everyone else.'
  • 'Caution: I drive like you do!'
  • 'Stupidity is not a crime so you’re free to go'
  • 'Mothers with teenagers know why animals eat their young'
  • 'A nuclear war can ruin your whole day. '
  • 'Age is a high price to pay for maturity.'
  • 'Indecision is the key to flexibility.'
  • 'Coffee, Chocolate, Men. Some things are just better rich.'
  • 'Do not play a leap frog with a unicorn.'
  • 'Due to budget cuts, the light at end of tunnel will be out.'

6. Cliche Origins

set of four aces

The speaker is to tell the story of how the cliche came into being. Who used it? Why?


Examples:

  • 'as black as the ace of spades'
  • 'as good as gold'
  • 'for the love of a good woman'
  • 'having the time of his life'
  • 'all dressed up and nowhere to go'
  • 'in the pink'
  • 'in the thick of things'
  • 'never look a gift horse in the mouth'
  • 'getting down to brass tacks'
  • 'get on your high horse'
  • 'give them a run for their money'
  • 'knock me down with a feather'
  • 'to be the cat's pyjamas'
  • 'foot loose and fancy free'

7. Advertizing

childs pink pacifier

The aim of the game in this impromptu speech topic collection is have speakers sell as hard as they can an object that they've just been given.

Prepare a bag full of small items. Have each speaker put their hand in and without looking, pull one out. Now they sell the benefits and features of it to the audience.

Objects could be: a pen, a child's pacifier, a toy car, a nail file, a stone ... Anything small enough to fit a medium sized bag. Tell them they needn't stick with its original purpose!

8. Time Warp Impromptu Speech Topics

easy jet

Transport your group back or forward in time. From your nominated time perspective give speakers impromptu speech topics inviting comment on common events of today.

Example: The time period is 1920.

Topics you want them to talk on:
terrorism, global warming, the internet, computers, mobile phones, email, air travel, supermarkets, fast food, high rises, birth control, fashion, sustainability, women working outside the home...

9. Shoes

man's black shoe

Gather up a collection of shoe pictures, as many differing varieties of footwear that you can.

Examples: golf shoes, dress shoes, tramping boots, jandals, sandals, high heels, boots, mules, slippers ...


Each speaker gets a different picture.
Who wears them?
What they do?
What's the occasion?
How do they feel?
The task is to build a full profile based on the type of shoe.

10. Colors

Take along a color swatch or color chart from a paint shop.

Each speaker is given a color - pink, red, orange, yellow, brown, tan, black, purple ... They must use that color as the foundation of their speech.

Example:
yellow - summer, sun, sun flowers, jaundice, cowardly, custard, egg yolk

Each of those associations could spark a speech.

color swatch

11. Award Acceptance Speeches

dart trophy

Prepare a list of awards - one for each speaker.

Examples:

  • International Peace Prize
  • Man/Woman of the Year
  • Miss Universe
  • An Academy Award
  • Pulitzer Prize for Music
  • Pulitzer Prize for Drama
  • Emmy Award
  • Most Valuable Player Award
  • Davis Cup
  • Pipe Smoker of the Year ...

The task of the speaker is to give their award acceptance speech.


For more on impromptu speech topics and impromptu speaking check out these pages:




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