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1 minute speech topics

150 topics, plus sample speech outlines and speeches

By: Susan Dugdale  | Last modified: 01-11-2020 | First published: 01-09-2020

One minute speeches.  That's sixty seconds to inform, to persuade, or to entertain using between 130 to 150 or so words. 

How succinct can you be? Can you get the point quickly and effectively?

Giving impromptu* 1 minute speeches teaches us about talking smarter, not faster! 

*Impromptu -  without preparation time or rehearsal

I'd like to call on Jo to say a few words

Our lives present many occasions calling for someone, perhaps us, to say 'a few words'. Whether in our work place, family, social or community setting, the ability to do that confidently and competently is highly valued.

Practicing preparing and delivering one minute speeches is an ideal way to gain the skills needed.

These topics will provide hours and hours of practice whether for the classes you teach or yourself.

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What's on this page

150 one minute speech topics

There are 150 1 minute speech topics on this page, split into 3 groups:

  1. 50 one minute speech topics for children from middle school age and up
  2. 50 business/work/career themed 1 minute speech topics more suitable for adults
  3. 50 fun/nonsensical/absurd one minute speech topics for adults

But wait, there's more! You will also find ...

Sample 1 minute speech outlines & speeches with audio

In addition to the 1 minute speech topics there are three example speech outlines that have been worked into speeches: one from each group of 50 topics.

I've included them because a 1 minute speech is just like any other. To be effective it needs structure.

The danger of opting to go 'free form' is that you're quite likely to serve up a meandering splurge of information leaving the people listening to it wondering what the exact point was you wanted to make.

One of the most effective structural formats or templates to commit to memory and use for impromptu, short speeches is Point, Reason, Example, Point or PREP*.

I've used it in my three sample outlines and speeches. The pattern, PREP, repeats three times in each of them.

You'll find text and audio of each 1 minute speech below each topic group. 

(*Find out more about 6 other useful impromptu speaking templates.) 

At the bottom of the page there's a compelling explanation as to why learning to give good one minute speeches is a brilliant action to take.

Download a printable speech outline template

And very lastly, after information about the fabulous One Minute Speech game, there's a blank PREP speech outline template to download. ☺

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50 one minute speech topics for kids

  1. We should be able to choose our own bed times.
  2. Animals have rights too.
  3. We should never be beaten as a punishment.
  4. My favorite foods
  5. What is the best time of day for you?
  6. What do you think you will you do when you grow up?
  7. My favorite animal
  8. The best time I’ve ever had
  9. My most favorite subject at school
  10. The funniest thing that has happened to me
  11. The most exciting event in my life
  12. The person I would most like to meet
  13. Something I want to learn
  14. The best thing about my neighborhood
  15. What we do for fun in my family
  16. My favorite film
  17. The music I like to listen to
  18. What I think about social media
  19. My favorite sport
  20. The silliest thing I ever saw
  21. My three wishes are
  22. If you had the power what would you change?
  23. The most boring thing in the world
  24. Countries I would like to visit
  25. My favorite meal when I go out to eat
  26. A family tradition
  27. The best prank ever
  28. Why apologizing when you’re wrong is a good thing to do
  29. Words we use that we have to explain to adults
  30. Fun games to play with friends
  31. My favorite item of clothing
  32. What means the most to me
  33. What adults do not understand
  34. The best season of the year
  35. The dumbest thing I did when I was very little
  36. The top three things I like most about my best friends
  37. The best character in a book I’ve read or a movie I’ve seen
  38. What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen?
  39. Three things I think the US President should do
  40. The happiest time I’ve ever had
  41. The hardest thing I’ve ever done
  42. My favorite place to be in the whole world
  43. The scariest thing that has ever happened to me
  44. Why friends are important to me
  45. Why peer pressure can be damaging.
  46. Why being different is OK
  47. Why bullying is never OK
  48. Who is a hero to you, and why?
  49. What is your favorite holiday, and why?
  50. The worst tasting food I’ve ever been given to eat.

Something I want to learn (Topic 13 on the list for kids)

Image: young man hypnotizing a young woman Text: Something I want to learn is  to read people's minds - 150 1 minute speech topics

Here's PREP - Point, Reason, Example - in action. 

The opening sentence, incorporates the topic, states the first Main Idea* or Point and serves as an introduction. Yep, it's working hard!

(The speech text without the PREP outline headings is below.)

*Main Idea and Point are interchangeable terms. 

1.  Main Idea or Point

Something I want to learn is to read people's minds.

 - Reason 

I think it would give me power over my family.

 - Example

For example I’d know what my mother was planning for my birthday. If I didn't like it, I could begin a campaign to steer her in the direction of something I wanted.

2. Main Idea or Point 

I would also know if people were telling the whole truth, partial truths or total lies.     

 - Reason 

That's handy for sorting out squabbles with brothers and sisters.

 - Example

Jimmy did eat the last bit of cake. And despite what she says, Janelle borrowed my top and splodged tomato ketchup on it.

3. Main Idea or Point 

Lastly my father would know I was on to his excuses for habitually coming home late.

- Reason - Example

(I've missed both out to fit the content into the time limit,  I don't feel it lessens the speech as the first two Main Ideas or Points were fully covered. Besides, the reason is implied. My knowing would/could curb my father's behavior.)

Close - Summary

Today I begin training. I've enrolled in internet guru Madame Gloria's 10 lesson mind reading course. My family will be amazed. You could try it too!

Total words: 145

1 minute speech 'Something I want to learn' text 

Something I want to learn is to read people's minds. 
I think this would give me power over my family.

For example I’d know what my mother was planning for my birthday. If I didn't like it, I could begin a campaign to steer her in the direction of something I wanted.

I would also know if people were telling the whole truth, partial truths or total lies. That's handy for sorting out squabbles with brothers and sisters.

Jimmy did eat the last bit of cake. And despite what she says, Janelle did borrowed my top and splodged tomato ketchup on it.

And lastly my father would know I was on to his excuses for habitually coming home late.

Today I begin training. I've enrolled in internet guru Madame Gloria's 10 lesson mind reading course. My family will be amazed. You could try it too!

1 minute speech 'Something I want to learn' audio

You've read it. Now you can listen to it. Click the link to hear me, Susan. (You're hearing a New Zealand accent. ☺)

Something I want to learn - 1 minute speech example

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50 work/career themed 1 minute speech topics

  1. The difference between features and benefits of a product.
  2. The value of recognizable branding.
  3. The wisdom of the maxim to follow your dream
  4. The advantage of a college education
  5. The traps of advertising
  6. The difference between fact and opinion
  7. Difference in pay scales due to gender
  8. The glass ceiling
  9. The difference between having a job and a career
  10. Is the term ‘ethical business’ an oxymoron?
  11. What 3 skills do you think are most valuable to an employer?
  12. Why is working smarter, better than working harder?
  13. Plain English is preferable to jargon.
  14. Who do you admire most, and why?
  15. What qualities do you want to see in a leader?
  16. What skill do you think will help you get to where you want to go faster than any other?
  17. Is it the people you know, or the abilities you have that gives you the opportunities you want in life?
  18. Where does poverty begin?
  19. Should all education at all levels be free?
  20. What changes would you make to the current levels of state or governmental care?
  21. What one social change do you think would alter the way we live for the better?
  22. What one important idea has changed the way you think and act in your life?
  23. If you could be the best version of yourself you could be, what area would you be working in now?
  24. What does the phrase ‘living for the weekend’ mean to you?
  25. What special qualities does a person need to have in order to be successfully self-employed?
  26. What subject areas should schools teach more of?
  27. How could practicing impromptu speaking improve your critical thinking skills?
  28. What qualities do you notice particularly in good communicators?
  29. What advice would you give a young person about choosing a career?
  30. How does what you do now for a living, vary from the way your parents worked?
  31. What qualities do you admire most in the people who work alongside you – your co-workers?
  32. What habits do you find the most difficult to deal with in a shared work space?
  33. Is a 4 day week or ‘working to live’ an unrealistic dream?
  34. What is your favorite day of the week, and why?
  35. What does it mean to listen well?
  36. What book has had the most influence on your life?
  37. Three ways to stand up for yourself
  38. How to disagree with someone respectfully
  39. Is it ever OK to lie?
  40. What is the most important lesson you’ve learned so far?
  41. If you could have dinner with whoever you chose, who would you choose?
  42. What thing did you ever have to do that turned out to be extremely good for you?
  43. What my work clothes say about me
  44. Is it OK to have private conversations or to handle personal matters while at work?
  45. Three skills my employers do not know I have
  46. How do you know when you’ve been in a job too long?
  47. The notion of job security is no longer safe to hang on to. What should we be doing instead?
  48. What advice would you give someone who is appears to be in the job purely for the money?
  49. How does tone of voice influence how you respond to someone?
  50. What makes you think a person is trustworthy?

What my work clothes say about me 
-Topic 43 from the work/career list - PREP format

Image: business man adjusting his tie Text: What my work clothes say about me. 150 1 minute speech topics.

The opening sentence, incorporates the topic, states the first Main Idea or Point and serves as an introduction. 

(You can see the speech text, minus the PREP outline headings below.)

1.  Main Idea or Point

Clothes make the man.

 - Reason 

Yes, we judge each other on what we wear. And have done forever. 

 - Example

For better, or for worse,  in the western working world, nothing says dependable and professional as eloquently as a tailored grey business suit, a crisp white shirt and a pair of good shoes. 

2. Main Idea or Point 

If we're sensible we understand clothing speaks louder than words ever can.     

 - Reason 

And that our choices can undermine whatever we're involved in.

 - Example

For example a female funeral director wearing silver micro mini skirt teamed with skimpy red t-shirt meeting a client for the first time could set alarm bells clanging loudly.  

3. Main Idea or Point 

I'm immensely grateful to have been spared the minefield of choice by a business dress code.

- Reason 

Both the risk and anxiety of getting it wrong is enormous.

 - Example & close 

So what my carefully selected work clothes say about me is that I'm conscientious, detail focused, ambitious and, per courtesy of my classic Cartier watch, that I understand quality. 

Total words: 151

1 minute speech 'What my work clothes say about me'

Clothes make the man. Yes, we judge each other on what we wear. And have done forever. 

For better, or for worse,  in the western working world, nothing says dependable and professional as eloquently as a tailored grey business suit, a crisp white shirt and a pair of good shoes. 

If we're sensible we understand clothing speaks louder than words ever can.  And that our choices can aid or undermine whatever we're involved in.

For example a female funeral director sporting a silver micro mini skirt teamed with a skimpy red t-shirt meeting a client for the first time could set alarm bells clanging. 

I'm immensely grateful to have been spared the minefield of choice by a business dress code.  The risk, and anxiety, of getting it wrong is enormous.

So what my carefully selected work clothes say about me is that I'm conscientious, detail focused, ambitious and, per courtesy of my classic Cartier watch, that I understand quality. 

1 minute speech - 'What my work clothes say about me' - audio

Click the link to listen: What my work clothes say about me

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50 1 minute speech topics for fun, for a giggle, a laugh!

  1. The time the joke fell flat
  2. What’s funny depends on the individual
  3. The biggest laugh I’ve ever had
  4. The most successful prank I was part of
  5. Why people laugh
  6. My most embarrassing moment
  7. Two sure-fire ways to get rid of your boss
  8. How to talk your way out of having to do the dishes
  9. How to appear very intelligent
  10. The deepest secrets of your pet cat
  11. Why your dog is your best friend
  12. If I ruled the world
  13. Three words I would ban if I could
  14. Why I should have an instant pay rise
  15. The significance of World Paper Clip Day
  16. Lessons learned the hard way
  17. How to make your favorite meal last longer
  18. How to successfully annoy your brother, sister, mother, father
  19. The top three reasons for not handing in homework
  20. Why being predictable is boring
  21. Three ways to fail successfully
  22. How to blame other people and get away with it
  23. How to mind read
  24. The best seller I am writing
  25. The top ways to get people to like you
  26. How to lie extremely well
  27. The worst chat up line ever
  28. Three creative things to do with a brick
  29. How to tell if someone loves you
  30. What to do when you forget the birthday of someone close to you
  31. The worst Christmas present I ever received
  32. The most extraordinary thing that ever happened to me
  33. How to get other people to pay for you at a bar or restaurant
  34. Strategies for avoiding people you don’t want to talk to
  35. Idiot things I have done unintentionally
  36. Instructions for riding a bicycle
  37. How to teach your great grandmother to use a mobile
  38. How to avoid being picked out of a group to present a report
  39. Designer camouflage for under cover parents at student parties
  40. Three excellent reasons to give when you want to call in sick
  41. How to get other people to willingly do your work for you
  42. Why gossip is always so interesting to hear
  43. Why reading another person’s emails is OK
  44. How I explained Father Christmas to my children
  45. Why my son/daughter thinks I am super man/woman
  46. Why being me is so much better than being anyone else
  47. Why dogs resemble their owners
  48. How to interpret the shape of your hand and fingers
  49. The art of blaming your horoscope for whatever goes wrong in your life
  50. How to talk convincingly on subjects you know very little about

The significance of World Paper Clip Day
-Topic 15 from the for fun list  - PREP format

Image: colored paper clips with banner
Text: The significance of world paper clip day - 150 1 minute speech topics

The opening sentence, incorporates the topic, states the first Main Idea or Point and serves as an introduction. 

(The full text, minus the PREP outline headings, is below.) 

1.  Main Idea or Point

Naturally, the significance of World Paper Clip Day is of interest to all intelligent people.

- Reason 

We understand the importance of keeping it together, of clipping ideas. It makes for an orderly existence. 

- Example

Think of the horror of muddled thoughts. Strewn willy-nilly, with nothing to hold them. Pitiable, isn't it?

2. Main Idea or Point 

We need clips. Just as we need the paper they hold.   

- Reason 

Both are crucial in this digital age - where ideas can vaporize with a key stroke, or a system malfunction. Entire files, weeks worth of work, can be lost, never to be restored, in a second.

- Example

Clipped papers are reassuringly tangible. They can be seen, touched and if you're into it, smelled.

3. Main Idea or Point 

Lastly we need to cherish the clip for its universality.

- Reason 

Wherever it is in the world, what it stands for is understood.  The paper clip unites - not just ideas, but people.

- Example & close 

Look around!  Vive la clip!

Total words: 149

1 minute speech -The significance of World Paper Clip Day

Naturally, the significance of World Paper Clip Day is of interest to all intelligent people.

We understand the importance of keeping it together, of clipping ideas. It makes for an orderly existence. 

Think of the horror of muddled thoughts. Strewn willy-nilly, with nothing to hold them. Pitiable, isn't it?

We need clips. Just as we need the paper they hold. Both are crucial in this digital age - where ideas can vaporize with a key stroke, or a system malfunction. Entire files, weeks worth of work, can be lost, never to be restored, in a second.

Clipped papers are reassuringly tangible. They can be seen, touched and if you're into it, smelled.

Lastly we need to cherish the clip for its universality.

Wherever it is in the world, what it stands for is understood.  The paper clip unites - not just ideas, but people.

Look around! Vive la clip!

1 minute speech - 'The significance of world paper clip day' - audio

Now listen to the audio: 'The significance of world paper clip day'.

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Why learning to give 1 minute speeches is brilliant

The brilliance of becoming comfortable and competent with making impromptu 1 minute speeches is that you'll learn to:

  • distill your material - reduce it to its core essentials - selecting only what is necessary and best to meet your speech purpose and the needs of your audience. 
  • structure your information efficiently and effectively thus mastering two important facets of good speech making: speaking to time rather than going over and, providing an easily followed sequence of ideas. Your audiences will love you for both!

Consequences, side effects and benefits

You will be a hero! I do not jest. (OK, maybe just a smidgen. ☺) However the person who can calmly, confidently, competently stand and talk in public settings is always admired, and in demand. Speak well, saying what needs to be said, and you're fulfilling a vital social service, along with super-charging your self esteem!

The next time a toast, a summary to close a meeting, or a 'few words' to welcome a visitor are called for, perhaps it will be you leaping to your feet.

(For more on the benefits of public speaking)

The one minute speech game

Do you teach public speaking, or lead a speaking group?

Image: stop watch superimposed over background saying blah, blah, blah ...
Text: One minute speeches - a fun public speaking game.

There is a superb game, called surprisingly enough, One Minute Speeches, that I devised years ago for a bunch of 14-15 year old students. It's been a firm favorite wherever I've taught it ever since.

Click One Minute Speeches to go to a page of 10 public speaking games. One minute speeches is first on the page. You'll find all the instructions to play the game, plus two advanced variations. I promise you it's contagious good fun!

And if you like it, you can buy it. Everything you need to teach it is available as a download. That's instructions for all three games, hundreds of printable topics ... Follow the link to see: one minute speeches.☺

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Download the printable speech outline template

Get started on your 1 minute speech right now. Click the link to download a printable speech outline template.  

Banner: My brilliant one minute speech outline
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