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Fun impromptu speech topics

- 11 themed topic lists to stretch the imagination

By: Susan Dugdale | Last modified: 01-16-2022

Coming up with fresh, fun 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 impromptu speech 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!

Jump to:

  1. 16 topics for impromptu speeches using 'odd' book titles
  2. 20 topics based on acronymsOMG, LOL!
  3. My life as an object (eg. door handle, coffee cup...) 
  4. 20 speech starters - a phrase or sentence that must be used to begin the speech
  5. 20 topics based on bumper sticker wisdom
  6. 20 story telling topics inspired by clichés
  7. Instant salespersons - selling the features and benefits of a randomly selected object
  8. Time warp topics - comment on today's events, issues and features as if in the past or in the future
  9. Step into these shoes - topics using pictures of different types of shoes as a prompt
  10. Color swatch prompts - topics using color as the basis of a speech
  11. 20 topics featuring being given an award. Speakers make an impromptu acceptance speech! 

1. Yay! Let's all go to a book fair!

Image: A man driving a tractor at sunset.
Text: Tractors and the men who love them. Impromptu speech topics.

This list of 16 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 awhile ago.

To set it up the session 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 the book sellers.

Each speaker was given a title for which they had to provide a synopsis (an overview of the book's content), say who their intended audience was, and why they had written the work.

The result was wonderful impromptu speeches full of deliciously silly fun.

16 extraordinary book titles 

  1. Tractors and The Men who Love Them
  2. Attractive and Affectionate Grave Design
  3. God's Chewable Vitamin C for the Spirit
  4. A Theory of Shopping
  5. Beyond Leaf Raking
  6. Weeds in a Changing World
  7. Let's Get Primitive - The Urban Girl's Guide to Camping
  8. Life on the Refrigerator Door - a Novel in Notes
  9. Born Standing Up
  10. Unscrewed - The Consumer's Guide to Getting What You Paid For
  11. Across Europe on Kangaroos
  12. Lightweight Sandwich Construction
  13. The Making of a Moron
  14. The Haunted Tea Cosy
  15. Interpersonal Violence: The Practical Series
  16. From Coherent Tunneling to Relaxation

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Print and go impromptu speech topics 

Image - title cover for Proverbs impromptu speech topic cards

If you need something "now-right-this-minute"  try these. There are two sets of topics to choose from: Proverbs and Quotations. They are formatted ready for printing and suitable for teens to adults. 

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.

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2. OMG, LOL! It's acronyms! 

Image: a collection of acronyms. Text: Impromptu speech topics - acronyms

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

We use dozens of them in a kind of short-hand. OMG, (oh my goodness), and LOL, (lots of laughs), are exceedingly hard working examples.

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 20 I've listed, check out this wonderful resource: A Directory of Common Acronyms and Abbreviations

EOD
MST
PDA
POSH
PTO
TGIF
TLC
RIP
SOP
NIB

CBD
EFT
FIFO
ROE
FFA
ODP
FAR
SWAT
TIN
BLT

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3. Life as an Object

List the number of commonplace objects you need to cater for your group. If you have ten people, you need ten items: one for each person.

Examples: wheelbarrow, door handle, mouse pad, stapler, coffee mug, window, pencil, cupboard, light bulb, hand towel...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?

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4. Speech Starters

Compile a list of starters. You'll need one per person. Each speaker must use what they've been given to begin their speech.

Examples:

  1. 'It happened as if by magic.'
  2. 'Girls just want to have fun.'
  3. 'It was a dark and stormy night...'
  4. 'As soon as I saw it I knew...'
  5. 'Why didn't you tell me that...?'
  6. 'She said you're absolutely fabulous.'
  7. 'It was moving slowly but steadily toward me.'
  8. 'I want a large one please.'
  9. 'My Mother thinks that...'
  10. 'Small children should never...'
  11. 'It was the best and worst of times.'
  12. 'Life is full of unexpected surprises.'
  13. 'I knew from the moment I met him he was the one.'
  14. 'I will never apologize. I will never be sorry.'
  15. 'When I said I wanted to travel...
  16. 'Let me tell you one more time.'
  17. 'Being the best is over-rated.'
  18. 'By the end of this evening I expect to be...'
  19. 'If I could have anything I wanted I'd choose...'
  20. 'It was bliss, perfect bliss.'

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5. Bumper Sticker Wisdom

Image: graduates in blue gowns. Text: Always remember you are unique. Just like everyone else.

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:

  1. 'Always remember you're unique, just like everyone else.'
  2. 'Caution: I drive like you do!'
  3. 'Stupidity is not a crime so you’re free to go'
  4. 'Mothers with teenagers know why animals eat their young'
  5. 'Pass quietly. Driver asleep.'
  6. 'A nuclear war can ruin your whole day. '
  7. 'Age is a high price to pay for maturity.'
  8. 'Indecision is the key to flexibility.'
  9. 'Coffee, Chocolate, Men. Some things are just better rich.'
  10. 'When you're up and over the hill, your speed picks up.'
  11. 'Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.'
  12. 'I believe in dragons, good men and other fantasy creatures.'
  13. 'I think, therefore I am single.'
  14. 'Be nice to your kids. They'll choose your nursing home.'
  15. 'Women are natural leaders. You are following one now.'
  16. 'Do not play a leap frog with a unicorn.'
  17. 'Due to budget cuts, the light at end of tunnel will be out.'
  18. 'Well behaved women seldom make history'
  19. 'Don't believe everything you think.'
  20. Procrastinate now. Don't be put off, putting off.'

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6. Cliché Origins

Image: drawing of raining cats and dogs. Man sheltering under umbrella. Text: raining cats and dogs.

A cliche is a phrase that has been used so often all its original vitality is lost. What's left is trite and predictable. Yet once upon a time these sayings were new.

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

Examples:

  1. 'raining cats and dogs'
  2. 'as black as the ace of spades'
  3. 'as good as gold'
  4. 'for the love of a good woman'
  5. 'having the time of his life'
  6. 'all dressed up and nowhere to go'
  7. 'in the pink'
  8. 'in the thick of things'
  9. 'never look a gift horse in the mouth'
  10. 'getting down to brass tacks'
  11. 'get on your high horse'
  12. 'give them a run for their money'
  13. 'knock me down with a feather'
  14. 'every cloud has a silver lining'
  15. 'to be the cat's pajamas'
  16. 'foot loose and fancy free'
  17. 'diamond in the rough'
  18. 'time heals all wounds'
  19. 'play your cards right'
  20. 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger'

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7. Advertising

Image: a toddler with a pacifier. Text: a baby's pacifier.

 Voila! I now declare you, my fellow speakers, to be fine salespersons.

Everyone is going to sell as hard as they can an object that they've just selected.

To set this up 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, a wallet, an envelope, an eraser, a nail, a battery, a packet of tissues,... Anything small enough to fit into a medium sized bag.

Of course speakers needn't stick with the object's original purpose!

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8. Time Warp Impromptu Speech Topics

Image: large aircraft flying in a golden sky. Text: air travel

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

Example: The year is 1920.

Topics you want people 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...

Example: The year is 2040.

Topics to talk on are:
nationalism, wealth distribution, designer children, food production, health issues, democracy, gender equality, the growth and use of artificial intelligence, human trafficking, refugees...

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9. Shoes

Image: a jumble of shoes- women's, men's, children, sporting ...

Do you know the saying to understand a person you need 'to walk a mile in their shoes'?

That's what you're going to ask people to do: to step into the shoes of another in their imaginations.

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, running shoes, gumboots,...

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

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10. Colors

Image: paint color swatch

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: 

A person is given the color yellow. Yellow could remind them of summer, sun, sun flowers, jaundice, cowardice, lions, custard, egg yolks, a favorite shirt ...

Any of those associations could spark a speech.

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11. Award Acceptance Speeches

'What an honor to be here! How extraordinary! Not so long ago I was a total butter-fingered fumbling novice, and yet today I've won the award for best improved juggler...'

All the speakers are going to give an impromptu award acceptance speech.

Your task is to prepare a list of awards, fictional or true,  - one for each speaker.

Examples:

  1. International Peace Prize
  2. Man/Woman of the Year
  3. Miss Universe
  4. An Academy Award
  5. The Simon Smith Prize for Music
  6. The Charlie Jones Prize for Drama
  7. The Chloe Award for Creative Truth Telling
  8. Most Valuable Player Award
  9. Jarvis Cup
  10. Most Improved Speaker Award
  11. The Lily Brett Most Improved Juggler Award
  12. Pipe Smoker of the Year
  13. Greenwood Community Service Award
  14. Best Entrepreneurial Initiative Award
  15. Mother of the Moment Award
  16. Most Helpful Customer Service Award
  17. Best Plant Whisperer Award
  18. People's Choice Award for Best Picture in Show
  19. Robert Smythe Award for Most Helpful Invention
  20. Kindest Colleague Award

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Have you played One Minute Speeches?

write-out-loud.com - one minute speeches

They're perfect for practicing impromptu speaking skills in a safe, non-confrontational way, and loads of fun.

This is an instantly available package of printable topics + activity instructions. Have a look!



For more impromptu speech topics & resources check these pages: