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Interesting speech topics

Finding the perfect fit for your audience and yourself

When you're on a quest to find the most interesting speech topics it's easy to get completely either over, or underwhelmed, with choices. 

Cartoon girl thinking about what speech topic to choose

It can seem like the hardest part of doing a speech is deciding what to do it on. Do I do this? Or do I do that? Will they like it?

If you care about your audience you'll not want to be boring or to rehash an overly used topic.

Besides they will probably have already heard umpteen versions of raising or lowering the drinking age or the harmful effects of cigarette smoking.

So what are GOOD original speech ideas?

Interesting speech topics are principally a combination of three ingredients.

  1. Your personal enthusiasm for the subject you've chosen
  2. The subject's appeal or relevance to your audience
  3. And the twist, angle, or perspective you bring to the topic

If you can apply all three elements to the speech topic you choose it's much more likely to be interesting.

In fact even those "boring" topics can be brought alive by your treatment of them, if you have something new to say.

What DOES your teacher want to hear?

I taught high-school level English for many years and over that time listened to hundreds of speeches.

Those students I gave an A grade to got them because their:

  • topic was interesting. They'd either found an original angle to present known material or found a "new" topic.
  • speech was tailored for the audience. It was relevant in terms of information and personalized.
  • presentation was well structured. It had a good opening, body and conclusion.
  • delivery had been rehearsed. They knew their speech. Use of props or additional material was well integrated and handled.
  • audience listened and enjoyed what they heard.

You are welcome to use my speech evaluation checklist as a guide to help you prepare an A grade speech of your own.

Put your spin on these interesting speech topics

Social media

Interesting speech topics - social media button
  • Facebook kills face to face conversation skills
  • Texting is necessary for social survival
  • An online friend can be just as real and valuable as an offline one
  • Is online media responsible for the breakdown of real-time relationships?
  • What did people do BEFORE there was social media to build and maintain networks?
  • How to explain the value of social media to people who don't use it
  • How to avoid being cyber bullied
  • Rules for forming online friendships or relationships
  • Spelling skills are dead. Long live txt speak!
  • What will be the next major social media development?
  • Rules for using social media responsibly
  • What is real news and what is social media gossip?

Visiting yesterday

Interesting speech topics - going back in time
  • What Grandma/Grandpa did for fun and recreation 50 years ago
  • What Grandma/Grandpa did to earn a living when they finished their schooling
  • At the same age as I am now my parents were doing XXX and my grandparents were doing XXX
  • Our town's history
  • Headline stories from our local area 20/50/100+ years ago
  • How festivals and important events (birthdays, weddings, Christmas, Easter...) were celebrated in my family many years ago
  • Food fads or food Fashions - how have they changed over the years?
  • The history of my first name/surname - where it came from, what it means and how it's changed over the years
  • Word fashion (the current slang) - what's in, what's out. Examples from bygone eras and present day.
  • The origin of nick names - how they began, why they stick or change
  • An overview of jobs that soon will be, or are already, no longer required because modern technology has replaced the need for people with automated processes
  • What was the latest music 20/50/100 years ago?
  • This day in history - a slice of major events from around the world for the date you are giving your speech

Just plain weird

  • The weirdest invention - when and why it was invented and who by
  • The strangest sports - where they are played, who by and how
  • Quirky fashions - the oddest clothing fashions from history and today
  • Fact or fiction? Collect 3 or 5 interesting true stories to retell that superficially appear unbelievable.
  • Trivia - examples. Why does it fascinate?
  • Urban myths - what are they, examples, how are they spread and why are they believed?
  • Why do records like the largest man in the world, the longest fingernails, or the greatest number of pies eaten in an hour fascinate people?
  • How many other people share your name? Where are they in the world and what do they do?

Trading places

Speech topics about changing perspective
  • In XXX country a day in the life of a person my age would be ...
  • A day in my Mother's/Father's life at the same age I am now
  • Retell an historical event as if you were there and part of it
  • Tell how a major invention or medical break-through changed lives as if you were there
  • If I was {insert a word of your choice - eg. homeless, physically challenged in some way - blind, deaf, reliant on a mobility scooter ...} my experience of the world would be changed. How? What issues would you face? How would you meet them?

What were the beginnings or the origins of...?

Speech topics - the origin of ...
  • Christmas celebrations
  • Easter celebrations (or any other widely observed customary celebration)
  • Manners or eating etiquette
  • Common sayings eg. "as black as the ace of spades" or "the salt of the earth"
  • types of music eg. rock and roll, jazz, hip hop ...
  • postal stamps or money
  • softball, grid iron or any other sport
  • the governmental system
  • zodiac signs
  • Beauty Queen pageants
  • modern warfare
  • education
  • racial prejudice
  • card games or chess
  • advertizing
  • television soaps
  • print
  • journalism

Avoiding the procrastination trap

Having browsed all these potentially good speech topics please don't fall into the procrastination trap.

Make yourself a short list of at least three possibilities and thinking about your audience, the main purpose of your speech and your personal interest or enthusiasm for each of them, whittle your list down to the best one.

Points you'll want to consider as part of your decision making are:

  • the time you have to prepare your speech
  • how much you know about the topic already. Do you need to do lots of research, or some? Is the research easy to do?
  • the angle you intend to use - is it persuasive, informative, humorous, unconventional, potentially shocking or upsetting, quirky? How does that fit with your audience's needs and if your speech is for a classroom assignment, the guidelines you have been given?

More places to find interesting speech topics

Finding speech topics - other sources
  • newspapers
  • magazines for specialist opinion pieces
  • the top news sites, blogs - for commentary on political events, natural disasters, social issues
  • radio - community, country and world news plus commentary and analysis
  • television for documentaries and indepth reportage
  • bulletin boards in your own community - for current topical events eg a meeting to discuss the implication of closing the local mine or the impact of raising the cost of public transport
  • your family and friends
  • Listening to the conversations around you and observing closely what you see.
  • This site! Click this link - speech topics - to find many more pages full of interesting speech ideas.

To find help on how to prepare, structure & deliver your speech check these pages:

  • how to write a speech 
    You'll find full explanations and examples of the step by step process needed to get you safely from choosing your topic to presenting the speech itself.
  • voice image 
    Did you know your voice is an important part of giving your speech? The quality of your voice can make the difference between being listened to and not. Go to the voice image page. Read and follow the links to find out how you can optimize your vocal delivery.
  • vocal variety
    Use tone, pitch, pause and pace to deliver your speech effectively. An interesting speech topic is a great start. It would be shame to waste it and the work you've done through weak delivery!