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An easy way to find Speech Topics

By J.A. Gamache

3rd place winner in the 2001
Toastmasters International
World Championship of Public Speaking

Make an inventory of your personal stories. You know--the anecdotes you enjoy telling your friends and family. You'll be surprised at how many interesting topics you'll come up with. I often hear people say, "I'd like to speak in public, but I really don't know what to talk about." Not a problem! Anyone who wants to write a speech has a personal treasure trove of stories at hand. All you have to do is find the stories within your own mind. They're part of your personal history. Never underestimate the value of your life experiences! Your memories contain dozens of anecdotes that are worth telling. Your misfortunes teach many of life's lessons, and your successes can bring hope to others.

There's a great advantage to using your personal stories: they can be told without any formal preparation. Why is that? Because you know the stories thoroughly, having recounted them during family gatherings or with friends.


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While the material we need may be close at hand, we forget to use it when we sit down to write, simply because we haven't actually made a list.
Here's what I suggest:

1- Inventory all your personal stories
Make a list of all the personal stories that come to mind. You don't actually need to write the stories themselves because you're so familiar with them already. A few words will do. For example: "Bitten by neighbour's dog."

2- Don't censor
Write everything down. Also, note all the anecdotes you don't want to tell in public. Just use some kind of code so no one will recognize the story. It's important to write everything down because a story you want to keep secret may lead to another story that is appropriate to tell.

3- Carry a notebook and pen
During your next conversation you'll most likely hear something that triggers a memory from your past. That's when the notebook and pen come in handy. Write the story immediately, and add it to your list later on.

A great many personal stories are stored in your memory. All you need is to find a way to retrieve them and incorporate them into a list. You can then look up a story the next time you're searching for a speech topic. Furthermore, you don't have to limit yourself to your own personal stories. Your parents, grandparents and friends also have great stories that you could add to your list.

Happy writing!


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