Ideas For Topics (Impromptu Speaking) Sessions

It’s the role of the Chair to come up with the content of the topics (impromptu speaking for one or two minutes) sessions on the night.

Look at the guidance on topics sessions in your ‘Speakers Manual’ but here are a few general pointers and four specific sources of ideas for topics sessions.

General pointers:

  • Topics can take almost any form – phrased as a question or completely abstract, for example
  • Avoid contentious politics or religious questions
  • Do give some thought to creating ‘easier’ and ‘harder’ individual topics so you can dish out appropriate challenges to members with different levels of experience
  • Everyone needs to get a different topic – it’s only impromptu speaking if people don’t know what’s coming
  • Basing an entire topics session around a particular theme is usually nice to do, but not essential

Specific ideas for topics session inspiration:

1. This list of 101 topics ideas is hard to beat if you’re looking for inspiration.

2. Topical Topics

Read through a recent newspaper and make a note of fun or interesting stories and issues to get people to speak about.

3. Lists

Google “lists” or “lists of” as a starting point for interesting lists of things you could build a topics session around, e.g. song titles, phrases or famous quotes, cities, celebrities, holiday destinations, animals, films, TV shows, news events, life experiences, etc.

4. Either/Or

Simple format of ‘x or y?’ For example: ‘Early bird or night owl?’, ‘Amy Winehouse or Mother Theresa?’. Works particularly well for one minute topics.