People often say they find it hard to think of speech topics. The irony in this is that they have no problems conversing with others on a daily basis, but draw a blank when asked to write a speech.
Topics are all around us. We just need a structure to put them into perspective. One way to think about topics is in terms of a journey. Journeys carry their own structure. They have a place where you started, a place you traveled through, and a place where you finished. Very often our journey brings us back home again.
It was Heraclitis who said, 'You cannot step into the same river twice.'
He was saying you’re not the same person when you undergo a new experience. This is where our story comes from. The transition from the normal to the unknown.
And journeys don’t have to just be physical journeys. They can be mental, spiritual, educational. Here’s a few examples:
A holiday to Rome.
A trip to the supermarket.
A voyage to an island.
What it was like growing up with my dad.
Joining the local gardening club and the people I’ve met there.
Meeting and getting to know my husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend.
Twenty years of living next door to Sam, my neighbour.
Getting my first dog.
Doing a course at university.
Investigating my family history.
Trying to work out who stole the last piece of cheese cake.
A career in advertising.
Learning to paint.
Designing my house.
Growing my first flower garden.
Writing my romance novel.
Falling in love.
Falling out of love.
Dealing with a death in the family.
Learning what it’s like to be a mother.
Obviously there’s crossover between many of these kinds of journeys. An emotional journey may also be a physical journey. A creative journey may also be an intellectual journey.
We could relate these types of journeys to ourselves or to others. If you were to decide to speak about a famous person – let’s take Jane Austen as an example – you might decide to look at their life from the perspective of both her career and relationship journeys. You could take someone like Abraham Lincoln and decide to speak about his relationship with Mary Todd Lincoln.
The next time you’re trying to come up with a speech topic, think of it in terms of a journey. You’ll be surprised by how much easier it makes the process.