Photo Credit: Tetiana Shyshkina (https://unsplash.com/photos/person-holding-white-printer-paper-TswOPhWcrmQ)
In my sophomore year of high school, I decided to compete in Informative Speaking. No, I didn’t really have anything I wanted to talk about, I just decided that I didn’t have enough stress in my life. I asked my mother to sign me up and then proceeded to pray for a strike of inspiration.
I think that those two days before the tournament were the most chaotic days of my life.
I’m not entirely sure how many other competitors have done something similar, but I have heard plenty of students talk about the struggle of finding a topic worth presenting. To be fair, it can be genuinely hard to find an idea that feels unique and personal to you while also being impactful to the judges. My goal with this article is to potentially give you a couple of speech ideas that I have been collecting throughout the years that could inspire a speech worth presenting.
Before I begin listing the topics, I’d like to preface this article by mentioning that even if it’s not “your” original idea, you can still create an original speech. I don’t think borrowing other people’s ideas bothers every speaker, but I know that this is what would have prevented me from using this article when I was a competitor. So if this thought is floating around in the back of your mind, just know that the ideas listed below don’t have to be used word-for-word. For a lot of people, they are meant to strike inspiration or to introduce you to a yet-to-be-presented field of literature. So take from this what you will, spin these topics how you want, and run with them as far as you can – I wish you the best in your speech writing.
- Analysis of a Hymn
While most of us are familiar with the powerful backstory of “It Is Well,” there are still roughly 900 hymns remaining in the hymn book that sits in front of you at church, each of them with its own unique story. Many of these stories can be used as a unique way to frame the retelling of the testimony of a missionary or can be used to articulate a theme meaningful to your life that is beautifully intertwined with both the backstory and lyrics of the hymn. If you need a couple of ideas for where to begin, consider looking into the story of Fanny Crosby, a woman from the 17th century who composed over 8,000 hymns and was declared permanently blind at the age of 3. Some of her songs include Blessed Assurance, Redeemed How I Love To Proclaim It, and To God Be The Glory. Martin Luther’s A Mighty Fortress is Our God and Sarah Flower Adams’ Nearer My God To Thee could also make for some beautiful speeches. Beyond the backstory of the songs, there are many other creative ways that you can impact these hymns to the judges. For example, I think that hearing about the lives of other men or women who simply went about their daily lives while also finding their contribution to the Faith in something as small as a song could be a much-needed encouragement to some who will hear your speech.
- The Effects of Adoption and Birth Order
Not to put it crudely, but everyone loves hearing about themselves. This topic is an especially unique way to ensure that your judges will be interested in your speech because you will be indirectly talking about them! Additionally, with the right amount of research, this topic could truly serve as a unique way to explore family dynamics and potentially offer the judge a piece of information that could give them insight about themselves or their kids!
- Imaginative Realism
While I write this article, I am studying abroad learning Spanish in Quito, Ecuador. Among the many neat things I have learned regarding the culture of Latin America, the literature category of Imaginative Realism has struck me as particularly interesting. Essentially, it is a genre of children’s literature that tells a story while including one or two components entirely fictional. It isn’t like Harry Potter, where the entire world is made up; it is more like writing a story where one or two elements that make absolutely no sense prompt the storyline or serve as a key component to the movement of the tale. Writers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabella Allende have both become known as proficient artists in this genre. What makes these stories well-suited for audiences like NCFCA is their simple and classic morals. Additionally, I think that it could also be worth your time to include a note or two about the rich Latin American roots of these stories as well as an explanation for their absurdities from a cultural perspective. The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World is a work written by Gabriel Marquez that has some themes of a Savior as well as some valuable lessons regarding gratitude. Some of the stories can get absurd fast, so do be careful, but, I am certain you could find a piece that could really become a game changer to your competition with a little bit of digging.
Jala Boyer has earned numerous 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place medals and competed at the NCFCA National Championship in five categories. As an intern on the Student Advisory Council of the NCFCA, Jala worked alongside the executive director, Kim Cromer, to learn the inner workings of competitive speech and debate, helping students create long-term and meaningful success. Jala is currently an Honors student at Liberty University studying communications with an emphasis in politics. To book a coaching session with Jala, follow this link https://www.ethosdebate.com/ coaching/book-coach/