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Take a minute and write down one subject that you would like to give a speech about next week. You don’t have to tell anyone, but just write it down. This is how Dageförde introduced his Educational on Finding Speech Topics.

It happens quite often during the day, we are on the S-bahn or in the car on our way somewhere, or we’re waiting for our turn in the grocery store. Instead of getting bored we could use the time to think about our next speech topic. The term “carpe diem” or how Dageförde puts it ” catch the moment!” is really relevant here.

The key is to start observing and noticing things around you. For example Dageförde was admitted to hospital some time back and noticed that some patients were lonely and he thought wouldn’t it be a great idea to cheer them up by offering to give speeches at the hospital? That’s something I could use as a speech topic!

The next step is to notice the things happening inside of you. We have a lot of ideas that pass through our heads daily, the problem is that we fail to remember them. The rationale to find a great speech topic, or to start a great conversation for that matter, can be summarized in the words of Dagerförde:

#1. Don’t get bored! Use your time!

#2. Catch the moment.

#3. Elaborate on the details when you have more time on your hands.

#4. Look at your life systematically, what do I like to do at work, at home, and in my free time? If you have children talk about them…!

#5. Take notes, if you think it looks silly to take notes in the S-bahn wait until you have better possibility to do it, but do it!

This system of finding Speech Topics has supported Dageförde in his 20 year career as Toastmaster. Impressed by his experience and presence our members and guests had a lot of intriguing questions about speech craft, here is an extract of some questions that were asked and Dagerförde’s answers.

-How do you cope with insecurity, for instance if I doubt that people will enjoy what I talk about… what can I do?

Don’t point at your weaknesses, look at your strengths, never start with “I haven’t had time to prepare this speech” Rather focus on what you are good and what you like about the speech. If it is interesting to you, you can make it interesting to other people.

– How much time do I need to prepare for a speech…how do I know how much material I need for a 5-10minute speech?

Normally you have 5-7 minutes in a speech. Plan to introduce maximum three ideas, so for instance if you want to convince people to become vegetarian, you might divide it into a) what is a vegetarian? b) why become a vegetarian? c) benefits of being a vegetarian?

Then you decide to have 1 minute introduction, 2mins for a, 2mins for b and 2mins for c, or you could choose to have 1 minute for a, 4 minutes for b and 1 minute for c. It’s up to you where you want to put the emphasis.

When it comes to how much time you need to prepare a speech, there is no limit really , always plan to have enough time to do the necessary research and feel good about it. [authors note: Normally you can plan 1hour for every 1minute you plan to deliver]

-You’ve done more than 50 speeches, what is your favourite topic to speak about?

I like special occasion speeches, the one in particular is “The Roast” because you talk about people’s weaknesses and strengths and it’s a fine line between offending the person and glorifying him or her. It requires that you develop rapport with the person and to have insights about the person. You need to be able to weigh and compare different information analytically, almost as with an evaluation. But the number one thing I recommend is to really enjoy what you are talking about, you are an expert in yourself so talk about things that you find pleasure in sharing.

-What would you talk about if you were to give a speech next week?

That’s a good question. I would probably talk about the dangers and fallacies of growing old and getting weak.

And with that the educational session was over and Hans Peter offered to mentor any Toastmaster interested in giving speeches. Contact Hamburg Power Speakers for the contact!