How to Come Up With Creative Themes for a Toastmasters Meeting
4 OCT 2017
Adding a theme to a Toastmasters meeting is a way to invigorate the group and inspire members as they seek to improve their public speaking skills. Try different approaches for generating creative themes for your club gatherings.
1 Have Fun!
Public speaking can be a scary thing for many people, so add some levity to the meeting. If you need inspiration, watch some kids at a playground and see what gives them joy. Possible themes that might be generated from this exercise: “The beauty of imagination,” “Getting to the top of life’s jungle gym,” and “How to recover from getting sand kicked in your face.”
Costumes can also make a meeting playful, so think of themes that will allow members to dress up, such as “Wild West,” “Game of Thrones” and “Sports Fans.”
2 Look at the Calendar
Choosing a theme that’s timed with an upcoming holiday, season or special event is a quick way to come up with a meeting theme: “New Year’s resolutions,” “My funny Valentine,” “How to make an Earth Day difference all year-round,” or even, “The Academy Award for best acting in a real-life situation goes to ...” When you’re looking at the calendar, don’t forget to keep an eye out for lesser-known holidays that will help spark interesting speeches from your members, such as Administrative Professionals’ Day, Grandparents' Day and National Ice Cream Day.
3 What's New(s)
Current events can provide fresh ideas. Open a newspaper; turn on broadcast news; or go to an online news site to see what people are talking about. Look past the individual story and ask yourself why this news story provokes an emotional response; the answer is your theme. For example, a story about “the worst cities for traffic in America,” inspires the theme, “Things that drive me crazy.” Similarly, an article about a professional athlete having a career revival may suggest that a “making a comeback,” theme has wide appeal.
4 Keep It Simple
Sometimes the most creative speeches come from a word or phrase that has broad meaning or evokes a certain mood. To keep it interesting, consult a thesaurus. Swap overused words such as, “inspire,” “challenge” and “success” to create themes, for example: “becoming emboldened,” “an unexpected predicament” and “a time of triumph.” Avoid obscure words. Whereas "grit" or "pluck" might be good synonyms for "bravery," lesser-used words such as "intrepidity" or "gallantry" might confuse your audience.