Topics in Public Speaking for English Learners

Thor May PhD
Adelaide, Australia

These pages will help you to speak well in public if English is not your first language (and maybe if it is your first language too!)

Three kinds of files can be found here:

1. General hints, and also special information on some topics.

2. A transcript of a sample speech by Thor on each topic. (Yes, you can do better than the sample!)

3. A recording in MP3 of the sample speech on each topic.

4. Usually, material for a new topic will appear every two weeks. At the moment Thor teaches a voluntary public speaking class each fortnight in the Adelaide State Library, South Australia ( ) [This URL changes after each meetup. If you find yourself on the wrong date page, just go to "Home" for the general ESL meetup and scroll up the page for the latest Public Speaking date]

If you are coming to the State Library lesson, remember that you must go to the website first and RSVP. The class is strictly limited to 20 people.

5. The speeches we are working with at the moment are SHORT : 3 minutes.

6. Short speeches should be prepared in advance. Speech preparation is a special skill. WRITE => EDIT => RECORD => TIME YOURSELF (!) => EDIT => PRACTICE MORE

7. In speech contests, and tests like IELTS, English learners are often not sure what the tester/judge is listening for. Here is one example of the points used to choose a winner in a speech contest I  judged once:

        Overall Total 50

(An article about that contest is here:
However, it is not in easy English ^_^ )




Topic 1

Speaking Topic 1     Job Interview Hints

Speaking Topic 1     Job Interview Presentation Sample (Thor May) MP3 + Transcript


Topic 2

Speaking Topic 2      General Speaking Hints

Speaking Topic 2      Describe Something Interesting - Sample (Thor May) MP3 + Transcript


Topic 3

Speaking Topic 3       Speaking Hints for describing a machine or process

Speaking Topic 3       Describe how a machine or process works (be very systematic) - Sample (Thor May) MP3 + Transcript


Topic 4

Speaking Topic 4      Speaking Hints for recitation in English (The idea in this topic is to develop your skill in speaking English in a fluid and rhythmic way)

Speaking Topic 4      Recite an English narrative poem or (maybe part of) a famous English speech - Samples: from Youtube + Transcripts


Topic 5 [Wednesday 30 March, 6-8 pm in the State Library. Usually this meetup is every second Monday, but we had to change this time because of public holiday closures]

Speaking Topic 5     Speaking hints for making a short speech of congratulation

Speaking Topic 5     Samples of short speeches of congratulation


Topic 6 [Tuesday 12 April 2016, 6:30-8 pm in the South Australia State Library] We prefer to have this meetup every second Monday evening, but for this time, Tuesday was the only room booking available.

Speaking Topic 6      Speaking hints for making a short speech of inspiration                          

Speaking Topic 6     Samples of short speeches of encouragement and inspiration


Topic 7 [Wednesday 27 April 2016, 6:00 to 8 pm in the South Australia State Library] We have this meetup every second week, but often have to change the day and time because it is hard to book a free room in the library].

Speaking Topic 7      Speaking hints for making a short speech remembering a past event                         

Speaking Topic 7      Samples of short speeches remembering a past event


Websites with Advice about Public Speaking


1.  "How to speak confidently in public". Wikihow online @

2. "Public speaking exercises". website online @

3. "Practicing your speech". University of Hawaii online @

4. "Speech Preparation #8: How to Practice Your Presentation". Six Minutes website online @

5. "One Minute Speeches – A Game to Practice Public Speaking Skills". Growing Creative Kids website online @


Websites with Examples of Speeches


2. "Not who you want to be" - sample of a student speech. Youtube online @

3. "The speech that made Obama President". Youtube online @

4. " Best Young Asian English Speaker - competition final". Youtube online @

4. "Free sample of speeches". Best Speech Topics website online @

5. "Speech examples". iSpeeches website online @

6. "10 Famous Speeches in English, and What you can Learn from them". English Editing Blog online @


Miscellaneous Material


1. Public speech by Thor May to graduating students in Zhengzhou, China, 2010 (Youtube video)

2. "Extraordinary" - a poem written and recited by Thor May (Youtube video)

3. "Cobb & Co" - a poem by Henry Lawson, recited by Thor May  (MP3)

Topics in Public Speaking for English Learners ©Thor May 2016


Editing & coaching: PFLH Services
Articles by Thor May