Narrative Speech [With Topics and Examples]

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Written By Jim Peterson

Jim Peterson has over 20 years experience on speech writing. He wrote over 300 free speech topic ideas and how-to guides for any kind of public speaking and speech writing assignments at My Speech Class.

Narrative Speech Topics

narrative speechNarrative speech topics list with public speaking ideas for a storytelling training I have categorized them in:

  • Your Events, Life Lessons, Personal Experiences, Rituals and Your Identity.

The main point is that you are talking about yourself.

Your thoughts, feelings, ideas, views, opinions and events are the leading ladies in this special public speaking speech writing process.

Here are example narrative speech topics you can share in a speech class or other public speaking assignment in high school, college education. Narrow the speech topics appropriately to the public speaking occasion rules with the specialized checklist I have composed with seven narrative speech writing tips.

The checks and tips also serve as hooks for to narrate a paragraph in an college essay.

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The backbone of my advice is: try to keep the story devoted and dedicated.
If you find it hard to develop speech topics for narration purposes and you are a little bit overwhelmed, then try ten ways I’ve developed to find narrative speech topics.


Most students mark out an event in their speeches and essays. An event that stipulate a great step in life or an important moment that has impact on your prosperity or lifestyle from that particular period:

E.g. An accident or remarkable positive event that changed my life. The birth of my brother, sister or other relative and the impact on our household and family-life. My first day at high school or college. The decision I regret most at my school or in my professional job career. My day of graduation (If you have not yet graduated from an educational institution, describe your hardworking and your planning efforts to achieve the qualification). My first serious date with my boyfriend / girlfriend. A significant family event in the summer. A memorable vacation. A historical event that impressed me. The day I will move overseas. A milestone that seemed bad but turned out to be good. My heroic sports moment at the campus field.

Your Life Lessons

Take personal growth and development as starting point. Widen the horizon of the audience to a greater extent with narrative speech topics on wisdom. Construct a life lesson yourself, based on a practical wisdom acquired by own experience, or one you have been be introduced to by someone else:

E.g. The influence of a special person on my behavior. How I have dealed with a difficult situation. What lessons I have learned through studying the genealogy of my family. A prejudice that involved me. An Eureka moment: you suddenly understood how something works in life you had been struggling with earlier. How you helped someonelse and what you learned from her or him, and from the situation.


For this kind of public speaking training begin with mentioning intuitively the emotions you feel (in senses and mind) and the greater perception of the circumstances that lead to apprehension of a precarious situation:

E.g. My most frustrating moment. How you handled in an emergency situation. How I break up with my love. A narrow escape. A moment when you did something that took a lot of courage. A time when you choose to go your own way and did not follow the crowd. How I stood up for my beliefs. The day you rebelled with a decision concerning you. How you cope with your nerves recently – think about fear of public speaking and how you mastered and controlled it in the end. What happened when you had a disagreement with your teacher or instructor in class, this triggering narrative speech idea is great for speech class, because everyone will recognize the situation.


This theoretic method is close related to the previous tips. However, there is one small but significant difference.

Let’s define rituals as a system of prescribed procedures or actions of a group to which you belong. In that case you have the perfect starters to speak out feelings.

Complement the ritual with your own feelings and random thoughts that bubble up when you are practicing the ritual:

E.g. How you usually prepare for a test at high school or for a personality interview or questionnaire. Your ritual before a sports game. Your ritual before going out with friends – make up codes, choosing your dress or outfit, total party looks. The routines you always follow under certain circumstances on your way to home. Church or other religious rituals you think are important to celebrate. Special meditative techniques you have learned from old masters in East Asia.


These examples are meant to accent the cultural and personal charateristics based on values, beliefs and principles.

What do you think is making life worth living? What shaped your personality? What are the psychological factors and environmental influences?

And state why and how you ground your decisions:

E.g. My act of heroism. The decisions my parents made for me when I was young – school choice, admission and finance. How curiosity brings me where I am now. I daydream of … A place that stands for my romantic moments – a table for two in a restaurant with a great view. My pet resembles my personal habits. A vivid childhood memory in which you can see how I would develop myself in the next ten to fifteen years. Samples of self-reliance in difficult conditions, empathy towards others in society, and your learning attitude and the learning curve.

Make a point by building to a climax at the end of your speech topic, whatever the narrative speech topics may be you want to apply in some sort of public speaking training environment. Build your way to the most intense point in the development or resolution of the subject you have chosen – culminate all facts as narrator to that end point in your verbal account.

Narrative Speech Writing Tips

Narrative speech tips for organizing and delivering a written description of past events, a story, lesson, moral, personal characteristic or experience you want to share.

  1. Select carefully the things you want to convey with your audience. Perhaps your public speaking assignment have a time limit. Check that out, and stick to it.This will force you to pick out one single significant story about yourself.And that is easier than you think when you take a closer look at my easy ways to find narrative topics.
  2. When you have selected the speech topics you like to tell it is time to gather the material. Decide on the point you want to make and what your most wanted response should be when you completed the narration.
    • What do you want your audience to remember after the lapse?
    • What is the special purpose, the breaking point, the ultimate goal, the smart lesson or the mysterious plot?

    Another way to determine your speech thesis is wondering for what reason the audience might think your presentation is valuable or important when they listen to it.

  3. Develop all the action and rising drama you need to visualize the plot of the story: the main events, leading character roles, the most relevant details, and write it in a sequence of steps. Translate those steps into dialogues.
  4. Organize all the text to speech in a strictly time ordered format. Make a story sequence. Relate a progression of events in a chronologically way.The audience will recognize this simple what I call a What Happened Speech Writing Outline, and can fully understand your goal. Another benefit: you will remember your key ideas better.It can help if you make a simple storyboard – arrange a series of pictures of the action scenes.
  5. Build in transition sentences, words or phrases, like the words then, after that, next, at this moment, etc. It helps to make a natural flow in your text.
  6. Rehearse your narrative speech in front of a friend and ask opinions. Practice and practice again. And return to my narrative speech topics gallore if you get lost in your efforts.Avoid to memorize your text to speech. When you are able to tell it in a reasonably extemp manner – everyone can follow you easily – it is okay.
  7. Finally, try to make eye contact with your listeners when you deliver this educational speech and apply my public speaking tips one by one of course.

10 Fast Showcases

  1. A good place to start finding a suitable narrative speech topic is brainstorming about a memorable moments in your life, a situation you had to cope with in your environment, a difficult setting or funny scene you had to talk your way out.

Try to catch it in one phrase: At X-mas I … and followed by a catchy anf active verb.

E.g. At X-mas I think … I want … I’m going … I was … I stated … I saw … .

After the task verb you can fill in every personal experience you want to share with your public speaking audience in a narration. These 40 speech topics for a storytelling structure can trigger your imagination further.

My most important advice is: stay close to yourself, open all your senses: sight, hearing, taste, and even smell and touch. Good for descibing the memorable moment, the intensity of it.

  1. A second way to dig up a narrative speech topic is thinking about a leading prophetic or predictive incident in the previous 10 years or in your chidhood. Something that illustrates very well why and how you became who you are right now.

E.g. Your character, moral beliefs, unorthodox manner of behaving or acting or you fight for freedom by not conforming to rules, special skills and qualities.

  1. The third way I like to communicate here with you is storytelling. Let yourself be triggered for a narrative speech story by incidents or a series of events behind a personal photograph or a video for example.

E.g. Creative writing on a photo of your grand-grandparents, of a pet, a horse, an exciting graduation party, a great architectural design.

  1. You also can find anecdotal or fictional storylines by highlighting a few of your typical behavior or human characteristics.

E.g. Are you a person that absorbs and acquires information and knowledge, likes to entertain other people or nothing at all? Or are you intellectually very capable in solving comprehensive mathematical calculations? Or are you just enjoying life as it is, and somewhat a live fast die young type?

Or a born organizer – than write speech topics about the last high school or college meeting you controlled and administered.

  1. The fifth method I would like to discuss is the like or not and why technique. Mark something you absolutely dislike or hate and announce in firm spoken language (still be polite) why. A narrative speech topic based on this procedure are giving insight in the way you look at things and what your references are in life.

It’s a bit like you make a comparison, but the difference is that you strongly defend your personal taste as narrator. It has a solid persuasive taste:

E.g. Speeches about drilling for oil in environmental not secure regions, for or against a Hollywood or Bollywood movie celebrity, our bankingsystem that runs out of trust of you the simple bank account consumer. Or your favorite television sitcom series.

  1. An exciting, interesting, inspiring or funny experience or event that changed your life is the next public speaking tip I like to reveal now.

E.g.? Staying weekends at your uncle’s farm shaped you as the hardworking person you are nowadays. A narrative speech topic in this category could also be about music lessons, practical jokes. Or troublesome events like divorce, or great adventures like trips at the ocean. Or even finding faith or a wedding happiness.

And what do you think of extreme sports tournaments?

  1. An important lesson you learned from someone you admire. This is a very classical narrative speech topic.

It tends to be a little bit philosophical, but if you tell you story people will recognize what you mean and compare that with their own stories and wisdom lessons.

Tell the story of a survivor of a traffic accident, and how you admire her or his recovery. Winners of awards, great songwriters, novelists, sportsheroes.

This list is almost exhaustive. Share the wisdom of their fails and achievements.

  1. The moment in your life you see the light, or that was very insightful. It seems a bit like my number six advice, but focus more on the greatness and happiness of that very moment. A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life’s experience, American Judge Oliver Wendell Holmes have said.

Magnificent and breath-taking nature phenomenons, precious moments after a day of struggle, final decisions that replenish, lift your spirit.

  1. A fable or myth that has a moral lesson you try to live to.

Aesop Fables are a great source for a narrative speech topic idea structure. Think about The Dog and His Reflection, The Fox and The Grapes, and Belling the Cat. Talking about fairy tales as an inspiring source: what do you think of a personal story about the moral of The Emperor’s New Clothes?

  1. The relation between a brief series of important milestones in your life that mold your character is also possible – if catchy narrated storytelling of course :-).

First day of school, first kiss, Prom Night, your high school graduation, wedding, first job interview.

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