How to Master the Two-Minute Speech in English
Updated: Aug 16, 2022
Two-minute speeches are fun. Two-minute speeches are challenging (especially when you have to do it in English as a second or foreign language). In fact, this amount of time is used in many speaking tasks.
It’s recommended that when you go to a job interview, you shouldn’t talk for more than two minutes at a time. Any speech longer than two minutes may lose the listener’s attention. This tip is mentioned in the book What Color is Your Parachute. You can check it out if you'd like.
In Toastmasters International meetings, table topics are often used for impromptu speeches. The maximum amount of time is often 2 minutes. Eduling Speak also has these table topics for you to practice in pairs.
In IELTS Speaking Part 2, test takers are asked to talk for 1-2 minutes. They will be stopped at 2 minutes. Eduling Speak currently has 100 prompts for you to practice in pairs.
How can you master this type of speech?
Eduling is adding many two-minute speeches for IELTS Speaking Part 2 and more to the Eduling Speak app for you to listen to. (Stay tuned for the next version of the app). We collect speeches from speakers and English learners from around the world and help you to practice listening to these speeches, understand the structure of each speech, and learn some interesting vocabulary and sentence structures from the speech. By doing so, not only will you be better prepared for the IELTS Speaking Interview and the IELTS exam, you will also learn new language and grammar. You may also compete in our weekly Eduling Speak Contest to have a chance to win a $5 prize a week and have the speech included in the app.
After working on many speeches for IELTS Speaking Part 2, we have noticed a few strategies that our speakers use to organize and showcase the complexity of their vocabulary and grammar. We’d like to share these with you. Try one or two strategies at a time and notice if you make progress.
Strategy 1: Giving a speech is like writing an essay
One speaker consistently structures his speech like an essay by having an introduction, body, and conclusion. For example, when asked to talk about a difficult skill he learned, he starts by saying:
There are a lot of difficult skills that we have to learn in life.
This serves as an introduction to the topic of “difficult skills.”
Then he adds another sentence to answer the question in the prompt.
One difficult skill that I found especially challenging was setting up a WordPress blog.
Now, you may notice that the second sentence is fairly complex because it has:
A relative clause: that I found especially challenging
A gerund clause: setting up a WordPress blog
After he addresses all parts of the prompt, he concludes by saying:
You know, there are many skills that are challenging, but when we put in some time, a lot of effort, and have the motivation to do it, we really can accomplish a lot of things.
As you can see, he brings his speech back to the topic of learning difficult skills by commenting on what it takes to learn them. This sounds like a last sentence that you may have in an essay to relate your topic to a bigger issue in society.
Other examples of his longer introductions include:
There are some people in the world who are very elderly and who are very special. One person I want to tell you about is my grandmother.
I have always loved traveling, but not all trips go exactly as I plan them. One trip in particular happened not so long ago at the beginning of the global Covid pandemic.
Strategy 2: Think of at least three reasons to answer the “why” question
In response to the question of why she admires her favorite artist, one speaker mentions three main reasons with a clear signal of each reason.
The first reason is her remarkable talent.
Perhaps the most special thing that people remember her by is her super high notes.
In addition to her talent, I also admire her strong heart.
Of course, mentioning the reasons only will not be enough, so you should think of ideas to explain each reason also.
In another speech, when the speaker explains why Coffee on Catinat Street is her favorite song, she lists four reasons. If you'd like to listen to that speech, here's the link to her YouTube video.
It’s about one of my favorite activities: drinking coffee.
I like the song because of the lyrics.
It is a little sad, and for some reason, Vietnamese people really like sad songs, and I’m one of them.
I think the last reason is that it is about the concept of the slow passage of time.
Strategy 3: Talk about the past, present, future
Many IELTS Part 2 prompts already ask you to talk about the past, but even when it doesn’t ask you to talk about the past, you may try to include your personal experience in the past. In addition, you may also refer to the future when you’re close to the end of the speech.
For example, when talking about his dream home, one speaker briefly mentions his experience living close to ocean in the past as a reason why he would like to live in a house at the beach.
When I was young, I lived in Japan for a while, and we were about 10 minutes from the beach. It was so nice to walk to the ocean and feel the wind from the ocean.
When talking about his grandmother, he also mentions some childhood memories.
In fact, when I was a child, I remember a number of times where she did things for my parents, such as make the curtains to go over the windows or cover the couch when it was starting to wear out.
Some speakers end their speech by mentioning to the future with the examples below.
Someday, in the future, I will plan another trip and look forward to that great visit to the little country of Taiwan.
In the future, I hope that I can get even better at developing this WordPress blog and who knows, perhaps, I’ll also even be able to monetize it, put some ads and sell some products and things like that. That would be a lot of fun. That would be a new challenge for me in the future.
I hope to go to more events like this.
I’m looking forward to growing together as a family, learning new skills with her, such as playing the piano, and traveling to places together.
Try one or more of these strategies and submit a speech to Eduling HERE if you'd like to practice and contribute to our app. To download the Eduling Speak app, click HERE.
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