Giving a speech can be scary! But practice makes perfect, so why not start their practice with something they can do easily - explain who they would like to have over for dinner and why.
This is a basic introduction activity to speech. There are probably other activities out there, but this got my freshman out of their chairs doing research and then up from talking about why they wanted who they choose to come to dinner.
This activity come with a basic grading sheet and an example of why we should have Abraham Lincoln over for dinner.