Choosing an Appropriate Speech Topic: Steps & Characteristics

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  • 0:05 Formulating an…
  • 0:49 Defining the Subject &…
  • 2:10 Choosing a Topic
  • 4:58 Characteristics of a…
  • 5:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Cathryn Jackson

Cat has taught a variety of subjects, including communications, mathematics, and technology. Cat has a master's degree in education and is currently working on her Ph.D.

In this lesson, learn tips and tricks for generating ideas for a speech. We'll explore how to select an appropriate topic and the methods of finding a good topic for your speech.

Formulating an Appropriate Speech Topic

Olivia is writing a speech presentation for her history class. She needs to pick an event that happened between 1900 and 2000. Olivia asks her friend Josh if he has any suggestions. He tells her he is interested in the natural disasters that happened in the past century and suggests that she write her speech on that topic.

As Olivia begins writing her speech, she realizes that there are a lot of natural disasters to cover and that the topic is not very interesting to her. She puts together some information but has a hard time building her speech and finds herself procrastinating a lot. Could Olivia build a better speech if she selects a different topic? Yes! Let's talk about how to formulate an appropriate speech topic.

Defining the Subject and the Topic

When you start to put together a speech, one of the first things you need to know is the subject area and the topic. The subject is a broad area of knowledge. The subject of your speech could be anything: sports, politics, happiness, places, things, movies, events, concepts, and more!

Olivia didn't have a clear subject area for her speech. She was supposed to write about a historical event but ended up writing about many natural disasters. Now, she has two subject areas that she is trying to cover. We'll talk more about broad subjects in a later section.

Once you have decided on your subject area, you can move on to your topic. A topic is knowledge about a specific category or piece of the subject area. Let's say you selected politics as your subject area. You can narrow that down into a topic by looking at some of the categories that would fit under the subject area.

For example, are you talking about United States politics? Foreign politics? Local or state politics? Any of these would be a category that would fall under the subject area for your topic. Olivia has always been interested in politics. Since she already knows she has to speak over an event, she decides to pick a political event that occurred between 1900 and 2000.

Choosing a Topic

There are a few things you'll want to consider when choosing a topic. Many times, the types of topics you can select will be limited. For example, Olivia is limited to events that occurred between 1900 and 2000. If you are speaking for an occasion or in front of a specific audience, your topic will need to match the occasion or the audience.

Of course, you wouldn't give a mathematics lecture at your best friend's wedding. When you are having trouble deciding on a topic, there are a few things to keep in mind:

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