Developing a Thesis Statement from Your Speech Topic

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  • 0:03 From Topic to Thesis
  • 0:36 What Is a Thesis Statement?
  • 2:05 Creating a Thesis Statement
  • 3:41 Effective versus…
  • 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.

The thesis statement is a vital part of your speech. In this lesson, learn how to create a thesis statement and identify problems in existing thesis statements.

From Topic to Thesis

Sylvia has been asked to speak to a group of college students during freshman orientation class. She has been asked to share with students the importance of money management. Sylvia knows a lot about money management, but she wants to make sure that her audience will remember and focus on her words. She can do this by developing a strong thesis statement to use in her speech. In this lesson, learn how to identify and create a thesis statement for your specific purpose statement. Additionally, practice identifying and correcting ineffective thesis statements.

What Is a Thesis Statement?

A thesis statement is a one sentence statement that summarizes the entire speech. A thesis statement should include your topic and your main ideas. Sylvia already knows her topic: money management, and she also knows her main ideas: pay off debt, improve quality of life, and prepare for emergencies. We can create a thesis statement because:

  • You will use it in the introduction and conclusion of your speech.
  • It will help the audience to remember the overall idea of your speech.
  • It helps you narrow your topic and maintain a focus for your speech.
  • It identifies your position in a persuasive speech.

Sylvia will use her thesis statement many times in developing her speech outline, so it's important that she creates her thesis statement first. A thesis statement is a great way to concisely summarize your speech. Your audience will better understand your topic and main points if you use a thesis statement in your speech.

You should be creating your thesis statement before creating the outline of your speech. If you create your thesis statement first, it will really help you narrow down your topic and focus on the ideas you want to get across to your audience in your speech. Since Sylvia is trying to persuade her audience to manage their money, her thesis statement will identify her position on money management to her audience.

Creating a Thesis Statement

To create a thesis statement, start with your specific purpose statement. If you don't know how to create a specific purpose statement, check out our lesson on it. For example, Sylvia has the following specific purpose statement for her speech: 'To persuade my audience to use money management techniques.'

Next, remove the first part of your specific purpose statement that says 'to inform my audience' or 'to persuade my audience;' that is usually clear once you have completed your thesis statement. Now Sylvia's sentence looks like this: 'To use money management techniques.'

For persuasive speeches, you can identify the audience in your thesis statement. In Sylvia's case, she is talking to a group of college students. Sylvia may want to begin her thesis statement like this: 'College students should manage their money.'

Next, incorporate your main ideas into your thesis statement. Remember, Sylvia's main ideas are pay off debt, improve quality of life, and prepare for emergencies. Sylvia can create the following thesis statement: 'College students should manage their money now so they can pay off debt, improve their quality of life, and be prepared for emergencies.'

This statement accurately reflects the purpose of Sylvia's speech and helps identify the focus of the topic. She can easily summarize her speech to other people by telling them her thesis statement. It's also an easy way for her audience to remember the main points of her speech.

Effective Versus Ineffective Statements

Watch out for ineffective thesis statements; they can confuse your audience and create an imbalance in your speech. Major problems in an ineffective thesis statement may include:

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