When you select a topic for a speech, you need to consider the ways you can find topics. Of course, you need to begin with the most basic of basics:
- The Assignment. Consider the assignment for a given speech; maybe your instructor has a very specific goal in mind, as we do typically in the Introduction to Oral Communication class. Of course, outside of the course, you may have to ask a few probing questions to help you better determine a speech topic.
- The Situation. Think about what the expectations of a speech situation might be. If you are to present an award, that may guide your speech choice. If you are explaining how to accomplish a goal, that would be very different. Find something that meets the need of the situation.
- The Audience. Whenever possible, you MUST consider the audience, and it may be helpful to try to learn something about them before you get started selecting a topic. Ask about the group’s qualities. This may narrow your initial ideas to something more specific.
- The Environment. If you have an idea of the space in which you’ll be presenting, that may also alter your choices. You may need something that is simpler for a large audience in an auditorium, or you could be more detailed for a smaller group. The environment plays a major role.
Watch the following video from Toastmasters, a group who specializes in public speaking skills development, to learn more about selecting a speech topic.