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Choosing a Topic

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by

David Schulz

on 23 January 2017

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Transcript of Choosing a Topic

Determining the Specific Purpose
After you have chosen a topic and a general purpose, you must narrow down your choices to determine the specific purpose of your speech.
The specific purpose should focus on ONE aspect of a topic that can be supported by 2 or more points.
Chapter Four: Selecting a topic and purpose
Topics You Know a Lot About
Most people speak the best about subjects they are very familiar with.
When thinking about a topic use your knowledge and experience(s) .
Topics You Want to Know More About
When choosing topics you might decide to choose a subject that you already have some knowledge or expertise on but not enough to prepare a speech without additional research.
Brainstorming for Topics
Personal Inventory
: Make a quick inventory of your:
hobbies
skills
Determining the General Purpose
Next you need to determine the general purpose of your speech. It will usually fall into 1 of 3 categories :
Choosing a Topic
The first step for major speeches is selecting a topic.
There are 2 broad categories of potential topics for your speech:
1.) Subjects YOU know a lot about
2.) Subjects YOU want to know more about

Do YOU notice a theme here about what makes a good topic? What IS that theme?
Does my purpose meet the assignment?
Can I accomplish my purpose in the time allotted?
Is the purpose relevant to my audience?
Is the purpose too trivial for my audience?
Is the purpose too technical for my audience?
Questions to Ask About Your Specific Purpose
Tips for Formulating the Specific Purpose Statement
Write the purpose statement as a full infinitive phrase, not as a fragment
Express your purpose as a statement, not a question
Avoid figurative language in your purpose statement
Limit your purpose statement to one distinct idea
Make sure your specific purpose is not too vague or general
What Is the Central Idea ?
Guidelines for the Central Idea
The central idea should be expressed in a full sentence.
It should not be in the form of a question.
You should avoid figurative language.
The central idea should not be vague or overly general.


The central idea is a concise statement of what you expect to say. This is sometimes called the Thesis statement.
Clustering
: Take a piece of paper and divide it into 8 columns writing the following words at the top of each column: people, places, things, events, processes, concepts, natural phenomen, and problems. Then list in each column the first five things that come to mind.
Reference Search
: Go to the reference room of the library (its right next door and misses you!) and browse through an encyclopedia, a periodical database, or some other reference work until you find a good speech topic.
Internet Search
: Connect to a subject based search engine or the Librarians' Index to the Internet.
To Inform
: PAST (with, perhaps, an eye to the future
You speak to teach or demonstrate. Your goal is to give information and do it clearly, accurately, and interestingly.
Clustering
Reference Search
Internet Search
Personal Inventory
Clustering
Reference Search
Internet Search
Personal Inventory
To Persuade
: FUTURE
When your general purpose and GOAL is to persuade, you act as an advocate. You go beyond giving information. You want to change or structure the attitudes or actions of your audience.
To entertain: PRESENT
When your general purpose and GOAL is to entertain , you act as a conveyor of values. You go beyond giving information and stop short of overtly persuading. You want to choose a VALUE that will inspire the audience and make sure to use the pronominal "WE".
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