Choosing A Topic For Your Public Speech Made Easy

Published: 14th November 2011
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Some speeches are predetermined by the event in which you are participating. Typically this would be a conference presentation with your contribution being a very specific part of the whole. In that case the choice of topic is made for you and it is likely that you are speaking because of your expertise in that field. However, the person who wishes to make a profit at public speaking will choose topics and market these speeches. In this case therefore the choice of topic is made by the individual.

How to you make that choice? Here are some tips to narrow it down.

A topic about which you know a lot is a natural choice. You will feel much more relaxed and confident talking on something that is familiar to you rather than browsing magazines and selecting a topic about which you know little or nothing.

Choose a topic you are interested in discussing. You may know a lot about certain topics but they do not interest you. Avoid these. If you are not interested it is unlikely that you can interest your audience in them. It does not have to widely known. An expert could make a speech about the life of an earth worm interesting.

Choose a topic that you can make interesting or informative to your audience. It in not necessary for a successful speech for your audience to be interested in your topic at the beginning of your speech but they certainly should be by the end.. As a skilled public speaker you should be able to achieve this.. You are interested so communicate that interest and enthusiasm to them. This usually takes the form of giving them information that they previously did not have.

Choose a topic that suits the requirements of the assignment. Be sure that you know the type of speech, the time constraints and any other requirements of the organisers who book you. Your speech must be aligned to those requirements.

The foregoing points are broad. After considering other data you should now be able to more accurately target your topic..

Consider some situational factors

Familiarity. Will your audience be familiar with any information that will help you select your topic? Remember finding common ground is the quickest and easiest way to establish empathy with your audience.

Current events. Can you use a topical item from the news that is particularly pertinent to your audience? However, unless you are planning a political speech do not be overly controversial. You do not want to alienate half your audience.

Audience apathy. This is the challenge that a more experienced public speaker will relish. Do you want to persuade your audience to a view that you feel strongly but about which they are apathetic.?

Time limits. Do not choose a topic that is so big that you cannot do it justice in the time allowed. If you spread your material too thinly the audience will realise this even if they cannot quite analyse the reason for their dissatisfaction. Refine your topic so that you concentrate on just one aspect of it..

Then consider some audience factors

Previous knowledge. What do my audience already know? Common experience. Does the audience have shared experiences? Common interests. Where do my interests and those of my audience meet? Relevant diverse factors. How diverse are my listeners?

You should have written single word answers to each of the above questions as they occurred to you. When you have examined these bullet points you will find the topic and content of your speech emerging..


Tim Ross has over the years spoken to groups large and small in locations from the humble to the magnificent on a variety of topics. The lessons in public speaking from these experiences are detailed in his blogs and articles.

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