So, you’ve heard that you have a speech. Now the question rings in your head, “now what?” A problem that often people run into when bringing up their speech is actually formulating a topic. There are often two problems; either they don’t have enough information to develop a speech good enough or there is an overabundance of information that makes it difficult to narrow it down. Of course, there are other things that could affect someone’s ability to narrow down their topic, but these are often the guiltiest offenses for people.
One of the easiest way to tackle this is to narrow your audience. Before you even begin to think about what topic you should have for your speech, know who your audience is! For instance, if you have to deliver an informative speech about biology to 4th graders, you would not incorporate long and complex concepts to them. As seen within Public Speaking: An audience-centered approach, written by Steven A. Beebe. “Keep in mind each audience’s interests and expectations…Not only should a speaker’s choice of topic be relevant to the interest and expectations of his or her listeners, it should also take into account the knowledge of the listeners.” (117). By keeping your audience in mind, you will be able to construct an awesome speech that will effectively deliver your message across to them. If you choose a topic that is important to not only yourself, but your audience while keeping in mind all of the expectations, actually constructing your speech will be a cake walk.
Now that you’ve actually picked a topic with your audience in mind, it’s time to narrow down what you want to speak about. This works out if you have a lack of or overload information. This is where the concept of brainstorming really comes in handy. Whenever I have a speech and I hit a wall, I use the strategy of a mind web. I start with my topic, and write anything of relevance to that topic that comes to mind whether it’s something small or something big! After that, I keep adding to those subtopics. The subtopics that go on and on, I utilize those as my main topics while the subtopics that have slim to none, I obviously don’t use those. There are many ways to actually brainstorm, but using a mind web is just one of those things that you can use.
Sources: Beebe, Steven A., and Susan J. Beebe. Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach. 6th. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, Inc., 2005. Print