Having to choose a topic for your speech may drive you into panic mode. On top of having to speak in front of a crowd, you are expected to come up with a topic that the audience will find both interesting and learn a thing or two from. This, however, doesn’t have to be a scary thing. Think about it for a second. You have the freedom to give a speech on any topic you choose! No limits! Of course, it might sound strange at first, but the more you descend into the idea, the more you realize that you can use the situation to your advantage.
Before you get into it, you should know that there is no such thing as the best speech topic. It is impossible to find a subject that interests every audience at every event.
Tips for Coming Up with Great Speech Topics
1. The Occasion
The occasion can guide you on the topic you want to speak about. You should choose a topic depending on the occasion of the event. That is, whether the mood is solemn, professional or celebratory among others. You wouldn’t give a sad speech at a wedding because it would appear out of place and downright weird. Consider a topic that relates to the mood and one that is relevant to the occasion.
2. The purpose
Do you want to entertain the audience? Do you want to inform the audience? Or even persuade them about a particular matter. If it is to entertain, you will need to add some humor to your speech and make it funny. If it is to persuade the audience, you will need to provide some reliable evidence to convince them to take action. If it is to inform, you will need to provide relevant facts so that the audience can learn something new about the subject.
3. The Audience
The audience is a very important element when selecting a speech topic. After all, they are the ones who have to endure whatever it is you write, so making them a priority when choosing a topic is advisable. You may not know the audience personally, but there are common elements that are present among individuals in any audience. These elements could be the reason why they are all at the same event. Some of them could be; age, gender, education, hobbies or even employment, to name a few.
Other things to consider about the audience are:
• Their level of knowledge and level of education: Consider your audience’s level of knowledge. You wouldn’t give high school students the same speech you would give to college students. They would probably be confused and unable to relate to what you are speaking about.
• The interests of the audience: Keep in mind what interests your audience. Try to relate to them and make a list of all the things your audience cares about.
• Your relationship to the audience: If you have a personal relationship with your audience, then you can use a much lighter and relaxed tone. However, if there is no personal relationship, you will need to use a more different tone and adjust the content if the speech.
Make a list of all the topics that are of interest to the audience so that you can narrow them down as you move forward.
4. Your Interests and Knowledge
As with any writing, you have to pick a topic that you find interesting. Your passion for the topic will be visible to the audience. Do not pick a topic simply because you think the audience might like it yet you have zero interests regarding it.
You should not pick a topic that you know nothing about. Using the list of topics that interest the audience, you can narrow it down to just a few topics that you are knowledgeable and interested in. This step is all about you as the speaker. If you are sincerely interested in a topic, the whole process of researching, writing and delivering it will be much more pleasant.
5. The relevance of the Topic
Another way to come up with a good topic is by researching to see whether there is a topic that is being debated over by the media over and over again. If it is fit for the occasion and it might interest the audience, you should consider using it to your advantage. Research to find out whether you can identify something. Read through current newspapers and watch the news. You can even use social media to your advantage, as long as the issue is current and relevant.
6. Pick a Topic You can Speak About
You should be able to deliver the speech confidently and clearly. The audience should feel like they trust you as an authority regarding the subject. Avoid making a speech about something you do not relate to in any way. The speech aims to give the audience a new understanding of the topic. They should leave the venue with an idea or two about the subject. If you do not relate to the topic in any way, drop it and move on to another one.
You could choose something that relates to your personal experiences if the occasion is right. Just don’t make it too personal because you could end up making the audience uneasy and uncomfortable or the subject could be too emotional for you. It could be about your siblings, parents or a personal struggle that you went through. As long as it relates to the speech it should be perfectly fine.
7. Topics to Avoid
You should steer clear of some topics for good reasons. Some topics might offend your audience or just bore them to death. Pick a topic that is not too complex, and that can be explained in a short amount of time. If you pick a complicated topic that requires charts and diagrams, your audience will get bored, and you will lose them.
Also, don’t pick a topic that is so simple that the audience understands it all in just a short time span. They will find you predictable and lose interest altogether. After all, they know what your whole speech is about so the audience won’t need to sit through till the end.
Avoid topics that are too controversial unless the occasion calls for it. You could end up losing your audience especially if they don’t agree with your view of the subject.
Pick a topic that is just right for the audience, and you are guaranteed to keep them pinned all the way to the end.
Just a recap:
1. Consider the occasion
2. Consider the purpose
3. Consider the audience
4. Consider your interests and knowledge
5. The relevance of the topic
6. Pick a topic you can speak about
7. Identify topics to avoid