Public Speaking For Beginners – 5 Ways to Find a Topic

Before writing a speech, you must first determine the topic on which you’ll be speaking. Often when given a speaking opportunity, you’ll find yourself in one of two positions: searching desperately for a topic or choosing from a myriad of topics. These simple questions can help you find a topic or define your choices.

Question #1:
Who is your audience? Will you be speaking in a corporate setting or a more relaxed atmosphere? Think of what will be most helpful and valuable to your audience. Think of what will connect with them.

Question #2:
What is your field of expertise or experience? Are you a scientist, doctor, lawyer, author, analyst, project manager, athlete, actor, world traveler? Draw on your vast knowledge and narrow your focus to one particular topic.

Question #3:
What are your areas of interest? Think of topics you’d like to know more about. Then research, do your homework and develop your speech. Share with others what you’re passionate about. Take them on your journey of discovery.

Question #4:
What interesting people or places are in the locale of where you’ll be delivering your speech? Think of ways you can choose a topic and work a local angle into your speech.

Question #5:
Will you be giving your speech near a holiday? Pair the holiday theme with something of interest to your audience. (Note: Best for non-corporate audiences).

As an example, I’ll show you how I picked a topic for one of my speaking opportunities. I considered the following: I would be speaking after dinner to a group of 30 couples near Valentine’s Day. As an author of a book of romantic poetry, I used that as a platform to brainstorm. The venue was a local restaurant and, while we would have a private dining room, space was limited.

As I would be part of a program, I knew that the mood would be light and fun. I chose my speech, ‘Living a Passionate Life,’ to incorporate the romantic holiday theme and created a display using heart-shaped knick knacks, stuffed animals and my poetry books. While the topic could be broad (life could equal family, health, career, spirituality, etc), I narrowed my focus to ‘family’ with a splash of ‘spirituality’ as this was a church group.

Remember that a good topic has a narrow focus. If you feel you’ve chosen a broad topic, find something specific within it. Then build a topic ‘tree’ with the remaining subtopics. You may find that you have not only an idea for this speech but one for your next one as well. A narrow focus on your topic will save time in research and developing your speech.

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Jean Bailey Robor is an award-winning author and speaker. She is available for business, church and civic organizations. Motivation and inspiration with a splash of humor is Jean’s specialty. Visit her website:

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