Module 5 Discussion: Selecting a Speech Topic

For this activity, you will explore and evaluate possible topics for your upcoming speech. For many students, selecting and refining a strong speech topic is a challenging step. Writing about your selection process and receiving feedback from your peers will help you decide on and refine your speech topic.

Step 1: Write a 200–400 word post describing three possible speech topics for your next speech for this class. Using the methods for selecting a speech topic from this module, describe your inspiration and thought process for how you came up with each speech topic. Explain why the topic interests you, why you care about it, and why it will be of interest to your audience. You might also include possible factors to consider with your topic and this particular audience.

Step 2: Respond in two separate posts to two classmates (in at least 75 words per post). Using what you’ve learned about selecting a speech topic and strategies for narrowing a topic, provide feedback about your classmates’ topics. Some factors to consider in your feedback:

  • Which of the three topics do you find the most interesting? Why?
  • Is the topic narrow enough?
  • Are there elements of the topic not included that you recommend considering?
  • Do you have suggestions for research materials on the topic?

Example Post:

For the upcoming informative speech, I’ve brainstormed the following potential topics:

  1. I am an avid runner and I’ve benefited so much from it, so I immediately thought about a topic related to running. I’d like to speak about how to get started on a running program. I used the personal inventory method to list what I know a lot about (running), and the inverted pyramid method to narrow the topic of running to “how to start or return to running safely.” I would talk about the best apps and programs to use and common mistakes to avoid. I would share some of my own experiences to illustrate each point. I think this would benefit a lot of my audience so they would know how to get started or return to running in a safe and sustainable way. Because everyone has different physical abilities and fitness levels, I would need to be careful to make my topic as broadly relevant as possible.
  2. I was reading the news for internet research and saw an article about e-cigarettes. I’ve never wanted to vape because I have asthma, but I have a lot of friends who vape and I see how addicted they are. It seems like most people don’t really believe there’s much harm in vaping and it makes me mad that companies are taking advantage of kids and others with their products. I think a speech about the risks of vaping would be informative and useful for my audience. I’ve done some preliminary research and would focus on how vaping affects the both a person’s physical health and their brain development.
  3. When I did guided brainstorming for the prompt “It makes me angry when . . .” I immediately thought of what happens when kids age out of foster care at age 18. My dad grew up in foster care, so I’ve heard him talk about how he lost his social worker and entire support system when he turned 18. As a sociology major, I have also learned a lot about trauma and public policy related to foster care. I would focus my speech on state laws and programs for youth who age out of foster care and some proposed changes that will help them transition into adulthood with support and dignity. A lot of people have been in or know someone who has been in foster care; this is an important policy issue, so I think this would be a valuable informative topic for my audience.

Example Response

My favorite of your three topics was about the risks of vaping. I vape sometimes and I know it’s not great for me, but it’s fun and something to do. I should probably know more about how it affects me. I was curious that you mentioned how vaping affects brain development since I didn’t know anything about that. It seems like a lot of people (including me) don’t know what vaping does to your body, so you might poll people on your social media to find out their knowledge and beliefs on vaping and use that as peer testimonials.