How To: Choose a Speech or Writing Topic

Choose a Speech or Writing Topic

Whether you're a student, a toastmaster, just writing, or making articles on WonderHowTo, you will have to come up with a topic.  The topic should be able to guide you to some of the things you want people to know about.  Here are some ways that you can can come up with a topic.

Step 1 Generate Ideas

The first thing you will want to do is generate a list of possibilities.  Good sources of ideas can come from anywhere, such as interests, hobbies, life, friends, philosophies, newspapers, clubs— any activity.  At this point, it's okay that they are broad topics, they will guide you to particulars later.

Step 2 Research

Gather more information about any of the ideas that you came up with.  Add more ideas if you find anything of interest.  If you have any requirements of what your are to write or talk about, now would be a good time to weed out ideas.  As you gather up more information, you can also narrow down the focus or give more details into what the purpose of your writing is. 

Step 3 Narrow Your Focus

As your research continues, considerations should be made towards your audience and what would be of interest to them.  A topic should have some point to it that you will want to convey to them.  Topics should inform, persuade or entertain.  As you gather information and ultimately choose your topic, you should have some facts that can back up your topic.  Each of the facts should have some information that supports what you are trying to say.

Step 4 Choose Your Topic

By now you should have a pretty good idea of your topic that you will present and have some information to help in writing.  Continue researching to fill any space or time requirements.  Your topic should not be so broad that you can't cover all the pertinent information, but their should be enough information to effectively convey your topic of choice.

Tips

  • Mind mapping.  Can be an effective way to narrow your topic down fast.  It can be used to gather similar ideas or subdivide ideas into manageable topics.
  • Ideas are everywhere.  Keep an eye out for anything that may be of interest or related to prior ideas.
  • Save your list of ideas.  If you happen to do other writing projects, these ideas can be helpful to those projects.
  • Carry a small notebook and pen.  You never know when an idea may strike.  There are no guarantees you will remember them later.

Warnings

  • Don't think too hard.  The best ideas are the ones that you are interested in.  Most of the time you can fit your interests into some requirement. 
  • Be specific about your topic.  You don't want a topic that requires a lot of supporting information.  It can be a drag for the people that are listening to your speech or reading your writing.
  • Most importantly: HAVE FUN.  If you are not having fun writing or talking about these topics that you are interested in, you're not doing it right.

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