Giving a Good Speech (With Sample Topics!)
Writing an engaging and compelling speech can be a tough task—you don’t want to disappoint the audience with a boring topic, but you also don’t want to pick an idea that’s too broad or overdone. Don’t worry! There are many topics you can still use to build an exciting speech, on a variety of subjects. With these speech topics, you’ll ensure audience engagement and intrigue.
However, before you start exploring topics, it’s important to understand all other aspects of giving a speech—without learning how to give a good speech, your speech may fall flat, even if the topic is a winner.
So, what makes a good speech?
It’s clear to the audience when a speaker hasn’t properly prepared for their speech—they may be shaky, unsure of their words, and prone to mistakes, which does not give the appearance of professionalism, and causes the audience to lose faith in the information being given.
To avoid this, give yourself ample time to prepare—this means starting early on a speech, whenever you can!
If you have left your speech until the last minute (it happens to everyone from time to time) don’t worry! Here are some little things you can do to make it look like you know what you’re doing, even if you don’t have much time to prepare.
Practice, practice, practice!
This is probably a no-brainer, but saying your speech aloud, over and over, will help a lot. The more you practice, the easier and more natural it will feel on the big day. Getting your rhythm, volume, and gestures down will also instill confidence. Try performing your speech to a friend or loved one and getting some feedback—or, if this isn’t possible, film yourself giving the speech and play it back.
Do your research
Being well versed on your topic makes all the difference. The audience will be able to tell if you haven’t done your research, as there may be inconsistencies in your speech, or you might trip over words. It pays to know your stuff!
Consider a visual aid
Sometimes, a speech can really benefit from a visual aid. A visual aid is something physical, like a picture or item, that the audience can look at while you talk to gain a better understanding of your topic. Having an interesting visual aid can really increase audience focus during your speech, plus, it’s fun!
After you’re done with your speech, the audience may have questions about your topic, and nothing makes you look more unprepared than your mind going blank at the last second! Take a good look at your speech and try to anticipate areas the audience might ask about or want more information on. Do research to determine the answers to these questions and write down the answers so that you have resources when the time comes. On the big day, if someone asks a question you aren’t prepared for, do the honest thing—it’s perfectly okay to tell them you don’t know, or aren’t sure! Lying to cover your gap in knowledge is irresponsible and tacky. You can make the audience a promise to do research and get back to them, or, even better, name some resources so they can learn more on their own!
Logical vs. Emotional Appeals
There are two different types of speeches—logical speeches, where the information is based on cold hard facts, and emotional speeches, where the audience is captivated by the need to care. Many of the best speeches have both of these aspects—a combination of logical information, and emotional storytelling. This approach doesn’t necessarily work for all topics, but this mix can be both engaging and trustworthy for a variety of different topics.
Picking a Good Topic
Last but not least, we’ve arrived at the choosing of the topic. There are a couple things to keep in mind when picking your topic.
Know Your Audience
First of all, know your audience! When giving a speech, it’s important to understand who you’re speaking to, and tailor your speech to what they’d like to hear about. Would an arena full of sports fans rather hear a speech about the use of steroids in professional sports leagues, or a speech about the disappearance of the arts in schools? Knowing who you’re talking to, and their interests, can make all the difference!
Pick Something You Care About
You’ll have to spend a lot of time researching this topic, and learning all the ins and outs of it, so it should be something you’re intrigued by! Plus, the audience will be able to tell if you don’t care about the information you’re giving.
No one wants to hear the same thing over and over, so try to pick a topic that maybe people haven’t heard much about before. It could be interesting for the audience to learn about something new, rather than hearing about the same tired topics they already know.
Here are some possible topics for your speech:
Should school art department budgets be increased?
How does art and music affect mental health?
Should there be more regulation of the entertainment industry?
Should all kids be required to learn an instrument?
Should offensive words be removed from literature?
Does watching violent tv and movies/playing violent video games encourage violent behavior?
Should college be free?
Should the government forgive student loan debt?
What kind of regulations should there be for children being homeschooled?
Should students be allowed to have cell phones in class?
Should kids be required to play a sport in school?
Should Greek life be abolished in colleges?
Should the SAT’s be abolished?
Should schools require students to wear uniforms?
Should schools teach abstinence only or STI/Pregnancy Prevention sex education?
Should airline tickets be cheaper?
Does tourism boost local economy?
Should fuel-run vehicles be banned?
How important is travel to an understanding of cultural differences?
How serious is global warming?
What can we, as humans, do to help the environment?
Should animal testing be illegal?
Should zoos be illegal?
Should owning an exotic pet be illegal?
Should hunting be made illegal?
What are the pros and cons of universal healthcare?
Should presidents be allowed to hold office for more than 4 years?
Is it too easy to order a missile strike? Should it be harder?
Should voting be mandatory?
Should the national minimum wage be raised?
Should be military budget be reduced?
Should the government pay for rehabilitation?
Should women be drafted alongside men?
Should Puerto Rico become the 51st state?
Families and Religion
Should companies be required to provide paid maternity leave? How about paternity leave?
Should women be allowed to be priests?
Nature versus nurture—which has more of a profound influence on a child?
Should churches have to pay taxes?
Should parents force their children to go to church?
Should children have the right to privacy from their parents?
Should the government regulate internet usage?
At what age should children be allowed on social media?
Are social media influencers beneficial or harmful to society?
Should military forces be allowed to use drones?
Should the government enforce privacy laws for tech companies?
Should everyone have free access to the internet?
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