6 Steps to Help you Choose what Topic to Talk About

Public speaking is one of the most exciting or nerve-racking experiences you get to have while building your career, depending on how you look at it. It is your chance to make your opinion known, pitch a fantastic idea, or simply voice your point of view. You may not realize it, but your speech, when delivered well, could result in that promotion you’ve been waiting for or cause a change in your company that will benefit several people. To make a successful speech, you should know precisely what you want to say. Be clear in your mind your subject matter and what area you will focus on. Here are 6 steps to help you choose what topic to talk about.

Consider all possibilities.

When delivering a speech, unless a topic is assigned to you, you can talk about nearly any subject there is out there.

You can speak about the weather, what you had for breakfast, what you think about the president’s leadership style, why you chose to wear what you’re wearing, or practically anything at all. Only those that are clearly wrong for the audience or occasion should be ruled out, such as a speech about politics made to an audience of elementary students or about Halloween on Christmas Day. Otherwise, rule nothing out. Keep an open mind as you search for the perfect speech subject and consider each new topic you might encounter.

Consider your personal passions or subject matter that you are very familiar with.

What do you want to talk about? What do you need to talk about? What topic matters to you and your career most?

Keep this in mind: time is more precious than material wealth, and this is what your audience will give you when listening to your speech. Make your speech matter… for your audience, for the organization, and for you. If there is a subject matter that interests you, perhaps one that you have some personal experience or connection with, consider that topic first–no need to go beyond what you really want to talk about.

Standing in front of people to deliver a speech about a familiar topic allows you to talk of things you personally care about or have firsthand knowledge of. You can then get your ideas and feelings across on a more personal level. This way, the experience becomes more meaningful for everyone and not a bore-fest in the workplace. If you are familiar with the subject, you will feel very confident and sure of yourself, and will definitely be excited to stand up and deliver.

Consider other sources.

Regardless of whether you know your subject inside-out and are very familiar with it or not, you still need to have references to back up your claims or add flavor to your speech. If, on the other hand, you are not able to choose a subject that you know so well and have no other workable ideas, you will need to find help from other sources. Perhaps your boss or colleagues assigned you a topic to discuss. In such cases, your boss or colleagues are your first sources of knowledge. Ask them what information they want to exhaust and why they assigned you that topic in the first place.

The next logical place for you to look for sources is online. This is an advantage that students and professionals didn’t have, say more than a decade ago. Doing research and finding information for public speaking is made much easier these days, thanks to the Internet. There you can find limitless possibilities and ideas that can stimulate your thinking. Simply type in the information you need, but always make sure your sources are reliable and authoritative. Not everything you see online is correct. Instead of looking into Google, try Google Scholar, where you can find journals and scholarly references.

Test your topic.

Once you have zeroed in on a possible speech topic, start searching for specific and more detailed information. Test the topic you have chosen for now by free-writing about seeing how much you already know. You can also skim through several articles and create some idea clusters. Try to determine just how much information on the subject you already have, especially how much new or exciting details you have on hand.

Find a focus.

Choosing a topic is different from finding a focus. If you are satisfied with the topic you have chosen to work on, focus on the particular area that seems best suited for the time limit you have, the people who will be listening to you, and the occasion.

Finding your focus means being more specific. For instance, if your chosen topic is how to improve the work area, your focus could be on keeping the office clean and in order, purchasing new equipment, or improving the working relationship among employees.

State your topic.

You should now be able to state your topic and purpose in one declarative sentence, using your own words. The sentence you will come up with will serve as your thesis statement, and you can begin with “My purpose is…” and followed by one of the four main goals of public speaking: to inform, to convince, to stimulate, or to interest.

There you go. Now you selected a topic for your speech—time to start writing. For more writing and speaking tips, regularly visit LingualBox to get helpful ideas.


I am Edwin Estioko and I have years of experience in writing and editing for international audience. With a bachelor's degree in English and master's degree in Ministry, I am a published author of children's books and an elementary English textbook.