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students in communication classes

Planning a Presentation

Choosing a Topic

Choosing a topic can be a struggle for some students. Speech topics can be generated in a few different ways. Here are some suggestions to get you thinking:

Personal interests – Think hobbies, career goals, personal interests and knowledge.
Audience interests – What topics currently impact your audience?
Occasion – Is there a holiday or event that is important happening around your speaking date?
Research – Watching some kind of news program or reading online news, newspapers, magazines etc. can be a great start!

Think About Your Audience

The way you approach your speech topic will vary depending on your audience. Two basic elements to consider are:

Demographics – Age, gender, ethnicity, education level, religious affiliation, economic status, group membership, sexual orientation,etc. are all elements to take into consideration when speaking. For example, you will have to connect differently to an audience of 18-25 year olds when speaking about retirement benefits than you would an audience of 50-65 year olds.

Psychographics – Audience characteristics such as values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors are key considerations when speaking.

NEXT: Developing a Presentation