Public Speaking for College & Career: Selecting a topic, purpose, and central idea Flashcards

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created 7 years ago by chaneasegarvey
updated 7 years ago by chaneasegarvey
Grade levels:
6th grade, 7th grade, 8th grade, 9th grade, 10th grade, 11th grade, 12th grade, College: First year, College: Second year, College: Third year, College: Fourth year, Graduate school, Professional
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Selecting a topic

  • Select a topic you care about
  • use personal experiences
  • explore interests
  • brainstorm
  • explore the Internet
  • choose a topic that will interest the audience
  • Narrow your topic


  • Generating many ideas quickly and uncritically
  • write down whatever pops into your mind
  • seeing words on the page helps you focus you thinking

Narrowing your topic

  • Helps you control your material
  • prevents you from wandering in a huge territory

General purpose

  • The broad objective of the speech
  • Will help you bring a topic under control
  • examples:
    • To inform
    • To persuade
    • to entertain
    • to introduce

To inform

  • An informative speech
  • goal is to give new information to your listeners
  • examples:
    • define a concept
    • Explain a situation
    • demonstrate a process
    • describe a person, place, or event

To persuade

  • Persuasive speech
  • to win your listeners to your point of view
  • influence their thinking
  • or prompt them to take action

To entertain

  • An entertaining speech
  • is aimed at amusing or diverting your audience

Specific purpose

  • The precise goal that the speaker wants to achieve
  • States exactly what you want to accomplish in your speech
  • HElp you to bring your ideas into sharp focus so that you don't wander aimlessly in your speech


  • A verb form beginning with to
  • example:
    • to write
    • to read

Guidelines for formulating a specific purpose statement

  1. Begin the statement with an infinitive
    • clearly states your intent
  2. Include a Reference to Your Audience
    • Serves to remind you that your goal is not to just stand up and talk but also to communicate your ideas to real flesh and blood human beings
  3. Limit the Statement to One Major Idea
  4. Make Your Statement As Precise As Possible
  5. Don't be too technical

Central Idea

  • the key concept of the speech
  • expressed in one sentence
  • is the thesis sentence on the speech
  • "if you were to boil your speech down to one sentence what would you say?"

Difference Between Specific Purpose and Central Idea

  • the specific purpose is written from your point of view... is what you set out to accomplish
  • the central idea is written from the listeners point of the message they go away with

Guidelines for the Central Idea

  1. Should have only one central idea
  2. Put the central idea on paper
  3. Limit the central idea to one sentence
  4. Make an assertion rather than an announcement or a statement of a fact
  5. Let the central idea determine the content of the speech

Overview of Speech Design

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