Last week our blog post was about identifying the purpose of your speech in order to be guided in the right direction when choosing a topic. This week, we have more direction for you on “pinpointing the right topic”!
The topic of a speech will give it direction and focus. A topic should also appeal to the audience and be memorable. Once the purpose of the speech has been determined (in accordance with the theme of the event), the speaker can begin carefully praying about the topic or topics for her presentation. If the speaker has multiple sessions, the topics should be related.
Pastor Andy Stanley shares insight about how he determines the topic for a sermon series. He tries to answer five questions in order to provide information, motivation, application, inspiration and reiteration for his congregation.
- What do they need to know? (information)
- Why do they need to know it? (motivation)
- What do they need to do? (application)
- Why do they need to do it? (inspiration)
- How can I help them remember? (reiteration)
The decision about a topic is the most important decision a speaker will make. In Speak Up with Confidence, Carol Kent emphasizes the importance of choosing the best topic for a speech. Speakers should ask specific questions about potential topics. Answer these questions as you determine the topic about which you will speak.
- What do I know a lot about?
- Do I have an urgency to speak about it? Do I feel enthusiastic about sharing my ideas with someone else?
- Does anyone want to hear it?
Ideas for topics are everywhere! Keep your eyes open. Notice billboards and bumper stickers for relevant phrases. Skim magazine covers for catchy titles for speeches. Advertisements on television and in print material often reflect audience interest and would be appropriate topics for talks. Keep a SWIPE file – or folder of possible topics – for future talks. Tear out the article or page from the magazine to keep for future reference. The millions of dollars spent each year by marketing firms could help determine an appropriate topic for a speech.
As you read your Bible, make notes in the margins and in a journal as the Lord speaks to you. Study the passage and outline some major points. Note a major topic or theme that you could share. Ask the Lord to reveal His Word to you, and pray for an opportunity to share it with others. Many Bible lessons begin with personal study which is life changing. Keeping a journal develops the discipline of writing and provides topics for speaking opportunities!
Let the hunt for the best topic begin!