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SPE 111: Developing Topic Ideas

Speech to inform topic ideas


What are you an expert on?

+ You already know a lot

- Might be more difficult to find good outside sources

What do you want to learn more about?

+Will be useful to you/more authentic search process

-May take a bit more time. 

"I will be informing an audience of ______ (about/how to) ______. This will be valuable to my audience to _______"


"I will be informing an audience of college students about the dangers of K-12 zero tolerance policies. This will be valuable to my audience who may not know about this problem that affects their peers and society."

"I will be informing an audience of student drivers about how to drive safely and properly in hazardous conditions. This will be valuable to my audience who will likely find themselves driving during a rainstorm or snowstorm."


Speech to persuade

What do you believe in?

This could be a :

  • Political opinion
  • Ethical belief
  • Cultural/aesthetic belief

Choose something you feel confident about and that you could speak clearly on but it doesn't have to be directly tied to your life experience. 

Keep in mind your audience, and try to brainstorm two or three arguments before you start your research.

If you can state it like this, you have an awesome start:

"I will be persuading (audience) to _____. I will talk about (arguments). An argument against this is _____, so I should look into____."


"I will be persuading a group of college students to study abroad. I will tell them about the benefits of studying abroad, which include understanding different cultures, pushing one's boundaries, and the benefits to your career/grad school admissions. Some people might argue that studying abroad is a waste of money, so I should be prepared to discuss funding opportunities and financial benefits."

"I will be persuading a group of coworkers to unionize. I will discuss the power of collective bargaining in general, and specifically increased possibility of higher wages and safer working conditions. An argument against unions is that conditions have improved and they are no longer needed so I should look into examples of modern industries where employees are poorly treated.

General tips

  • Stay flexible.
  • Keep your audience in mind.
  • You don't have to give yourself an uphill battle- what can you find information about?
  • Choose something you believe in, but it doesn't have to be what you're most passionate about
  • Remember that your argument will be stronger if you find a source you can argue against.