Informative Speech Topic Ideas by Brian B. Carter, MS, LAc|
Need an Informative Speech Topic?
I've never had trouble choosing an informative speech topic- I started speaking after I was already learning alternative health, and there's plenty that people don't know about that.
What makes a good or bad informative speech topic?
I was already part of the way there- my speech topic was interesting. So when you choose your informative speech topic, don't pick something your audience is going to groan about as soon as they hear it! Gun control has been done. Drunk driving is old. Abortion is too polarized. Legalizing marijuana... all of these are a death sentence, and so is capital punishment. You can't talk about them without bias, and even if you could your audience won't put aside theirs. Save them for a challenging persuasive speech topic.
What kind of informative speech does your audience want to hear?
Choose an informative speech topic either your audience knows nothing about, or that hasn't given much thought to - for the second one, I mean things that are commonplace, but when you think about it, you realize you don't know how it works or what it is - e.g., what is escrow? Why does inflation happen? What happens to your trash after the garbage truck takes it? Who determines TV and radio ratings? And so on. Look around your life and see if something like this sticks out.
Your informative speech topic should be entertaining, or useful. What happens to your trash is trivial unless you make it funny, or there's an ethical implication. But don't get into persuading - just inform!
What does Toastmasters say about informative speech topics?
According to Toastmasters International, the best known public speaking organization, people learn when the information is relevant, relates to what they already know, involves them, is clearly organized, is presented in an interesting way, is repeated, and involves visual aids.
So, in some ways, your informative speech topic is not as important as the spin you put on it, how your package it, and how you present it.
First it must be interesting to you. Second, the information must reach your audience by being interesting to them... there are all kinds of presentation tricks you can do to involve them, but that's another topic!
But here's an example- I wanted to inform people about something specific with acupuncture. People are afraid it will hurt. Yet, most of my patients think it's basically painless, and were pleasantly surprised the first time how good it made them feel. I wanted to contrast the negative expectation with the positive reality. So my informative speech topic was "How Acupuncture Feels" but I used surprise as a tactic to deliver the message. I also used analogy, because the "Acu Buzz" was so elusive- I compared it to a number of good and complicated experiences (swimming and the taste of oysters) that were hard to describe but fairly commonplace. I answered their questions, kept it interesting, delivered something unexpected, and related it to something they already knew about.
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