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Specific Purposes and Central Ideas. Choosing A Topic. The first step in speechmaking. Pick a topic that: You know a lot about. You want to know more about. Your audience can relate to or enjoy. What if I can’t think of anything?. Brainstorm List hobbies, interests, attitudes, experiences

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Choosing a topic l.jpg
Choosing A Topic

  • The first step in speechmaking.

  • Pick a topic that:

    • You know a lot about.

    • You want to know more about.

    • Your audience can relate to or enjoy.


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What if I can’t think of anything?

  • Brainstorm

  • List hobbies, interests, attitudes, experiences

  • Google interesting topics to find a starting point for your speech


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The Specific Purpose

  • A single infinitive sentence that states precisely what a speaker hopes to accomplish in his/her speech.

  • Example: To inform my audience about the causes of global warming.

  • Example: To demonstrate to my audience how to change a flat tire.

  • Example: To persuade my audience to participate in the campus blood drive.


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Tips for Writing the Specific Purpose

  • Write a full infinitive sentence.

    • Incorrect: Down’s Syndrome.

    • Correct: To inform my audience about the symptoms of down’s syndrome.

  • Write a statement, not a question.

    • Incorrect: What are panda bears?

    • Correct: To inform my audience about the history of the panda bear.

  • Avoid figurative language.

    • Incorrect: To inform my audience that sky diving is awesome.

    • Correct: To inform my audience about the process of sky diving.

  • Limit the specific purpose to one idea.

    • Incorrect: To inform my audience about NASA and the space shuttle Discovery.

    • Correct: To inform my audience about the space shuttle Discovery.


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The Central Idea

  • Also called a thesis statement.

  • A one-sentence statement that sums up the major ideas of a speech.

  • A concise statement of what you expect to say in you speech.

  • It’s what you want your audience to remember after they have forgotten everything else in your speech.


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Guidelines for the Central Idea

  • A complete sentence.

    • Incorrect: Problems with fad diets.

    • Correct: Fad diets can cause health problems and weight gain.

  • Should not be in the form of a question.

    • Incorrect: How do you know if you have good car insurance?

    • Correct: Good car insurance requires three basic coverages.

  • Should avoid figurative language.

    • Incorrect: Politicians are nothing but skum.

    • Correct: Term limits should be set for all politicians.

  • Should not be too vague or general.

    • Incorrect: Donating blood is good.

    • Correct: Becoming a blood donor can save the lives of four people each time you donate.


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Specific Purposes

  • To inform about genetic mapping and prescription drug research.

  • To inform my audience about genetic mapping.

  • To persuade my wonderful audience.

  • To persuade my audience to ban stem cell research.

  • To tell my audience about the reason for the Brady Bill on handguns in the United States for people who want to purchase guns.

  • To persuade my audience to support the Brady Bill.

  • To demonstrate to my audience the correct way to install a fire alarm.

  • Correct

  • Persuade them to purchase my product.

  • To persuade my audience to purchase my hand cleaner.


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Central Idea Statements

  • Genetic mapping in the United States.

  • Although still in its infancy, genetic mapping is making great strides to cure many life-threatening diseases.

  • The United States Congress should ban stem cell research.

  • Correct

  • The awesome Brady Bill is a superior form of legislation.

  • The Brady Bill saves lives through background checks and waiting periods when purchasing guns.


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Central Idea Statements

  • Fire alarms save lives.

  • To install a fire alarm, you need to choose the correct alarm, install the alarm in the correct area of the house, and regularly check to battery.

  • Why should you buy my hand cleaner?

  • Grease-Be-Gone can get your hands clean while also adding moisture to your dry, rough skin.


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