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UMKC University Libraries

COMM-ST 110: Fundamentals of Effective Speaking & Listening

Public Speaking Books

Where to Find Ideas for a Speech

  • What have you been discussing in your other classes?
  • What is happening in the world that you care about?

Library Databases

These tools have articles on social issues that can help you find potential topics for your speech, or to look at an issue from multiple perspectives.

Gather Background Information

  • Gain familiarity with the topic so you can speak about it accurately
  • Identify more specific aspects of the topic on which to focus your main points
  • Provide outside context and identify differing perspectives
  • Identify experts related to the topic

This database includes hundreds of online reference books including dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other resources in all subject areas:

Questions to Focus Your Topic

Narrowing a topic helps you to be more specific about your research interest and can help you to develop a thesis.

  • Who? Who is the specific person or group affected by the issue you're speaking about?
  • What? What specific parts of the broader issue are interesting to you?
  • Where? To which specific geographic area or region can you limit your research?
  • When? Is the issue relevant to listeners right now? What time period can focus on in your research?
  • Why? Why do you think this is an important or interesting topic, and how can you persuade your audience to agree?

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