How do you choose a topic for an informative speech?

Expert Answers
carol-davis eNotes educator| Certified Educator

An informative speech's purpose is to teach or inform the audience about a subject. When trying to find a topic for the speech, think in terms of the speaker as the teacher who will instruct his audience about something.

The presenter is making a commitment to the audience. He is working to impart information and win the approval of the audience. In addition, the audience is making a judgment on the presenter. When deciding on a topic for an informative speech, there are considerations to examine:

1. What would be interesting to the audience?

The topic should be something in which the audience will find interesting. Informative speeches should be enjoyable for the audience. The topic aims to teach the audience and elicit questions at the same time. The audience should not want the speaker to stop speaking because he is so interesting.

The topic should be relatively new to the audience. Remember the speaker has to keep the attention of the audience; therefore, make the subject new and relevant. For example: if the subject were snakes, find something unusual to discuss about snakes.

  • The uses of snake venom
  • The milking of a snake for its venom
  • How to tell the difference between a venomous and non-poisonous snake
  • Snakes are the friends of man
  • A Rattlesnake Round-up

2. What would be interesting to the speaker?

Should the speaker choose a subject about which he is already familiar or should the topic be new to the speaker as well as the audience?

The best choice is choosing something that the speaker will need to learn about as well. Of course, he must have an interest in the topic. If the speaker selects a topic that he already knows about, he sometimes does not put the work and research into the speech as he should. Because he is familiar with the subject, often he feels like he can wing it when he gets up to speak.

  • After selecting the topic, brainstorm the subject so that it becomes obvious what the speaker already knows about his topic.
  • Be sure that there will be plenty of material when the subject is researched. If there is not enough information, choose a different subject.
  • Make sure that the topic can be broken down into at least three aspects of the subject. Here is an example:


  • A. What is it?
  • B. The history of cryonics
  • C. The cost
  • D. The location

These are the aspects and order of the subject in which they would be discussed in the speech.

Remember the three p's of success: Perserverance, preparation, practice. The first two determine the success of the research, and the writing of the speech. Obviously, practice will determine the success of the overall presentation.

Here are some potential topics:

Girls in the military                               Hurricanes

The history of chili peppers                   Tsunamis

The causes of teenage suicide               Botox Injections     

Astronomy                                           Hypnosis

Astrology                                             Cloning

Organ Transplants                                 The Causes of Global Warming

There are so many potential topics.

Have a positive attitude in giving a speech. Remember to utilize the adrenalin that comes when someone is nervous.  Harness and use it to have energy and enthusiasm when you speak. The audience wants you to do well!