Chapter 1: Mastering the ABCs of Public Speaking

Hitting the Bull's-eye: From a General Purpose to a Specific One

Once you've established your general purpose, you need to make it more specific. To determine your specific purpose, first review the categories above to select a specific type of speech and then combine it with a concept that you initially think will work for your speech. As you read further, your specific purpose may change but at least you'll have a starting point.

Here are some examples of how you move a general purpose to a more specific one:

As you review the above examples, notice that they integrate a specific topic with one of the general purposes from the prior section. As you do this for your speech, remember that less is more. If you pick a topic that is too broad, you'll be overwhelmed by the vast information that is available and you'll have a hard time trying to determine the relevant pieces that you need to include in your talk. You know your topic is too general if you have a hard time determining which details you need to include for a meaningful speech. Just think, how could you do a speech on beverages? That's way too broad. By the same token, how can you do a speech on water? Sure, water is a type of beverage but it's still too general. Now, if you wanted to do a speech on the benefits of bottled water, that's more specific and will allow you to develop a fascinating speech.





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