it can also be because of lack of experience. For example, people may have learned how to drive a car in a driver education class, but if they’ve never been behind the wheel of a car, they’re not really going to know how to drive. Would giving a speech on how to drive a car at this point be useful? No. Instead, these people need practice, not another speech. Lastly, when you determine that the major cause of t he need is informational, it’s time to determine the best way to deliver that information. KEY TAKEAWAYS Conducting a personal inventory is a good way to start the topic selection process. When we analyze our own experiences, interests, knowledge, and passions, we often find topics that others will also find interesting and useful.
Saylor URL: Saylor.org 172 A speaker can investigate finding aids when searching for a good topic. Various finding aids have their positives and negatives, so we recommend investigating several different finding aids to see what topic ideas inspire you. One way to ensure a successful speech is to identify your audience’s interests or needs. When the speaker’s topic is immediately useful for the audience, the audience will listen to the speech and appreciate it. EXERCISES 1.Look at the questions posed in this chapter related to conducting a personal inventory. Do you see any potential speech ideas developing from your personal inventory? If yes, which one do you think would impact your audience the most? 2. Take a broad subject area and then use two of the different finding aids to see what types of topics appear. Are you finding similarities or differences? The goal of this activity is to demonstrate how taking a very broad topic can be narrowed down to a more manageable topic using finding aids. 3. For an upcoming speech in your public speaking class, create a simple survey to determine your audience’s needs. Find out what your audience may find interesting. Remember, the goal is to find out what your audience needs, not necessarily what you think your audience needs. 6.4 Specific Purposes LEARNING OBJECTIVES 1. Understand the process of extending a general purpose into a specific purpose. 2. Integrate the seven tips for creating specific purposes. Once you have chosen your general purpose and your topic, it’s time to take your speech to the next phase and develop your specific purpose. A specific purpose starts with one of the three general purposes and then
Saylor URL: Saylor.org 173 specifies the actual topic you have chosen and the basic objective you hope to accomplish with your speech. Basically, the specific purpose answers the who , what , when , where , and why questions for your speech. Getting Specific When attempting to get at the core of your speech (the specific purpose), you need to know a few basic things about your speech. First, you need to have a general purpose. Once you know whether your goal is to inform, persuade, or entertain, picking an appropriate topic is easier. Obviously, depending on the
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