Selecting a topic, purpose and central idea
Class Activity – Brainstorming



When a speaker is enthusiastic about his or
her ideas, how do listeners usually react?
List the six criteria discussed in this chapter
for writing a specific purpose statement.
What is the difference between the specific
purpose and the central idea?
Select a topic that…

Fits requirements of assignment
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Showcases your experiences and knowledge
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Interests you

You can make interesting and valuable to
your audience
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Establish a general purpose to help bring
your topic under control.
◦ To inform
◦ To persuade
◦ To entertain

What exactly to you want to accomplish in
your speech?
◦ Topic: Foodborne illnesses
◦ General Purpose: To inform
◦ Specific Purpose: To tell my listeners how to protect
themselves from foodborne illnesses

What exactly to you want your audience to
remember from your speech?
◦ Topic: Foodborne illnesses
◦ General Purpose: To inform
◦ Specific Purpose: To tell my listeners how to protect
themselves from foodborne illnesses
◦ Central Idea: Monitoring food temperatures is a
great way to avoid foodborne illnesses
Let’s use football as an example:
Football
- Explain divisions / conferences
- Explain job of coaching
- Explain history
- Explain artificial vs. natural turf
Brainstorm for possible main points
 Narrow to 3 – 5 possible main points

 Narrow
down the following broad
subjects to specific, manageable
topics:
◦ Outdoor recreation
◦ Musical groups
◦ Illegal drugs
◦ Saving money
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Selecting a topic and purpose