Thursday, June 14, 2012

Deciding on the Subject Matter

Even when your theme has been chosen for you by someone else, there remains to you a considerable field for choice of subject matter. The same considerations, in fact, that would govern you in choosing a theme must guide in the selection of the material.

Ask yourself—or someone else—such questions as these:
  • What is the precise nature of the occasion?
  • How large an audience may be expected?
  • From what walks of life do they come?
  • What is their probable attitude toward the theme?
  • Who else will speak?
  • Do I speak first, last, or where, on the program?
  • What are the other speakers going to talk about?
  • What is the nature of the auditorium?
  • Is there a desk?
  • Could the subject be more effectively handled if somewhat modified?
  • Precisely how much time am I to fill?

It is evident that many speech-misfits of subject, speaker, occasion and place are due to failure to ask just such pertinent questions. What should be said, by whom, and in what circumstances, constitute ninety per cent of efficiency in public address. No matter who asks you, refuse to be a square peg in a round hole.