CMST 220 Public Speaking (Denton)

This guide will help you find evidence for an informative speech or a persuasive speech on a selected social issue for Kelsey Denton's CMST &220.

Brainstorming: Mind Maps and Lists

When you are starting out with a topic, you can use brainstorming techniques like mind mapping or topic lists combined with initial searching to identify major ideas and keywords that you can use to build additional, focused searches and organize your outline concepts for your speech:

Mind Maps

example of a generic topic mind map

image credit: - mind map examples

In your topic mind map, you can identify several of your topic's major ideas, and then map subtopics and related ideas, or start with a general (over-broad) topic and use the mind map to narrow down your speech topic, eventually choosing one subtopic or a related set of subtopics to focus on. 

If you have trouble building a mind map for your topic -- maybe you're not sure what all the subtopics are, or it is something you are interested in but don't know much about yet -- you can do an initial web search or two and see if you can identify additional ideas that you might want to bring into your outline.

mind map on "how to focus in an age of distraction"


"Broad to Narrow" Topic Lists 

If you would prefer, instead of mind mapping, you can try making a list of your topic and related subtopics or ideas. The idea is you will start broad and focus on more specific examples as you move left-to-right for different aspects of your topic:

A general topic 
major topic idea #1 subtopics of idea 1 related ideas to subtopic 1
major topic idea #2 subtopics of idea 2 related ideas to subtopic 2
major topic idea # 3 subtopics of idea 3 related ideas to subtopic 3
example topic: How to focus away from technology distractions
how to get necessary work done (focus)

* techniques for focus

*managing the work space

* avoid procrastination

*Pomodomo technique

*bullet journaling / lists / setting goals

*organization / desk clutter

* effects of multitasking (good or bad?)

*why do we procrastinate?

technology distractions

*social media


*Internet blocking programs

*what does social media do to attention?

*email time management - best practices

routines / scheduling

*setting a habit

*most effective practices

*what doesn't work?

*effective work habits

*tips from people experienced with working from home? 

*study techniques?

*most common focus problems?


Google Web Search

If you are starting out with your topic or would like some ideas for subtopics, try an initial web search or two and use broad scanning to look at the results - looking shallowly but being flexible so you can get an early overview of your topic.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Search results can come from many different places and have different purposes - informative, persuasive, commercial, humorous...  Read with a critical eye and use results that match your information need.
  • Don't worry about finding too much information! You want ideas at this early step.
  • If you see a term, name, or organization names frequently in your search results - take a note! You might use it to find more results later.