The first step in public speaking is to select the topic. This should be taken from the occasion itself. For instance, for Empire Day one would choose a different subject than for the Fourth of July. The occasion may suggest its own topic or one may ask the chairman what he thinks would be a suitable subject to talk upon. Whatever is selected must be of mutual interest to the speaker and his audience. There are certain general considerations. Will the topic tend to accomplish the objective? Is it suited to the occasion? Can it be treated within the time limit? Is it simple enough for oral presentation? A topic limited in scope is better than a more general subject that has to be covered by a hard-packed address. Any topic that will help the Navy is a good one. Any controversial or confidential subject should be avoided. There are certain considerations regarding the audience. What are its emotions, interests, and understanding? A heterogeneous audience is harder to talk to than a well-knit one having a common interest. An audience composed of boys or young people is a particularly difficult one.
By Commander Frank Luckel, U. S. Navy