After selecting a topic, refining it, outlining its components (general purpose, specific purpose, possible ideas for main points), and taking into consideration the interests of the audience, it is time to add pizzazz to the speech by conducting research. This represents the process of systematically investigating a subject or topic area as a means to gather new facts and information, so in a sense, research helps speakers make their speeches fresh, unique, innovative, and interesting.
The arduous task of gathering information to use in a speech can feel quite challenging in the Information Age due to the overwhelming abundance available. One of the main keys to conducting effective research is to keep the specific purpose in mind when starting. Write or print out the specific purpose and keep it nearby while beginning the quest to seek new and innovative information. This simple practice will prevent wasted time and effort.
Lastly, start researching as early as possible. This should occur soon after the speaker refines the topic and considers the audience’s needs based on their knowledge and interest levels. Of all the tasks involved in preparing an effective presentation, the two portions requiring the most time and dedicated effort are the research process and rehearsal/practice (covered in Chapter 8).