Not a Debate: Need Help With Controversial Speech

Lacye - posted on 03/20/2012 ( 14 moms have responded )




As some of you know, I'm a college student. This semester I have to take Public Speaking and let's be honest, it's kicking my butt! For our last speech, which is due in 3 weeks, we have to do a persuasion speech. The teacher said that it has to be something controversial that will be interesting to the rest of my class. Considering most of the other people in there are between the ages 18 and 21, single, and no children, I'm having a tough time with this. lol Will yall give me some suggestions? What should I do my speech on? I have thought about breastfeeding, abortions, and spousal abuse but I'm not sure that's the route I want to go.


Christina - posted on 03/20/2012




I would do the Breastfeeding it is controversial, and because of the other students its not going to be over heard or done... took this kind of class a few years ago lots of students do legalizing pot, abortion an gay marriage an they over do it til you can say their next words before they do. try to be original it will help your grade... Good luck

Tracey - posted on 03/21/2012




Considering the posts on here about the pill how about something regarding the proposed new laws. I'm sure most of your 18 years olds would be horrified if they thought something was going to limit the amount of protected sex thay have.

Or the debate about infanticide / post birth abortion for disabled / unwanted babies that was also here recently.

[deleted account]

i took oral communications in college. we had to do a persuasion speech. i actually don't remember mine but a lot of the other people in my class did something along the lines of:


legal drinking age (at the time there was a big debate about changing the drinking age to 18 for some reason)

capital punishment - schools or prison

gun laws

and nobody did a speech on it but i just thought about pets and what pets should or shouldn't be outlawed. like a lot of towns have outlawed the owning of pit bulls and other "fighting" dogs, and i think at least in some parts of the US it's illegal to own certain exotic pets.

also this would have been interesting to me: why saving your money is a good thing and how to do it the right way. present studies on the best banks in the region and give options and talk about how investing in a savings account will help in the future and whatnot.

most single non-parenting young adults are interested in that sort of stuff. these are things they are more concerned about.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/20/2012




Oh I thought of three more...

1.Euthanasia - "Is it more than just pulling the plug"

2.Spanking - "Would you or wouldn't you"

3.Death Penalty - "Does it help deter or not"

Sorry, I read other's comments after. I can see how legalizing pot would be common. So, I thought what other idea's are there... ;)


Alternative medicine, Binge drinking, Bioethics, Illegal Immigration, Home Schooling, Human Rights.... Ok Ok, that's all I have.

Good Luck!!


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Lacye - posted on 03/21/2012




Rebecca, I was thinking about when the man gets abused. I know it's not really something you can persuade someone else on. I'm still thinking. lol

I think somebody was wondering where I am from, I'm from Mississippi. Yes, I am smack in the center of the Bible belt. :D

I really want to stay away from religion because there really isn't much to persuade there. Most of the other students will be Christians and while I want to have a hot topic, I don't want to be lynched for disagreeing with somebody.

I kinda like the idea of doing something about when MS was talking about getting rid of birth control. It's in the past but it would be a great idea.

Thanks everybody for the suggestions!

Ania - posted on 03/21/2012




I would not do the breastfeeding, because most of your audience have no idea about it because they themselves never even had a baby. This topic unlike abortion is completely useless for them. Not necesarilly spousal but men abusing women would work...I would go for abortion though or something with religion....

[deleted account]

Two topic suggestions:

1) the Stand your ground laws --- I think you could find a wealth of information on this right now because it's so topical with the shooting of the 17 boy in Florida by the neighborhood watch member. You could even take the slant of looking at gun control as well, since the watch member had a handgun with a concealed weapon permit. Do Stand Your Ground laws increase the amounts of justified shootings? Or should we be leaving law enforcement to the professionals?

2) Branching off on the issue of women's rights, I think a great topic that I raise in the law classes I teach is the issue of Roe vs. Wade and its affects on the right to birth control. It is common to hear people advocating to overturn Roe; however, Roe was merely one case in the long line of cases dealing with the right to personal privacy. The cases go all the way back to the Griswold v. Connecticut case. These cases start with the right of married couples to use birth control, then to single people to use birth control, the right of "mental defectives" and others not to be forcibly sterlized, the right of consenting adults to engage in oral and anal sex, the decriminalizaton of adultry, the right of adults to view and purchase pornography, etc. To overturn Roe, you would have to overturn the right to privacy, which would overturn all the prior cases. Which means no right to birth control, no right to pornography, no right to have sex how you want to have sex (e.g., sodomy was illegal in almost all states and it prohibits oral sex and anal sex), the right to not be forceably sterlized, re-institutes criminal penalties for adultery, etc.. These are all important rights which most young people take for granted. Whenever I raise this in my classes, it's always a great conversation starter. There is invariably someone who is very pro life who thinks Roe should be overturned. Sometimes these people stall when they realize what else would be involved in that; othertimes they are firm in their convictions. Either way, it's a big "waking up" point for the rest of the class, who often having really thought these issues though.

Mother - posted on 03/21/2012




What about the big hubabaloo over removing "in God we trust" in Institutions?

Mother - posted on 03/21/2012




I have not read the previous comment, so if I'm doubling up, please accept my apologies!!!

What about circumcision? This group of young adults will be the next generation of parents. Or, what about students who have children?? Daycare's in school facilities?? It was a huge issue here once. The controversy on vaccines. [everyone was expecting me to say it, so figured I would ;P] We just had a huge discussion over legalizing marijuana. I don't know where you live but what about urban farming or sustainable living?. There are 3 court battles that I know of all across Canada in favour of backyard chickens and gardens. Yup, another personal plug. We're one of those court battles. Did you know that most bylaws state you CAN NOT have a garden that provides staple food?? And with all the food recalls, and chemicals and hormones being put in our food....its a big court battle. Paul Hughes in Calgary is in Court as we speak trying to make it so people have the right to raise their own food, within reason of course. Or what about wind turbine fields? Lots of flack over those. What about homeschooling or even more controversial....unschooling. That would certainly get your teachers attention. Or what about the call to serve, teens must sign to get their drivers licence or enroll in school?? Which states, at any given time young men can be drafted to war should one commence?? [only in the states] Canada runs on a volunteer basis. gimme a bit I'll think of more. I'm a walking controversy, so I'm told.

Mary - posted on 03/21/2012




I agree with Tracey - contraception coverage is probably the most controversial of topics that would appeal to this age group. I would venture a guess that a fair number of your classmates are still on their parent's policies (since they can now remain on it until the age of 26, even if they are not a FT student).

Another controversial topic of particular interest right now is what exactly the term "Freedom of Religion" means with regards to the Constitution and the Federal Government. I'm thinking that is a huge issue in your geographic area.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/20/2012




To legalize or not to legalize pot... ;)

I think this is a controversial subject and a good age group to speak about it to.

Depending on what route you wanted to persuade them. Here are a few idea's to both sides.

To Legalize:

-Good medicinal purposes

-Costs the Government a lot of resources and money to catch the common puffer

-Alcohol is harder on the body

-3/4 of the population at least dabble in it. The Government could increase profit for our communities.

To Illegalize:

-Causes neurotransmitters in the brain to stop functioning properly

-Can cause psychological addiction if over used

-Would be highly taxed

-Have to worry about another behaviour changing drug on the market (like tobacco/alcohol)

-Need another way to recognize drivers under the influence

Or another subject "Human Cloning". This could be a highly controversial subject.

Deidre - posted on 03/20/2012




My experience in the speech of persuasion is it really works well when you adhere to the audience side of emotion. The POWER of persuasion is incredible, especially when people FEEL what is being presented. Just like when Lawyers have their closing arguments. The client may have actually committed the crime, but when the attorney makes me think in terms of myself, I tend to be swayed in the other direction, or so to speak.

So, you are right there by acknowledging the age group in which you are presenting to. We need to think of topics in which this age group would be passionate about. Maybe the IDEA of all their Freedom being taken away? You know how they think they can't survive without their cell phone or other technologies? What if their was a LAW being passed to take away all of their benefits of technology? Persuading them to protest at the next official gathering would be great! Get them all riled up to fight for their rights as human beings in America. I know their age group is way low for interest in actual voting, but they may be interested in a protest...

Gosh, this is difficult! Man, that age group seems to not be very passionate about anything, so I'm really having a hard time trying to figure out a topic that would be appropriate for them... I'll continue to brain storm :)

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