Explanatory Speech Topics

Explanatory speeches give audiences a deeper understanding of the subject.

Explanatory speeches explain, describe and inform the audience about a given topic. Typically they focus on the “how and why” rather than just telling them about a subject. This leaves the audience with a deeper understanding of the subject matter rather than just a summary. The number and scope of explanatory topics vary but these areas can help speakers get started in the right direction.

1 History

Explanatory speeches about history span centuries of information and can include wars, historical figures and important moments of history. Topics about wars include the World War I, the Korean War and the Revolutionary War where the speaker focuses on describing the events that led up to each of these wars, what decisions the military made to end combat and the consequences of each. Speeches about historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Beethoven and Vincent van Gogh can address how Lincoln attempted to heal a fractured nation, why Beethoven wrote the music he did and the thought process behind some of van Gogh’s greatest works. If speaking about the Civil Rights movement, the speech can address how organizers took to the streets to protest and eventually win favorable legislation.

2 Health

Health topics effect just about everyone regardless of age or location. Speaking about issues like losing weight, eating healthier and starting a fitness program all can leave an audience with a better understanding of the topic. Explaining to an audience the benefits of doing each of these things and including advice from doctors, nutritionists, fitness experts and even those with a personal success story can all aid in the speech. Supporting a speech like this with facts and government data that shows lower healthcare costs and lower instances of high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol can show how and why people benefit from these activities.

3 Media

Media topics cover the fields of advertising, television, radio and the publishing industry to name a few. Explanatory topics include journalism ethics, the expansion of cable television and the role of advertising to children. Topics about journalism ethics can explain the importance of ethical decisions by journalists and show how and why bad ethical decisions lead to a damaged credibility and lower readership. In a speech about cable television’s expansion, speakers can cover the rise of cable television and how it led to lower ratings numbers for the “Big 3” networks. A speech about advertising to children can explain how advertisers market goods to children and how they tailor their message to increase sales.

4 Religion

An explanatory speech topic about religion can explain the foundations of some of the world’s most popular religions, how and why they came to be, their influence today and what the future holds for them. Topics can also include religious figures like Pope John Paul II and his fight against communism in his homeland of Poland; examining how his decisions freed a nation made him both a powerful religious and political figure. Speakers can also talk about how much money each of the world’s major religions possesses and how that money can buy influence.

Alex Barski began writing professionally in 2006. He is a former television news reporter now working in news management and has written for regional magazines and business journals in Pennsylvania. Barski has also served as a college professor, teaching courses in mass media and writing. He has a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications and English from King's College.