The ideal speech topic is interesting, engaging and above all, something that the speaker cares about. If the speaker doesn't particularly care about what he or she is arguing, it will be very obvious. Topics for persuasive speeches can range from politics to social issues to music or art. Keep in mind that a good speech often acknowledges other points of view and considers that most provocative questions don't have easy answers.
Topics in Technology and Science
Discuss whether social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and dating sites, are good or bad for teens. Do the same with cell phones, genetic modification or any other new technology. Argue whether or not NASA should be well funded, whether violent video games should be marketed to children, whether green energy research or military research is more important or whether young children should be allowed to use computers.
Topics in Politics
There are a huge number of potential topics in the field of politics. You can assess the career of a well known political figure: Argue, for example, whether Bush was an effective president or whether Malcom X's tactics were justified. Alternatively, focus on one of the many hot-button issues in politics today, such as abortion, gay rights, climate change and other environmental issues, socialized health care, evolution, terrorism, corporate lobbying, animal rights, campaign finance reform, war, globalization or whether or not TV pundits like Glenn Beck improve the political dialogue.
Many of these topics are somewhat political in nature, but if done properly, their language will tend more toward informative scientific explanations and away from polemical or hyperbolic language. Topics include global warming, acid rain, deforestation, soil degradation, overpopulation, overfishing, poaching, whaling, endangered species or bad farming practices. You can also choose a much more specific topic, such as whether a copper mine should be built in a specific area, whether snowmobiles should be allowed in Yellowstone or whether hydroelectric dams are good because they reduce fossil fuel use or bad because they disrupt habitats.
Topics in Education
Most students have an opinion on how a school should be run. Topics include whether cafeterias should serve healthier food, whether students should be allowed to have smart phones in class, whether the school day should be started earlier or later or whether students should be allowed to leave school grounds for lunch. Have students find evidence to support their views about controversial topics in education and give speeches based on their opinions and findings.