When it comes to speech topics, how do you know you've got a great one?
When we're asked to present specific content for work or in our personal lives, part of the work is done for us. We know we'll be discussing the new CRM updates, or the 4th Quarter numbers, or the outcome of the PTA fundraiser. But what if we're asked to speak on a more open-ended topic? There is no content provided, and we have to just fill up a certain amount of time with our words? What then?
When situations like this arise, it takes some work to find a speech topic that will really hold the audiences attention. Once you've got a bit of an idea list (we can help you with that!), start putting those ideas through the following three steps to see if the topic holds up. You'll know you've stumbled upon a great speech topic when they meet these three criteria:
- You have a personal connection with the topic: Being able to bring what we call your "personal stamp" to the topic is key. If there is nothing about your topic that you can expound upon with a first person story, you've selected a topic that doesn't connect to you in any way. Take a particular topic, and ask yourself why you think it's important. If the answer is, "I don't", then why choose it? If you haven't chosen something that you connect to personally, your speech topic will never meet the next 2 criteria.
- You HAVE to edit for time: Quick, think about your favorite book, or movie, or meal. Chances are even the least verbose of us could find a lot to say about our favorites - in fact, maybe even TOO much! Once you start working with the perfect speech topic that YOU care about, the content will start to flow. The best sign that you are on the right track is that you absolutely MUST edit parts of your speech for time. If you find that, no matter how hard you try, you are constantly stuck and unable to find anything to say about your topic - it's time to move on.
- You know how you want your audience to FEEL: At Ovation, we believe that knowing how you want your audience to FEEL is one of the most important aspects of presentation skills. When trying to find a great speech topic, having a clear sense of how you want your audience to feel about the topic is a sign that you're on the right path. Do you immediately know you want your audience to feel excited, inspired, comforted, or persuaded by your topic? You've hit the jackpot. If you find you have no idea how you want your audience to feel about your topic, you may be apathetic towards it as well. Who wants to listen to an apathetic speaker?
Check back for our upcoming blogs on speech topics, including what makes a persuasive speech topic, in the near future. Until then, why not download our "100 Instant Speech Topics" and get started in an instant!