Imagine that you are asked to deliver a speech or presentation at the next meeting. At first, you are excited about the opportunity. Very soon, however, a feeling of dread overwhelms you — what will your speech topic be?
“You can speak on anything you like. I’m sure whatever you come up with will be great.”
These words give you absolute freedom to say whatever you want. With absolute freedom comes absolute terror because now you have unlimited speaking topics.
Conventional wisdom says to talk about what you know, but conventional wisdom is only partially correct.
You should brainstorm with these 3 questions in mind:
Am I an expert on this topic?
It isn’t necessary to know everything about a topic, but you do need to know more about the topic than your audience to be seen as a credible speaker. Your knowledge must cover not only what you plan to say, but go beyond that so that you are able to comfortably handle questions afterward.
Am I passionate about this topic?
Passion for spreading your knowledge about a topic is the fuel that will power your speech delivery. Your posture, your gestures, your eyes, your facial expressions, and your energy level are all elevated when you talk about topics you enjoy. Likewise, all of these suffer when you talk about topics that you find mundane.
Does my audience care about this topic?
If your audience doesn’t see value for themselves in your topic, there are two possibilities. Either they don’t show up, or they show up and tune out. In either case, you are wasting your breath. Every successful speech must contain explicit value for your audience.