Maybe this has happened to you too…you’re teacher in English class assigns everyone to give a 2-5 minute talk BUT leaves it up to you to decide on what to speak on.
Obviously, the intent of the assignment is to improve your public speaking skills.
It feels awesome at first to be able to have the freedom to pick a “cool” topic….until you ask yourself, “What topic SHOULD I speak on?!”
Having a bunch of options is now irritating because you’re getting stuck.
Plus, what is your teacher expecting? What’s the best way to approach this?
If this sounds like you, then this lesson is going to help you to sort through your ideas and come up with a good topic!
BONUS: I’ve made a Topic Idea Starter Worksheet for you to print out and fill in the template blanks. (I give lots of examples). Just enter your name + email below!
YOU CAN WATCH THE VIDEO….or read the blog post. Both have the same info!
(Just a little more detail in the written words below.)
Here’s the 6 things you should consider when picking what topic to speak on.
Speak on something you care about deeply. Does the topic naturally light up your eyes when you speak about it.
If it’s something you are passionate about…then you probably could talk for a long time. You likely already have wondered if you could integrate the topic into your speech…since you know it’s awesome!
2. Something you know a lot about- Expertise, Knowledge, Experience, Awards
This is the time to share what you already know. You are good at stuff…and you can use your topic as a mini show-and-tell time.
Pull from your expertise, knowledge, or experience on a topic. Maybe you’ve even gotten an award for doing something. Scan through your previously pursued interests and find that gem!
**If your audience already knows a lot on your topic, you’ll need to put your personal perspective or opinion to put your unique spin on the topic. If you have nothing new to say, and they know everything….choose something else.
3. Topic that interests your audience
When you can, choose a topic you know your audience would be interested in…or at least an angle you could make it interesting to them with.
4. Story you can tell
Try to choose a topic you have at least one good story you could use to demonstrate a point with, if you can swing it!
Stories turn a talk into a conversation with the audience. They make you memorable. They create emotional engagement. People can’t help but listen to a fabulous story!
5. Fresh topic for your audience
Try not to speak on a topic that will bore your audience because it’s been overdone.Instead pick a fresh idea that peaks their interest.
Plus, you will run less of a risk of having three similar talks given right before you go up.
6. Hook…question, quote, story that will grab them
A Hook is a term used to explain the way a speaker grabs/ commands and audience’s attention at the beginning of their presentation. It’s something you say in the first 10 seconds that “hooks” the audience…making them want to keep listening.
If you know your audience pretty well (something easier when you are a student)… keep your ears open in the halls and lunchrooms. How do people capture people’s attention? What works? What doesn’t? – Rhetorical questions? – The word “Imagine” – Contradiction of what’s normally accepted? – Powerful Quote? – Surprising fact or data? – Peek curiosity?
Consider picking a topic that you feel like you could crush the hook for.
In summary, when you pick your topic…make it something you know lots about, are passionate about, and that interests your audience!
In a Venn Diagram….it would look like this:
BONUS: Still not sure what to speak on? I’ve made a Topic Idea Starter Worksheet for you to print out and fill in the template blanks. (I give lots of examples). Just enter your name + email below!