You’ve been a bundle of nerves ever since that call. You’re invited as a guest speaker for a popular seminar. Even as the news sinks in, your stomach does a series of flip-flops.
Most people shy away from the thought of speaking in front of strangers. You will be sharing the stage with experts and speaking to a smart audience watching you closely.
Add to this; the task of finding an interesting or useful topic for the presentation.
How do you generate ideas that motivate, question, inspire or provide solutions?
SAY GOODBYE TO STARTING TROUBLE
Getting started is often the hardest part in presenting before a live audience. If you’re facing a creative block and are unable to come up with unique ideas, choose a familiar topic. Create a speech and/or presentation on:
- Subject you know well
- Topic related to your expertise
- Passionate/pet causes you believe in
- Controversial issue affecting you
BRAINSTORM UNIQUE ANGLES
If you’ve been given a theme or basic topic, give it a new twist. Research the material and find a different slant to the subject. Think on these lines:
- Audience questions you want to answer
- 3-5 important things you’d share with your friends or office team about the topic
- A good versus evil story narrative
- Surprising or shocking elements about your theme
- How a historical or influential figure would deal with a particular situation?
- Your reaction to something unexpected related to the subject
- An unnoticed statistic or data that could turn things upside down
TAKE THE HOW-TO ROUTE
If you have a vague idea about your subject, focus on educative, instructional or beneficial aspects of it:
- Explaining the topic to someone with limited knowledge
- Convincing a sceptical person on benefits or solutions
- Persuading someone on the picket fence to choose sides or take action
MIND MAP YOUR WAY
Use mind mapping tools to find related phrases to your chosen subject. Use free online tools like Coggle to create a tree-like structure with new phrase branches inspired by a particular branch. Choose a phrase/angle that your audience will find interesting and expand on it.
LOOK AROUND FOR HIDDEN GEMS
You can find ideas anywhere; from the shower to the football match. Creative or meditative activities can help you towards your own Eureka moment. Other places to search for inspiration on business or social themes include:
- Google trends
- Twitter hashtags
- Case studies
- Social media hot topics
- Trade magazines and newspapers
- Community boards and forums
- Sites like Quora or Reddit
- Curated lists on specific industry or theme
Do you struggle to find new ideas for your presentation or speech? Have you tried any of these techniques?