If the invite to be a guest speaker doesn’t give you the jitters already, finalizing the topic will surely raise your stress levels.
You don’t want on be caught on the wrong foot, or worse still, look incompetent in front of the crowd.
But it’s not always a gloom-and-doom scenario. Not when you’ve put some thought into selecting the premise.
Sales, demo or educational presentations are relatively easy to handle, as you know the topic well and are passionate about it. You’re teaching or guiding an eager audience that lacks the specific knowledge you possess.
For other themes, you need to do a little sleuthing before you start working on your presentation. Fill out a mini worksheet with basic inputs on:
AUDIENCE, IDEAS & YOU THE SPEAKER
Focus on the Who (Audience)
You should have a fair idea about your audience, particularly when you haven’t interacted with them. Fail to come up with something that addresses their needs, provides useful information or revolves around their interest, and they won’t bother much about your message.
Find out what you can about their demographic. This includes
- Average age or range
- Designation or type of jobs held
- Level of education
- Income range
- Regional or ethnic background (some topics are more relevant than others)
Use this to come up with common themes and create a shorter list of suitable topics.
Compiling the list
You have a basic idea of your audience. But you need to know about various real-life situations they face.
- Are they dealing with problems in a particular area – finance, health, profession or relationship?
- Are they seeking info on or answers for social or community issues?
- Is improving their know-how, gaining new skills, and finding productive changes their end goal?
Your audience is basically concerned about themselves and the issues that affect them. Pick a topic that addresses common challenges, concerns, aspirations, interests or needs of this selected group of listeners.
Confirm your role in presenting
You have a fair idea about your listeners, their learning needs and their pain points. The final step is to question what you can offer them.
- Can you teach them something they don’t know much about?
- Is your expertize enough to provide solution or alternatives to pressing needs?
- Are you passionate about a particular topic to do it justice?
- Can you breathe life into a boring subject?
Did you find this post on choosing presentation topic useful?
Would be interested in knowing how to turn any idea into a perfect speech topic?