When talking about the field of public speaking, everybody has a great idea and most people start out with great speech content. However if you are going to be involved in public speaking, doing trainings and events, you will need to decide (preferably early on as you will be building your speaking reputation), if are you going to talk on more than one topic. Many speakers talk on the same one topic continually, but does that make sense?
Expanding the Menu on Offer
Imagine if the only item in a restaurant’s menu was hamburgers; just one particular type of hamburger. You would probably go once to that restaurant to try that hamburger. If you liked it, you may go again for a second, and if you loved it, you would possibly go a third time for that same hamburger. But what are the chances you will go back for a fourth hamburger that is exactly the same? Their menu, and therefore their profits, are restricted because they are only offering one item on their menu: a hamburger.
In reality, if you want to be an effective public speaker, you need to have a whole menu card of topics on which you can speak so that you aren’t like that restaurant with one hamburger on the menu; with one topic that you regurgitate again and again for people. The topics can be variations on a single theme, but ideally, you should have skeleton notes of several different talks that are ready to go at the drop of a hat. Then, when the opportunity arises, even if it was unexpected, you are primed and ready to speak. That can only translate into greater profits and larger numbers of people coming to your workshops to receive your expertise, to learn from you, and to hopefully do business with you.
You are probably asking, “How do I come up with the topics? How do I know what to talk about?” I covered in previous articles that it is important to find out people’s needs and desires, to know what it is they want to listen to, and to cater to that through your presentations. In reality you do not always know that. However, there is a way to find that out. This is a secret that has been passed down through the generations and it is the only guaranteed way to give people exactly what they want.
So, let us say you have a topic, you go and give your presentation and it is a great success. You over delivered, you used a variety of vocal tones, you conveyed confident expressive body language, and you had interesting content. But this is the only talk you have in your repertoire so far. So how do you decide what your next topic should be?
Quite simply- ask them. Right then at the end of your talk, ask the people in the audience, “What would you like to know next?” Let them tell you. Then once they have told you what they want, give it to them. Ask them what they need, ask them what topics they want to learn from you, ask them if they would like to continue with you, and ask them how you can better serve them. Then most importantly, when they tell you, listen to what they say. Show them you listened by covering those topics in your next talk.
You may feel this puts you on the spot; however, it can be a very effective way for lining up your next topics and flowing on with relevant subject matter in progressive presentations. The benefit to choosing your topics this way is that you keep the focus on helping people who are already open to receive from you. You can give out a continual stream of knowledge, experience and expertise that people are wanting, rather than just being a one shot deal where you show up and tell them one thing and then you are done.
Incidentally, this is a great way to build trust with your audience and to build quality relationships with people in your audience who are coming to learn and receive from you. They will gain confidence in you and trust you because you will be giving them the information and knowledge they asked for. This can only result in a winning scenario for you both, as relationships are the lifeblood of any business.
Everyone on this planet has something valuable to share and has their own unique talents and contributions to make. So why limit yourself to just one single topic or presentation? Giving out new ideas and fresh knowledge and inspiration will keep your talks interesting and keep your audience coming back for more.
And if you simply can’t decide on your next topic, the simplest plan is to ask. Ask people what they want to know. If it is within your realm of expertise and confidence, you have just hit upon a goldmine of ideas to keep your public speaking opportunities thriving