Updated: Jun 28
For many professional speakers, selecting a topic to speak about is a tough task. There are millions upon millions of subjects that a person can talk about. When you see a professional speaker on stage you may wonder how did they get so good. If you want to speak but don’t know what you can speak about then start with the easiest topic, yourself. No matter who you are, you have been through many things that make you who you are.
When you are looking for a topic to speak about start by looking at the people around you. These may be people that you work with, or your close family and friends. What do you talk about with these people? What do you complain about? What types of things do you like/dislike? What you will find is that there are many other people all across the world that talk about the same things that you talk about with the people who are closest to you. Now you may ask yourself how do you put it all together to create a speech?
When thinking about your topic, how will you present it on stage? How should people feel when you walk off stage? How do you feel about your own topic? Will you decide to talk about something that is near and dear to your heart, or will you motivate your audience into action? When brainstorming topics think about what you would consider yourself an expert on. It may not be something that you get paid to do, but you may have a lifetime of experience doing it. Once you brainstorm like this, topics will flood your brain.
For example, I don’t talk about this topic but I am a big brother to 4 little sisters. Being a big brother may not be something that you don’t think you can talk about. However, there is a lot that goes into helping little girls make the right decisions and grow into responsible adults. There are many presentations that I have given to non profits such as the YMCA on the value of being a mentor. It will take a little bit of thinking outside of the box to think of a topic to speak about but it can be done.
Many people take an unfortunate event in their life and turn it into motivation to help others. This is how I began to speak out on opioid addiction. As an African - American male, I was embarrassed to talk about this. I thought to myself “black people don’t have these problems”, however as soon as I opened up about it many other African - Americans opened up to me. Speaking about addiction and working with a disability became therapy for me. I began to gain more confidence in me speaking ability and it showed in my speeches.
When you choose a topic that you know very well are more confident in your speaking ability. You shouldn’t run into writer's block while writing your speech because it is something that you consider yourself an expert in. For example, when I write a speech about how I deal with living with a disability my words overflow on the page. I find myself with more material than I can actually use in my speeches. This is because I am talking about something that I have experienced my entire adult life. It makes writing speeches much easier.
Choosing a topic isn’t as difficult as many may make it seem. Take what you have experienced in your everyday life and turn it into a speech that relates to your target audience. If you take anything away from this blog post take this: Your topic only needs to make sense to you. If it makes sense to you then you will be more confident in your speech delivery and you will actually enjoy writing your speech. Once you are done giving your speech you will be relieved to have people walk up to you and tell you how they have either experienced what you are talked about or have a close friend/relative that has experienced it. That is when you begin to believe in yourself as a speaker and fall in love with the art of speaking.