A common question from a potential speaker is:
'What should I talk about?'
Giving the answer, 'Anything!' does not seem helpful.
However, the point is this: there is no ideal subject matter.
Any subject can be made engaging. Unfortunately, any subject can also be made dull.
So, speakers and trainers need to understand, that it is not the subject, it is how one speaks about the subject that will engage or killl an audience.
Happily, there is a pair of simple questions that come in handy.
'Why you?' and 'Why me?',
which is short for:
'Why should I listen to you?' and 'Why is that relevant to me?'
News and sports programmes often have pundits on hand to offer expert comments, because since they speak from first-hand experience, it adds weight to their opinion.
So for example a young student wants to deliver a speech on 'Bullying!'
So we test it with 'Why you? Why me'?
1. Why you?
'Have you ever been bullied or have you ever bullied anyone?
Or do you know someone who has?'
If the answer is 'No', then why should we be listening to you?
The first-hand experience that lends credibility and weight to the speaker's words is missing.
No personal story. = No unique perspective. Therefore - 'Why you?'
2. Why me?
This requires some understanding of who you are talking to.
If I have been bullied or know someone who is being bullied, I am naturally more likely to be engaged in the subject.
If I have no interest, no experience or even, a lack of sympathy for victims of bullying, no amount of personal testimony from the speaker is going to engage me.
To use a sales example: if your presentation is about cleaning carpets and I have no interest in having my carpets cleaned, it does not matter how well you present, I am not going to be engaged.
So 'Why me' is about finding a subject matter that resonates with the audience.
Finally, a simple test of any presentation, any training programme, or any speech is to ask yourself the two simple questions: 'Why you?' and 'Why me?'
If you have credibility and I have interest, you now have a subject matter that contains the seeds of a successful presentation.
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