How does your speech title impact how others perceive your speech? Your speech title matters more than you think and can impact how your audience perceives your speech, even before you’ve said a single word.
The broken promise
I sat through a public speaking competition a few days ago and one of the speech titles on the agenda intrigued me. The speech’s title was ‘Living in Siberia’ and immediately images popped into my mind. Perhaps our speaker today was about to regale us with tales of living in Novosibirsk, Irkutsk or even Norilsk above the Arctic Circles. Maybe we were about to learn how to hunt and skin furry animals living in the snow-capped wilderness and how vodka may or may not keep you warm during the long winter nights.
The speech was nothing of the sort. The relationship between the speech and its title was close to non-existent. None of the speech was about Siberia, and while perceptions of temperature formed part of the speech. They weren’t the main point per se as the speech was about a completely different topic. Did I enjoy the speech? It was entertaining but it wasn’t what I expected and it failed to make an impact on me.
Your speech title is a promise
Think about it for a moment but your speech’s title is a promise that you’re making to your audience. It may be the only piece of information that they have about you before you speaking or presenting. Just like the title of a book, your title describes what your listeners can expect from your speech. If you’re looking to entertain your audience, your title must relate to what you’ll be entertaining your audience with. This is especially important if you are looking to inform or to persuade your audience in a professional environment.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t be creative with your title, far from it. However, the relationship between your title and what you will say in your speech must be clear. Maybe your title will even crop up during the speech itself, perhaps in your introduction or in your conclusion?
What makes a good speech title?
A good impactful speech title will have the following characteristics:
- It will relate to what you are about to speak or present.
- It will be short and to the point.
- It will intrigue and tease the audience.
- It won’t reveal your main points or arguments.
- It will be distinctive and will represent you.
The next time you prepare a speech or presentation. Pay attention to your title, it can make all the difference between a good speech and a great speech. Your title is a promise to your audience, uphold that promise and speak with impact!
Want to speak with impact? Join me on 23rd November!
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