When asked, most people will tell you that public speaking is one of the most dreaded activities to be asked to do in one’s personal and business life. It doesn’t have to be. People love telling and hearing stories.
What better topic is there but a story based on your life, experience or adventures? When it’s your story, it’s easier for you to talk about the topic – out loud. For the audience, a real story is easier to draw parallels to and connect with. Naturally, your enthusiasm and authenticity will shine through.
Toastmasters will tell you, topics are everywhere. The first place to look for a topic – is in the mirror.
First and foremost, I recommend you ask yourself: What is the outcome for the audience? For example, are you being asked to speak as part of a fundraising effort for a charity? Have you been asked to speak at a wedding, at a meetup or to work colleagues? You want your audience to identify or connect with you right away.
Whatever personal topic you choose, use metaphors. Metaphors such as strength, courage, overcoming adversity and determination are a few examples. The metaphor you select in your speech should build like a ripple on the surface of a pond as you deliver your speech.
It may sound strange, as there are over 50 different ways to start a speech, but begin your speech with the ending. Better yet, phrase the ending as a question. Hold onto your thought and come back to it later in your speech.
Never spin the answer or the message in your speech. Use the metaphor throughout and allow the audience to come to the conclusion – generosity, inspiration, reflection or just plain knowledge. The choice is yours.