You know those moments of awkward silence when no one knows what to say anymore? Among friends or family, as well as on a date, it's undoubtedly awkward. As a keynote speaker, the inability to find a topic of conversation can even hurt your career. The good news is that with a few nifty tricks, it's easy to remedy the situation.
Why a good topic of conversation is so important for you as a keynote speaker
A keynote speaker is an expert who gives an impulse lecture on his or her respective field (keynote speech). However, this is by no means to be confused with a school lecture, which is sometimes delivered a little stiffly or even listlessly. What distinguishes you as a keynote speaker is not only your expertise, but your passion for your topic.
In addition to imparting knowledge, the most important thing in a keynote speech is to touch and entertain your audience. A good topic of conversation is therefore important in order to emotionally engage your audience. This is the only way to ensure that your speech will be remembered for a long time. In addition, good topics of conversation are a reliable guarantee for your recommendation as a speaker.
How to find a topic of conversation?
Which topics are suitable and which are not depends, of course, on the person you are talking to or on your audience. To find a good topic of conversation, one thing is important above all: looseness. Don't try to fill the silence with words. If you do run out of things to talk about, first take a deep breath.
Then, observe the person you are talking to or your audience. You may notice something (nice!) that could be a good conversation starter:
"Great outfit, where is your favorite place to store?"
"How was your / your journey?"
"Have you / have you ever been to an event like this?"
By the way, the best topics of conversation arise when you ask follow-up questions. For example, if the person you're talking to tells you about their last vacation, don't be afraid to ask more questions:
"Do you go to XY often?"
"Where have you been everywhere?"
"Is there a destination in particular you can recommend?"
"What was your best vacation experience?"
This approach can also be applied to your work as a speaker. Ask your audience questions and incorporate the answers into your presentation. Ideally, you can describe a similar experience from your everyday life. In this way, you appear authentic and your audience can identify with you at the same time.
5 tips to find the perfect topic of conversation for your target audience
How do I find the perfect topic of conversation for my target group? This question is on every keynote speaker's mind. This is especially true if you are still at the beginning of your professional career. The following five tips can help you find a specific topic:
1. define your target group as precisely as possible
It should be self-explanatory, but we would like to emphasize this aspect once again: Get a precise picture of your target group. Demographic characteristics such as age, gender, place of residence and profession as well as personal interests and values play a role here.
2. make an avatar
The avatar is an extension of the target group definition and, like the latter, is known from the marketing sector. For this you create a imaginary representative of your target group. Try to make it as vivid as possible: What needs does this person have? With which professional and emotional prerequisites does he or she attend your presentation?
3. find a sample audience
It makes sense to test your topic of conversation in advance with a sample audience. This can be friends and family, but the people you choose should match your target audience.
4. get inspired
Surely, as an (aspiring) keynote speaker, you have role models. Take a look at their presentations: What talking points do they pick up and in what ways? How does the audience react? Of course, you should neither steal ideas nor copy anyone, but it is legitimate to get a little inspiration.
5. request feedback
Whether a topic has had the desired effect or not is best answered by your audience. It therefore makes sense to obtain written and anonymous feedback after your presentations. Questionnaires that you distribute at the end of your presentation are suitable for this purpose.
How to structure your topic of conversation for maximum impact
Finding a topic of conversation is only the first step. After that, it is important to structure the topic in a meaningful way. A red thread is important so that your audience can follow you throughout and the desired information sticks in their memory. It is best to work out the structure of the talk in writing and test it out in front of a test audience.
Even away from the speaker's stage, structured conversation is a great advantage, e.g. if you want to convince in negotiations or settle a conflict.
Red thread and goal of the conversation
Whether in private or on stage: Never start the conversation with accusations or information dumping. In both cases, the person you're talking to or your audience will go into overdrive. A polite greeting or, depending on the topic, a short anecdote are better suited. Then you open the conversation by stating your concern. Be as specific as possible.
Ideally, you have written down your arguments in advance. Sort them according to priority. The most important argument should be mentioned last. Also listen to the views of your interlocutor and respond to them objectively.
Throughout the conversation, you're working toward your Call target to. The latter should also be determined in advance. What do you want to achieve? A salary increase? A specific change? Don't lose sight of the goal and avoid digressing too much thematically.
The secret of successful conversation topics: Authenticity
Authenticity is the basis for your audience to take you and your presentation seriously. If you cannot identify yourself with the topic of your presentation, your audience will sense this immediately. Basically, the following applies: Never try to pretend. Just be yourself. A good indicator for this is your own well-being on stage.
5 proven strategies to captivate your audience with the right topic of conversation
In a keynote speech, the first few minutes will determine whether your speech captivates the audience or whether they switch off. To avoid the latter, you should apply the following five strategies:
1. preparation is the key
We remind you again: Structure your contribution in advance. In this way, there will be no involuntary moments of silence or even insecure pushing around. In addition, preparation gives you self-confidence, which in turn has a positive effect on your stage presence.
2. the icebreaker
Start your presentation in an unconventional way, e.g. with a funny anecdote or a daring thesis. This way you are sure to get the attention of your audience. Of course, your following contribution should fit the chosen hook.
3. observe the 10-minute rule
The attention span of us humans is about 8 to 10 minutes, which from various Investigations emerges. So, at the latest after 10 minutes, take a short break in which you interrupt your presentation by showing pictures and videos or an anecdote.
4. involve your audience
If you want to captivate your audience, you should not give a monologue, but actively involve your listeners. For example, questions or exercises that everyone can do together are suitable for this.
5. keep eye contact
The eye contact factor should not be underestimated in a speech. To keep your audience's attention, you should look directly at them. People who feel addressed automatically listen more attentively.
How to customize your talking point for different types of events
The same topic can be communicated in many different ways. To do this, you need to know in advance what kind of audience to expect. At a casual event about motivation and mindset, you should naturally adopt a different tone than at a formal business event.
To adapt your topic, you tailor it to the (emotional and professional) prerequisites and needs of your new audience: Which topic-related examples can your audience identify with? To what extent is the topic useful to them? Also adapt your speech: Does the audience feel more comfortable with a casual you, or would they like to be addressed by their first name?
The importance of a strong conclusion to get your point across
As already mentioned, you should save the strongest arguments for the end in a conversation. This also applies on the speaker's platform! No matter how compelling and informative your talk may have been, a boring closing sentence can ruin the entire effect.
The conclusion will remain in your audience's mind the longest and will therefore form an association with your quality as a speaker. Therefore, think about how you want to conclude your topic beforehand. Avoid dusty phrases or repetition of content. A motivational sentence, for example, that encourages your audience is more suitable. Or you can answer a question that you posed at the beginning.
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