Public Speaking


What to Talk About

Look Inside and Outside

For most forms of public speaking, there is already a general topic that you know you are going to talk about. But within that topic, it is still necessary to answer the all important question: What do I talk about? For an answer, first look to yourself and then look to your audience.

Stick to Your Interests

You should always try to talk about something you are interested in. Look for subjects that you know, that you are curious about, or that you find exciting. The energy that you feel for your topic shines through when you talk about it. The more engaged in the subject you are, the more engaged in the subject your audience will be. If possible (and it not always is), try to avoid talking about things you find boring or dull. If you have no interest in cars, don't talk about the thrills of changing a flat tire.

Know Your Audience

Balance your interests with your audience. It's important to think about who you are speaking to and how you can communicate your message to them. Here are some factors to consider when choosing what to talk about:

Factor Questions Recommendation
Occasion What is the tone of the occasion? Is it a formal business meeting? Is it a wedding? Talk about subjects appropriate for the occasion and make sure that if you are asked to address a specific topic you do that.
Demographics Who is in the audience? How old are they? What interests are they likely to have? Try to include topics relevant to the demographic you are speaking to.
Size of Audience Are you speaking to 3 people or 300 people? In general, for large groups, keep the ideas short and easy to understand. And limit the inside jokes.

Combine Interest and Audience

When thinking about what you want to talk about, start by brainstorming a lot of ideas. Brainstorm ideas you are interested in and ideas that you think your audience would find interesting. Look for areas where there is overlap. That is what you should talk about.

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