You first choice is to have the opportunitiy to talk about a subject you are passionate about. Ideally, it’s also a subject about which you possess a high degree of knowledge .
It might be work, family, or health related. The topic could be a personal hobby, charitable cause, or lifetime goal.
If it’s something you’re enthusiastic about, it’s much easier to prepare, practice and deliver that talk. You already ‘know the stuff’, so getting the latest information (you always have up-to-date material, don’t you?) isn’t a great challenge. You know how, when and where to look.
Injecting emotion into the talk won’t be an effort, either, because you already possess it.
If you’ve been asked to talk about something you have no interest in, but it’s an assignment that must be done, accept the opportunity to speak to improve your craft.
The research you’ll do for this speech will hone your investigatory skills. It’s an opportunity to grow. You’ll learn new things and have an opportunity to increase you presentation skills. Talking about something you must research, and presenting to an audience different from previous ones, stretches you and makes you better. You may even find a new passion!
Expand your interests and you’ll expand your inventory of subjects to speak about.
Be curious. If you see, read or hear something that grabs your attention – investigate it a bit further. It may turn out to be something new, exciting, and something to build a presentation around.
As an example, I never did many PowerPoint/Keynote Presentations. I ‘forced myself’ to do this when I told a group I was going to present to that I didn’t have a projector. Someone quickly volunteered theirs. Yikes!
I then dived into studying the best practices of slides. I read articles by Guy Kawasaki and a book, Presentation Zen, by Garr Reynolds. The subject is now an integral part of my talks and presentations, and extremely relevant to ‘No Sweat Public Speaking!’
Carry a digital recorder. When something catches your attention, or you suddenly think of a subject that might be future speaking material – record the thoughts. Then, put them into a ‘Speech Subject File’. Periodically review it, and start building your repertoire of expertise and presentation subjects.
Initiate the above practices, and the next time a speaking opportunity comes your way –