The Art Of Matching Your Speech Title To Your Speech

Your speech title has to match your speech
Your speech title has to match your speech

Image Credit: Michael Johnson

If you are like most of us, the next time that you are asked to give a speech, because of the importance of public speaking you’ll probably spend a considerable amount of time working on the speech. You’ll consider your audience, pick your words, and attempt to craft a speech that will capture their attention and allow you to get your point across. Oh, and then when you have it all put together you’ll remember at the last moment that you need a title for your speech, you’ll quickly think something up, and the poof you’re done. However, does your speech title match your speech?

Let Your Speech Title Guide Your Speech

One of the classic questions that everyone seems to wrestle with when creating a speech is just exactly when the title for a speech should be determined: before you write the speech or afterwards? It turns out the answer is before.

The reason for this is because by selecting your speech title before you write your speech, you can allow your speech title to guide the speech that you write. One way that you can do this is by allowing your speech title to determine the focus of your speech. Almost every topic that we’re asked to speak on can be approached from a number of different ways. If you determine what approach you want to take, create a speech title that reflects this. Then as you write your speech you’ll be able to double check to make sure that your speech lines up with the title that you selected.

A number of speeches are what are called “position” speeches. These mean that you’ll be talking about a topic that your audience will either support or disagree with. As the speaker, when you create the title for your speech you’ll be forced to choose sides. By doing this you’ll find yourself giving a much better speech than if your audience was unable to determine which side your beliefs fell on.

Match The Title To The Topic

The topic that you’ll be talking about is going to guide you when you are selecting a title for your speech. You’ll need to consider if you are going to want your speech to be informative, humorous, or educational? You’ll want to choose a title that conveys the tone that you’ll want your audience to get from your speech.

The title that you choose for your speech needs to bring your topic alive for your audience. You are going to want to make them want to hear you long before it’s time for you to take the stage. One way to go about making this happen is by making your title an active title. You are going to want the title of your speech to suggest that by coming to hear you talk, your audience is going to be receiving something.

Finally, the one thing that you might want to consider not doing is using clichés in your title. The reason for this is that we’ve all heard them so many times before that we tend to discount them: “The Keys To …”, “Secrets Of …”, etc. Understand that the first title that you think of might not be the best one. Write down the titles as they come to you and when you have a list, sit down and pick out the one that is going to best capture the imagination of your audience.

What All Of This Means For You

Long before your next audience will hear the first words out of your mouth, they’ll hear your speech’s title. The question for you is does your title match the content of your speech?

In order to create a speech title that matches your speech, you need to allow your title to guide the speech that you create – this is one of the benefits of public speaking. This means that your title should determine the focus of your speech and can also set the tone. If you match your title to your speech this will require you to take a position on the topic that you’ll be talking about. Make sure that your title tells the audience what you want to say about your topic.

Considering that many of the people who might come to see you will decide if they want to invest the time based on the title of your speech, clearly this is an important issue. Understand that your speech title can’t be an afterthought. Instead, it needs to be determined before you create your speech so that it can guide the speech writing process. Pick a great speech title and you’ll give a great speech!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that you can change you speech title without rewriting your speech?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

If you are like most speakers, you are always looking for ways to add some humor to your next speech. That is always a great idea; however, did you know that some of the things that you may be planning on doing could actually be making it much harder for your audience to laugh during your speech? It turns out that this is possible; perhaps we should uncover what you should not be doing…