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Choosing Your Topic: Get Fired Up!

October 31, 2013
Fire gal


Suppose I opened a speech with these words: I would like to say a few words here about…double entry bookkeeping.  Imagine the groans.  But why?!  Many accountants get very excited about double entry bookkeeping.  They go to double entry seminars, conferences, maybe even double entry parties – aka orgies.  Now the audience is interested…!

There are two basic guidelines in choosing a topic to speak about.  First it should be one that the audience can relate to – one that is going to interest them, or inform them, educate them, entertain them, persuade them, even inspire them.

But best of all is to find a topic that you feel strongly about.  Something that fires you up, makes you emotional, inspired.  A topic that you feel passionate about.

I remember a speech in this club maybe 7, 8 years ago.  It was given by a lovely lady, quiet, diffident, single, in her early fifties.  She had been with the club a couple of years and, if truth be told, hers weren’t the liveliest of speeches to listen to.  She was difficult to hear, due to her shyness and soft, heavily accented delivery, and she tended to choose safe topics, ones that didn’t seem to inspire her or the audience.

Her final speech at the club was on a different planet.  She announced that she had sold her flat, she was leaving London and returning to her native Glasgow.  She shared with us her intention, her vow to dedicate the rest of her life to saving the Scots language – the language of Scottish kings prior to union with England, the tongue of Rrrrrrrabbie Burrrrrrrns.  She was so passionate about her native language that her voice became transformed – we could hear every word, we could feel every word.  Tears came to our eyes and we all rose as one to our feet when she finished. It was an emotional, cathartic moment for us all, a privilege to be there.

Speaking from the heart does wonders for you.  You won’t worry about what you’re going to say, you’ll have no problem if you lose your way, because you can talk for days on the subject.   You won’t need notes.  And your voice, your body, your whole persona will be transformed. You will be as one with the audience.

So choose a topic that will appeal to the audience, by all means, but better still choose one that fires you up – as long as it’s not double entry bookkeeping!


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