Two questions every presentation must answer
A common refrain from potential speakers is:
'What should I talk about?'
At first glance, giving the answer, 'Anything!' does not seem very helpful.
However, the point is this: there is no ideal subject matter.
Any subject can be made engaging. Unfortunately, any subject can also be made dull.
So, speakers and trainers need to understand, it is not the subject, it is how one speaks about the subject that will engage or repel an audience.
Happily, there is a pair of simple questions that come in handy.
'Why you?' and 'Why me?',
which is short for:
'Why should I listen to you?' and 'Why is that relevant to me?'
News and sports programmes often have an industry expert on hand to offer expert comment, because since they speak from first-hand experience, it adds weight to their opinion.
So for example a young student wants to deliver a speech on 'Bullying!'
So we test it with 'Why you? Why me'?
1. Why you?
'Have you ever been bullied or have you ever bullied anyone?
Or do you know someone who has?'
If the answer is 'No', then why should we be listening to you?
The first-hand experience that lends credibility and weight to the speaker's words is missing.
No personal story. = No unique perspective. Therefore - 'Why you?'
2. Why me?
This requires some understanding of who you are talking to.
If I have been bullied or know someone who is being bullied, I am naturally more likely to be engaged by the subject.
If I have no interest, no experience or even, no sympathy for victims of bullying, no amount of personal testimony from the speaker is going to engage me.
To use a sales example: if your presentation is about cleaning carpets and I have no interest in having my carpets cleaned, it does not matter how well you present, I am not going to be engaged.
So 'Why me' is about finding a subject matter that resonates with the audience.
In conclusion - a very simple test of any presentation, any training programme, or any speech is to ask yourself 2 simple questions: 'Why you?' and 'Why me?'
If you have credibility and I have interest, you now have a subject matter that contains the seeds of a successful presentation.