How do you brainstorm topics to talk about in your keynote? The first techniques that I love coming up with in a keynote speech is thinking about the three myths that have to do with your specific topic.
I speak about how to foster aha moments. My three myths:
- People think that you have to hustle and run and get so much done – The truth actually is that you need to slow down so that you can spark innovation.
- We have to come up with brand new ideas to change the world – The truth is that the best ideas are usually linking together current ideas that come together in a unique way.
- Who am I, I’m an imposter, I feel like I don’t have anything to say. But when we actually look at the statistics, if you have a master’s degree like many counselors I know, you’re in the top 8% of the average U.S. citizens. And of that 8%, if there’s 100 people in a room and eight of them have master’s degrees or higher, what are the odds that there’s a doctor, a lawyer? You, from a mental health perspective are probably the smartest person in any average room
Those are the three myths that I talk about, and then I talk about the truths.
With each one of them I have unique stories and case examples. So for example, myth number two: when I talk about the best ideas not usually being brand new ideas but linking things together, I spoke about the origin story of Uber. And how two guys were hanging out in bad weather in Paris and they brought together things that already existed: taxis, on-demand video, on-demand credit-card, mobile devices and put them all together.
At the same time Lyft was doing a very similar thing, but then I take it a step further, because lots of people have heard that story. There’s this new thing called Limes and Birds. These are scooters that people can rent in big cities and it’s basically Uber and on-demand but for these electronic scooters.
I talk about how it seems like this shift of having scooters all over the place is really frustrating for people. What about societal change, how does that happen? Then I go back and I talk about the 1800’s, before there was the automobile, pedestrians actually had the right-of-way on streets. I spoke about that transition into how the automobile began to have the right-of-way.
Pulling People In
So tell interesting stories that pull people in and gives some historical perspective. I then pull it into whichever audience I’m talking to, what they care about. How we can actually have cultural shift happen in front of our eyes, how does that happen and why do those aha moments actually stick?
Gathering Stories and Doing Research
When you have stories like that, that you pay attention to, it helps you to have a more dynamic speech. Because it’s not just your own experience anymore, you’re drawing from society’s case examples. You’re listening to the news and doing research and you’re bringing it all together into one comprehensive talk.
You want to constantly gather stories and be doing research. If you’re listening to NPR, reading the news or listening to a podcast and there’s a great quote, capture it even if you don’t know when you’re going to use it. If I’m listening to a podcast, I might pause it and look at the minute mark where someone said a great quote. I’ll just drop that into a Google Drive on my phone and make a note on the topic. So then when I’m working on that particular topic I can use that quote.
The more that you’re gathering and curating information, that’s really what people are paying you for when you’re doing a public speech. They could go Google all this stuff on their own but they want you to have your unique perspective. One that brings it all together in an actionable way that helps them save time. And when you do that they’re going to want to follow you as the expert.
Calls to Action
When you’re brainstorming ideas for your public speech, make sure that you pepper in anchors of call to action. If you have a membership community or offer counseling, use examples from your people in your membership community or from your clinical work. When you do that it allows you to close your speech by saying ‘Like I referenced, we have this membership community…’ So that if you do have a clear call-to-action for people to sign up to work with you, they are already primed to hear it.
Things to do When Brainstorming
- Start with just a blank sheet of paper and brain dump as much as you can think of all at once. Then look for different themes as to what your unique voice is. What’s the natural progression?
- Organize the information
- Do a first round of stories, research and main points
What I’ll sometimes do is take a sheet of paper, I’ll put my main points at the top and I’ll put story research points on the side. So I might have a case example and main takeaway, so that it has a natural flow. It then allows me to stay highly organized and have my notes in front of me without having to read them.
Whatever works for, you find your method and stick to it. Develop that one keynote that’s going to help you stand out as a public speaker and I know it’s going to help you start, grow and scale your business faster.
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Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC
Joe Sanok is an ambitious results expert. He is a private practice business consultant and counselor that helps small businesses and counselors in private practice to increase revenue and have more fun! He helps owners with website design, vision, growth, and using their time to create income through being a private practice consultant. Joe was frustrated with his lack of business and marketing skills when he left graduate school. He loved helping people through counseling, but felt that often people couldn’t find him. Over the past few years he has grown his skills, income, and ability to lead others, while still maintaining an active private practice in Traverse City, MI. To link to Joe’s Google+ .