Include These 3 Key Ingredients in Your Next Talk

Talk Template


Many of my clients come to me wanting to write a speech, but are utterly confused about how to write it. They want help!


Writing a talk is both an art and a science, and definitely a professional’s support and expert eyes will make your job easier. However, you can definitely get started on your own. And here’s how.


Think of your talk as both a heroine’s journey and a treasure map. She starts off, she encounters obstacles (perhaps a monster, a dragon, an ogre), she takes action to overcome the obstacles, and finally she reaches the treasure at the end.


Why do I bring up this analogy? Because it helps in crafting each element of your speech, which are the absolute essentials each talk must have. Here they are.


  1. The Problem

  2. The Idea

  3. The Action


Let’s talk about each of them in detail.


The Problem


The problem’s the monster in your journey. It’s the thing that needs to be defeated for the audience to buy into your vision and your idea. Having a problem in your talk serves 2 functions. First, it allows you to empathize with the audience and their problem(s), creating rapport, connection, and ultimately TRUST, which is the most important thing you need to convey in order to get the audience to fall in love with you. Second, it’ll create narrative tension by devising your speech like a story where a “monster” needs to be defeated. This’ll keep your audience wanting to know how and when the heroine will slay the monster and claim her freedom.


The Idea


The idea is the core of your talk, what the audience came for. For Ted Talks, the idea’s the most important part of the speech. For other types of talks, the idea is sometimes the message, or the inspirational nugget. In both cases, the idea is the treasure on your treasure map.


Ideally, the idea is the solution to the problem that you’ve highlighted above. And, as I said, you need the problem to have the right set up to prove the legitimacy of your idea. There are many ways in which an idea can be constructed. Sometimes it’s a mere reframing of the problem, sometimes it’s about your innovative research to solve the problem, sometimes it’s something you need to say to promote your business or startup. Whatever the case, I always recommend starting with the idea and building the rest of your talk from here.


The Action


Often talks will include 1 or more action steps (I wouldn’t go beyond 5 since the audience will have a hard time remembering all of them). The action steps are the steps the heroine has to take on her journey to defeat the monster (the problem) and reach the treasure (the idea).


Even here, there’s not one way to do it. A good starting point is asking yourself, “Which steps does one need to take to go from the problem to the solution (idea)?” Write them down, explain them, add a few jokes, 1 story or 2, and you’re done.

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Obviously, there’s a lot more that goes into writing an amazing talk: you want to include storytelling, move the audience, inspire them, prove your authority, and so much more. But these 3 elements are a very strong and effective starting point. So, if you’re confused and don’t know where to begin, start here.

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And now on to you. Did you find this helpful? And how are you going to implement it?

Let me know in the comments below.

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