In order to title your keynote or presentation, start by asking what the audience needs to hear. This isn’t necessarily what you yourself think is most interesting or compelling. Instead, it’s about what your audience needs to say yes to before they can engage with those ideas.
Your audience wants to know how your keynote or presentation will give them something they want in a way that is unconventional or surprising. That means setting your Goal in relationship to some combination of your Problem of Perspective, Truth, and Change, depending on what you want to emphasize. For example, a talk about the Red Thread might be titled, “Find the Red Thread: How Leaders Drive the Change They Want, Not Just the Action They Need.”
Look at the titles in a speaking lineup and ask yourself, as an audience member: What will I get as a result of listening to this? And what is the unexpected or unconventional way of getting that Goal? Title your keynote or presentation by answering those two questions and you’ll give people what they need to get engaged.
- Focus on the GOAL: Why Your Audience Needs an “Irresistible Outcome” – EP053
- The Irresistible Idea Formula – EP069
- Tamsen’s Titles
– This is a question I get a lot. How should you title your keynote or your presentation so that someone else gives it the green light? Especially if that someone is a meeting organizer or a conference planner? Well, stay tuned because that’s exactly what we’re talking about this week on Find the Red Thread. I’m your host Tamsen Webster and please like, subscribe, and share this video if you enjoy it.
How do we get this yes? Well, there’s two parts and we’ve talked about these two parts a lot before. So, what are these two parts? Well, first we have to understand the fundamental issue here. It’s very familiar to you as listeners or watchers of The Red Thread. When we come up with titles we tend to come up with things that we think are interesting or exciting or marketable. We forget what the audience, our potential client, actually needs to hear.
Now, of course, they want to hear something interesting or exciting. But before they can get that they need to know what they’re actually getting from your talk. Because they’re the ones making the decision, their preference wins.
What do they prefer? Well, thankfully they prefer what most people prefer. They want to know how this talk or this topic going is to give me something that I or my audience wants. That’s the Goal. Via an unexpected, unfamiliar, unconventional means of getting there. Now for you, that’s probably some combination of your Problem, your Truth, or your Change. Some combination of the Problem of Perspective, the Truth that makes it impossible to not look at that whole view, and then finally the Change. The change in thinking or behavior that your approach represents.
Now, for me that change in thinking or behavior is The Red Thread. So to make a title for a Red Thread talk, I want to focus it on an outcome for audiences around change. That title might be, “Find the Red Thread: How Leaders Drive the Change They Want, Not Just the Action They Need.”
Now let’s break that down a little bit. What was that all about? So, Find the Red Thread, that’s the unexpected approach. So people are going to say, “Well, what is that? What is the Red Thread?” I know it’s, this talk is going to be telling me how to do that. Particularly since the first word after the colon is how, but how do I do that. So this is why we can’t just stop at some ownable phrase or your trademark thing.
We have to give people more information. So, that’s where the subtitle comes in. And the subtitle is where you give them the audience Goal. The question that people are already asking that your talk will give an answer to. So, you can also add in, as you heard me do, something that they may not have been asking about. That creates a little bit more intrigue, but they have to hear something that they really, really want from that talk.
So, “Find the Red Thread: How to Drive the Change You Want, Not Just the Action You Need.” So I’ve given them kind of a double-barrelled thing there. I’ve said this is both about action, but more importantly about change. I’ve set up the tension between that to create kind of an open loop. To say, “Oh, I want to read more.” That, from there, that’s what makes them read the description. I’ll talk about that in a future video, but I have to get that combination first.
Now, once you know this combination, you will see it on other people’s talks everywhere. You’ll also be able to analyze when somebody else’s talk title, maybe even yours, doesn’t work. And it probably doesn’t work because one of those pieces is missing. It doesn’t actually tell me what do I get as a result of listening to this, what is the Goal. Or it misses this ownable piece about this unexpected, unconventional, unfamiliar way to get the thing that I want as an audience member. So, next time you are working on titling your talks or you keynotes, think about that combination.
If you want more information specifically on that combination, go watch the video or go listen to the podcast recording of the Irresistible Idea Formula. Here’s a big tip: it’s the same. Everybody wants to know how this gets me something I want via some means that I haven’t heard before.
If you want to see more examples of titling like this, you can go look at my website at tamsenwebster.com/speaking. Those are all my current talks that I give, plus a few more hidden on the side. Look at those to see what I’m talking about and look at other speakers’ talk titles to see what they do. What works about them, what doesn’t.
Now, one extra bonus here is that sometimes you can just give people what happens after the subtitle. That’s fine, so there’s a lot of talks that I give, for instance in The Digital Summit Series about how to find and tell the story of your ideas. I don’t actually add the Red Thread or something else in front of it, I just tell them what it is. How to find and tell the story of your ideas. So you could do that too, but the key is to give people something that they want in the title of your talk.
I can’t wait to see what you do with that. If you are a fan of this video, please remember to like, subscribe, and share it. And if you want me to give one of those talks you see at tamsenwebster.com/speaking, please reach out at tamsenwebster.com/contact.