You’re not alone – when they first start speaking to audiences, many a speaker has found it challenging to come up with a topic or story from their life to talk about. It’s been said that our life is a series of moments, but I think it is a series of stories too. Stories that have taught us lessons or just been plain old entertaining. So it’s interesting that we find it difficult to find a story or example from our life to include in a presentation. Where do you begin??
The 4 Fs is a good way to start! These are four categories, that all begin with the letter “F,” where you can find many story and topic ideas.
1. Firsts – What did you learn the first time you did something? Think about all those “firsts” in your life – when you learned to swim, your first date, your first job, becoming a parent etc. There are a GOLDMINE of stories you can find in this category. Everyone has had a memorable “first” story that they can use!
2. Failures – Failure is just a part of life. We have wins, and we have losses. Failing never feels good, but there is often something valuable about that experience that we can share. Your story may help someone else avoid the mistakes you made, or bring hope to an audience member who was in the same situation. Talking about your failures helps build that connection with the audience, since you’ll come across as very similar to them.
3. Flaws – Face it, we’re not perfect. We all have a shortcoming or weakness, but that’s what makes us human. Talking about your flaws, and what you have done/are doing to improve can be very inspiring. Are you habitually late? A procrastinator? Have trouble saying “no”? You’d be surprised at the stories that will come to mind!
4. Frustrations – We all have to deal with frustrations in our lives. But the important part is letting the audience know how you deal with them when they crop up. Do you easily get upset when someone cuts you off while driving? Do you have to work with an obnoxiously loud co-worker? Frustrations help us become even more relatable to our audience.
Coming up with speaking topics can be challenging, but starting with the four Fs can help get those creative juices flowing.
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To your speaking success,