I know you’ve scanned to this line even though you’re probably skeptical about my title and especially the word “crazy”. But if you don’t keep reading you, will absolutely miss out on some insider tips that will help you get booked more as a public speaker. Plus, there’s a bonus tip at the end that you will want to be in on.
Can you come up with gig-winning talk titles that demand a double-take? Are you brave enough to get a bit wackadoo with what you do? I’m not talking about who you are and what you deliver on stage – unless who you are and what you deliver on stage is wackadoo, of course. No judgment here. Just unconditional love.
But back to my thoughts on titles and how getting comfortable with the crazy is a good bet for booking more gigs.
For the rest of us, we might have trouble climbing out of the box and getting a bit of an edge or lighthearted or yup, crazy, with our titles.
Want to know an industry insider secret? Planners are getting bored with the same-o, same-o. Even if they are into the same-o, same-o, their attendees very well may not be anymore. So things have to really jump out at them these days.
They may never even get past your titles to read your blurb describing all the amazing and valuable, life-changing content you deliver in your speeches and talks. Why? Because your titles are, let’s face it, somewhat, eh-hem, snoozy and outdated.
How long does it take 6-9 key words change your career? About a nanosecond. That’s the time it takes to get you passed over by a hiring party.
A title in and of itself may not get you hired, but it sure will get you dismissed as a potential presenter.
Planners want titles which are in line with the needs of the audience they plan for. Simple, right? That is the basic core idea which should go into any title-crafting you do. And if you don’t understand what makes the planner’s audience tick, then you’re not ready for this.
This is not about making yourself a one-size-fits-all speaking expert. It’s about a key concept I have been teaching my readers and Members for almost 2 decades. Know your audience first and best.
Then find a way to make planners understand that you are their greatest hope for a knockout conference.
You’ve read what I’ve said about niching yourself and I believe that is key.
But I’ll tell you this: With all the amazing tech today, it is super simple and quick to rewrite your talk titles to match the planner you’re submitting to. Get sure on who you are and what you stand out in, but tweak those titles for the planner you are emailing your proposal to – specifically.
You are an expert on ABC, but this planner is in a market segment you don’t usually pitch to. That’s okay, because you can rework a title to pique her interest and then maybe they’ll see that you could add something out of the ordinary this time to their somewhat stale year-after-year fare.
Oh.My.Wendi! Are you crazy? How am I supposed to come up with a new title for my talk each time I create a proposal?
It’s easier than you think, and remember, we’re talking about tweaking a bit here and there. You might find that you collect a file of titles that are all about your talks, just rewritten with your planner in mind this time.
3 Ways to Make Sure Your Talk Titles are in the Crazy
Here are some tips to help you accomplish this.
1. Brainstorm Like a Boss
Sure, of course, you’re going to brainstorm. How good are you at brainstorming without editing a single thing you think about, though? That’s what brainstorming is supposed to be.
All storm and no edits. Write it all down and don’t filter, talk it out, erase, judge. Anything. Just braindump and then you have something to start with.
Then, let them sit for a day or two and revisit them. Which one pops out for you as innovative, intriguing, current, eye-grabbing? Apply your new formula to 5-10 new titles for your topic.
And can I just say, don’t ask anyone what they think at this stage unless they are a professional title writer.
No one else is going to get what you’re trying to do at this point. So time the feedback gathering only until you are well into the process.
2. Make It More Captivating
Build up a list of ideas and words that tightly encase your message, your meaning, perhaps the key story in your presentation, your A-Ha moment, a paradigm shift, or some moment of strange serendipity.
Look for universal hot topics in the news and wrap your title around that. Creating current sounding titles is a great way to capture attention.
3. Weed ‘Em Out
Time to get out your garden sheers. Be ruthless and start cutting. Narrow your options, combine options, cut the ones you don’t think you can work with, swap words, escalate, and fine tune the options to fit with your theme and message.
Here’s the tricky part – you came up with some “way out there” titles a few steps ago and now you’re doubting yourself and your ability to sell them. I hear that. And if you don’t have confidence in them, you need to rethink them perhaps. You know best, for sure, especially about what you can get behind.
But I will tell you that if you’re on your way back to Boresville USA, then that’s a wrong turn. Stay on course to grabbing that attention you deserve.
One Theme to Rule Them All
When you have your one crazy title – go for it! Make it yours!
Wrap your next presentation around it and deliver it with the confidence of knowing that this small string of words is only about grabbing attention quickly. You’ve got what it takes to back it up.
You’re the expert in the room. You’re the one that planner has been waiting for all along because you know what it takes to make that planner look good. Really, really good.
Your title matters. A lot. And a nutty title can be the difference between a planner snoring their way through yet another speaker’s website and them sitting up to adjust their glasses to make sure that’s what you said…and then read more and more.
Set aside your critical mind while brainstorming. Write down all ideas no matter how “out there” they are. Don’t worry about what a therapist or your mentor would think. Use a whiteboard and you can destroy the evidence later.
When your creativity is tapped out and you think you have some great ideas, then you can enter the elimination and consolidation process. Combine ideas first, then start to weed out unusable ideas. Creativity first. Pure creativity. After that, you begin the process of tossing out the duds.
Bonus Tip: Be bold in creating emotional touchpoints that might make people a bit uncomfortable.
Remember, people have problems and issues because, well, they’re people, and people are messy. They are coming to the conference or event looking for solutions and answers.
You’re in the room to provide solutions and answers. The room gets filled because you got bold and decided to stretch for a new, maybe a little crazy, talk title that they will stand in line for at the door.
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