Perhaps the most neglected part of any speech is the title. A real good title
can make listeners say, "I'd like to hear that speech." A poor title
can make them say, "That speech doesn't sound promising." A catchy,
clever title is the greatest asset for a speaker. It is like a bright light that
blinks, "LISTEN TO ME." Or as they say in the navy, "Now
Hear This." A title should grab attention, awaken interest, arouse
curiosity, or stimulate feelings.
Use words such as You or Your.
Why would listeners respond to these words? Because they denote one-to-one
personal relationships between the listeners and the speaker. They ensure
listener identification. By using you and your, which address the listener
directly, the speaker implies that the speech is tailor-made for the listener.
Use other influential words such as How to, Secret,
Magic, Power, and Miracle. These
words act like a huge magnet. They signal inside information and expertise.
Use a number in your title. This is an
effective device because then the title will say to the listener, "Follow
this number of steps and you will obtain all of the many advantages
listed." The use of a set of numbers in the title will help listeners
outline their thoughts.
Ask a Question. A question is an method of
involvement. The question title will arouse the curiosity of the listener,
provoke a desire for answers, and propel the listener into the body of the
speech to find the correct answers. Also, the question mark, which looks like an
inverted hook, truly hooks the interests of the listeners.
Use the word New in your title. People are
interested in new methods and any solutions to problems that improve or make
their lives easier. Also, they are interested in knowing several of the latest
developments to avoid being the last to find out or being ignorant.
Combine two or more of the techniques into
one title. If each technique is very effective by itself, a combination will
definitely be one sure-fire winner. Effective titles talk to your audience
before you even say a word. For your next speech, try one or more of these
techniques to "Make Your Title Talk."