A headline can either be the title of your speech, which will be your main headline, or the title of different sections of your speech.
Your headline will be shown to, and interact with the audience:
- in their programs, where the title of your speech will be displayed
- in your speech as you use it throughout your content
- on your slides or visual aids
Why is a headline so important?
Usually, reading your headline is the very first way that the audience will interact with you and your speech. Most audience members will, long before you've taken the stage, browse through their programs or manuals and make preliminary judgments of which talks will be interesting to listen to.
So a headline should be captivating, thought-provoking, engaging and leave anyone reading it hungry for more.
A headline should not be generic, bland, basic and "cliché-ish". Few people are going to get excited about colorless headlines without a hook, i.e. a want-to-know-more factor.
When composing your headlines (and don't be scared to take sufficient time with this) you should ask yourself what is the single biggest idea you want your audience to take home?
If there was only one thing you could say, one short sentence that would both summarize your content and state a benefit or a reason for why the audience should, what would it be?
That should be the main headline, and will compliment many good informative speech topics for your talk. It should answer the one question your audience needs clarity on.
What should a headline include?
A great headline needs to be (1) concise, (2) specific, and (3) show a personal benefit to your audience (The 'What's in it for me?' factor).
- Why Concise? Because its easier to grasp - your audience should never have trouble figuring out exactly what you want them know. The power of short, powerful headlines is easily seen in the huge popularity of the twitter social network that allows users to update their online status with 140 characters or less.
- Why Specific? Because broad headlines are often generic and safe. Journalists have mastered the art of perfecting headlines. Newspapers often feature short and captivating headlines that almost instantly have you delve into the story for the details. That's what a great headline will always do, it'll leave give you a foretaste of what's to come, and leave you ravishing for the rest.
- Why a personal benefit? Because people are less interested in your knowledge or your gizmo's then they are in how it can improve and better their lives! Even pure academically oriented people listen to speeches in order to get some personal benefit (new knowledge or ideas) from it.
Let's have a quick look at a by-now famous headline used by Steve Jobs in 2008 when he introduced a new product, the Macbook Air.
Jobs didn't wait for the media to create a headline, he created a extremely catchy one himself and rolled it out during his keynote:
What good are great speech topics, if no-one ends up listening to your talk? Good informative speech topics need to be complimented by engaging and captivating headlines, and that's what this article will focus on.
If you're looking for an actual list (and information) on speech topics themselves, then head over to the Persuasive Speech Topics section of the site. Otherwise, read on...
"The world's thinnest notebook"
It may seem simple, but it caught on and today, a few years later, many people know exactly what the world's thinnest notebook is.
This title is concise - its 29 characters including spaces.
It's specific - the keyword thinnest makes it clear why its great
Now that is thin! And it makes for great headline material...
It shows a personal benefit to the audience - Who wants to log around a bulky computer? Everyone wants a thin, small notebook.
Good Informative Speech Topics
Here's a short list of headlines that I got from around the net. Not all of them perfectly fulfill the criteria listed above, but it should get you thinking in the right direction.
How To Rob Banks Legally
Why Some Foods "Explode" in Your Stomach
6 Things the top 3% do differently
Profits That Lie Hidden In Your Farm
What spoils most up and coming rock-stars
The Most Expensive Mistake of Your Life
10 Things I wished I knew in my twenties
Do You Do Any Of These Embarrassing Things?
The one overlooked ingredient for dietary success
Make sense? Great! Now that you've got a headline and good informative speech topics covered, I recommend you read more about the power of simplicity in speechwriting.