What is the optimum number of speech topics to offer clients?

Are you giving clients too much choice?

When I was running my speaker bureau, we offered several topic choices for clients to choose from when they had decided on the speaker they wanted to book.  We included these on the speaker’s profile page.   

It’s important to have a choice.  But when does it become too much?   According to neuroscience, (I know I’ve just jumped on the bandwagon and quoted neuroscience, it had to happen eventually) once faced with double digits of choices we go into cognitive overload.  So that would mean that the absolute max must be 9.  This is good to know as the maximum number of topics we allowed any speaker on our site was, you guessed it, 9.  Admittedly this was by pure luck rather than any brilliance on our behalf.

If you are listing lots of topics for clients to choose from you might want to consider reducing them down to 9 or better still, less.  If that’s not possible, group the topics into themes.  I worked with a speaker recently who had 12 topics, but when we looked more closely, the topics fitted into 4 main themes, and each theme had 3 topics.  Now rather than being hit by the cognitive overload of 12 clients choose one theme and within that theme choose from 3 topics.  

Influence and persuasion expert Phil Hesketh has 3 topics for clients to choose from, all related but each with unique content.  Whichever they choose, Phil says that once he’s delivered one, he can go back to speak for them twice more on the other two.  Brilliant.

Let me know what you think on the topic?

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