Somebody, somewhere has probably researched this, but apparently we humans are attracted to those who claim to solve our problems. If the speaker is credible, titles with “how to” in them will catch our attention. So here’s a title waiting for you to
write the appropriate lecture. “Jammed up against a brickwall? How to climb those walls using wills and probate.” (You can put anything that works after “using”)
The first part poses the problem as a question. The reader internally responds to the question, and is set up for the “how-to” statement. Some people do not bother with the question lead in. I remember Rick Crume did a lecture entitled “How to Plug into Online Library Catalogs ” at the FGS Conference in Orlando in 2003. At the same conference George Morgan gave a lecture , “How to Get the Most out of this Conference”. And Scott Peeler’s presentation was “How to Increase Local Society Membership”. Obviously in Florida you don’t waste time but get right into the solutions. I wonder if it makes a difference. What do you think? Include the question?
The “How-to bit” is actually part of a formula that looks like this:
HOW TO + VERB + [product or service or some other NOUN] + [benifit derived].
For example “How to Surmount Brick Walls and Find New Ancestors”. Or
“How to Combine & Correlate Evidence to Solve Research Problems”
Would “how-to” attract more people to your presentation? Tell me about it. I may need to re-title some of my best lectures.