Monday, July 06, 2009

The ABC's of Public Speaking - K is for Knowledge

K is for Knowledge

It goes without saying that you must be knowledgeable about the topic on which you speak. By taking the stage you are instantly given the benefit of the doubt that you are the expert.

If you are asked to address an audience on a subject outside of your area of expertise, think twice before accepting the engagement. You might think you can fool the group with fast talking or other smoke and mirrors, but the collective will smell the fraud. You have to be authentic or your will fail in your speaking efforts over the long run.

But you must be knowledgeable about more than just the minutia of the subject on which you will present. For many reasons you may need to tweak your planned presentation to meet the situation. Current events, the dialogue of the previous speaker, audience questions or other unplanned changes could cause you to need to deviate from your topic. If you cannot speak beyond your slides, you will be limited in your ability to have a meaningful impact.

Knowledge is power. The best advice is to be an avid reader and learn as much as you can about your specialty and beyond. Being the master of only one topic will limit your opportunities. Carve out time each day to read books, blogs, newspapers, and other periodicals. Always be looking for ways that what you read can become part of your future presentations.

In addition to technical knowledge, you must keep up with what is going on in the news, sports and with pop-culture. While you may not care about much of the information that graces the covers of supermarket tabloids, or see any relevance. many people in society do pay attention to these matters. Being able to weave in celebrity or sports analogies into your main presentation will help you connect with the broader audience.

It has never been easier to invest in learning, as important and interesting information is pervasive. Make knowledge a priority and you will always be more prepared when you speak.

Have A Great Day.


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