Dang…You know your topic!

topicsdOne important responsibility for all speakers is to…know…your…subject. The more you know, the easier it is to speak. One benefit to knowledge is confidence. With confidence comes less anxiety on “what might happen”.
Everyone who speaks has the opportunity to encounter someone in the audience who wants to argue. If you know your subject, a discussion between your anxious audience member and you might entertain the rest of your audience.
Dale Carnegie once said, “Earn the right” to talk about your subject! The more you are an authority of your topic, the greater degree of being seen as the expert. Expertise equals credibility.
In today’s world, gaining knowledge is easy. One favorite way of mine is to visit a bookstore that has a coffee shop. I select a few books and skim them to find what is interesting. Then I go back spending more time on pages which interest me. All the while I am enjoying my coffee.

I am nervous, you’re nervous, everyone is nervous!

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What is the difference between your nervousness and my mine when we speak? The answer is simply, none. It is only a matter of definition. Everyone who speaks has energy in their speaking. The key is how you define that energy, negatively or positively.
An inexperience speaker feels this energy and refers to it as “a case of nervousness”. Something that is a negative and needs to be replaced. Something they feel has to be “worked through”. An experienced speaker feels “passion and enthusiasm” and wants to make their audience enjoy the same experience.
So how do you re-define this energy? The secret to this transformation is simply action. The more you speak, the easier it is for your mind to mentally flip the switch. Some speakers encounter a time where they feel a nervousness suddenly change to excitement or enthusiasm.
Every speaker has energy. It is up to you to set the definition!

It’s a small thing but it matters!

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Last night, a friend gave me instructions on the proper handling of the US flag. It was a small thing but it mattered. My parents were teenagers in the Netherlands during World War II and both were in the Dutch Resistance. Also both were liberated by the Americans and the proper handling of the US flag means something to me.
In speaking, it is often the small things that matter the most. For example, why do speakers feel the need to apologize for trivial mistakes? Speakers apologize for mistakes or certain behaviors that majority of audiences never see. If a speaker is nervous they apologize. If your nervousness shows, audiences will know why and be acceptable of the situation.
My rule is never to apologize. Let the audience assume your “mistake” was intentional. Why let everyone in on your secret.
It’s a small thing, but it matters!