“What do I speak about?” is a question I hear time and time again.
Whether it’s a speaker competing in a contest, or one launching their career, they come to me for direction. How serious are you? If I gave you a ten-minute lesson to do, would you do it? Today? If you wouldn’t, there’s no reason to read on. Too often, people look outside for answers when they should be looking inside.
Why do you think people come to me with this question? Simple. I’ve done it. I am actively doing what they want to do. Doesn’t it make sense to ask someone who has done it?
So what should you talk about? Well, what have you done? People who are facing the same adversities you’ve faced want to know how you over came them. You are uniquely qualified to help people for two reasons… 1.) you have that unique experience, and 2.) you have a desire to be in front of an audience (which makes you very rare!)
We are not just speakers, we are experts who speak. Your experience is your expertise. Do you want more expertise? Get more experience!
A few weeks ago, I spoke at a Toastmasters Leadership Institute. In my session, I discussed the biggest problem experienced by speakers.
The problem? Speakers are waiting until the become ultimate experts BEFORE they start speaking. That’s crazy! That’s like wanting to learn how to ride a bicycle and reading every article ever written on how to ride a bike before you even get on one!
As I mentioned that day, my favorite quote on this subject is by Dan Kennedy:
“In the land of the blind,
the one-eyed man is king.”
To become an expert you have to start teaching what you know. Your experience matters. It’s your greatest asset. These are the four questions I asked the audience that day. If you are serious, take at least ten minutes to answer these:
1) What adversities have you overcome?
2) What is your business experience? (List EVERY job you’ve ever had.)
3) What are your serious hobbies?
4) What are your biggest accomplishments, besides your children?
What if you don’t have experience in the area you want to speak on? Well, interview people like I did and become a reporter. My first educational tool was Learn How the Pros Make ’em Laugh, in which I interviewed my comedy and humor mentors. Now that I feel qualified, I’m creating my own programs to teach presenters how to Get More Laughs.
You can be a “reporter” and gather the information or tools that can help people. You have more value if you speak from your own personal experience.
So, what have you done?