Secrets of Public Speaking :: No. 6Monday, February 09, 2015
One thing you will need to have in your arsenal as a public speaker is a deep knowledge of your topic. This may seem like obvious advice and it is. I’m sharing it anyway because of the simple fact that at some point you will find yourself in a crazy situation where you will need to go off script and the only thing that will save you is that you know your stuff and you know it cold.
I once sat on a panel that did several back-to-back sessions in a row. Prior to the event we had agreed that each speaker on the panel would have pre-assigned speaking points and I was slated to speak last. Our first presentation began, each speaker shared their points and the panel went off without a hitch. This was going to be a great morning. Or so I thought.
When the second session started, the first speaker began and gave my talking points — verbatim — from the previous session as her own. Fortunately, because I knew the topic well, I could improvise and present information that was still relevant and applicable when it came time for me to speak again. If my knowledge on the topic had ended with my planned talking points, I would have been in trouble when the first speaker tried to sabotage my part of the panel in front of everyone.
You can’t control other people’s behavior. You can, however, be prepared to implement a plan B, pull from your expertise on a topic and still deliver content that is useful to the audience.