While your delivery skills may be excellent and your material topnotch, what about that of your competition? Do you know who they are and what they talk about? There is no doubt that the business of public speaking comes with a great deal of stress; however one means of reducing that angst is to study your competition. I certainly do not advocate copying a speaker, but I do suggest learning about them and learning from them. |
What this means is that you should do a lot of research – certainly easier today than ever before with the internet – and see who is at the top of the ladder and why. Google their websites, watch them on YouTube, go to conferences where they will be speaking, and invest in their products. The more you know about your competition, the better prepared you will be as a speaker.
Find out how you differ from those in your area of expertise as well as what you have in common. It is not necessary that you agree with everything your competition may be saying or doing. In fact, a little disagreement could be what sets you apart from the rest. Whatever your differences, be able to back up your own theories or opinions with anecdotes, statistics or some other proof of what you believe or know.
In my own situation as a voice coach, many people will ask about the speaking voices of people in the media. While it is not possible for me to know them all, I am constantly researching those with whom I am not familiar so that I can speak knowledgeably about them when or if the need arises. This includes actors, media personalities, and politicians. I also check other voice coaches to see what they are doing even though my approach is probably different than that of others in my business.
Introduce yourself to other speakers when possible. Talking to them directly will give you information you may not get from their material. And, you will also find that most in the business will be more than happy to give you advice. Again, however, your goal is not to copy or imitate another speaker but to be yourself: your audience came to hear you speak, not someone else.
The saying that knowledge is power is especially true in the world of public speaking. And those who are successful not only have the knowledge but have also done their homework. Now is the time to do yours!
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. To get started improving your presentation skills, click Voice Training and Presentation Skills for Nancy's free ebook.
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