If you’ve ever felt like you don’t know enough to speak to an audience, you are definitely not alone. This can be a motivator to do what’s necessary to get ready, but more times than not it becomes the reason some don’t make it to the front of the room. So how do you know if you know enough?
You’ll know you’re ready if you can go 6 questions deep
The following six questions are key to providing some assurance that you do know your subject matter and will be ready to share your message.
1. What is the purpose in sharing your message?
Your purpose will align your thoughts, actions and message which will ultimately assist in accomplishing what you set out to do.
2. What does your audience need to know?
It’s the critical point and it’s best if it’s short and sweet. Imagine your audience reflecting on your presentation two weeks later. What do they need to remember?
3. What makes this message so important to you as the speaker?
Make a personal connection with your material. Ultimately, if you aren’t connected to your material your audience won’t be either.
4. What evidence do you have to support your thoughts, ideas, and assumptions?
A good rule of thumb is to come up with three points you want to make to support your critical point and use your evidence to bolster those three points.
5. What is your commitment to the topic/message?
You’ve been asked to share the message because you are deemed the appropriate one based on your background. Leverage your experience as well as your knowledge.
6. How will you ensure your message extends beyond this initial communication?
Find a way for them to integrate their learning with their life, their work, or their process and make it last after their time with you is over.
You’ve been asked to deliver a message not only because you are knowledgeable, but because you have a unique set of experiences that contribute to a distinct perspective. You are in possession of ‘tacit knowledge’ which is difficult to pass along to others. (Think about the difference between knowing how to ride a bike and being able to teach someone how to ride a bike.) If all your audience wanted was ‘explicit knowledge’ they would’ve asked you to write a manual, share a technical diagram, or they would’ve found the information online and skipped inviting you to speak. What you know and how you explain it are fundamentally what makes you so qualified to share.
You got this!