If you don’t know about it – Don’t Talk About It
For some odd reason, I had always thought that if someone invited me to offer a keynote address on a particular topic, I needed to be an expert on the entire field surrounding the focus of my presentation. I don’t care if we are talking about a 5-minute presentation to a group of ten people or a four-hour educational seminar to over 250 folks. I have given hundreds of presentations to audiences from 5 folks to over 500. If there is ONE thing that rings true – it’s this: Don’t Speak Out of School! Just because you may have 20 years of experience in a particular field, doesn’t mean you know a darn thing about the latest technology associated with it. People don’t want to hear what you don’t know; they don’t want to watch you fail (no matter how much you may doubt yourself.) They want to learn something from you. They want to you succeed and teach them and find the time they have invested in listening to you to be of value – to talk about what you DO know. There is NO faster way to lose credibility with an audience than to make uninformed commentary, period. There are plenty of methods available to speak around those points, address them and then move on.
There is something to be said about the rule of 7. If you have not run completely through your material, from how you enter the room, to how you set down your attach? to the moment you are introduced, to which opening words you choose, and if you cannot do it all by heart you are not prepared. Your focus should NEVER be on remembering what your message is. You should …