If you were to teach a class called “Speaking Success 101″- what is the most important thing you would like your students to learn from you?
Often time presenters and speakers get obsessed with the idea that they need to be ‘omniscient.’
In my experience, there is little to no way that any speaker or presenter could ever be so well informed, or with such unlimited awareness/knowledge as to have an answer to any question the audience may pose during the session.
In the various courses I have taught or speaking/presentation assignments that I have taken on, I have usually prefaced my sessions with a brief introduction from the audience – their years of experience, education or job role background and current assignments. It has never failed to humble me with what I learn from that simple process. The audience is almost always composed of individuals with the most impressive education, skills, knowledge, talents… and the additional factor of many, many years of experience.
I then suggest to my audience after this quick process, that when I add up all their education, talent, years of experience etc, it far outweighs any pretensions I may have about being omniscient and knowing everything.
I point out that there may be areas where I may not have all the answers but that I will make it my duty to get back with an answer before the end of the session or after – without fail (and this is a commitment I have never failed to honour to date).