You’re contacted by a meeting planner and you’re scheduled to deliver a speech on a topic you know like the back of your hand. You’re the expert in that topic and you know you can deliver a great, educational and inspirational speech about the topic. But is it really what the audience needs to know? Just because you know the topic well doesn’t automatically mean you’re able to connect with the audience.

connect with the audience

connect with the audience

I learned this lesson the hard way. After speaking to a human resources group on a topic I knew well and was an expert in, I left thinking it was the best I had ever delivered the speech and the information was well researched. It was delivered in an entertaining and educational way and ended right on time. I would have given the presentation a 10.

Unfortunately I didn’t think about the fact that I come from a very different world and had no idea what a human resource employee goes through every day. I’ve never been in that position and dealt with the issues they deal with on a daily basis. So my idea of what they needed was completely different from the truth. These are the things you learn from getting feedback. I hadn’t taken the time to get to know them and their needs. I wasn’t able to step into their shoes and I didn’t really know what they needed to know. So, the next time I spoke to a human resource group I made sure to do my homework and it made a huge difference.

Here are 3 ways you can connect with the audience:

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If you’re working as a speaker, you must be an expert at something. But what makes someone an expert? Does writing a book make you one? I could write a book about scuba diving. In fact, I could write a whole series of books about scuba diving, but it’ll never make me an expert.

sexpert speaker

expert speaker

I have a crazy theory that you should have actually put in a certain number of years into practice that which you claim to be an expert in. My doctor’s been practicing medicine for 30 years, but he’s never written a book. I would call him an expert.

The trifecta for speakers

But I’m not the one who makes the decision to hire speakers. And having a book and being high profile does appeal to plenty of meeting planners. Of course, if you have the experience and a book and you’ve gotten a lot of press, you’re way ahead of the game. (more…)