“Learn as though you would never be able to master it;
Hold it as though you would be in fear of losing it”
I recently had a gentleman ask me, “What does The Speech Wiz do?”
He asked me if I can help with body language, gestures, vocal variety and a host of other nonverbal speaking skills all of which I answered in the affirmative. Then he looked at me, paused and asked me a question that betrayed a deeper understanding of the most difficult aspect of a speaker’s skill.
“Do you coach people on what they should say?”
“Ah,” I said, “that’s a really insightful question. Why do you ask?”
“Because,” he responded, “I seem to hear a lot of people speak with great style and flair, but they don’t really say much of value. I guess that’s the hardest part.”
Kudos to him! His observation is spot on.
LEARNING TO SPEAK
When you learn to play an instrument, you begin by learning the basic skills long before you begin to refine the style and type of music you will one day play. And, just because you master one style doesn’t mean you will excel at all styles. Rudolph Nureyev was a master ballet dancer and a so-so tap dancer. Fred Astaire was a master tap dancer and a fairly good ballet dancer. The trick in becoming a Speaking Master is to find your theme and keep at it. It is rare when a thought leading speaker excels at more than one vein of thought.
Like any skill you practice, speaking is a multi-faceted skillset that can take years to master. In the process of learning how to say it well, the true master speaker spends enormous time and energy on what they want to say as well. They become masters of Content Creation within their core line of thought. Through this lengthy process of deep thinking, they aggregate a massive amount of existing knowledge and generate innovative new perspectives on their theme or passion.
THE MASTER’S VOICE
The goal of a Master Speaker or Thought Leader is to sprinkle their audience with a few concepts and suggestions that will allow the seeds of their message to take root. Most thought leaders begin as a Subject Matter Expert (SME). Their subject areas are incredibly diverse ranging from arts to science to philosophy to self-help and more. The toughest challenge for many SME speakers is controlling the amount of content they share with their audiences on each speaking occasion.
Unfortunately, for some audiences, some SME speakers rush to the speaking stage and in the process skip the lengthy deep thinking on their topic that is needed. This results with the SME speaker hitting their audience with a “firehose” of content overwhelming their processing ability and drowning out their unique message.
While what we say (verbal content) represents only 7% of the communicated message it is one of those rare times when the math of 7% and 93% are of equal value.
No matter how you run the numbers, what you say is just as important as how you say it. So, while all of the nonverbal skills (body movement, vocal variety, and personal presentation) are critical to being well received by your audience, having your message remembered and repeated by your audience because it has taken root is priceless. A Master Speaker’s Voice is that unique message they bring to their audience’s and the ease with which it takes root and grows its impact.
THE DEEPER THE THOUGHT, THE HIGHER THE MESSAGE
Deep thinking is a solitary experience. No Cliff® notes available. It is a self-occupying, constantly-curious, and never-ending experience. A speaker will never suffer a loss for the time invested in deeply thinking about their core topic. The journey is always exhilarating, liberating and profoundly beyond the intended destination.
If you’re a speaker and curious about how to craft your core message, deep thinking on your primary topic area is where you need to begin. Pick up your shovel and pick axe and get ready to begin exploring the mine of your mind. The nuggets of insight and gems of clarity you’ll be looking to find will be found among 3 Veins of Thought within your mind:
- What you know
- What you’re passionate about
- The experiences you have had.
Together, these three veins will supply you with the relevant stories you need to support your profound observations, foundational phrase, and unique massage that create your speaking value.
THE RIVER OF DEEP THOUGHT
Ultimately, a speaker should desire to achieve a facility of topic knowledge and expression that makes them “at one” with their topic. Deep thinking speakers do not speak in a stream of consciousness. Instead they speak from a deep river of thought. From within this river, a speaker will exhibit two qualities of their knowledge, fluency and spontaneity, they use to create a genuine bond with their topic and their audience.
In the deep river of thought fluency means you speaker’s knowledge, insights and recommendations are endless. They flow without restriction or hesitation. This fluency has been derived from your process of extreme self-occupying, constantly-curious, and never-ending examination of the topic that is integral to you.
Spontaneity imbues you with all the qualities of a master river pilot. It enables you to see the hidden perils you might encounter in any part of your journey down your river of thought. With spontaneity you have the knowledge on where the deepest water is. You easily know how and where to cross the river to touch upon an adjoining shore of thought. With spontaneity, you can ride the swiftest or the choppiest water with the same level of confidence because you have deeply thought about the journey more than the destination.
DEEP THOUGHTS EQUAL DEEPER ROOTS
Your deep-thinking efforts will serve you well as you approach your speaking life. Read everything you can find about your area of expertise. Listen to other speakers who populate your topic space. Become a real student, a willing teacher and a giving master.
From your garden of deep thoughts, be the giver of your unique seeds others will eagerly plant, nurture, harvest and share. The more seeds you plant, the wider your crop will grow. The deeper your thoughts, the deeper the roots of the seeds you share will grow. In the end, your true value as an SME speaker will be realized when you can see the impact of your thoughts.
Above all, as a Subject Matter Expert speaker, remember to head the words of Confucius, “Learn as though you would never be able to master it; Hold it as though you would be in fear of losing it”. And, never stop the process of mining the 3 Veins of Thought within your mind.
I am delighted to share this Content Creation deep thought with you from my experiences as an Executive Speech Coach and a Success Speaker. I am grateful for your support as a reader of my blog and I welcome any comment on this post or suggestions you might have in the comments section below. As always, please feel free to share this post with a friend or colleague.
To Your Speaking Success.
The Speech Wiz