(Photo by John Haslam)
Whether you’re starting out or have been giving speeches for a while, you’re likely want to have people in your audience take note of what you say. And people pay extra-attention to people who are experts in their field. So how can you establish your own guru-ness in your talk?
There are 3 basic ways to show you’re the expert:
1. Say “I’m the expert and here’s why…” This borders on boasting and requires the most confidence in you as a speaker. The key is to pick one or two expert credentials that your audience cares about, and not bore your audience with a recitation of your professional resumé.
2. Have others say “You’re the expert and here’s why…” This is the most familiar way people are introduced onto stage, “So-and-so has won multiple awards, been to the White House many times, consults with heads of state, etc.”. Even if this introduction was written by the speaker (for the emcee) it comes across as more humble. By leaving the bragging for others to do, you save valuable time in your speech to convey your big idea.
3. Show you’re the expert at something else entirely. Let’s say you’re giving a speech on designing buildings. While you’ve been an architect for 20 years, won multiple awards, and are highly sought after, what many people don’t know is that you’re also a quilter, who has (quietly) made and donated quilts to homeless people for years. If your speech can connect quilting to architecture, you’ve pulled off a double-win: you’ve both humanized your speech (sharing something special) and made your speech more memorable (if everyone else is talking about architecture, and your speech begins with quilting, you’ve got an immediate edge). By talking about something that you’re also passionate about, you clearly articulate your multiple talents.
For your next speech, if you will be an unfamiliar face, carefully consider how you want to be introduced and remembered.