In addition to the Grace and kindness of God, one daily habit that has given me the winning edge in Public Speaking is staying current. The good news is that you can enjoy the same winning edge!
During the London Youth Conference I organised in 2008, one of the Speakers shared an empowering quote, "Being current is the currency of Life". Being current requires the active and continuous willingness to read, research and review. In order to be "active and continuous", it must become second nature i.e. it must become a daily habit.
From my experience as a Public Speaking Coach, I have keenly observed that reading and becoming knowledgeable, significantly improves one’s confidence and the Speaker’s ability to make wholesome and engaging eye-contact with one’s audience. When you are well-read and very conversant with the subject you are speaking on, that translates to competence.
Nothing shakes the confidence of he who is current - Samuel Jonathan
Competence and Confidence have four things in common:
1) They both start with the letter "C"
2) End with the letter "e"
3) Both words consist of three syllables
4) They always travel in the same direction (all other parameters being equal)
When you know something, I mean know it very well, you are automatically confident to share or articulate it. It is very rare for a person to be nervous, shaky or lack confidence when they know the answer. Typically, we lose confidence when we are not certain about the accuracy of the data we are giving. It can also happen if you are addressing a knowlegable audience and afraid that someone might challenge you. Stage fright can be as a result of anticipating a question being asked from the audience for which you do not have an asnwer. The worst embarrassment that can result from the lack of being current is for a member of the audience to update you the Speaker on recent developments and new trends pertaining to the field or topic you are speaking on! Once again, the good news is that you can completely avoid such embarrassment by cultivating the daily habit of reading, researching and reviewing.
Please don't miss out the "Review" aspect because according to Samuel Jonathan, "you cannot redeem what you have not reviewed".
The habit of reading, researching and reviewing helps one with mastering the material as opposed to memorizing it. When you master your material, it allows you to focus more on the audience (as in eye contact) rather than your material (or presentation slides). Amazingly, it all starts with reading. Readers are leaders! World-Class Speakers and Communicators fully understand the essence of being leaders on the subjects and topics they speak on. Once again, they know that being current is the currency of life. Therefore, they read. They read trade publications relating to their field. They read any material that sheds light on trends in the marketplace. They study articles that focus on their line of business nationwide and are very conversant with what their counterparts are engaged in around the continent. Each time they are invited to speak, they articulate the subject matter with local relevance and global insight. They are current and dictate the currency in which they are paid! The rewards and returns of reading and being knowledgeable are simply priceless.