Join Jeff Weiner for an in-depth discussion in this video Effective speaking: Know your material, part of On Leadership by Jeff Weiner.
- Know your material. Why is this so important, know your material? And by the way, when I talk about knowing your material, I'm not talking about memorizing your speech. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about knowing your material. You are invited to speak to a group. You should know what you're talking about better than anyone in the audience. And if you don't, you should switch places with the person that knows more than you do. Why are you on stage, right? Know your material. Knowing your material. This also speaks to the courage of your convictions. When you not only know yourself as a leader but you know your material, that's when you're going to do your best work on stage in front of others. It's going to infuse you with confidence. You know it, you know it cold. Doesn't matter if you've memorized it or not. It's in you. And this is one of the things that's going to help you avoid the fear of public speaking. And you would not be alone. USA Today many years ago, conducted a survey. And they asked people what they were afraid of. You know where death came out on that list? Second, you know what came in first? Public speaking, Jerry Seinfeld said it best. He said, "If that's true to the average person, "if you go to a funeral, they would prefer "being in the caskets to delivering the eulogy," right? People are scared of public speaking. So how can you avoid that? Well for starters, recognize. We were just talking about transparency and virtuous ambitious cycles. There is a doom loop when it comes to public speaking, and I wanted to point out to you and help you avoid, okay? So you're invited to speak. Maybe you're less experienced. And someone at some point told you you know, memorize your speech, write down your speech notes, memorize it, commit the whole thing to memory. That way, you can't mess up, nothing bad will happen. Or for whatever reason, you just think that's the right way to go. So you memorize the speech word for word. Forget the amount of time and energy it's going to take for you to memorize this thing. But you memorize it, right? And you think, all right, I got this, I got this cold. So you show up, you're on stage, and you forget a line. What happens next? Panic, you start to pan literally, panic, there's the word. Panic, fluster, okay, not good. How's your audience going to respond to that energy? What are people going to do when you start to panic behind the podium? Disconnect, and in the modern era, what does that mean? Literally, what are they going to do? They're going to experience discomfort, get super uncomfortable, pick up their phone. And you start looking at their phone. They're like oh god, I can't take this. This is ridiculous. This person is so uncomfortable. I want no, actually, at first, they may be like wow, this is entertaining. This is the most entertaining thing I've done all day. This is a train wreck. And then at some point, they're like I can't take this anymore. So they're going to get uncomfortable and they check out. Now what happens to the speaker when they see the audience gone? So they're trying to figure out this line, the sweat starts happening, the flop sweat, they're starting to get panicky, they look out in the audience, and people are just gone. They're gone, so the feedback you're getting is you messed up. Now you're being judged. And now you're like, this is my worse fear. It's happening right now. So that's a loop, right? That is a public speaking doom loop. So very, very important, okay? It's not necessarily about memorization, and it's not necessarily about your words. It's about your energy.
Learn about the importance of maintaining awareness of yourself, your team, your industry, and the world at large. Explore the topic of synthesis, which you achieve through developing your vision and values and by focusing on the most important priorities. Plus, learn about the role of inspiration in leadership, both in terms of being true to your own values and motivating others.