Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Authenticity Rule #2

Know Your Content

Quick recap of Authenticity Rule #1 - Know Thyself

Authenticity Rule #2 is Know Your Content. The human brain can only consciously handle one thing at a time. The main thought on your mind while giving presentations shouldn't be, "what am I going to say next?" You need to know your content so intimately you don't have to think about where you are or where you are going. Its important to note we aren't talking about memorizing content (click here if you do need to memorize something). This content knowledge is about being an expert on your presentation's subject.

This content-intimacy does three things:

1. It allows you to be more authentic because you aren't worried about being perfect. Presenters who don't know their content very well or whose topic-knowledge extends only to what they have planned to say are very self-conscience about getting everything right. If they have to get off the beat and path, their shallow expertise may be exposed. When you know your content top to bottom, you are comfortable with being exposed, presenting in a polished, but raw manner and in messing up from time to time. When you know your stuff, the real you is released.

2. It fills you with a tremendous amount of confidence. Knowing what you are talking about is the number one way to control your nervousness.

3. It allows you to free up your "one thought at a time" for other more important things - like thinking about your audience and connecting with them.

So, how do you get there? Well, I'll be covering a number of these strategies throughout this month. However, strategy number one is to think of your next important presentation like it is one of your really good friends. A good friend is close to you because you have spent a ton of time together. You have to invest an enormous amount of time getting to know your content. Thinking about it. Writing about it. Talking about it.

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