The most important thing a speaker can do to enhance a career is to become an authority in their specific subject area. You want to reach a point where people automatically think of you when they are looking for information on your topic or are looking for a speaker for their event.
To do this you must read extensively in your field. I believe that speakers are leaders and leaders are readers. If you don’t read then listen to tapes or lectures. You have to learn all you can and more about your subject.
When you read extensively you give yourself a distinct advantage over those who don’t. And there are huge numbers of people who don’t read.
Statistics show that the average person reads less than one book a year after graduating highschool.
* 58 percent never finish the book they begin.
* 90 percent of book buyers never read beyond chapter one of the book they begin.
* 20 percent of the population purchase 80 percent of all books purchased.
Many people who do read do so to be able to function adequately at work. Few read to excel in a specific area of knowledge and huge numbers don’t read at all. Looking at these statistics you can see that if you are a voracious reader you have a winning edge over others.
When you stand in front of an audience to deliver a speech there is a lot of presumption present. The audience presumes that you know what you are talking about and have something meaningful and beneficial to give them. On your part you must presume that you are an authority on the topic and that you have expertise and knowledge far beyond that of your audience. The only way you can be confident in this presumption is by reading and studying your subject thoroughly.
I suggest that you set aside at least one half hour of study per day. One hour is better but you might just want to begin with a half an hour until the habit is formed. Make it something sacred and don’t neglect it for anything but the most serious of reasons. You will soon reach a point where you know a great deal more than you need to know when giving a speech. This increases your self confidence and really helps you when someone from the audience asks you a question that you have to answer extemporaneously. Your comfort with answering questions will impress and leave people believing that the presumption they had about you being an expert was correct. Your reputation as an knowledgeable speaker begins to grow and so does your career.
View Mike speaking on Humor and Stress ( 5 minute video) http://motivationalplus.com/cgi/a/t.cgi?video