Monday, October 12, 2015

How to Connect When Speaking Publicly; Part 2

Part 2, Believe in What You are Saying

Debate competitions in high school and college are a lot of fun for those who participate in them. One of the challenges is that in one round of the competition, you will have to argue both for and against the given idea, also called the resolution

The trick is to convince the judges that you believe passionately in your argument. The problem for many debaters is they have a difficult time arguing for something they do not believe.All of us do.

I have spoken in public as a part of my job for over twenty-five years. And if I am not convinced of the truth and value of what I have to offer, I can feel it right away. If I keep it up over a period of weeks, those closest to me can tell that my heart is not in it. And if it goes into months, anyone who hears me can tell I am doing little more than going through the motions of delivering a talk. 

So if you are going to communicate a message, consider that your message needs to be something you believe in and are passionate about because you know of the value it adds to those who hear what you have to say.

The very best way to do this is to have experienced the value of whatever it is you are lifting up in your message. The word belief as most of us use it today simply means to give intellectual assent to an idea. You merely concede in your mind that the idea, concept, practice, etc is true. You believe it.

But at the dawn of Western civilization, the word belief carried a different meaning. The Latin word for belief was fiducia, a word that can also be translated as trust. 

In other words, to believe something was to trust that it was true. Trust is an act. It is not a mental exercise. If I trust something to be true it is because I have risked an act of trust, and have experienced the value and benefit of that act. 

So when I say you need to believe in what you are saying, the idea is that you have been there. You have experienced the benefit and value of what you are offering to others. It is not a theoretical benefit or value. It is one with which you are well acquainted. 

If believing in yourself makes you credible, believing in your message makes what you have to offer credible as well.

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