What gives you the right to speak in public?
Of course you know your subject. Of course you have been doing it for 40 years and there is nothing you don’t know about “Widget Making” or “Scone Baking” (replace the last two with your field of expertise). The challenge is that there are tens of thousands of people who have also been doing what you have been doing. What makes you so special?
You love to stand up in front of an audience and tell them about your experiences. That makes you a little different to most people but that is just not enough. The challenge for a speaker is always to be at the pointed end of the industry or subject you are speaking about. You have to know a lot more than your audience if you intend to be successful. Your target should be to become the world leader in your subject.
Re-focus your niche
The broader your niche the harder it is to be seen to be the expert in that field. If you get sick you may go to your local GP. He will give you the tablets and you get better. If you have heart problems you will not be happy to sit in a waiting room to see the GP, you will be rushed to a cardiologist. The cardiologist gets paid a great deal more that the GP but the GP probably knows much more about general medicine that the cardiologist.
There are many thousands of GPs but only hundreds of doctors who specialise in one filed or another and it is the specialists who are seen to be the experts. It is the specialists who write and sell the books and get asked to speak on their speciality.
[bctt tweet=”You have to decide whether you want to be a poor generalist or a rich specialist.” username=”richardmulvey”]
Start developing your expertise
The good news is that nobody was born an expert in anything. You can choose to become an expert in anything if you wish.
Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers, said that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become world class, to become “geniuses, business tycoons or rock stars”. But you don’t need 10,000 hours to be an expert.
Start by reading twelve books on your chosen subject. Twelve books is not a great deal and by the time you start speaking on that subject you will be reading many more than that but twelve is a good start.
It is certainly true that the majority of any audience will not have read as many books on any subject so if you have read twelve books on your subject you will know a great deal more about that subject than your audience will. You have now started to develop your expertise.