Chapter 2: Confidence is given through preparation
Since 1912, my professional work, which is also my passion, has been to listen to and analyze about six thousand talks per season for a year. These talks are often not given by university students, but by business people or professionals. The deepest impression on my mind from this job is this: The necessity of preparing the talk before presenting it in public, having clear, specific ideas in mind, consider what to say or what will impress people. How can you not care about a talk where the speaker has a clear message in his mind that, through the talk, he really wants to speak with his heart and mind? your soul? That’s half the secret of talking.
When the speaker is in such a situation mentally and emotionally, he will discover an important fact: that his talk is self-made, the bond will become easier, and the burden on the speaker’s shoulders will be lighter. Prepare well before speaking, that is to finish nine-tenths of the speech.
As discussed in Chapter I, the main reason most people want to learn how to talk is to gain courage, confidence, and independence. And a fundamental mistake that a lot of people make is not properly appreciating the preparation before giving a speech. How can they hope to win over an army of fear and confusion when they go into battle with only wet gunpowder and shells without guts, or even when they don’t? carry any weapons or ammunition. Lincoln once said in the White House: “I believe that I will never be old enough to speak in public without shame when I have nothing to say.”
If you want to be confident, why not do what it takes to do so? Apostle John once wrote, “A perfect love casts out all fear.” So always be perfectly prepared. Webster once said, standing in front of an audience without preparation is like not wearing proper clothes.
So why don’t we prepare our talk more carefully? Why? Some people don’t understand well what it’s like to prepare in advance or to be smart about it; Others have argued that there is not enough time. So in this chapter, we will discuss this issue in detail.
**** Part one
The right way to prepare
What is preparation? Read a book? That’s one way, but not the best way. Reading can be beneficial to you, but if one is just trying to memorize the piles of knowledge and ideas in the book, and then immediately speak them out as if it were his own opinion, Such conversation seems to be missing something. The audience may not know exactly what the talk is missing, but they will certainly not be satisfied with the speaker.
Here’s a concrete example of this: Some time ago, I gave a public speaking course to a few senior bankers in New York City. Of course, characters are often very busy, so they always find it difficult to have enough time to prepare, or do what they call prep. All their lives these people always think of their own thoughts, cultivate their own perceptions, see all problems through their own eyes, and live only with their own experiences. Therefore, in this case, they had more than 40 years to accumulate material for their talks. But some of them don’t realize this. They couldn’t see that dense forest of knowledge.
This group of people meet every Friday night, usually between five and seven people. One Friday night, someone we called Mr. Jackson got in touch with a bank in another town, so it was going to be packed with people that day. So what does Mr. Jackson have to say? He quickly left the office, went to the newsstand to buy a copy of Forbes magazine (Forbes’ Magazine). On his way to the Federal Reserve Bank, where the talk was to be held, he read an article titled: “You Only Have Ten Years To Be Successful.” And he read it, not because he was particularly interested in the article, but because he had to have something to say, about anything, for the rest of his speech.
An hour later, Mr. Jackson stood up and tried to speak in a compelling and convincing way about the content of the article he had just read.
**** Part two
And what was the result?
He didn’t have time to comprehend, not to organize what he was about to say. Exactly what he was trying to say. He is trying. So his speech didn’t give a clear message; His voice and demeanor made it clear. In that case, how could he hope to impress the audience more than he himself? He kept referring to the article, saying that the author wrote like this, like that. So his speech contained too many words and opinions of Forbes magazine, while unfortunately only very few of Mr. Jackson’s.
So I said to him: “Dear Mr. Jackson, we are not very interested in the shadow of the personal opinion of the author of that article. He’s not here right now. We did not see him. What we care about is your own opinion. Tell us what you think yourself, not anyone else. Show us more of you in your talk, Mr. Jackson. So why don’t you try talking about the subject again next week? Why don’t you try re-reading the article and ask yourself if you agree with what the article says? If you agree, think about the suggestions the article author has made, expressing them according to his own personal observations. And if you don’t agree, then tell us why you think that way. Let this article simply be the starting point for your talk.”
Mr. Jackson accepted my suggestion. He re-read the article and came to the conclusion that he did not completely agree with the author’s opinion. He wasn’t the same as before, preparing his speech because he was forced to take the subway. He further developed that talk. That speech was like his own brainchild, it grew and developed like his children in the flesh. And that brainchild grows day by day even though Jackson doesn’t realize it much. There was an idea that popped into his head while he was reading some articles in the newspaper, an idea suddenly crossed his mind while he was chatting with friends. These ideas grew more and more profound and higher and higher, for he had been thinking about them for most of that week’s free time.
The second Mr. Jackson presented the topic, his talk contained some of his own thoughts, which were deeply rooted in his mind. And of course he presented most of the finer points, since he disagreed with the author’s opinion. It is true that people are usually more excited when they have a negative opinion.
It is unbelievable, with the same subject, the same speaker, that the two above mentioned articles are so opposed to each other. The difference between having and not preparing is that big!
I will give another example to further demonstrate that difference. Mr. Flynn was my student in a presentation class in Washington. One afternoon, he gave a talk in praise of this city-the capital. He gleaned hastily and in-depth information from a small newspaper bulletin. So the talk was like that newsletter – dry, disjointed, and incomprehensible. Mr. Flynn didn’t think through the subject. This says nothing about his enthusiasm. When he gave his presentation, he did not feel that his talk was profound enough to make it valuable. And his speech became without depth, without color and without benefit.
What is a speech that cannot fail?
A meeting night later, something happened that deeply affected Mr. Flynn: Someone stole his car from a public garage. He rushed to the police station to report and promise to thank whoever found his car, but to no avail. Police said it was too dark to solve the theft, however, a week ago during a patrol, they chalked Mr. Flynn because his car was parked 15 minutes past the allotted time. . This made Mr. Flynn even more angry because the police who recorded the fines were now too busy to solve the theft for him. Mr. Flynn was really indignant. And in his talk that day, he spoke, not what was in the news, but about such events that he had experienced in his life. Those are the things that are really part of this man, what comes from his perception and feeling. In his speech praising Washington, D.C., he tried his best to say each sentence, but today, he stood up to speak, criticism of the police just boiled like Vesuvius fighting. . Such a speech is very easy to understand. That talk is unlikely to fail, for it is made up of experience and reflection.
So what is the actual preparation like?
Does preparing for a talk mean writing or trying to memorize groups of phrases without errors? Not. Is it a collection of random ideas that show very little of your ego? That’s not quite the case either. Preparation is about gathering your own thoughts, opinions, arguments, and evidence. And you yourself have those thoughts and evidence. You think about them every day. They even appear in your dreams. Your life is always full of feelings and experiences. These things lie deep in your subconscious, as thick as the pebbles on the beach. Preparation means thinking, pondering, recalling, selecting the ideas that suit you best, refining and organizing them into an outline, a pattern of your own. This doesn’t sound too difficult, does it? And it’s really not that difficult. It just requires a little concentration and thinking about the purpose of the talk.
See how Dwight L. Moody prepared his immortal speeches. “I have no secrets,” he replied. “When I choose a topic, I write the name of the subject on the outside of a large envelope. I have a lot of envelopes like that. When I read a book, if I come across a good idea about the subject I’m about to talk about, I jot it down on the right side of the envelope. I carry a small notebook with me at all times, and if I hear anything good in my sermon that would shed more light on my subject, I’ll copy it, tear it up, and put it right in the envelope. Maybe it will stay there for a year or even more than a year. When I want to give a new lecture, I will use up what I have accumulated. Between what I gathered and what I learned on my own, I had enough material for my talk. And so, I picked up a little bit of each place. That way, what I collect never gets old.”
Wise Advice from Dean Brown of Yale University
When Yale St. School celebrated its 100th anniversary, the Principal, Dr. Charles Reynolds Brown, gave a series of lectures on the art of preaching. These lectures were printed in a book by the Macmillan company in New York. For 30 years, Professor Brown has prepared his own talks on a weekly basis, while guiding others to prepare and deliver speeches; that is why he is always in a position to give people wise advice on the subject, advice that helps presenters prepare their talk better, whether it is a talk on the third hymn. 91 by a tailor or a speech before the Shoemaker’s Union. So here are some of the things that Professor Brown advised people to do:
Think carefully about the topic and the passage you intend to talk about. Meditate on them until they become mature and relatable. You’ll be able to sketch out a bunch of promising ideas just like you’ve created tiny creatures capable of growing and expanding more…
This process will work better if it goes on for a long time and doesn’t stop until Saturday afternoon when you’re really working on finishing up the last part of the talk you’ll be giving. Sunday. If a pastor can hold a certain truth for a month, or even a whole six months or a year, before presenting it, he will find new ideas constantly arising from true until it grew unexpectedly large. Maybe he would think about those ideas while he was walking down the street, or sitting on the train, when his eyes were tired from reading.
Maybe he’ll brood over the idea at night. Probably it would be better for pastors not to regularly bring their church or sermons to bed – the pulpit is the perfect place to preach, but it’s not a good companion for sleep. However, I used to wake up and get out of bed in the middle of the night to write down the thoughts that had just come to me, because I was afraid that in the morning I would forget them…
When you are really caught up in preparing the tools for a particular sermon, write down all the thoughts that arise from the topic and the passage you are going to talk about. Write down what you see first in the passage when you decide to talk about it. Write down all the relevant ideas that pop into your head…
Write down all of your ideas with just a few words enough to make sense of them and always think like there’s never been a book this long. That’s how to practice keeping your mind active. Always apply this method to your mind to develop comfortably, naturally and creatively…
Write down all the ideas you have had since birth, unaffected by anyone. They are more precious to your spiritual growth than any gold or silver gemstone. Write them down, be it on scraps of paper, the backs of letters, blanks on envelopes, scraps of paper, whatever is within your reach. This is much better than writing on long, clean, beautiful white pages. It’s not just a matter of savings. In fact, this will make it easier for you to organize and organize these disjointed pieces together as you begin to organize the material you have acquired for your talk.
Get in the habit of writing down every idea that comes to you and think about them carefully. You should not be hasty in this process. It is one of the most important mental exercises you have the power to do. It’s a way to help your mind grow with real useful power…
And you’ll find out which sermons you like to speak the most and which do the most good in your lives will be the ones that are the least of your inner self. They are the bone in your bones, the flesh in your flesh, the offspring born of your mental labor, the product of your creativity. Lectures that are made up only of clippings and re-editing will only live as a kind of retrofitted old thing. What sermons have vitality, reach into the hearts of others, make those hearts more enthusiastic as if they were given wings and walk the path of duty and fearlessness – sermons That authenticity really comes from the burning enthusiasm of the person who wrote it.
So how did Lincoln prepare his talks?
So how did Lincoln prepare his talks? We are very fortunate to know this, and you will realize that some of the preparatory steps that Professor Brown suggested to us above were done by Lincoln three-quarters of a century earlier. One of Lincoln’s best speeches was the one in which Lincoln offered the vision: “A house torn apart cannot stand on its own. I believe that this government cannot last forever, half-slave, half-free.” Lincoln came up with these ideas while he was doing his day job, when he was eating, when he was walking down the street, or when he was milking a cow, while shopping with a gray scarf. around his neck, a lanyard hanging from his arm, and the boy walking beside him kept talking, asking questions, twirling his bony fingers in the faint hope of getting his father to talk to him. But Lincoln kept walking, as if absorbed in his thoughts, thinking about his speech, and completely unaware of his son’s presence.
Over and over again in his thought process, he jotted down notes, paragraphs, sentences all over scraps of paper, scraps of paper, envelopes, envelopes—anything in it. his reach. And then he put them all in the top of his hat and carried them around until he was ready to sit down and put them together, and then write them all down and read them all over, then format them for presentation and let release.
During a debate in 1858, Senator Douglas gave the same speech everywhere he visited, but Lincoln didn’t stop researching and thinking until he found out. that it is easier to give a new speech every day than to say the same old speech over and over again every day. That topic was constantly expanding and developing in his mind.
Just a short time before Lincoln entered the White House, he copied the Constitution and three speeches, and with only those texts, he locked himself in a cramped, dirty room behind a door above a door. store in Springfield; and there, without being interrupted by anyone, wrote his inaugural address.
What about the talk at Gettysburg, how did Lincoln prepare? Unfortunately, there have been many misrepresentations of that talk. However, the truth is a very interesting story. That story is as follows:
A committee representing Gettysburg Cemetery decided to hold a formal fundraiser, and they invited Edward Everett to speak that day. Everett has served as a pastor in Boston, principal at Harvard, governor of Massachusetts, senator, public servant in England, Secretary of State, and he is considered the most capable speaker in America. The original fundraiser was set for October 23, 1863. Mr Everett wisely stated that it was impossible to fully prepare in such a short amount of time, so the ceremony was rescheduled to November 19, almost a month later, to give him enough time to prepare. bag. The last three days before that deadline, he took the time to visit the site of the talk and learn more about all that had happened there. Doing that was the best preparation, it helped him visualize the conversation more authentically.
Invitations to attend were sent to all members of Congress, the President, and members of the cabinet. Most of these invitations were turned down, so everyone was surprised when Lincoln agreed to attend. Should the organizers invite him to say a few words? They have no intention of doing so. Opposition also grew, as they argued that Lincoln did not have enough time to prepare. Furthermore, let’s say he has enough time, but can he afford it? In fact, he was able to dominate the debates about slavery or about America, but no one had ever heard him speak about donations. This is a dignified activity. This is also a rare opportunity for the organizers. Should they ask Lincoln to speak? The organizers kept wondering about this issue. But perhaps they would have no qualms if they could see into the future and see that, the man they still doubted about, at the ceremony that day gave a speech that It is still considered to this day to be one of the most enduring speeches delivered by a great man.
Finally, just a few days before the ceremony, the organizers sent Lincoln a belated invitation, inviting him to “state some correct remarks”. Yes, that’s exactly what they wrote “some good comments”. Think about it, they wrote that to the president of the United States.
Immediately, Lincoln began to prepare. He wrote Edward Everett a letter and obtained a copy of the talk the scholar would give at the ceremony. Just a day or two later he went to the photography shop, took Everett’s manuscript with him, and read it in his spare time at the photo shop. He thought hard about his speech for several days, both as he paced back and forth from the White House to the war office, and as he sprawled out on the leather office bench while waiting for late emails to arrive. He sketched out the content of his talk on a scrap of scrap paper and always carried it in the top of his silk hat. He kept thinking about that talk, so it kept growing. The Sunday before his speech, Lincoln told Noah Brooks: “Actually, my talk hasn’t really been written. It hasn’t really been completed yet. I’ve only written it down about two or three times, and I need to go over it again until I’m really satisfied.”
Lincoln arrived in Ghettysburg the night before the ceremony. The whole small town was filled with people, causing the number of people in the town at that time to suddenly increase from one thousand three people to fifteen thousand people. The streets were congested, impassable, people poured into the dirty streets. Five or six bands played at the same time, and the crowd sang “John Brown’s Body.” People gathered in large numbers at the door of Mr. Wills’ house where Lincoln was resting. They sang his name, demanding to hear one of his talks. Lincoln immediately responded to the crowd by saying something to make it clear, rather than show off his quickness, that he didn’t want to say anything until the next day. In fact, he had spent the evening before the talk going over his talk again. He even approached the house where Minister Seward was staying and read out his speech to the Minister who could comment. The next morning, after having breakfast, he reviewed his talk one more time until someone informed him that it was time to begin the parade. Colonel Carr, who rode right behind the President during the parade, said that, when the parade began, the President sat upright in the saddle and looked at the parade commander, but only for a few minutes. Later, when the procession began to move, the President leaned forward, his arms hanging down and his head bowed. He looked like he was caught up in his thoughts.”
We can guess that at that time Lincoln was reviewing once more his short but immortal speech of about ten sentences.
Some of Lincoln’s speeches, the ones he didn’t really care about, were no doubt failures. But somehow this man has special powers when he talks about slavery and America. Why is that? Because it was an issue he never stopped thinking about and having really deep feelings about. A man who had shared a room with him one night at an inn in Illinois had witnessed, when he awoke the next morning, to find Lincoln standing on his bed, staring at the wall in front of him, and his first words were: “This government will not last long, half free and half slave”.
“All of the above sounds great,” you might say to yourself, “but I have no ambition to be an immortal speaker. I simply want to do a good job of giving small talks when the opportunity arises.”
The truth is we understand what you want. This book was written with the specific purpose of helping you and others like you to do what you want. However, even if your wishes are only modest, but the methods and ways that famous orators of the past have implemented may be of some benefit to you.
**** Part three
How to prepare well for speaking?
What topics will you choose to practice on? Anything that excites you. Don’t make the basic mistake of trying to cover too many issues in a short talk. Focus on only one or two aspects of the problem, and try to fully analyze those aspects. You will be very lucky if you can do it in a short talk.
You must first decide what topic you are going to talk about, and so you can think about it in your spare time. Try thinking about the topic for seven days and dreaming about it for seven nights. Think of it at the end of a workday. When you wake up the next morning, when you’re shaving or showering, whether you’re cycling down the street or waiting for the elevator, before lunch, before appointments, even while you’re ironing your clothes. Or preparing dinner. Try discussing that topic with your friends. Make it the main topic of your talks.
Ask yourself possible questions, related to that topic. For example, if you are going to talk about divorce, try asking questions about the causes of divorces, and the economic and social impacts of divorce. Or how to correct the wrong things that happened? Should we synchronize divorce laws? Why? Or should we have a divorce law? Will divorce become possible? Would that be more difficult? Or easier?
Let’s say you are going to talk about why you learned to speak in public. Try asking yourself questions like: What is my problem? What do I hope to get rid of those problems? Have I ever given a speech in front of a crowd? If so, where? When? How did that happen? Why do I think this training would be valuable to an entrepreneur? Do I know people who have achieved success in business or in politics primarily because of confidence, presence, and the ability to speak in front of a large number of people persuasively? Do I know people who may never achieve a satisfying standard of success simply because they lack these abilities? Let’s go into details. Tell other people’s stories but avoid naming them.
If you stand up, think hard, and stay like that for two or three minutes, that’s what I’m sure you’ll do in your first public speaking sessions. A topic like why you’re taking this training is easy; this is obvious. If you spend a little time gathering and organizing the material you have on the topic, you will almost certainly remember the talk. And then you can voice your own vision, your own desires, and your own experiences.
Alternatively, let’s say you’ve decided to talk about your business or profession. So how do you prepare for that kind of topic? You’ve got powerful tools for this topic. So your job will be to select and arrange those tools. Don’t try to talk to us about that topic again within three minutes. That’s impossible. Your talk will become too brief and too trivial. Choose only one topic: develop and expand on that theme. Example: Why don’t you talk about why you have a career or position? It’s just by chance or by choice. Get in touch with your arguments, your defenses, your hopes and your victories. Create a story that captivates your audience, drawing a picture of real life based on your previous experiences. True and introspective stories about anyone’s life – if told humbly and without egotism – always have the most appeal. That would be good material for a sure-fire talk.
Or try talking about a corner of your job: What are the problems with that job? What advice would you give to young people pursuing that career?
Or tell about people you’ve been in contact with: One honest person and one dishonest person. Tell us about your problems. What has your work taught you about the most interesting topic in the world: human nature? If you’re going to talk about the technical side of your job, about many things, your talk could very easily go unnoticed by others. People, or to be precise, individuals are rarely wrong when it comes to this subject.
On top of all of the above, remember not to turn your talk into a puzzling abstract sermon. It will be very boring.
Arrange your talk in regular intervals between general statements and illustrative sentences. Think of specific cases that you have witnessed, or obvious facts that you believe are illustrated by the specific case your talk is about. You will also find that concrete cases are much easier to remember than abstract theories, and much easier to talk about. They will also support and clarify your speech.
This is how many great speakers have done it. Below is a passage from an article by B. A. Forbes about the need for organizations to fulfill their responsibilities to the community. Take note of the illustrations – stories gleaned about everyone.
Many of today’s big businesses were once just small, one-man production facilities. But most of these businesses have grown out of that situation. The reason is that, while all great organizations have “a permanent shadow of one person,” even the most talented person to run huge businesses and industries needs to focus Gather a lot of gray matter around you to help solve problems that arise.
Woolworth once told me that he had been running his business alone for a long time. And he ruined his own health. After several weeks in the hospital, he realized the reality that if he wanted his business to grow as expected, he had to share his management responsibilities.
The Bethlehem Steel Company has for many years been a business run and managed by one person, with Charles M. Schwab doing all the work. At that moment, the arrival of Eugene G. Grace, someone more brilliant than Schwab – he himself admitted, their business flourished.
In the early days of the Eastman Kodak company, all management was done mainly by George Eastman, and he was able to build a strong enough business. All the major corporate conglomerates in Chicago have gone through a nascent stage. Standard Oil, contrary to popular belief, was never run by one man before it developed into a huge business.
J. P. Morgab, although a well-known businessman, strongly believes in selecting the most qualified partners and sharing the burden with them.
However, there are also very ambitious business leaders who just want to run their own businesses, but like it or not, they are still dominated by the size of modern corporate organizations, so they are forced to share their responsibilities with others.
Some people when talking about their business often make the unforgivable mistake of only mentioning issues that they feel like. Why don’t those people try to find out what will be interesting, not for himself but for the listeners? Why don’t they try to accommodate the individual preferences of their listeners? For example, the speaker sells fire insurance, why doesn’t he tell his listeners how to prevent fires from happening to his property? And if he’s in the banking industry, why not give the audience financial and investment advice? If the speaker is the national leader of a women’s organization, why doesn’t she talk to local audiences about how these people can get involved in the country’s activities, through by pointing to specific examples of programs in their locality?
So in preparation, learn about your audience. Think what they want, what they desire. Sometimes this job is half the battle.
When preparing several topics, you should spend a lot of time reading, to find out what other people think and what they have said about the same topic as you. But don’t read until you feel you have run out of ideas on the topic. This is extremely important. So go to the library and tell the librarian what you need. Tell her that you are preparing a talk on this or that topic. Honestly ask her for help, if you’ve never been in the habit of doing research before, you’ll be amazed at what the librarian can do for you; it could be a special book on the subject you are looking for, with an outline and summary for the argument, and presenting the main arguments for both sides in a public Q&A; it could also be a Reader’s Guide to Periodicals, which lists newspaper articles on a wide range of topics from the turn of the century; It can also be the Information Yearbook, World Yearbook Great dictionary and dozens of other reference books. Those will be the tools for your seminar. Please use them.