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From the desk of Steve Lowell, Master Speaker and Mentor to those who speak in public.

Preparing For a Powerful Delivery

Provide Evidence

Regardless of how you present yourself, either as an expert, as a reporter or as a philosopher (see Chapter Two), you’ll need to provide some evidence that you have actually earned the right to be in front of your audience. Inevitably, you’ll have someone in your audience who’ll be asking the question, “Who says so, besides you?” or, “Why should I believe you?” Having the proper evidence gives you the ability to handle any such questions, and you may very well have to use this evidence.

When you have the proper evidence to support your talk, you remove yourself from any line of fire of anyone who might challenge you. This provides you with enormous confidence, because you know that you have the goods to defend yourself against someone who might oppose you. You have all the proof you need, and that gives you strength.

In addition, providing evidence helps your audience to put your information into its proper context in their minds. It allows your audience to see the real-life application of your ideas, your claims or your philosophy.

The evidence you provide can depend on how you position yourself when you speak. If you’re presenting yourself as an expert, your evidence is your personal experience. As a reporter, your evidence is your research. And as a philosopher, you offer an example of the application of your philosophy.

When my wife and I speak about our experiences with her illness, we share many stories with our audience. We give true accounts of our experiences that support the purpose of our talk. As long as our accounts are factual, no one can challenge the validity of what we’re saying, because our evidence is our experience. In addition, when we share our own experiences, our audience can reflect upon the similarities and differences between our experience and their own, applying our information to both. This allows them to visualize how our information might apply personally to them.

When I speak about Sharon’s illness from a scientific standpoint, I present a lot of data and information that I researched. I present myself as a reporter. My evidence is the information I’ve researched and the sources from which it came. I’ll have copies of the books that I reference, and I’ll hold the books high in the air for all to see when I reference them. This way, if someone challenges my information, all I have to do is refer them to the book. If they want to challenge the book, so be it, but that takes me out of the line of fire.

Disclosing my sources also allows my audience to obtain their own copies, and to follow their own research, if they so choose. As a reporter, your evidence is the research you’ve done and the sources from which that research came.

In Chapter Two, I mentioned John Heney, who was a guest speaker at my business education and networking event called “Your Stage.” In John Heney’s presentation at “Your Stage,” he shared some of his philosophies with us. In his presentation, he also shared his personal accounts of how he applied his philosophies to heal himself from an illness that cripples almost everyone it touches. At the end of John’s presentation, he not only shared his philosophies, but he also provided examples of their application.

As a philosopher, your evidence is in the examples of how of your creative spin was applied to resolve a problem.

So, what’s the lesson? Providing evidence to support every point you make boosts your confidence, enhances your credibility, and helps your audience apply your information. Always have an answer for the questions, “Who says so, besides you?” and, “Why should I believe you?”

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