Misunderstand Leads To A Reminder About Speaking
This week, I received a reminder about the vital nature of integrity in public speaking. In short, a fellow speaker, whom hadn’t contacted me in over a year, wrote to say that, “last year, I heard that you “parroted” some of my ideas to an audience.”
This was a surprise. I let him know that I had, in fact, shared some of his ideas with a group. But, he was also given him credit. Not only that, I put a link to his book in one of my books because his material is valuable.
Our Subjects Are NOT Unique
I’m not writing this to complain or point fingers. It’s a reminder that one of the biggest challenges for speakers is that your subject matter isn’t unique. Whatever your topic, someone else is out there talking about it – most likely, MANY someone elses. Because of this, it’s possible to include information in your talks that has been stated by others.
This is one of the biggest reasons I’m a huge proponent of storytelling. No one can question your story, because it belongs to you.
A Hard Lesson Learned
I learned this lesson several years ago when I shared an idea of one of my fellow coaches. I failed to give her credit. Unlike the man in the story above, my fellow coach contacted me immediately. We were able to discuss the misunderstanding and remedy the situation. I believe we both walked away with more respect for each other.
When you craft your next speech, you may include quotes, research, or stories that are not your own. Do your best to first verify the authenticity of the material. Then, give other people or organization the credit they are due. If you’re not sure where you got the idea, it’s OK to tell the audience that, too. Don’t pass someone else’s work off as your own.
What To Do When You’re Not Sure
From time-to-time, you’ll have an opportunity to share valuable ideas that you’re not sure of the source. How do you determine whether or not you should use it?
The simple solution is the answer to one question: “Is this information beneficial to the audience?”
If it is, share the idea. If not, leave it out.
Ultimately, as speakers, our role is to improve the lives of our audience. It’s only when our egos get in the way that we worry about the source of the information.
It feels good when someone approaches you long after you’ve spoken and tells you that you impacted the person’s life.
However, what feels even better is knowing that someone’s life is better because of the message they heard, regardless of the source.
Don’t steal – it’s one of the fundamental rules of speaking. If you happen to share an idea without acknowledging the source, make amends as soon as possible. Be more diligent to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. And keep working to provide the best possible message for your audience.
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