When I finished my book some of my fellow Toastmasters asked me about the process because they were interested in writing a book also. I told them I had only written the one book and I probably made several mistakes along the way, some that I don’t even know about yet. I was very hesitant to be a coach to them. But they pointed out that my one book was far more than their zero. Even the simple things I learned along the way could be a great value to them when they start. So, reluctantly I setup a meeting with them.
The meeting was amazing. For an hour I shared thoughts and experiences and they asked questions. At the end of the hour I still had more answers to share with them and they still had problems I knew how to help with. Now I still feel like I know very little about writing books. I am sure that many of the people reading this know more than I do. But the point is that I knew enough to help.
That is where it ties into speaking. You are ready. You may not know everything there is to know about your topic. There are most certainly others who know more about your topic than you do. But, there are far more who know less than you do and who are looking for what you have to offer. The knowledge and experience you have is of value right now to those who are seeking it.
And you may still have some questions about how to make presentations. You don’t think your speaking skills are polished enough. But you can get out there and get started. You can make a difference right now.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying there is no need for preparation. Practice, rehearsal and feedback is a vital part of speaking. But I am saying that you should get started even if you don’t think you are ready.
You know this story: My wife and I wanted to have a baby, but we wanted to wait “till we were ready.” This meant that we wanted to wait until we knew everything about prenatal care and child birth. We wanted to have a crib built, changing table ready and a room painted and furnished. We wanted a budget that had allowances for diapers, formula, doctor’s visits and a mini-van. We wanted to know what to expect for the first few years of life, the teenage years, and maybe even how we would pay for college.
As you can imagine, we never reached that point and yet, we have two wonderful daughters. There were things we learned along the way that we wish we had known ahead of time, but in the end we were ready long before we thought we were.
Don’t be so selfish as to wait till YOU think the time is right. There are others who can benefit from what you already know and by keeping it to yourself, you are doing them a disservice. Start small – find others who are just starting to learn about your topic. Go where they are and listen to what they are talking about. Hear the questions they are asking and understand the problems they have.
Then, ask yourself – how can you help them? You may not know the answers to all of their questions, but there will be answers you do have.
When you are speaking and helping others, you are constantly learning and growing yourself. If you wait till you think you are ready, you may never start.
How can you make a difference today?
PS – Maybe its old news to you, but I recently found http://www.meetup.com and it’s a great way to find groups in your area that you share interests with to help you get started with making a difference.