In addressing an audience, it is important to have researched your topic and to know your material extremely well. This is a no-brainer. However, is it possible to know everything about your topic? If you are young and new to the public speaking world, probably not. Even those with a lot of experience may not know everything there is to know about their particular topic.

I am a perfect example of one who is experienced but could be caught with a question for which I do not know the answer. As a voice coach, I cannot talk about every voice that is on the radio, TV, or in the movies. It would not be feasible in my particular situation. Were I to attempt such a feat, I would need to spend every moment of my day (& night) listening to the radio and watching television!

While I am certainly familiar with the voices of numerous radio personalities and politicians as well as TV stars, actors, and singers, there are only so many that I can talk about. During a presentation, if I am questioned about a particular voice with which I am not familiar, I tell the truth. I do not pretend that I know that individual. However, if the situation warrants it, I will also make it a priority to listen to the actor, the singer, the radio host or the politician and respond to the individual questioning me.

Should you be embarrassed if you cannot answer a question? No. If you are unable to answer several questions, however, you might consider doing much more research on your topic or changing careers. To be stymied by one question is not the same as being unable to answer numerous questions about your subject matter.

One of your goals in public speaking is to know more about your topic than your audience because your job as a speaker is either to inform or persuade them. If you are unable to accomplish that goal, for example by means of their questions, then you are not solving their problem or satisfying their needs.

By knowing your topic ‘inside and out’, you will be able to answer their questions. And, if a particular question has you stumped, admit that you do not know the answer and promise to get back to him/her with the answer. In doing so, you may possibly be opening the door for potential business: your honesty and effort will be admired and respected.

Author's Bio: 

The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. To see how voice training can improve your life, both professionally and personally, visit Voice Dynamic or watch a brief video as The Voice Lady describes Dynamic Public Speaking.

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