Yes, we can learn all there is to know — and more — about any topic. Yet how can we know when to shut up? Whatever you decide to write, speak or present in order to "enjoy the journey", here are some ideas and guidelines that can help you create your best, most engaging, exciting works:
Have Or Develop A Command Of The Content Or Topic About Which You're Discussing
In order to meet this goal, in many instances, you'll most likely need to carry out some background research if you seek to communicate with conviction, credibility and understanding. Do take the time and effort to learn about your topic.
Carry Out Your Background Research In Considerably More Detail Than The Amount Of Text You Provide In You Final Article, Document, Or Speech
If you're researching correctly, you'll end up with many more notes than what you'll actually use in your final draft. Why: so you'll have lots of material from which to chose or use.
You won't know what you'll use until you have more than you need. Your finished end product might only use a quarter or even a tenth of your research, but your pre-work is crucial.
The Objective Is To Write, Speak, Or Present On Topics And Themes Familiar To You
Why: that's your baby and how you interact with your topic never lies: subtleties show in your finished work.
If you want to talk with some authority, earn respect, I suggest avoid the "fake it until you make it" nonsense and lies. What people may have been tolorant to years ago, does not mean new generations will accept the same drivel. Get to sense what your audience expects, then exceed, excel.
So a better plan: do the work, study, research, learn what you need to learn, test, evaluate, question, break some things to prove weaknesses or make a point, then learn some more. Rinse, repeat, get better, wiser, smarter, because by that time, this is what you've become.
Focus On Topics That Genuinely Interest And Energize You In Some Fundamental Way
Why? If we attempt to write on a topic that doesn't particularly enthuse us, or about which we haven't researched adequately, sure, we can attempt to bluff our way though, but the cracks have a way of turning into chasms.
Genuine interest is more likely to result in creating useful authentic thoughts, ideas, messages that are worthy of someone's time investment.
With Some Luck On Your Side, You Have About 15 Minutes
You might be able to lie your way through for about 15 minutes. Beyond, we had better have some substance, something worth reading, listening to, or watching, or we risk getting "outed".
Of course, con artists and sca*mmers may not be too concerned about being "found out". They'll bolt, or reinvent themselves for the next sting. But that's not you: strive for authenticity, expertise, going deeper into topics, ideally to connect the kinds of dots that others have not bridged.
Readers, Listeners, Website Visitors Are More Perceptive Than Some May Think
People, everyone, are more than they appear to be at face value. A glance is just that, a glance, but there's depth, history, explanations inside.
Remember, when you strip away the surface tinsel, most everyone is not that different from you or I. They're alive too, they're going through similar experiences. As a result, weeks, months, even years of hard-won credibility can be ruined in seconds through the delivery of one wrong, forced piece.
You Don't Have To Like The Entire Picture
Curiously however, for a theme or content idea to interest us, we don't necessarily have to agree with or relish everything about the topic in which we're currently engaged. Nevertheless, we do need to cultivate the development of a receptive frame of mind.
How Perceived Failure And Negative History Can Help
Don't be put off writing about a topic which, if viewed from a conventional perspective you are seen to have failed or with which many in your readership or audience know that you may have had a negative experience.
For example, imagine a person who has started a business that subsequently crashed. Conventional wisdom might suggest that this individual does not have "the right knowledge or skills" to communicate on topics about how to achieve business success.
Yet much is learned through apparent failure and failures can also be stepping stones to later successes. Someone who has experienced the "baptism of fire" that the collapse of a business can involve possesses hard-won value that can help others avoid making similar mistakes.
Indeed often, successful business people can display a colorful and varied business history of failure, which subsequently allowed them to achieve the kind of success they sought.
Key tip: the experience of failure combined with uncommon persistence can be a potent force. Communicating about such topics can also turn what may originally have been perceived as a flop, into a win-win.
The success of your book, article, speech, presentation or website itself can clearly demonstrate how apparent failure in one area, at a later stage, form the crucial component in the success of another.
We could argue that every major success is built on the foundations of countless previous failures. Getting things wrong is normal. Staying in the game is what makes a difference later.
Keep Your Document Focus Sufficiently Tight, On Course, On Topic
Even though you can learn the details and become an expert in your field, when you're ready to start writing your document, speech, presentation, or web page, concentrate only on the topic.
That means, often, you'll want to write, speak or present only what is relevant to the topic in hand. After all, your topic is what your reader, listeners, or viewers are waiting for you to deliver.
Yet ... The Power Of Story Reigns Supreme
Focus on topic, yes, of course. However, do explore ways that entertain, engage, and regale with stories and examples, while never straying too far from your central theme.
Before you go off the central message, do establish the connection points that will lead you back or tie in to your central theme.
The right stories are relevant, they can be real, they can provide contrast and added interest at the right times to bolster attention and provide respite from exposure to too much data and information.
Think About The Details When Planning
Consider the level of detail you want to explore. Especially if you become expert in field about which you're communicating, restrict the urge to write, speak or present the topic in excruciating detail, unless that is precisely what your audience expect and desire.
Stop Me If You Can
Perfect and practise the art of learning when to stop. People can only maintain high quality attention for so long.
When you end, or pause, you leave a space for your reader, listener, or viewer to fill in with their own conclusion(s).
Sometimes, your delivery may deliberately allow for those conclusions to vary, stimulating further conversation — and that's a good thing, for then you will have achieved the goal of building truly memorable content.
Key tip: once you have covered each topic sufficiently, you'll feel the urge to add some more. Often, that is a good indicator from your subconscious mind to cease writing. Get to know your own signals.