For speakers, a code of 10 basic tenets

Those out on the circuit for an extended period or those who take the podium for occasional one-off events would do well to heed these fundamental mindsets and behaviors.

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Speakers are a motley collection of experts, teachers, misfits and crusaders (in the non-12th-century, deracinated version of the term).

We don’t have a union, and we’re mostly on our own while on the road, on stage and in the search for new ideas.

We need a code.

Here’s my offering: Ten Tenets of Public Speaking. Let me know what I’m missing, what you like, what you don’t like and what you’re drinking.

1. I am always learning. Just as every speech is an opportunity to teach or persuade a new audience, so is it a chance to learn from that audience. Speakers are never done learning. Speakers are always open to—and never defensive about—finding someone who knows more than they do.

2. I will always make time for my fellow practitioners. Good karma works for speakers, as for anyone else. We are kind to the beginners, the stars, and the last-speech speakers, because we recognize ourselves every step of the way. Every speaker’s career follows the same basic arc.

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