The Secret of Harnessing Reserve Power

June 25, 2013

ID-10041471Whether you’re preparing to sell a product, give a presentation, or write the next great American novel, the secret to success is collecting more material and more information than there is any possibility of employing. Collecting an overwhelming amount of facts and statistics regarding your subject matter will give you additional confidence. It will have an effect on your mind and heart and whole manner of speaking.

In his book, “How to Develop Self-Confidence & Influence People by Public Speaking,” Dale Carnegie tells the story of Ida M. Tarbell, a well-known historian of the Standard Oil Company.

While in Paris, Miss Tarbell was contacted by Mr. S. S. McClure, the founder of McClure’s Magazine. He asked her to write a short article about the Atlantic Cable. She accepted the assignment and went to London to interview the European manager of the principal cable, and obtained sufficient data for her assignment.

But she didn’t stop there. She wanted a reserve supply of facts; so she studied all manner of cables on display in the British Museum; she read books on the history of the cable and even went to manufacturing concerns on the edge of London and saw cables in the process of construction.

Why did she collect ten times as much information as she could possibly use? She did it because she felt it would give her reserve power; because she realized that the things she knew and did not express would lend force and color to the little she did express.

As a creative writer, I know that the secret to building memorable characters is for the author to know his or her characters through and throughout, whether or not most of that material ever makes it to the page. To do anything less would result in what is commonly known in authors’ circles as creating “cardboard characters.”

The way to develop reserve power is to know far more than you can use, and to have a full reservoir of information at your disposal. In preparing a speech or sales presentation, use the methods that Ida Tarbell employed in preparing her article on the Atlantic cable. You will feel more comfortable and better prepared, and your audience or prospect will view you as an expert on the subject matter.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Central Indiana, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Indiana. We would love to connect with you on Facebook.

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