He was just beginning his career as a lawyer; he took a case for a fee of $20. The case turned out to be a very difficult one, and in preparing for it, he had to make a trip to Boston, which in itself cost more than he was going to earn as a fee. He was determined, however, to do a thorough job on the case and win it, which he did. In retrospect, it seemed like a small case, but at the time, it was a big victory. Years later, a large company approached him on short notice, asking him to undertake a case for which they were willing to pay a very handsome fee – in fact, a fee quite stunning at the time. As he reviewed the case, he found that it was almost identical to the one he had researched and won nearly twenty years before for the fee of only $20. Daniel Webster took the case, and just as before, the verdict was in favour of his client.
One of our international lecturers in Benson and Edwards Public Speaking Academy who was handling Developing Content told participants that one of the reasons why people hardly make good writers or good speakers is because many do not have the patience for research. The culture of research and preparation is still alien to us.
Today a lot of young people parade themselves as public speakers just because of recognition, fame and fortune. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but how prepared are they? What have they achieved as a measure to motivate others? Some don’t even know the difference between public speaking and motivational speaking, for them it is one and the same. Such people are merely shooting themselves on the leg. According to Cavett Robert “Don’t be in too much of a hurry to promote, until you get good. Otherwise, you just speed up the rate at which the world finds out you’re no good.”
There is a price for every prize. According to Sam Adeyemi “Nothing pays until you pay. Every prize has a price-tag.” He went on to add, “Preparation is the key to recognition. And recognition is the key to promotion.” How many of us are willing to pay the price? How many of us can devote time, attention and resources like Daniel Webster?
To devote time in preparation means to have a teachable spirit. When you don’t prepare before lunching out, the world is observing. In whatever you do, remember that you are not the only one, there are countless others who are also in that field ready to swallow you. It was Lance Armstrong who said, “There’s always somebody who can come in and be better than you, this you cannot factor in, but we can control those things we can and that is our preparation.”
In my seminars and other presentations, the question “How did you start?” often comes up. After my first degree, I spent years reading, researching and attending seminars, as if my life depended upon it. And it really did.
Do the things that you need to do today so that when the opportunity comes, you will grab it with both hands. Smith Wigglesworth warns, “If you are trying to get ready when you are supposed to be ready, you are already late.”
To our success!