Saturday, March 26, 2016

Would you rather hear a speaker with a wealth of knowledge, or one with an excellent depth and breadth of knowledge?

A post by George Torok on March 24th at the LinkedIn Public Speaking group asked Would you use the phrase “wealth of knowledge”? and then explained that:

“The speaker was described as having a "wealth of knowledge". It's an overused cliche that's boring because it tells you nothing. It would be better to state, "The speaker knows how to take you from ‘point A’ to ‘Point B’ Point A could be a particular problem while Point B could be success.”

Consider an example illustrated with 21 pennies. For just breadth, imagine laying them out as shown above: in a single layer with six rows - three each with 4 and 3. That’s like someone who’s just capable of introducing all those topics.

Wouldn’t you rather have someone like seven stacks of pennies, each 3 high, or three stacks, each 7 high. Those are better combinations showing both breadth and depth.

How about someone like one stack 21 pennies high? That’s a “one-trick pony” - a person specializing in only one area.

A fictional TV character combining incredible breadth and depth is Dr. Spencer Reid on Criminal Minds. He’s supposed to have a half-dozen degrees -  B.A.s in Psychology, Sociology and Philosophy, and Ph.D.s in Chemistry, Engineering, and Mathematics. See his quote page at IMDB.

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