Have you ever been playing Uno and your opponent, with one card in their hand, sits smugly
looking at your handful of cards thinking they’re going to win. But little do they know you’re
armed with a Draw 4 card that’s going to bring them crashing down to earth? That’s the way
I would describe data-based opinions.
I’ve been to many presentations where the speaker is both engaging and interesting, but their
presentations are based purely on opinion. While there is nothing wrong with opinions per say, they leave
the speaker in a vulnerable position because opinions can be so easily picked apart.
After receiving a lot of enquiries lately, I’ve begun a mini Public Speaking blog series. If you haven’t
already, check out some of my previous blog topics below:
• So, you want to be a Professional Speaker? So you want to be a Professional Speaker? - 30 Foot Drop
• Self Reflection before Projection Know your worth - 30 Foot Drop
• Know your worth Know your worth - 30 Foot Drop
• Building your product
People are entitled to opinions –I mean, it’s only natural. We all have them, even me! But it can be
problematic when you’re presenting your opinions as fact.
Opinion-based arguments aren’t the same as cold, hard facts, and that’s why I highly recommend
speakers research data that can help support their arguments. You really can’t ignore data.
It’s also safe to assume that if you have an opinion on something, you’re passionate about the subject.
Therefore I would recommend if you’re passionate about something, then do your research. Dig around
and find out a little more. You’ll be surprised at how much further reading, supporting evidence and
hidden gems who can find that can help back you up.
The same can be said for lived experience. While your lived experience is your truth, it doesn’t mean it is
the same for everyone.
For example, I recently spoke with someone who was very negative about Disabled Parking and the
ACROD system (https://acrod.org.au/). They had real difficulties navigating the system, whereas I have
always found it very helpful. But I didn’t make the assumption that my truth spoke for everyone –so I did
There are a few exceptions to the rule, which is where Authority Voices come into play. An Authority Voice is essentially an individual or company who has universal respect for being or having expert knowledge on a subject.
An example of this is my buddy, Dylan Alcott.
As a prominent media personality and advocate, Dylan has built a reputation as someone who does the
research, engages with a variety of organisations, advocacy groups and individuals, and has built a vast
knowledge-base to speak on lots of different topics. As a result, people look to him as an authority figure,
therefore he has a little more leeway on opinion-based arguments.
The same cannot be said for everyone. For me, I ensure I back up all my statements with readily-available
resources as evidence of my research. In fact, I keep everything I’ve ever referred to in a presentation or
workshop on the Resources (https://www.30footdrop.com.au/resources/) page of my website – check it
out, there’s some great stuff in there, even if you’re looking for further reading. And I welcome anyone to
refer to anything on this page should they so desire.
I’ll be dropping a few more blogs covering public speaking over the next while, so if you’re interested in
understanding more make sure you stay tuned! If you had any specific questions or wanted to suggest a
blog topic, feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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