Social media can be effective, but how much does it matter to communicate live and in person? Here are the 5 best reasons why public speaking is vital professionally and personally.
Of all the transformational skills you can acquire to succeed in business, public speaking is high on the list. Being well-spoken and articulate in your interpersonal communication as well is also, of course, a great personal asset.
Many people, as we all know, fear public speaking, or at least view it with doubt and resignation. Yet it can be an accelerator in terms of your professional visibility and promotion. And as a speech coach, I firmly believe that the more you embrace it, the more you'll enjoy it, as well as becoming much better at it. And yes, all these things matter even in the age of social media.
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Below are the five best reasons for making public speaking a more central part of both your thinking and skills development. You have nothing to lose, except not being sufficiently recognized and applauded!
Public Speaking Can Lead to Promotion ... and Glory!
Among my clients at The Genard Method, are professionals who suffer from speech anxiety. The level of stage fright they suffer keeps them from enjoying public speaking, and often, makes them avoid situations where they will have to speak in public. Our Fearless Speaking program helps them address debilitating nervousness, and overcome it to get their voice heard.
Obviously, if your boss asks you to speak and you find an excuse each time, he or she will start looking elsewhere for someone who will accept these speaking assignments. That's a shame, because there are few situations where you'll gain more visibility than delivering an important presentation. And nailing a high-stakes talk is sheer gold for being considered for a promotion, or gaining some personal glory in your company or industry.
Public Speaking Can Reach Everyone Fast
Apart from the enjoyment and professional advancement that can come with presenting, is this fact: public speaking is a tremendously efficient form of communication. As an actor, I often reflect before a performance on the dynamic of theater: one, two, or a small group of performers facing hundreds or even thousands of spectators.
Your situation when you give your speech or presentation is exactly the same. Even if you're only presenting to your team of a dozen individuals, that's a 1:12 ratio. Speak in front of your company or knowing how to be a hit speaker at your next conference, and you're approaching or equaling the actor's equation. What an amazing way to reach everyone reliably and quickly. Think about it: Would you rather speak to 200 audience members at once, or have two hundred individual conversations?
Public Speaking Helps Your Message Come to Life
Though we are awash in data in the 21st century, we make a mistake if we think that raw information is the whole story. It could never be, as long as we're human beings conveying what matters to other stakeholders.
And there you have the essence of public speaking. It's up to you to get across to listeners what it all means, why you're committed to your ideas, and—most important—why it matters to them. Some of my clients are entrepreneurs or CEOs who understand not only why their startup is unique, but how vital it is to get their company on people's radar screens. They need to get the message out. No spreadsheet will ever do that as dynamically and powerfully as them speaking, helping people understand why they should listen.
Image by Christina Morillo from Pexels
Public Speaking Brings Your Company Together
One of the benefits of on-site corporate training, is that everyone is in the same room together, learning with and from each other. All boats definitely rise when an entire team experiences the tide of skills development as a cohesive unit. This is all the more true when the people in your company tend to work independently, in their own silos.
Like training, a public speaking situation is a way to bring everyone together to hear something that matters to all of them. Call it an excuse to do so if you like—it doesn't matter. Exciting things take place within the synergy of a public gathering of like minded people, which is always greater than the sum of its parts. You can even create a speakers bureau in your organization, so that your employees get a chance to speak in front of others every month at work. From that modest beginning, you can create a roster of your employees to speak in your industry.
Public Speaking Builds Your Confidence
One of the often unexpected delights of public speaking is how it builds confidence. A story from my work as a corporate trainer: I often include an impromptu speech exercise in group training. There are always groans and even howls of protest when I announce the exercise. Yet at the end of the day, I can count on at least one person to say (sometimes the whole group affirms it): "You know what I liked best about this workshop? . . . The impromptu exercise."
Before you assign that to the "Go figure" file, consider this: public speaking experience is virtually a guaranteed confidence builder. I've seen people with neurological conditions grow their confidence as a result of having spoken in public, and individuals who overcame fear of speaking to become motivational speakers!
Knowing that you can stand in front of an entire tribe—sometimes complete strangers—and weave your magic, is a powerful elixir for greater confidence. And if you find that, rather than enduring public speaking, you actually enjoy it, so much the better. The fact that your personal conversations and interactions may also benefit from public speaking chops, well, that's just icing on this particular cake, isn't it?
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