Do you understand your business more than how to engage and persuade audiences? Probably! Here's why you need public speaking training in business.
The more knowledgeable you are in the nature of your business, the more you need public speaking training to influence stakeholders.
That's because subject matter acumen usually requires constant narrowing of the subject itself. We no longer spend time knowing our topic in general. We're increasingly pushed toward knowledge that's "an inch wide and ten miles deep."
Such increasing expertise often pushes us in the opposite direction from knowing how others think and how to reach them.
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Understanding Why You're There
The dilemma here is that, the more you rise in your profession, the more you'll need to speak to stakeholders and not just practice your technical know-how. But the expert in any area—business or otherwise—is probably far more comfortable staying in the comfort zone of that technical information. And the more analytical your profession, the more that's true.
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So, the problem presents itself in personal terms: how can I reach and influence listeners if my focus is on the information I'm delivering? Let's face it: even if we're not mavens in our industry, most of us still give more attention to delivering information than considering our audiences' needs. You might even say we devote ourselves to being good at conveying that content.
But why should an audience care about that? Yes, they may need some critical data from you. In the end, though, they're mostly looking for the answer to the question: 'What's in it for me?' The solution for you as speaker always lies in engagement, never in unloading an informational dumpster and hoping that the buried listener can find his or her way out of the debris.
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The first reason you need public speaking training, then, is understanding why you're there in the first place. The audience needs you to not only filter any data through your knowledge and experience, but also to convey it to them in a way they can understand it. As you consider the content you'll be delivering, you have to live in their world, both in terms of talking about it in a way they will comprehend, and literally telling them how it will benefit them.
Changing Your Mindset: From 'Me' to 'Them'
That brings us to the second reason you probably need public speaking training: to teach you how to flip your mindset, from 'me' to 'them.'
It's normal to worry about how you're coming across and others' opinions of you. But the truth is, if you want to be a memorable speaker, you need to let that go. The actor who is concerned with giving a great performance will, in fact, deliver a lousy one. If, however, that actor focuses on the life of the character at every moment of the action, forgetting about themselves as the performer, the audience will witness an organic and honest performance taking place. You have the same responsibility. In your case, it's the truth of meeting listeners' needs you must respond to, moment by moment, rather than your own great performance.
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After all, it's called "giving a speech." That's because you are in fact delivering a valuable gift to the audience. It takes time and considerable preparation and practice to do it well, and something else: courage. Actors relish the thought of giving a live performance before hundreds or even thousands of spectators. The average business professional? Not so much.
Performing Effectively in The Oral Arena
When your mind and heart are in the right place, it's time to concern yourself with the platform skills that will make you an effective speaker. Here again, your fabulous knowledge of your business is not enough. Every day, everywhere around the world, exalted experts are speaking from published papers or slide decks and practicing anesthesiology without a license.
When I began The Genard Method in 2001, it was with the idea that stage actors' techniques are the best in the world for connecting with and moving live audiences. Working with thousands of business people worldwide since then hasn't changed my mind. You'll find the training I'm talking about above in my public speaking books at www.garygenard.com. But whomever you decide to work with, treat yourself, and especially your audiences, to public speaking training to help your business. If possible, find someone for whom performance is their business. And if you start falling in love with audiences rather than data, isn't that a good thing?
P.S. If you have the opportunity to take an acting or improv class, grab it!
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Gary Genard is an actor, author, and expert in public speaking and overcoming speaking fear. His company, The Genard Method offers live 1:1 Zoom executive coaching and corporate group training worldwide. In 2022 for the ninth consecutive year, Gary has been ranked by Global Gurus as One of the World’s Top 30 Communication Professionals. He is the author of the Amazon Best-Seller How to Give a Speech. His second book, Fearless Speaking, was named in 2019 as "One of the 100 Best Confidence Books of All Time." His handbook for presenting in videoconferences, Speaking Virtually offers strategies and tools for developing virtual presence in online meetings. His latest book is Speak for Leadership: An Executive Speech Coach's Secrets for Developing Leadership Presence. Contact Gary here.
Main photo credit: geralt on Pixabay.