Think public speaking training is just for people that regularly get up in front of a big audience to pitch their product or give a speech in their area of expertise? Think again.
- When you walk into the boss’s office to make a request or pitch an idea, your ability (or inability) to convey your message in a clear manner that engages your boss enough to generate change within the office affects the outcome.
- When you’re at a dinner engagement and there’s an opportunity to network with others in attendance, you need to be able to engage with others in a way that’s genuine and memorable.
- When you need to stand up and give a speech at your sister’s wedding, or you have to say a few words at your grandfather’s funeral, you need to be able to share stories from the heart that are relatable to the audience and will draw them in.
These slices of life can be valuable opportunities to practice your public speaking…not just for the sole intent of building your career but for being able to engage with those around you on a more personal level. Improving your skills in public speaking not only opens doors in the business world but also has the added benefit of widening your circle of influence along the way. Whether it be socially, or in a work environment, people are drawn toward those that can communicate their ideas clearly, all while conveying their spoken words with enough emotion (i.e., humor, suspense, enthusiasm) to make you and your intent or objective memorable.
The experts at Entrepreneur urge us to not wait until a presentation is scheduled to invest in public speaking training and to 1) sit in your audience’s shoes, 2) know your messaging, and 3) speak often. Whether you’re speaking to a hundred people, or to just one, you have an audience. Each one of these steps is much easier to improve, and eventually master when you start out in front of a small audience. Following their advice provides an opportunity to build your confidence and practice your skills. Proficiency in the public speaking arena requires practice…practice to get comfortable with speaking clearly and concisely…practice engaging your audience with your story…and practice gauging their reaction to the information they’ve been given.
Today’s environment, with social interaction being limited to mostly online platforms, has precluded an entire generation of acquiring these skills organically. Fearless Presentations tells us “Millennials who communicate well have an advantage in the business world.” They say the keys are to be confident and engaging, and to be prepared in advance.
If you’re interested in fast-tracking your career, Warren Buffet says the way to boost your career value by 50% is to have effective and engaging public speaking skills. According to TED curator Chris Anderson, public speaking matters more than ever. In his book TED Talks, Anderson writes: “As a leader–or as an advocate–public speaking is the key to unlocking empathy, stirring excitement, sharing knowledge and insights, and promoting a shared dream.”
Related: How Do I Wow a Virtual Audience?