Do you enjoy standing up in front of a crowd and making a presentation, with all eyes and ears on you?
Many people have a real fear of public speaking. Some people get phobic about it, and dread being up there with everyone paying close attention to them. This can be understandable, as there are real risks to messing up. You might create a memorable experience that make you unforgettable for the wrong reasons.
That being said, we can’t avoid public speaking. Believe me, when younger, I absolutely detested it. I felt uncomfortable with public speaking, and was not anxious to do so. I got through situations at school by simply taking a “get it over with” mentality, and being glad when the speech or presentation was over.
These days, it’s still not something I find exciting, but I’ve taken a different approach to it. Given that one must be able to make presentations at work and get comfortable standing in front of a room, it’s something to look at as an opportunity instead of something to avoid.
A good way to become more comfortable with public speaking is to learn some public speaking skills. The more developed your skills become, the more confident you will feel as you approach the podium. Since much of the nervousness that comes along with public speaking is a fear of not being able to engage the audience, having the necessary skills improve your overall experience. If you take a look at Leading Authorities’ speakers on innovation, you will see a group of people who have mastered the art of public speaking. Those who are looking to join this group should develop their public speaking skills as much as possible.
Here are 6 reasons why good public speaking skills can impact your career and finances:
1) Demonstrates knowledge. If you can clearly articulate your thoughts, it’s a good way to show your knowledge. It can be said that knowledge is of limited value if it isn’t applied, and if key people with you work don’t know that you have it. By being good at public speaking, you can show that you’re knowledgeable on the job.
2) Increases knowledge. This one may be a bit counter-intuitive, but by preparing for a presentation, you actually have a chance to become more in tune with the subject matter itself. One of the best pieces of advice I got from a manager much earlier in my career was actually very simple. He said, before a presentation I had to make to close to 50 people, that “the key to making a good presentation is knowing your stuff”. Very simple to the point of sounding nearly ridiculous, but it makes sense when you think about it. Along those lines, not only does knowing the subject matter inside and out help lead to a winning presentation, you make yourself understand it better.
3) Develops and shows confidence. If you can effectively speak to a large group, it can only help develop your confidence in some way, right? It did for me in the workplace. Also, a good presentation that is effectively delivered with confidence can help your standing in the workplace. People often gravitate toward confidence, as long as it isn’t excessive of course!
4) Differentiates you in the workplace. Not everyone is good at public speaking, depending on what job you have or where you work. If you can stand out, you can only help your career.
5) Helps you avoid career risks. If nothing else, being at least competent versus being terrible at it doesn’t put you at a disadvantage! I remember seeing a joint presentation by two colleagues some years ago, both speaking for about an hour. The subject matter they each spoke about was related. The first guy was a good presenter, engaging and able to keep the attention of the room. The second guy seemed to be much less dynamic, had way more “uh” and “um” filler, and was quite simply much less polished as a presenter. I walked away thinking more highly of the first guy than the second guy. It may not have been fair, and frankly my opinion at the time didn’t matter much anyway. But a few other people in the room were more senior-level people, and I have a hard time believing that they didn’t see the difference too.
6) May make you more promotable. At senior levels of leadership, people will need to be comfortable making presentations to the point of being polished and persuasive. Having good public speaking ability can be a good attribute to help you position yourself for a move up.
My Questions for You:
Do you agree that public speaking skills can be helpful to one’s career?
How are your public speaking skills, and do you have to use them in your career?
Have you ever seen any people make a strong impression – either really good or really bad – with their public speaking skills?