Public speaking skills needed
Most of us approach public speaking with about as much excitement as we’d have if we were asked to be covered in live tarantulas wearing only our swimmers. Come to think of it, I know a few people who would choose the spiders over speaking.
Whatever your comfort or discomfort level is around speaking to others, informal conversations and formal presentations are necessary skills to work on if you hope to succeed in business.
Have you ever watched a bad presentation? What went wrong? Was the speaker boring, too nervous, baffled by technology, or tone deaf to the audience?
We tend to remember bad presentations, and not positively. Whoever you are, and whatever you’re working on, your success depends on your ability to communicate with others. You don’t want to be the person making one of those terrible presentations.
If you think of yourself as a poor communicator, don’t panic. You can communicate your way to success. My goal with this site is to help you do just that.
I believe two important things about you.
- You have something important to say, and others need to hear from you.
- You can become an effective and confident, even in demand, speaker and presenter.
Don’t know where to even begin? Keep reading.
Public communication is the key to success
A lot of people think of public speaking as in having to go on a stage and deliver a speech. You will probably need to do so at times as you grow in your business, but let’s get more fundamental.
I like to think in terms of public communication. Throughout your typical day, you likely communicate in public multiple times. You’ve been developing speaking skills with everyday encounters for years. How many times a day do you interact with cashiers, neighbors, coworkers, and people on the street? Even a simple transaction with your barista is a micro presentation, and you survive those just fine.
If you can function through a normal day of human interactions, you can succeed as a public speaker. And you need to do so.
For those of us working to succeed in business, we have no choice but to embrace the need for public speaking and presenting skills. How else will we get readers, prospects, and investors excited about our products, services, and ideas?
The articles on this site will help walk you through the steps you need to take to become an effective public presenter. Every one of us can always improve in this area, whether we’re experienced public communicators or new to the game.
Public speaking is scary
Hopefully, you already see why it’s so important to give speaking skills top priority in your life, both professionally and personally. Of course, I understand how scary speaking in public can be.
Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of presentations, from the amazing and inspiring to what can only be described as dumpster fires. No one wants to be in the latter category.
As a long-time teacher and speaker, I’ve presented on thousands of occasions. I hope my students and audiences would describe most of those sessions as amazing, but I am certain some of my talks were total disasters, especially during the early years.
I know what it’s like to feel terror before facing a live audience. I’ve been unsure if I could match the tone of the room and worried that I had nothing to say. I’ve feared I might be an impostor and felt those intense nerves. And yup, I even puked once before a talk, which sounds terrible but is preferable to doing so during your speech!
Yet here I am, still okay, still communicating, and still excited about all the great things that can come from presenting ourselves and our work publicly.
I still get nervous and feel overwhelmed at times, but through experience I’ve learned how to properly prepare in ways that help me perform well.
The point is that you will never be ready if you hope to be perfect the first and every time.
But you can do a solid job, even if you are just beginning. You are already way ahead by taking time to learn from others who have fallen flat more than once. And I mean that figuratively and literally. We’ve all given talks that fell flat, but some of us have also literally tripped and fallen in front of an audience.
How to improve speaking skills
Regardless of where you are speaking or who is listening, your purpose is to inform and/or persuade a person or group of people. Your goal is to be clear, interesting, and memorable.
And you can get there. Start by getting intentional about improving your speaking skills. Once you intend to improve these fundamental skills, the beauty is that you’ll have dozens of opportunities to practice every single day.
Begin paying attention to details of your interactions. How and why do you say what you say? How and why do others speak? Pick a couple people you consider effective communicators and take notes on what makes them good.
Whether you lead meetings around a conference table, host webinars and video conferences, or speak live from a stage, you can improve and succeed as a speaker by following a structured approach.
I’ve developed my approach throughout years of trial and error and am happy to share anything I can to help you. This site exists to help us improve communication skills together. Look around for more ways to strengthen your communication ability. One great place to start is 12 Communication Skills for Business (and Life) Success.
If you need help becoming the presenter you’ve always wished you could be, check out my 3 Pillars of Public Presentations for an overview of the steps to follow to become a successful speaker.
What speaking skills are you most interested in developing further?