The truth about public speaking and career success!
Public speaking is not a skill that someone is born with, contrary to popular belief. It is something that is learned over time and with practice. There is no one right or wrong way to deliver a speech. It’s more about your ability to express a concept in a way that is meaningful and memorable to your audience. According to the world-respected Dale Carnegie Institute, “Becoming adept at public speaking, as well as giving effective presentations, is something that has to be acquired through practice and doing.” Furthermore, the focus as a speaker is not on perfection, but rather on preparation.
How can one prepare to be a better speaker?
Preparing to get good, really good, at public speaking can be the single-most valuable effort you make. Why is this important? First, as humans and working professionals, there is an unlimited amount of information flowing through our world simultaneously. From television and radio to social networks and mobile broadcasts – this information must be delivered in very different methods. Preparing to be a public speaker means understanding the method by which you will deliver your message and your intended audience.
So, for example, if you are presenting to the board of directors at your company, you will prepare your speech using the language and visuals they understand. If you are prepping for an online webinar to a group of clients, your message must adapt to that medium – perhaps with a multi-media slideshow and a script. Practice and prepare carefully to become better at speaking. According to an interview with Andrea Flowers, a communications professor in Alabama, “When you have practiced your speech, you know your material, can think in an impromptu manner if needed, and simply are more confident - and it shows.”
Another component in the path to successful public speaking is education and peer feedback. Joining a professional speaker training organization can be a big plus, because you’ll learn techniques for delivering better talks. You’ll also get objective feedback from people who want you to excel at public speaking. Despite the overwhelming fear that many people experience regarding public speaking, you can get over this quickly with peer support.
Lastly, as someone who personally overcame fear of rejection and shyness to become comfortable as a public speaker, there is a great deal to be said about this skill. Speaking in front of others can help you to establish yourself as a leader in any career path. The ability to communicate well to an audience helps you to develop other leadership skills. Just like riding a bike, the more you do it, the better you become.
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