I’m often asked to speak to student organizations about public speaking and how it can help them succeed once they graduate. I tell them that communication skills in general are often as important as the technical skills required for a job, but public speaking in particular has so many benefits.
It Increases Your Confidence:
The biggest advantage of being effective at speaking in public is that it will increase your confidence in your abilities in other forms of communication. In my classes, I teach the concept of small successes that you can build on. Success is like a snowball rolling in the snow. Every time you have a success, it’s like rolling that snowball a few feet in the snow which the makes the snowball (your skills and area of influence) larger. The more you roll it, the bigger the ball.
Public speaking is the biggest of the social fears and sometimes surpasses snakes and even death. Jerry Seinfeld once pointed out that at a funeral, people would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy.
So being successful at something like public speaking can give you the confidence you need to succeed in other situations such as:
- Networking and meeting new people.
- Job interviewing — especially situations where there’s more than one interviewer.
- Interpersonal skills — winning people over to your way of thinking.
- Dealing with bullies and difficult people.
Many of the skills associated with public speaking are also transferable to other forms of communication such as:
- Organizing your thoughts.
- Speaking clearly.
- Focusing your message.
It Increases Your Visibility:
Demonstrating that you can communicate effectively to groups can help you in the workplace. You’ll get selected over coworkers to give presentations to upper management because your bosses will know that you can make them look good. Also, since you’ll be asked to speak more in front of groups, there will be a perception that you’re management material or on the fast track since speaking opportunities are often reserved for those in the upper echelon of an organization.
If you own a business, your public speaking skills can help you tremendously. Local, regional and national conferences are always looking for entrepreneurs that can educate and entertain an audience, as are service clubs and non-profits. Remember, the sweetest sound to an entrepreneur is their name on someone else’s lips. The more people you speak to, the more people that are aware of you and your brand.
It Increases Your Opportunities:
Your increased visibility will no doubt lead to new opportunities. In the workplace, you’ll be given more opportunities to present at important meetings. Coworkers that are either afraid to speak to groups or feel they lack the charisma that you possess, will ask you to help with them with their presentations (or even request you help give the presentation). This can give you a mentoring relationship with someone at or slightly above your level in the workplace, which can be used to argue your case when it’s time for promotions. It can also help you establish relationships with people outside your regular workgroup.
In business, you’ll be able to pitch your products and ideas to larger audiences. You’ll be invited to speak at conferences, share your knowledge in workshops and address audiences full of people that can buy your product. If you get really good at it, you can even make money speaking or barter for referrals and publicity.
And when you can communicate to groups well, you’ll not only enjoy career success but success in your personal life. When I speak at events, I end up meeting at least five times as many people as I would had I been simply an attendee — and this happens to every speaker.
Being an effective public speaker can help put you on the fast track to success in your career. Think about some of the ways that it can help you in your own situation.