I have a friend who is in a middle – senior management role. She is excellent at her job and should have been moved up a lot quicker than she has. But she doesn’t “do” public speaking. Every invitation she gets she declines, and delegates to one of her reports, citing the fact she is too busy. And so she stays in the same role.
There is no arguing the point that to prepare a well delivered talk takes time. Way more time than most people think. But like anything else, with practice, your skills get better and your prep time gets less.
In fact, if you spend the time to craft just one talk in your area of expertise, you can keep delivering the same one.
In 2017, if you are not regularly stepping up to speak in the boardroom, to your team, on a large industry stage, you are sabotaging your own career. It's more than call of duty, it's a game changer.
Because when you can articulate yourself well in public, you get noticed.
And when you get noticed, you get promoted. You get head hunted. People do what you want them to. You sell more of your stuff.
Think about a speaker you find impressive. Chances are you will think of them as confident, as knowledgeable and likeable. Maybe inspiring, someone you’d like to follow because it sounds like they really know what they’re talking about.
This needs to be you.
If you’re in your own business, run, don’t walk, towards every speaking opportunity you can find. It’s like a sales call, except to hundreds of people at a time. Establish yourself as an expert. Sharing your knowledge is more powerful than any slide deck and sales pitch can ever be.
If you work for others, speaking opportunities will not only help your organisation, but your own personal brand.
It’s pretty common to be fearful of public speaking. But almost as bad is the extrovert who likes to get up and talk because they can. Just because you can speak under water with a mouthful of marbles doesn’t mean you’re an eloquent public speaker. Sure, people will tell you that you are, mainly because they are so full of admiration that you have no fear.
But being a gun speaker is more than that. It's about:
Knowing your key message
Choosing the right content for the right audience
Distilling that content. Less is more
Putting it in the right order so that it flows and you don’t lose your audience because you’re jumping all over the place
Using the right language to engage your audience
Knowing your audience. What do they already know about you and your topic?
Using your voice in a way that’s compelling, authoritative and engaging
Painting verbal pictures through artful storytelling and metaphors
Public speaking is just a skill. A skill to be learned. As a leader, if you can’t convey your vision with clarity and impact, no one will follow you. Your goals won’t be achieved.
But if you’re fearful, you’re normal. In times gone by, if you were standing alone in the spotlight and had thousands of eyes staring at you, that meant you were lunch. It’s a primal fear, that can, with practice, be overcome. It’s simply taking that first step.
Because once you conquer the fear, you will NEVER fail to speak up anywhere again. You’ll speak up in a boardroom, and not wait until someone else suggests your idea, and then gets the accolades. You’ll speak up with confidence, to clients, to your team, and to the cute neighbour in apartment 36 you want to impress.
Learning to speak confidently in a public space is a game changer for your career. Do that Nike thing.
Lynne Schinella helps develop influential communicators. Ask about her speaker intensives for executive women or contact her below.
Conference speaker and Speaker Coach
M 0419 186 984