Rumor Research says that many people fear public speaking more than death. To me it’s a rumor, why? Dead people can’t tell us which one is scarier right? Okay I notice this line is a little offensive. Take it as a joke please.
Warren Buffett mentioned before this is the most important skill, I agree in many ways.
If we master public speaking:
- we can communicate our message better
- we are perceived as a stronger leader
- we can sell better (let’s face the reality that we are salesmen / girls every day)
- we can be more persuasive and inspire others to take action
I went to so many events and workshops this year (easily more than 50), many of them were joined by established people coming from all industries. However, there were only a handful of great speakers. Some put me to sleep (if not because of the coffee I had, I would have fallen asleep), some put the whole floor to sleep (it’s an achievement in a way).
This is what I mean by great speaker:
- story teller, tells stories instead of facts
- entertainer, knows how to tell jokes, sometimes a little animated is great
- someone energetic, knows how to control the energy in the room
- rapport builder, establishes emotion connections with people in the room quickly
This is on top of being someone inspirational and has great insights to share with audience, and not without below technical details:
- use of language with proper pronunciation and grammar
- rich body language (eye contact, gestures, pose) and vocal variety (tone, pitch, volume)
- proper construction of speech with clear purpose
- use of props or visual aids whenever appropriate
You see, it’s clearly not easy to be a public speaker at all! Public speaking is one of the skills that I aimed to pick up this year, to be able to speak well, it takes lots of practice.
Here are what I do to improve my public speaking skill:
- join Toastmasters to speak in front of live audience
- watch and study TED talks regularly to mimic excellent speakers
- attend live events to observe how others speak, take note of their strengths and areas for improvements
- attend workshops, read books and watch Youtube videos about public speaking
- rehearse for my own talks or speeches
I’m still learning. As I improve my skills over time, I could tell that being a better speaker is already giving me advantages. If you have not started this yet, give it a try!