If you’re like the majority of people, you would rather sit next to a rattle snake on a transatlantic flight in a thunderstorm than get up in front of people and give a speech. That’s right, most people fear public speaking more than snakes or flying.
Other people aren’t afraid of public speaking so much as they think they wouldn’t be much good at it. They don’t want to even try because they’re sure they’ll bomb.
Whether you have a fear of public speaking or a belief you’re bound to fail, public speaking is an excellent way to advance your career. Why is this? Because public speaking requires you have advanced communication skills, and communication skills are highly valued in the business world.
The bad news is, communication skills aren’t really taught in school or at home. Sure, parents and teachers are constantly telling kids to “listen,” and listening is definitely an important part of communication, but there are other skills that need to be developed.
The good news is these skills can be developed at any time by anyone, provided they put in a little time and effort. This article will take a look at some of the best ways you can develop your public speaking skills so you may advance your career.
1. Know Your Audience
One of the key skills public speakers have and what makes them such effective communicators is they understand who their audience is. How else could they craft the right message?
Whether you’re speaking in front of 300 people or directly to only one, you must know the best way to get through to your listener(s). What language will they respond to? Do they need data to believe something you’ve said? What sorts of questions might they have? What will inspire them to take action?
The more you know about your audience, the better able you’ll be to communicate effectively.
2. Be Organized
Public speaking requires that you organize your thoughts and data points so that you can share your message in an effective way. Public speakers begin by creating a framework for their speech, and then fill in that framework little by little.
Being organized is a skill that everyone can benefit from. It will certainly help you stand out from the crowd and show your leadership skills.
3. The Best Public Speakers are Storytellers
Good public speakers share information. Great public speakers tell stories. This is how they engage their audience and inspire them.
The stories you tell can be personal or they can be about the company in general. They can be about anything, so long as they support your main idea and add value to your overall message.
Being able to craft a story is a very valuable skill to have. If you do any research on the latest marketing trends you will see marketers are shying away from blatant sales tactics and adopting storytelling to reach audiences. Companies are thrilled to hire and/or advance someone with storytelling abilities.
4. Gracefully Accepting Feedback
Feedback is a public speaker’s best friend. Only through feedback are you able to know if you got through to the audience. With feedback, public speakers can tweak their message until they get it just right.
How many people do you know who take criticism well? Most employees hate getting feedback from management unless that feedback is glowing. What they fail to realize is that gracefully accepting feedback will help them get better at their job. And guess what happens when you get better at your job? You advance to the next level.
5. Be Prepared
As a public speaker you must spend a good amount of time making sure you’re prepared. From researching your audience to crafting your speech to practicing it out loud and planning for any tech issue that may arise, public speakers are some of the most prepared people on the planet.
Those professionals who spend time preparing for a conference call, preparing for a sales call, preparing for their yearly review, etc. will always stand out.
6. Public Speakers Have to Think on the Fly
Anything can happen while you’re up there on that stage, especially during the Q&A session. As prepared as you are, sometimes you just have to wing it. Public speakers often have to think on their feet, and this is a great skill to have and one that will help you advance your career.
As you can see, developing your public speaking skills means developing valuable skills that will set you apart in the work place. If you spend some time working on the 6 skills I’ve mentioned, you will be able to advance your career in no time.