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Public Speaking: A Skill Every Professional Should Master

The ability to speak in public and communicate well is a skill that many of today’s working professionals lack, yet all should master. Many people are afraid of public speaking. In fact, according to Kim Dower,

research has shown that it is people’s number one fear, even greater than death! “The idea of failure in front of a group is terrifying. The anxiety is so real and so physical.” (Prafder 2007)

Despite these common fears, the ability to communicate thoughts and ideas is also a skill that many professions now demand. Public speaking can be a nerve-wracking process. However, one important thing we should keep mind is; good speakers are usually made, not born. Even the most polished speakers, including politicians, motivational speakers, and people in upper management of major companies, all had to learn how to organize and articulate their ideas.

Have you ever tried to share your thoughts and ended up tongue tied because of your anxiety? You end up concentrating on your nerves more than your thoughts and you just cannot communicate your thoughts clearly. Conquering your fear and learning how to compose your thoughts will ensure that you get them across clearly. As you demonstrate your ability to handle situations such as public speaking and communicate your thoughts clearly, you will be given new opportunities, which are both challenging and rewarding.

As you take on more new challenging and rewarding opportunities you will receive recognition from not only being assigned them but also from succeeding. As you demonstrate your ability to deliver and clearly communicate your thoughts and ideas, you will also be in a stronger position for career advancement. Organizations know that leaders have to be able to communicate their visions and they know that ability is rare, which is why many companies seek out employees and managers who can communicate their thoughts and ideas in public.

Additionally, as you lose fear of speaking in front of people, you will gain self-confidence from the knowledge that you can handle a public speaking situation. You will also gain the admiration of your friends and co-workers as you step up to a challenge that they are incredibly overwhelmed by. If you cannot share your thoughts in public then you are not going to be able to present your groundbreaking ideas. Two possible consequences could be that you either do not share your ideas at all and the organization suffers or you get someone else to present them for you and they get the credit for your work. Learning to present your own ideas effectively means you will get the credit that you deserve and continue to open doors of opportunity.

Unfortunately, being able to communicate in public is often not enough. The way a presentation is given is just as important as the topic itself. Most people have been to a presentation that makes watching grass grow seem more exciting than listening to the speaker. Audiences tire of facts and do not buy ideas based on them. They buy based on emotion. (Rombel 2007) A good speaker learns to entertain their audience while presenting. Adding a bit of humor to a speech not only will help hold an audiences attention but it will convince them that you are approachable as a person. (Edward n.d.) A group that is enjoying your presentation is going to be more receptive to your ideas and suggestions and more enthusiastic about coming to future presentations that you will be delivering.

Every professional should take course in public speaking, even if that person will not find himself or herself presenting to a room full of people. More often than not, we will find ourselves speaking to others either in small group meetings or in one-on-one scenarios where we need to articulate ourselves clearly. Training a new employee for instance, we need to tell someone else how to do his or her new job well. Knowing how is not enough; the other person is dependant on you, the trainer, to tell them what needs to be done so they can do an effective job. Another instance would be a staff meeting; you are among your peers with no reason to be nervous. If you are unable to tell the group your ideas you could find yourself suffering in the long run because you are unable to draw attention to yourself, gave no input and have to live with the rest of the group’s decision regarding a new policy or business plan.

Public speaking is a skill we all need and will benefit from. There are many classes available through local colleges and in many instances, through the companies for which we work. As we strive to advance in our careers, we should all take this skill in consideration when asking ourselves, “What will take to move to the next level and gain confidence in my abilities.” Public speaking; a skill we should all aspire to gain.

Edward, L. (n.d.) 10 Essential Steps to Communicate Effectively As a Speaker. Retrieved April 22, 2007, from
Prafder, E. (2007) When Public Speaking is Enemy #1. Retrieved April 22, 2007, from
Rombel, A. (2007) Overcome Your Public-Speaking Fears. Business Journal (Central New York) 21(13), 32-32. Retrieved April 22, 2007, from MasterFILE