Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Value of Public Speaking in Business

By Guest Author Eve Pearce  

The Value of Public Speaking in Business

One of people’s greatest fears is that of making a public speech. People seem to tie themselves in knots to avoid making public presentations even amongst familiar colleagues or friends.

However public speaking or at the very least the ability to communicate confidently both on paper and verbally is one of the skills that employers today value the most. In fact in a competitive and crowded job market it is your communication skills that can give you the defining edge particularly against people with similar job histories and qualifications.

Even those with jobs are increasingly likely to be required to deliver presentations to clients and/or internal colleagues so it is worth putting the effort into refining your public speaking skills so that you aren’t overcome with fear should the situation arise. Employers regularly look for ways to differentiate between employees and setting yourself apart from your competition can give you the edge when it comes to promotions or pay rises.

In business it is often easy to be great at your job and know your company’s products inside out but if you can’t excel in soft skills like presentations skills, networking and communications generally then it can mean you are overlooked regardless of your other expertise. Using this combination of advice and tips can really help you on your way to great public speaking skills.

Preparation is key

It seems like an obvious start but the best speeches and presentations are those that are heartfelt or well prepared. Even a groom on his wedding day needs to do some sort of preparation to deliver a speech that will be remembered for years to come.

Knowing your topic is essential but whether your subject matter is a new product development or about competing credit cards for business, having your key points set out in advance will ensure you won’t deviate from the task at hand.

Control your nerves

Even the most confident public speakers still get nervous, in fact most celebrities who do live stage performances often say it is their nerves and adrenaline that get them through a performance. What is vital to success is the way that you deal with your nerves and getting them under control so that they help you rather than hinder you is the best approach. It is a good idea to practice in front of a trusted colleague or friend and ask them to give you honest feedback. If you can’t cope with that idea initially it is also a great idea to film yourself and then play it back to critique your style. Most cell phones have a video function so you don’t need any fancy equipment and it can really help develop your confidence and presentation style.

What’s the worst that can happen?

Working through scenarios in your mind of what could actually go wrong will not really help you unless that is it helps you minimize the fear you are feeling ahead of your speech. Think through speeches you’ve witnessed in the past and draw from them tips and hints those delivering them used. Practising techniques in your video rehearsals will help you identify what you feel comfortable with and what doesn’t work so well for you.

Recognize public speaking is a skill

Like anything in life you aren’t inherently born with the skill of public speaking, it is something that is learned behaviour. Granted some people have more of a natural flair for it than others but there is no reason you cannot become a competent public speaker with a little practise.

Once you become well versed in public speaking you will start appreciate what a skill it is and be proud of your achievements. At the start you won’t think that it will become second nature but once you have delivered a few speeches it will become that way.

By recognizing that public speaking is a skill will also make it less daunting as you start your journey. Being the best at something isn’t normally something that is there straightaway and the most competent speech makers will all have had a shaky and nervous start.

Finding what works for you by way of helping you combat your nerves and the best ways to frame what you are presenting will help you develop your own individual style that will in time take little effort.