Can Great Public Speaking Be Learned?

The short answer is, “Yes, absolutely.”

The slightly longer answer is, “Yes, but you have to work at it.” Some will have to work a lot. Others maybe a bit less. But anyone who wants to be good at this, needs to work at it.

A case in point… We recently had an individual at a client company participate in one of our presentation skills workshops. When I saw his name on the roster the week before the class, I recognized it immediately. I looked through our database and realized that he had gone through one of our workshops about a year earlier.

So, as we always do with repeat participants, I read the feedback report we had written for him, and watched his video again. He is a great guy, earnest, wants to learn. But his video from the prior session was weak. And our written feedback for him was blunt. He had some work to do.

We always try to be positive in our feedback, but we also have to be honest. And we were both in this report. He had some work to do, if he really wanted to improve. But if he worked hard, we wrote, we had no doubt that he could get there.

Then I worked with him the second time, and my jaw dropped. He was a totally different presenter. He wasn’t perfect, but he was dramatically and obviously improved… a totally different communicator.

After the class I chatted with him and asked him what he had done over the time since we first worked with him. And he listed all the things that our team hopes a person would do… but not everyone will do. He took the feedback to heart. He practiced a lot. He asked colleagues for feedback. He recorded himself and watched his own videos. He worked really hard.

The transformation was remarkable. We see many people improve over time, but the level of improvement is always directly correlated with the amount of effort that is spent trying to improve. This young man worked incredibly hard at it. And it was a job extremely well done.

The point here is that if you want to improve, you can improve. If you are willing to work at it, open your mind to coaching and feedback, and practice, you can become a strong public speaker. Some people have some natural ability, but everyone has to work at it. And those who do can be richly rewarded.

Have a great day.

Does your team:
– Take too long to make decision?
– Fail to ask for what it wants or needs from you?
– Make things too complicated?
– Deliver unconvincing or disorganized presentations?
– Have new hires who are unprepared to communicate in the workplace?

We transform teams and individuals with repeatable toolsets for persuasive communication.
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Dean Brenner

A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.