The short answer is, “Yes, absolutely.”
The slightly longer answer is, “Yes, but you have to work hard at it.”
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 six months 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 session six months earlier 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 we worked with him the second time, and our jaws 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 we pulled him aside and asked him what he had done over the six months since we first met him. And he listed all the things that we hope 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. 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.