The single most frequently asked question I hear regarding public speaking is this… “Dean, how can I be more confident as a speaker?” I’ve been in this line of work for twenty years, and every year, I hear that question more than any other.
Great public speaking is a skill that lots of people wish they had, but few people actually possess. And most people seem to think that those who do it well are just born with a natural gift. Very few people seem to realize that this is a skill that can be practiced, coached and improved; the best speakers I know are almost always the ones who take this skill the most seriously and make the effort to be good. I know very few people who are great at this skill without any practice or effort. Just like any other skill worth having, the more we practice, the better we’ll get.
If you’ve decided to put better public speaking on your self-improvement list, make sure you are thinking about this in the correct way. Great public speaking skills don’t just happen… There are no magic words of advice or magic potions that will immediately make you confident or eloquent. When discussing this topic, I always think about the quote from famous golfer Gary Player, who once was accused of being “lucky.” His response to that assertion was priceless: The more I practice, the luckier I get.
Just like any other skill, strong public speaking requires an honest assessment of your own skills; some tools and approaches to work with; an open mind towards feedback and coaching; and a commitment to practice. That’s it.
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?
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