Have you ever been passed over in an interview or for a promotion and wondered why? You know you have the experience and the technical ability but are left scratching your head as to what the other candidates have that you don’t. Did you ever question that it might be your public speaking abilities? Miscommunication and misunderstanding are commonplace among people all over the world, leading to embarrassing consequences and lost opportunity. Especially in the workplace, it can hold you back as you feel helpless to show your true potential.
Can anything be done about it? Definitely!
The solution is to acquire better public speaking skills. One of the most sought-after skills in the corporate world is the ability to communicate professionally and effectively. It may appear to be daunting at first, as most people cringe from having to speak in front of an audience. But once you realize the abundance of resources and acquire a few basic tools, your fears will begin to vanish. Let’s start with a few basic things you will need to refine:
1. Connect with your audience:
Communication is a two-way street. Instead of thinking about how you will dump all of your information and run away, focus on analyzing, connecting, and interacting with your audience. Gauge what they want to hear, and deliver it. Connect with them using humor, analogies, and question/answer sessions. If you use personal stories for the audience to relate to, all the better! They will appreciate a sincere message more than hard facts since the information pertains to their daily life.
2. Do your research:
Build the trust of your audience by becoming knowledgeable about your topic so that you can deliver it confidently. If you have done your research, it will be easier to remain calm in situations to prevent any mistakes or embarrassment due to the crowd’s words or questions. And rest assured, the audience doesn’t expect you to have all of the answers anyway.
3. Use more than just words:
The speaker needs to be engaging. This means not only speaking audibly but is determined by your energy, confidence, and how you move your body. Using visual aids or a 3D object generally makes a speech more interesting, more understandable, and helps keep the audience focused.
The only public speaking experience most of us had was presentations in a school classroom. While this provided us a good understanding of what it feels like to get up in front of an audience, it did not give us a full understanding of just how important communication is as we graduated to the workplace. More importantly, our academic learning barely scratched the surface of how to deliver an effective message.
When we take a look around us, we find a common theme of successful business people and their ability to deliver a compelling message. Whether it be Gary Vaynerchuk, Simon Sinek, or Brene Brown, the fast-paced, smooth-talking world of today needs powerful speakers to get their point across. To get to the top, you have to stand out, otherwise, you are simply one of the many. With the right training, you can excel in your career and carve a niche for yourself, leaving others in the dust. Again, effective communication is one of the top skills companies look for in recruiting and promotions, even though it is rarely explicitly mentioned.
Here are just a few of the reasons why you should invest in your communication skills if you want to advance in your career.
Aid in making the right pitch for your product:
Since you have to be persuasive, clarity is mixed with a fascinating story to convince your client. And you can achieve this using your skills as a public speaker. Not to mention that showing how well you can make sales and seal the deal is a sure way to get you recognized in your company.
Reveal yourself as a leader:
Your leadership qualities come to the forefront as colleagues realize that you are the go-to person who can best explain how to overcome challenges, empathetically and effectively. You don’t need a title to be a leader, but if you are viewed as a leader, the more likely you are to get advancement opportunities.
Aid you in networking:
Humans are social animals, and the business world is now all about connections. Sitting back and waiting for an opportunity to fall into your lap is a painful process. Public speaking skills can expand your professional network as well as social contacts. Sometimes knowing the right person at the right time, in the right industry is all you need for that big break or career advancement you have been looking for. The more you can expand and utilize your network the more doors will (magically) open in front of you.
Help you learn to negotiate:
Negotiating skills are not just for C-levels and salespeople. Finding a deal that makes all parties happy will help you excel on a team, get a raise, and will simply demonstrate to your organization you are flexible and have their best interest in mind. An effective negotiator knows how to communicate their points clearly without misunderstanding.
Aid in impromptu speeches:
Rarely will you be asked to give a speech in front of 200 people without fair warning. But you probably have had a moment where you needed a whole lot of quick thinking to get out of a sticky situation or make the best out of a sudden opportunity. Unexpectedly being called on in a project status meeting, asked to come down to the boss’ office to clarify why you made a certain decision, or asked to give an off the cuff pitch of your product at a networking event are all times when you may have had to think and speak on your feet. With refined speaking skills, these situations won’t be as scary and can help you seize great new steps to climb the corporate ladder.
Alan Carroll & Associates has been a global leader in professional communication for over 30 years. To learn more about our courses, head to ACAmindfulyou.com.