The Importance of Public Speaking & How to Do it Well
How does one form connections, encourage change, impact decisions, and inspire people?
Through the power of public speaking and communication.
Public speaking skills are useful in every area of life, from personal to professional. From being able to discuss your ideas with your friends, to addressing important information at a company-wide meeting, effective communication proves to be a crucial skill in our lives.
Public speaking is a vital skill to have and hone. We utilize these skills when we speak to coworkers, bosses, employees, clients, and maybe even big audiences. Having the ability to deliver your message confidently and effectively can have an enormous impact on your career path and your success in your industry.
The Importance of Public Speaking
Why is public speaking important? What are the benefits of public speaking?
Public speaking is useful in every area of life, personal and professional. Being an effective public speaker can escalate your career, grow your business, and overall improve the quality of your life. The benefits of public speaking are obvious; you can spread your message to audiences and create a lasting impact in their lives.
From business pitches in work meetings to TedTalks, having confident and passionate public speaking skills and oral communication skills, in general, can get you far. Regardless of the size of your audience, your communication skills need to be top-notch in order to effectively inspire people.
Before learning how to improve in the world of public speaking, you must learn to listen. Being an active and attentive listener allows you to develop your communication skills, as well as your critical thinking skills. Your ability to listen will help you adapt to and understand what it is the audience is looking for, even if they don’t tell you.
Being an open-minded listener will teach you how to communicate effectively. Understanding what is being said, the meaning behind it, and what hopes to be gained from it will strengthen your ability to communicate your own message.
Being an effective communicator helps in everyday life as well. Being able to attentively listen to what someone is saying and processing what they said before formulating a response will allow for less miscommunication and better overall understanding. If you can be a good listener, the people you interact with will feel heard and understood.
Your communication skills are also effective in helping you achieve your goals and get what you want. If you can effectively communicate your needs in a way that the other person – or audience – relates to, it is much more likely that your message will be heard.
Being a great public speaker goes hand in hand with developing leadership skills. Public speakers are often seen as leaders in their field. Their knowledge and expertise allow them to be thought leaders.
Being a powerful leader and having a strong public speaking ability can also help you rise in the ranks of your organization or even scale your own business exponentially.
Being a powerful leader and speaker will also improve your networking skills. Being able to communicate your message confidently and passionately will make others keener to listen and engage. Being confident in your approach can open doors for you that may have never been possible before.
Becoming a great leader and establishing better skills takes time. Learn and watch other great leaders; consider their routines and the steps they took to get where they are. You can even learn how to be a great leader by listening to those who have been led by great leaders. What did they appreciate about that leader? What did that leader do to inspire them?
Learning how to improve your public speaking skills will also help in developing leadership skills you will learn how to inspire people and help them expand their scope.
Critical Thinking Skills
To be a great leader and public speaker, you must also have impressive critical thinking skills. According to the University of Louisiana’s studies of definitions of critical thinking, it was determined that “critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.”
Being a critical thinker means that the information you intake can be analyzed and utilized in even the most stressful situations, like public speaking engagements. Being able to reframe the delivery of your message based on the audience’s reaction can prove to be incredibly helpful.
In order to develop critical thinking skills on your own, you should always be open-minded and willing to listen. Process the information you hear and consider your own opinion of it, rather than falling back on the opinions of others. Stay up to date on current events, and always challenge your own dated and limited beliefs. Keep your mind sharp, while also being open to learning more.
Personal Development & Everyday Life Skills
With heightened communication, leadership, and critical thinking skills, you will be able to level up in your personal and professional life. You will notice how the benefits of public speaking and the skills you develop prove to be instrumental in your everyday life.
These skills will help you achieve an increased sense of confidence. They will help you connect with the people around you more effectively. They may even motivate you to reach for goals you previously thought were out of your reach.
How to Improve Public Speaking
So now, we can begin discussing how you can improve the essential skill of public speaking. Whether you’re interested in learning how to master persuasive speaking, informative speaking or entertaining speaking, I have many tips and tricks that I’ve discovered in my own speaking journey. Here are the important few.
Pick A Topic You’re Passionate About and An Expert In
What is your message? What are you hoping to inspire people with?
When you are public speaking, always speak about the topic you have expert knowledge on, have studied, have a strong interest in, and have personal experience with. You should be an expert in your field, a thought leader.
You will notice that the audience will always be engaged if you speak with passion and knowledge.
Speaking about something you are confident in and knowledgeable about will also help prevent public speaking anxiety, as you know you’re already the expert in the room when it comes to what you’re talking about!
Know Your Audience And What They Want To Achieve
Even if you know the topic like the back of your hand, you also want to make sure you’re tailoring your speech to resonate with your audience. The more you understand your audience and what they are hoping to achieve from your speech, the more you can cater the speech to resonate with them. The more they benefit from what you say, the more you can inspire them.
Remember, they are there for a particular reason — so make sure you speak directly to them and use your words to relate to them. Let’s say you’re speaking about digital marketing at a sales convention. A great speaker will ensure that the speech they deliver refers to digital marketing strategies most beneficial to online sales. The salespeople should come out of your speech with new information and tools they can use to generate more sales online.
As every great public speaker will tell you, confidence is key. Your level of confidence can determine how impactful your speech will be. Don’t overthink and get too in your head — think positively and stand up straight. Be confident in your knowledge, abilities, and speaking skills. When you do talk, talk with confidence… however, your confidence can get you very far.
Take Public Speaking Courses
Taking a public speaking course may sound like a beginner’s move, but I am here to tell you that even the most accomplished public speakers take courses and have public speaking coaches, regardless of their skills. Remember – you should never stop learning.
You may believe that some people are just born with the ability to be an incredible public speaker. But, those people will tell you that public speaking is a skill that can be learned and improved. Finding a great teacher can be a pivotal moment in your public speaking career.
In public speaking, there is always something new to learn. Just like in most areas of life, public speaking has trends. One type of speech delivery may be more effective in one time period than it was in the previous. That’s why it’s so important to stay up to date with the trends and refer to people that can help.
Taking a public speaking course can give you all the necessary tools to help you develop your speaking skills. It will also give you a structure to follow when learning how to use these tools.
Here’s a cliché that we have all heard many times in our lives – practice makes perfect. This cliché rings true in all areas – especially public speaking. All great public speakers will tell you how important it is to practice your speech. This is not the time to “wing it”.
Practicing allows you not only to perfect your delivery but also to prepare for any scenario that may arise. For example, your microphone goes out and the audience can no longer hear you. It’s a minute before someone can fix the sound. Although a nerve-wracking moment, it’s something you have practiced for. You take a deep breath, have a sip of water, and once the sound is fixed, you crack a joke – that you practiced in case a moment like that arose – and you continue with your speech.
A great speaker never stops practicing. There is always something to work on, and perfect.
While it’s incredibly useful to practice the meat of your speech, it’s also very necessary to perfect the start and end of your speech. When starting a speech, you have the audience’s full attention. If you can create a good impression right off the bat, you will keep your audience engaged and focused throughout. Practicing effective ways to start your speech will help you start off strong and remain confident throughout.
The same rule applies to the end of the speech. It’s important to practice how you plan to end your speech with a bang. The end of your speech should strongly tie the points you may throughout the speech together, so they leave a lasting impression in your audience’s minds. The closing statement should be powerful and stirring, as those are the words your audience leaves with. Practicing those words, their tone, and their delivery, can make a huge impact on the effectiveness of your speech.
Network with Other Speakers
Public speaking can feel like a lonely endeavor sometimes. You are on the stage by yourself, with a spotlight overhead. It can be very isolating.
But one must remember that there are many opportunities in public speaking to connect with other speakers. There will be times in your speaking engagements that you are not the only public speaker there. This is the perfect opportunity to network.
Networking allows you to connect and make connections with like-minded individuals. This is especially useful if they work in your field and can become an ally in your career. Those connections can turn into friends, colleagues, and even mentors. They may help you find other speaking engagements, introduce you to new people, and teach you something new throughout your public speaking journey.
Even if they are an expert in a different field, their knowledge and experience can be the ultimate learning opportunity. If you are just starting out in your public speaking career, they may have some useful tools and tricks for overcoming your public speaking fears and boosting your confidence. Your openness to learn and connect with those around you can help you achieve your goals of being an effective and well-known public speaker.
Read More And Improve Your Vocabulary
As I’ve mentioned before, learning never stops. Boost your confidence and effectiveness by always learning new information by reading and improving your vocabulary. Language is a powerful tool, and the better you are at wielding it, the more effective your speeches can be.
If you want to engage your audience’s interests, you need to develop exceptional communication skills. A big part of improving your speaking skills is by learning how to improve your vocabulary and public speaking abilities.
The more you read, the more your vocabulary will grow. With an extensive vocabulary, you will always be able to find a way to construct your message with the most effective words. The words you use could turn your speech from good to extraordinary.
Being a public speaker has been one of the greatest achievements in my life. The benefits of polishing public speaking skills have tremendously helped me grow my career and get to where I am today. Now, I hope to pass along my skills and expertise to help you. If you’re looking to take your public speaking up a notch, check out my free 5-Minute Speech Formula to turn almost any idea into a compelling speech.
About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.