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The Importance Of Public Speaking Skills In Your Personal And Professional Life

One of our panelists couldn’t make it; can you sit in for him and join the discussion?

A friend asked me this question during a small Hip-Hop convention I attended at the University of Calgary in 2017. I was there filming a music video; I had no intention of joining a group of panelists to discuss hip-hop culture in front of 30 people. But I agreed.

It ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I was calm and collected and had an insightful conversation with the other panelists about Hip-Hop. The audience loved it, too, as numerous people approached me afterward, telling me how much they enjoyed the talk. I discovered I had a natural talent for oratory that day.

Shortly after, I joined Toastmasters to sharpen my public speaking skills. I have gone on to speak at businesses, conferences, charity events, and more. Learning to speak has also helped me tremendously in everyday situations with friends, family, and colleagues.

What am I sharing this with you? Because I want you to understand the…

Advantages of Improving Your Public Speaking

public speaking at toastmasters

Almost everything relies on human communication: the quality of your relationships, large projects at work, or even simply coordinating a get-together with a good friend all require clear communication from everyone involved. You’d be shocked at how quickly things can deteriorate with poor communication.

Strong communication abilities are your intellectual capital.

And developing your public speaking skills is a segue to developing your communication skills. Here are some of the advantages of cultivating this essential life skill.

Enhancing Communication in Everyday Life

The following story is a powerful example of clear communication at work.

I teach the kids’ kickboxing classes part-time at my martial arts academy. And a few months ago, I got into an altercation with a colleague. He shared a couple of details about how I could improve my classes. Fair enough. He’s much more experienced than me as both a coach and a martial artist, so his thoughts were valid, and I genuinely wanted to hear from him.

The problem was he kept hitting me with criticism after criticism.

With some logical reasoning, you’d assume that my defenses naturally went up. Even though he was sincerely trying to help, his criticisms communicated, “What you’re doing isn’t good enough; you’re horrible at this.” I eventually grew tired of the fault-finding. So, I interrupted him. But rather than getting angry or emotional about his critical analysis, I praised him.

I told him I wanted to hear his thoughts and that I valued his opinion and expertise. But then, I asked that instead of the criticism, could I A) get some praise about what I was doing right? (That would have lowered my defenses, making me more open to his constructive feedback) And B) Could I get some practical suggestions on how I could improve?

His tone softened as he realized he was being overly critical. 

Public speaking teaches you how to communicate effectively so you can better navigate the world around you. Had I tried to fight fire with fire by attacking my colleague with my own criticisms, that would have only created bad blood between us (as well as a hostile work environment). Not cool.

The moral of the story?

Public speaking skills are the key that unlocks the door to stronger and more harmonious relationships, personally and professionally. And it does that by teaching you the skills of clear communication.

Career Opportunities and Leadership Skills

My highest earning days were the result of public speaking engagements.

Also, my greatest professional development leaps took place in the context of delivering presentations to others. I’ve been privileged to speak at charity events, business conferences, school assemblies, and more. An example would be when I spoke at the Peter Lougheed School about the power of habits and self-discipline.

It was my biggest crowd to date, with over 800 kids in attendance.

public speaking skills

This talk opened the floodgates for lucrative opportunities. But more than that, it strengthened my identity as a leader. I began to see myself as an expert on my subject. People soon started coming to me for guidance and education regarding personal development.

In fact, I can confidently say that period of time was the turning point in my life.

It was when I went from rapper to self-improvement devotee. When you develop your public speaking skills around a particular topic, you are seen as an authority in that area. And it’s easy to see why…

Public speakers are enlisted because of their expertise on a certain subject matter.

Developing Effective Public Speaking Skills

It’s not enough just to hop on stage and start yakking. Public speaking is an art with many subtleties and nuances. As a result, the gift of gab on its own won’t save you here. There are a few other soft skills that complement the ability to speak fluently. And if you’re not aware of them, you will quickly become a one-dimensional speaker that bores audiences rather than engages them.

Importance of Critical Thinking Skills in Public Speaking

Critical thinking is a huge asset in public speaking.

It makes you agile and quick on your feet when dealing with hecklers or questions from audience members. Critical thinking is also necessary for supporting your claims. Here’s the deal: You have to support what you’re saying in your speeches. People will question your credibility if you make claims without evidence to support them.

And can you blame them? Spekiscim is part of human nature.

So, when you make assertions, you need to prove their validity. This is where critical thinking comes in. Ask yourself how you can back up what you’re saying. Here are a few tried and tested methods to do this:

  • Citing statistics
  • Referencing studies
  • Sharing stories
  • Finding facts and data
  • Quoting experts
  • Using your own experiences

All of these methods involve critical thinking and analytical skills. You have to sift through all the information available and decide what’s useful and accurate and what’s useless and false. Crafting your speeches using this process will help you develop your critical thinking skills, making you more persuasive as a result.

Mastering Verbal and Nonverbal Communication Skills

They say that 70% of all communication is nonverbal.

So, while word choice is important, it isn’t nearly as important as what you communicate with the rest of your body. When you give a presentation, think of your entire body as musical instruction. Every movement and vocal inflection is like a different note or tone, and it all contributes to the audience’s experience.

So, it’s essential to get a grasp on the nuances of your nonverbal communication. These details can include:

  • Hand gestures
  • Body posture
  • Eye contact
  • Vocal tone
  • Facial expressions

All of these microexpressions are “saying things” on your behalf. And if you don’t learn how to use them properly, you could be saying one thing with your words but communicating another with your body language.

In his book “Take Their Money,” copywriter Kyle Milligan says it perfectly: it’s not what you say, it’s what you communicate. Now, you may wonder how you can develop these nonverbal skills.

It comes down to one word: practice.

The more you develop your public speaking skills, the more these little details of communication will naturally take care of themselves. But you have to put in the time. Practice in front of a mirror, work on them with friends and family, join a Toastmasters club, etc.

Building Confidence for Your Public Speeches

Many people have a natural fear of public speaking.

This is understandable. Having dozens, hundreds, or maybe even thousands of eyes on you can be nerve-wracking if you’re not accustomed to that kind of attention. As a result, you can easily develop heart-pounding anxiety.

This is known as glossophobia, which is just a fancy word for fear of public speaking.

The good news is that overcoming this fear is simple. I touched on the answer earlier in this post: You need to practice. The only way to truly overcome something is to go through it. So, you have to face your fear of speaking in public—again and again and again (I said it was simple; it was not easy).

Here are a few ways you can practice your public speaking skills and overcome speech anxiety:

  • Record yourself: I record myself speaking into the camera on my phone for 3 minutes every day. I do this to keep my skills sharp and get used to speaking impromptu. You should, too. It’s a simple act that only requires a few minutes each day. You don’t even have to show it to anyone. In fact, you can delete the video as soon as you’re done recording it. The idea is just to get in the habit of practicing this essential skill.
  • Join Toastmasters: I’ve been a member of Toastmasters for a few years, and it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. When you join a club, you get to practice your public speaking skills in front of a real (and supportive) audience. What’s more, you get feedback about how you can improve your next presentation.
  • Stay persistent: This is a “hack” I talk about a lot on my blog. And for good reason: It works. You can’t achieve anything worthwhile without persistence, and that includes better public speaking skills. For this reason, set aside a little bit of time each day to practice. Even if it’s only a few minutes daily, that can make a tremendous difference over time.

The Impact of Public Speaking Skills

Almost every revolution was sparked with great oratory.

Martin Luther King Jr. ignited the civil rights movement with his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Abraham Lincoln brought together a divided America with “The Gettysburg Address.” Winston Churchill strengthened Great Britain’s resolve to continue fighting against Nazi Germany with his “We Shall Fight on the Beaches” speech.

Powerful oration has been the catalyst for countless historical turning points. And guess what? You hold that same power within your own voice in everyday life situations. And here are some of the numerous benefits you can have once you develop this invaluable skill.

Influence in Business and Industry

Eric Edmeades is an entrepreneur, author, and consultant.

He discusses an interesting phenomenon that occurs when people see you speaking confidently on a platform: The Stage Effect. Great performers, entertainers, speakers, rappers, singers, etc., all have a magnetic attraction when they take the stage.

This “pull” is the intrigue generated in audience members when they’re mesmerized by an engaging performance or presentation.

That’s the Stage Effect. And it’s powerful because it positions you as an authoritative figure in the eyes of those watching you. You become a powerful leader or the go-to authority, which gives you an advantage over fellow presenters. The Stage Effect is comprised of two variables: the audience size and the quality of your delivery.

I’ve had lots of opportunities to give speeches at schools, charity events, and business conferences, all because someone saw me give a presentation at a related event beforehand.

Inspiring and Motivating Others as a Leader

I regularly give speeches at my Toastmasters club.

One of the things I enjoy most about it is giving powerful presentations to my fellow Toastmasters and hearing about the impact those talks have on them. It’s an incredible experience. Sometimes, people will approach me after a talk, telling me how they’re going to implement my tips and suggestions in their lives.

That’s the biggest compliment you can get as a speaker.

Think about it. If someone was so enthralled by your speech, delivery, and storytelling that they were inspired to apply your advice in their life, that’s the highest form of trust and influence.

You’ve persuaded them to improve themselves in some way using your advice.

I can’t stress enough how powerful that is—having that kind of impact on another human being is a remarkable feeling. And that’s what powerful oration is all about: Influencing others in a positive way.

Engaging and Persuading Audiences in Public Settings

Here’s the deal…

You are constantly trying to sell and persuade others, just like others are constantly trying to sell and persuade you. This is neither good nor bad. It’s just the way things are—like how the sky is blue or how water is wet.

Given this, learning how to persuade others is a powerful life hack.

And it can offer countless personal and professional advantages (provided you’re persuading ethically). This skill can help you get more of the things you want in life. As a result, you can live better as you’ll have the ability to persuade others to your line of thinking.

The Role of Public Speaking in Personal Development

Public speaking can have an enormous impact on your personal life and professional development. Every relationship and industry needs people who communicate clearly. For this reason, communication and public speaking skills can skyrocket your life in unimaginable ways.

Building Confidence and Self-Esteem

How confident do you feel about getting on stage in front of a group of strangers to deliver a presentation?

Would having that skill impact the quality of your life? If you could confidently give a speech in front of dozens or even hundreds of people, do you think you’d struggle to communicate with your boss, spouse, or the rude neighbors who blast their music while you’re trying to sleep at night?

Probably not…

Developing your public speaking skills can transform your life. It makes you comfortable communicating with others, which is an essential life skill, as we all have to deal with people.

Improving Networking and Communication Skills

I used to take pride in the “lone wolf” mentality.

However, over the years, I’ve learned that your most impactful opportunities will always come through people. For this reason, I’ve come to believe that being a hermit is not a viable strategy for success. You don’t have to be the life of the party, but you do need to have somewhat of a social bone.

Public speaking skills can be invaluable when communicating at networking events, job interviews, dinner speeches, dates, social settings, or even (God forbid) eulogies at funerals. For this reason, effective presentation skills play a vital role in improving your:

  • Problem-solving ability
  • Casual conversation skills
  • Willingness to have difficult conversations
  • Ability to craft impactful messages
  • Active listening skills
  • Pathway to career success
  • Leadership abilities
  • Overall communication abilities

Informative speech is a crucial skill that can leave a lasting impact on everyday activities. It’s a method for building trust and connecting with others on a deeper level. As a result, learning how to deliver compelling presentations can lead to powerful leadership development and professional growth.

Impactful Personal and Professional Relationships

When I began my writing career, I spent two years working as an in-house writer at a digital marketing agency.

The whole team worked remotely. As a result, it was essential for everyone to communicate any issues about the workload or our clients clearly. Failing to do this meant issues would fall through the cracks and build up over time.

This could eventually lead to incomplete assignments, forgotten deadlines, and upset clients.

The company made it clear that communication was essential. Everything had to be out in the open, regardless of how “trivial” it may seem. We had morning meetings to discuss client drama, work confusion, or any other problems.

The best communicators in the meetings were always those in higher-ranking positions (and bigger salaries) within the company.

People who can clearly communicate are seen as more valuable.

With these people, nothing gets missed. This concept applies not only to business relationships but also to personal relationships. So, regardless of who you’re communicating with and in what context, public speaking skills can streamline those interactions, especially if you have any communication apprehension.

How to Harness the Power of Speech

Now, it’s one thing to understand how powerful your words are, and it’s another thing to know how to use them properly so you can wield that power. You need to become familiar with a few simple concepts to become a powerful public speaker. And here’s the good part. Most speakers are NOT using these tactics, which puts you at a strong advantage if you do.

You’ll immediately blow past 90% of speakers by using these best practices in your presentations. These are proven tactics used by the world’s most sought-after orators. And I’ve also used them in my own speeches to great effect.

Develop Broad Spectrum Appeal for Persuasive Speech

I’ve been asked to present at school assemblies many times.

The kids at these assemblies can range from kindergarten to grade 12, which is ages 5 to 17. The challenge, however, is to find ways to engage audiences with that level of diversity. I was able to figure out a hack to harness the power of speech while making it an enthralling experience for everyone, regardless of age, gender, etc.

It’s called broad-spectrum appeal…

This tactic involves using specific techniques to breathe life into your speeches. For example, I like to incorporate freestyle rapping into my presentations. In fact, that was a huge selling point many schools and businesses hired me for. Why? It was an interesting and unique portion of my talk that audiences couldn’t get from any other speaker.

Public speaking freestyle rap performanceAs a result, it separated me while, at the time, engaged people regardless of their age, cultural background, or socioeconomic standing.

It had broad-spectrum appeal.

What I did was ask the audience members to pull out any items they had in their pockets. I would tell them to hold their items in the air as high as they could.

Next, I would play a beat in the background. This was then followed by me going around to each attendee, grabbing their item, and making up a quick rap on the spot about it. I would then return the item and move on to the next person. It brought people together by creating a unique experience for everyone.

Broad-spectrum appeal is one of the best ways to harness the power of speech.

How to Create Broad-Spectrum Appeal

Now, you may not be a freestyle rapper. Don’t stress. Luckily, creating engagement with an audience as a speaker is not based on your ability to make up raps on the spot. There are plenty of other methods you can use that are probably more aligned with your personality.

Here are a few to consider:

  • Storytelling
  • Singing
  • Magic tricks
  • Powerpoint slides
  • Humor
  • Group exercises
  • Q&As
  • Roleplaying

All of these tactics are great for creating broad-spectrum appeal with an audience. You may have to experiment with a few to determine what works best for you and what you enjoy most. Find something and then make it your own. That’s the best way to implement this strategy.

The more unique and tailored it is to your personality, the better.

Use the Charisma Pattern for Effective Speech

Imagine a speaker on stage who uses the same vocal range, pacing, and delivery for his entire speech. Most speakers do this. Now, before you die from boredom, let me share a very valuable skill that can combat that monotony. Here’s the deal: People fall into categories. We learn and receive information in different ways.

As a speaker, you have to accommodate people’s preferred learning methods.

You can do this with a system called the Charisma Pattern, which is used by some of the world’s most skilled and well-known public speakers.

  • Visual: A picture is worth a thousand words. So, a speaker using the Visual element of the Charisma Pattern has a fast delivery, high-octane energy level, and animated tone. Impactful presentations need this kind of delivery.
  • Auditory: Auditory is more steady and consistent. It has a predictable pace that people can grab onto and follow along with (almost like a steady rhythm to a good song). Most formal speeches use this tone. And it’s a key component for audience engagement.
  • Kinesthetic: Kinesthetic is all about engaging people on an emotional level. Everything slows down here. Your tone softens, and your delivery becomes more feeling-centered.

Everyone, from motivational speakers to religious leaders, needs to use the Charisma Pattern for effective communication. It’s one of the basic skills of compelling speeches.

The Charisma Pattern electrifies your oral communication skills by enabling you to use the full range of your vocal tonality. And to fully engage audiences, you need to bounce back and forth between all of these levels on the Charisma Pattern.

Conclusion

Developing your public speaking skills can revolutionize your life. It can build confidence, lead to career opportunities, and even help strengthen your personal relationships. As a result, this is a vital skill that can help in many aspects of life. If you’re looking for more self-improvement tips and tactics, be sure to sign up for The Motivated And Disciplined Newsletters below.

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