Masterful speaking is essential to stand-out in business leadership today and in many ways, always has been. While the online world has opened up a plethora of at-your-desk platforms to easily and quickly share your views, your breakthroughs, your hardships, and put it out there like never before, the spoken word remains powerful.
In fact, the world’s most popular forums like YouTube, TEDx talks of the past decade and newer online tools like Periscope revolve around the talent speaking well to get viewers engaged. Offline, the need to show and share is the number one way you can get ahead of the pack.
That is the biggest reason why I wrote my new book and video series ‘Well Said: How to Be Heard in Business and Generate Real Influence’; to help other business leaders harness that skill and add their own sparkle to it.
As a natural introvert, like many, the idea of addressing an audience en masse with my ideas and my own hero story with all the ups and downs laid bare, was not high on my bucket list. I have had to change my mindset. I always helped my clients write speeches, practice their interviews skills with reporters and even iron out their nerves before a big event. Now it was my time to walk the walk.
However, while I am no John F Kennedy or Simon Sinek (yet) when it comes to sharing my own thought speakership, here are my reasons for having a positive mindset to speaking up, being heard and generating influence.
-Why is it important for startups to master public speaking?
To be able to speak well and really be heard is a gift. A gift we are all not born with but can obtain with some tools and techniques to shape the content, reduce nerves and let our true self come to life.
Small business owners and operators always need to be able to articulate their sales pitch or attract new customers through new business pitches or meetings with would-be investors or even when hiring the best staff.
If you want to stand out from the crowd, you need to be able to influence in different ways through your own words, written and spoken. Memorable speakers are leaders on a new level.
-What’s the difference between a good and a great public speaker?
Most people can become a more polished and confident speaker. For some, being a great communicator is in their DNA, but to be honest, even those with the gift of the gab or a natural presenting talent need to tweak and refine it along the road to success. That is what consultants like me do for leaders of small business.
The areas that most people need to work on include improving their voice quality and projection, pace, tone, energy, the content and the actual messages to appeal to particular audiences. We always want the listener to think, feel or do something as a result of hearing from us. And the big one – managing nerves.
That said, the greatest speakers can use speech notes, a lectern and even a visual tool like PowerPoint, but knowing their stuff and delivering it with passion and authenticity is key. It’s also helpful to remember that it is 20 percent about you and 80 percent about the audience. For example, think of the late Steve Jobs in his 2005 Harvard speech, one of my favourite speeches he ever made – it had nothing to do with selling gadgets. You want to be memorable for all the right reasons. Jobs was a master of that.
-What benefits does a great public speaker enjoy in the business world?
At the end of the day, being a confident, authentic public speaker is what showcases your ideas at their best, whether it’s via a webinar, on a stage, media interview or in a board meeting. As you engage more people online and offline, the benefits are multi-faceted. This includes customer loyalty, a more visible personal and company brand profile and an ability to think of your feet.
Get into the mindset that you can speak from the head and heart, and make a difference. These are qualities that will serve you well no matter what you do in business and beyond.