The very words ‘public speaking’ tends to strike fear in the hearts of most people, causing them to break into a cold sweat before they even venture up in front of a crowd and speak. While public speaking is not everyone’s cup of tea, it is commonplace in most careers and is not going anywhere anytime soon. Here are 12 benefits of public speaking mastery.
1. Builds Your Confidence
It is understandable for you to be initially nervous about giving speeches, but you will feel a sense of accomplishment and relief when you finish a speech. If the speech was successful, you will receive positive feedback from your peers and your audience. The more speeches you give, the more confident you will become. Practicing your public speaking skills and giving as many speeches as possible will help your oral communication skills improve. Knowing that you have participated in public speaking in the past, you won’t have any questions as to how you will survive through events like press conferences.
2. Improves Your Research Skills
For your public speaking sessions to be successful, you have to research the topic you are passionate about thoroughly. You will learn where to find the information for each presentation and how to tell whether the information you find is credible and relevant to use. Good research skills will help you in many professional and personal tasks, including business report writing, academic studies, job hunting, and marketing. You have to know what you are talking about first before you can get on stage and address the public about important topics. Without the proper knowledge, you won’t effectively get your message across.
3. You Learn from Failure
There is a good chance that your first public speaking event won’t go well at all. Even if it turns out to be a disaster, it will serve as a learning experience, reminding you of what not to do the next time you get on stage. Life is very much like a roller coaster where you will have your ups and downs. One day you will receive monetary donations from the audience you speak to, but the next day you may get booed off the stage. Before you can become a successful speaker, you have to know what failure feels like.
4. Helps You Overcome Fears
One big factor in why people fail at anything is fear. It is very common to have a fear of public speaking. According to a study by YouGov, 56% of people in England have a fear of public speaking. The only way to overcome this fear is to get on stage and engage with the public. Without any practicing in public speaking, you may continue fearing it and have doubts. You may have other fears in your life that occasionally interfere in the public speaking events you attend, but the best speakers tend to block out even the smallest distractions.
5. You Learn to Empathize
The best public speakers know that every part of their speech is aimed to benefit their audience. One of the biggest mistakes you can make in public speaking is to make everything about yourself. If speakers are putting the focus on themselves all the time and make themselves look more intelligent and credible, they will end up making the audience feel uncomfortable and unsatisfied. This is because they can feel the lack of authenticity in what they are hearing. As a speaker you empathize with audiences by sharing stories to connect with them, which can also inspire and entertain them.
6. Develops Your Leadership Skills
If you have ever considered climbing the corporate ladder and eventually finding yourself in a management or other leadership position, then you need to embrace public speaking. Craig Johnson and Michael Hackman, co-authors of the book “Leadership: A Communication Perspective”, state that effective public speaking skills are a necessity for all leaders. If you want people to follow you, your messages must be communicated effectively and clearly what followers should do. True leaders know what matters to them and what needs to be said in a public setting. True leaders lay out the vision of their organizations through powerful messages.
7. Develops Your Writing Skills
If you happen to be a writer, public speaking can also help you improve your writing skills as well. Various writing techniques that you use to write a good speech can also be applied to other important documents such as reports, articles, letters and memos, and research papers. One of the main ways to prepare for public speaking is to have your message already written down and memorized. Rarely will you have instant success in public speaking if you don’t have written notes. By following what you have written it will be easier for you to verbally communicate with others.
8. Increases Your Visibility
Even if you don’t aspire to become a corporate leader, demonstrating that you can correspond effectively with groups can help you in the workplace. You will be picked over your colleagues to deliver presentations to management. Your managers will realize that you can make them look good. The more people you stand in front of, the more career opportunities you will have. People will remember you and will start seeing you with authority. Representing your organization as powerful as you are in public speaking will make you seen as trustworthy, that you won’t drop the ball when the pressure is on.
9. More Awareness of How Others Perceive You
The perception that people have of you will matter in public speaking. If you know how others perceive you, you can work on improving that perception. It is a requirement in public speaking that you pay more attention to your physical presence. Some factors you will learn to control as you improve your oral communication skills include posture, tone of voice, hand gestures, pacing and other nervous gestures, interjections like “uh” and “um”, and clothing choices. Once you have more control over these factors, in public speaking and in everyday conversations, you will notice that views about you will improve.
10. Develops Your Critical Thinking Skills
Once you start participating in public speaking, your ability to think critically can be increased. Problem-solving is one critical thinking skill you will engage in when you deliver a speech. For example, when you prepare for a persuasive speech, a speech that motivates or convinces others to take action or reconsider a decision, you will have to think through real problems and provide possible solutions to those problems. You also must consider both the positive and the negative consequences of your solutions and communicate your ideas to others. You will also have to think on your feet if someone in the audience asks a difficult question.
11. Creates New Relationships
Public speaking is a great opportunity for you to meet other people who share ideas that are generally similar to yours. Public speaking is a proven way of networking with other people, whether they want to recruit you to join their company or if they just want to brainstorm. People will be more likely to interact with you if you are the one giving a speech than if you are just attending the event. Toastmasters is one organization that offers people opportunities to develop relationships through public speaking events.
12. Helps You Drive Change
When handled correctly public speaking can have a lasting impact on people. Public speaking gives you a way to better support causes you care about, and the more you improve your public speaking skills, the more winning presentations you can deliver that will make others aware of your cause. Speaking to an audience of people makes more of an impact than by going from person to person individually, or sending people emails. The more people you can reach out to, the more change you can implement. If you can consistently connect with others with your speeches, you will keep the door open to the types of change you and your audience can agree to.
Public speaking can be scary, especially if you have not had a lot of practice in doing so. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect, and if you master public speaking, you will reap the benefits.
Keith Miller has over 25 years experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entreprenuer, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As a writer, Keith's work has been mentioned in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our content editing team a message here.