Knowing how to speak well and be able to engage a live audience is a crucial skill to have and can be invaluable both inside and outside of the workplace. In this CPD article, we aim to equip you with the essential tools needed to become a confident public speaker, from understanding why we can find it so difficult to providing actionable tips to help develop your public speaking skills.
What is public speaking?
Public speaking, simply put, is the act of delivering a speech or presentation with the intention to either inform, persuade, entertain and inspire. Often this is done in front of a live audience, although online presentations are also becoming more common. The audience can be as small as a boardroom meeting or as large as a conference keynote. Irrespective of the size, public speaking demands clarity, confidence, and a thorough understanding of the subject matter to engage the audience effectively.
The importance and benefits of public speaking
In general, studies have shown that 75% of people have a fear of speaking in public, often stemming from a lack of confidence and experience. However, public speaking is a learned skill, not an innate ability. Its importance cannot be overstated in an interconnected world where clear and persuasive communication can impact decisions, inspire change, and influence perceptions.
For individuals, the ability to articulate one's thoughts effectively can significantly boost self-confidence, self-esteem, and critical thinking skills. These personal improvements can create a positive ripple effect, enhancing social interactions and personal relationships.
From a professional perspective, good public speaking skills can facilitate the expression of innovative ideas, the negotiation of beneficial agreements, and help to communicate a company's vision. It can amplify leadership qualities, inspire teams, influence stakeholders, and develop a culture of open dialogue within an organisation. Employees who are proficient public speakers not only enhance their personal credibility and value, but also contribute to an organisation's reputation.
Furthermore, experienced public speakers often find themselves with a broader array of opportunities, from networking events to industry conferences, and their ability to deliver compelling speeches can open doors that might otherwise remain closed. Whether you're an entrepreneur pitching to investors, a manager motivating your team, or a professional sharing insight at a conference, effective public speaking skills can be the key to achieving your objectives.