Communication skills – especially public speaking and presentation skills – are essential for business success. Public speaking and presentation skill is very valuable but also something that business people in general do not develop. For example, a great presentation, in terms of content, can be diminished if the presenter starts each sentence with um or ah-um.
A skill vital for winning business . . .
A powerful business-building capability that any business leader can apply to help them achieve their business targets is boosting their communication skills and specifically their public speaking skills. Communication skill is vital for winning business.
Listen Carefully . . .
I wish to also emphasize that communication skills and even presentation skills require the presenter to be a good listener. Often, and always in sales, there are times when a client or potential client asks questions. I was at a presentation just yesterday and asked quite a few questions. I had the impression (more than once) that the presenter had the answer ready even before fully hearing or understanding my question. He often was not on target with the answer because he did not listen to the question. A presenter must be patient and seek to understand a question from the audience. A presenter should be thoughtful when addressing questions from the audience.
When a CEO is negotiating with another company the CEO needs to have his/her speaking skills razor sharp. A Managing Director needs to present well when delivering a speech to his/her people and, the salesman or sales director must illustrate to a client that they understand their needs (good listening is part of good presenting) and then articulate well how they can add value or provide a solution to the client.
All of these speaking opportunities require thought and skill. Through the art of speaking and presenting well, you can establish trust, credibility and you can position yourself and your business as a trusted expert.
Moreover, when you get your voice out into your niche sector with a well done presentation then your ability to build business opportunities will significantly increase. A good public speaker creates the appearance of authority and people want to do business with experts.
Here is another short example. This past week, I was at my regular business networking meeting where a new business was being introduced to our networking group. The representative of the new business got up. The very first words out of the mouth of this person were “I am not good at public speaking”. Perhaps this person was good enough to get up and tell us about the business – I am sure that this was the case. There was no need to announce, up front, the perceived (in the person’s head) the bad speaking skills. I expect that this person does a great job of doing the business of the business. In my opinion, this person needs to have more confidence and the ability to speak about the business in order to gain more business.
I know some business people that are complaining about the tough economic times. It is times such as these when you need to develop and use all the skills available to you to do more and better business. Gain a valuable edge over your competition by being able to present yourself and your business with authority by honing your public speaking and presentation skills.
Imagine the possibilities that can flow from positioning yourself as a thought leader or authority in your niche. Public speaking and presentation skill is an essential skill in any economy (good or bad). A advantage in this area enables you to set yourself apart from your competition and this is valuable in a strong or weak economy.
Public speaking is an art. As such, I would recommend before your run off full of excitement that you take stock of your public speaking skills and seek help and guidance of a speaking expert.
Communication Skills – Steps to Improve
Consider these steps:
- Seek out support, mentoring and coaching from a seasoned speaking expert.
- Make public speaking a key goal within your marketing strategy.
- Look for opportunities to practice and develop your speaking skills.
- Look for speaking opportunities in your market niche – talk to key associations or call organizers of annual conferences to book speaking slots.
- Learn PowerPoint and develop your skill at creating and delivering presentations.
- Create a standard presentation on your topic and get good a delivering it.
Public speaking or talking in front of groups may appear scary or frightening. However, developing excellent public speaking skills can boost your personal career as well as boost your business. When you get better at this then you may even think that it is fun and it will always be rewarding when you have more confidence and come to realize that you are doing it better than most.