One of the ideas I really latched on to when I started taking leadership courses in graduate school was John Maxwell’s quote, “everything rises and falls on leadership.” But I was also challenged by a response my leadership friends came up with, that leadership rises and falls on communication. If they were right, then it didn’t matter what I learned about leadership if I couldn’t communicate it. A quick self-assessment revealed that I could write, converse, and lead small group discussions, but I lacked training and experience speaking in front of groups.
Right then and there I promised myself I would become a better public speaker.
Several years and many speeches later, I’ve had a blast (nearly) every time I’ve been in front of a crowd with something to say. In fact, I’d like to sell you on joining me as a fellow public speaker by sharing six benefits of public speaking here below.
Your cause will be represented
If you take the initiative to speak, it means your ideas are the ones that will get listened to as opposed to the ones that are not being represented. This will also make you more influential as an advocate.
It will boost your confidence
Overcoming anxiety of speaking in front of others is a huge accomplishment. The fear of public speaking is reportedly higher than death for many people. It’s difficult to doubt yourself when you know you can deliver speeches in public. And believe it or not, the confidence flows over into other areas of life as well.
It will cause your ideas to stick
Hopefully your ideas will stick with your audience, but more importantly, they will stick with you. Once you speak about a new idea, it’s amazing how you own it in a way you never did before.
You’ll get to “feel the power”
Are you a control freak? Drama queen? In either case, it can be a huge rush to see an audience hanging on your every word until you deliver your killer lines!
It will help build your leadership platform
When you speak, others will start to see you as an expert. This makes them more likely to seek you out for input, follow you on your social networks, and perhaps invite – and pay – you to speak again.
You’ll have fun
All in all, public speaking is hard work, but it’s also a blast! It can be a little scary at times, but there’s nothing like playing off the energy of an audience, experimenting with new techniques, and sharing great ideas that help others win.
So what should you do if you’d like to give public speaking a shot, but don’t know where to start? Here’s what I did, and I guarantee each resource will make a remarkable difference for you, starting immediately:
Join a local Toastmasters club
You can search for a club on the Toastmasters website. Depending on where you live, there could be as many as 100 clubs in your vicinity. This is a great place to get experience in an extremely low pressure environment giving speeches that last an average of 5-7 minutes on literally any topic of your choosing. The cost of club dues are usually very minimal, maybe $50 per six months.
Take a Dale Carnegie course
I also recommend the hundred year-old Effective Communications & Human Relations course. Not only will you get to practice giving many short 2-4 minute speeches, you’ll also learn all the principles from my all-time favorite leadership book: Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends & Influence People. The cost of this course is usually in the $1,700 – 2,000 range, but well worth it, especially if you have access to company training funds.
Nathan Magnuson is a leadership consultant, coach, trainer and thought leader. Receive his ebook Trusted Leadership Advisor by subscribing to his website or follow him on Twitter.