10 Ways Public Speaking Skills Can Help You Live Your Best Life
Public speaking is an often overlooked weapon for your marketability arsenal. Many people think of it — and schools too often pitch it — as if it’s a “nice to have” rather than a “need to have.”
We’re of the belief that it’s as necessary to develop basic public speaking skills as it is math, science, reading, and writing. In the following article, we’ll be discussing all the many ways that it can enhance your career and help you live your best life.
Let’s take the podium!
1. Public Speaking Skills Help with Your Ability to Communicate Across Other Channels
You don’t think about public speaking as a resource for improving your written speech — your essays, tweets, emails, etc. — but it may be the most valuable. That’s because you tend to be more selective with your words and really think about the message you’re putting out there when speaking at an event.
That same level of scrutiny needs to make it into everyday communications to some degree, especially when it comes to emails to your professors or future colleagues and employers. But above making you more selective, it also helps you phrase things in a clear, concise, and conversational way.
2. They Get You Comfortable in Front of an Audience
In life, you can’t always pick the level of scrutiny under which you’ll fall. Eventually, you’ll end up with an audience whether you want one or not. It could be an audience of one, but if that person is of a high level of importance — someone who can determine your future career projection — he or she might as well be a sold-out Carnegie Hall.
Taking time to hone your public speaking ability will ensure that you become more acclimated to large or important crowds. It may not make you immune to jitters or feelings of tension, but it will help you function better when those scenarios do arise.
3. They Help You to Better Vet Your Ideas
Vetting your ideas is such an important part of creativity and communication. You often don’t want to lead with the first thing on your mind, at least not until you’ve had the chance to explore the possibilities and ramifications of it. When you engage in public speaking, you put yourself into a situation of asking questions like:
- Will the audience understand this?
- Do my supporting points hold up to scrutiny?
- Is there contradictory information that I would need to address in order to better make my point?
- What is the level of exposure my audience has had to this topic?
It’s all about development, in other words. Taking the necessary time to do it will be more impactful (in a good way) to whomever you are communicating with, and in whatever situation.
4. Public Speaking Skills Prepare You for Job Interview Scenarios
The job interview is quite possibly the most important situation in which public speaking can help you live your best life. And if you think you’re going to coast through life without having one of those, you obviously know something about the upcoming lottery numbers that we don’t.
The benefits of public speaking in a job interview situation are obvious. It teaches you to connect with the people interviewing you, to speak clearly, and to engage in two-way communication in a convincing and compelling way. It also helps you to improvise and think on your feet when questions are coming at you from unexpected directions.
5. They Can Assist You in Addressing Stage Fright
Perhaps the best way of becoming proficient at anything is to step out on the proverbial limb and try to do it. This especially applies to public speaking. Stage fright is one of the things speakers deal with, and there is no way out but through it. You cannot know if you’re over it, in other words, until you’ve actually been battle-tested.
But here’s the thing about stage fright. It can manifest in some unexpected ways. (Like job interviews, for example.) You don’t have to be standing in front of a larger audience for it to take hold. By doing more public speaking, or at least not running from the opportunities that you have, it can prepare you for those unexpected moments that come at the most inopportune of times.
6. They Open More Income Opportunities
If you ever become proficient at public speaking, it will not only check the surface-level box of making you more marketable to employers, but it also will give you more chances to expand your earning potential. Public speakers who are experts in their subject matter can use the ability to create digital products for sale online, or they can schedule live speaking events that entitle them to speaker’s fees and/or a portion of the ticket sales.
7. They Help You with Conflict Resolution at Work
Work with enough people for long enough, and you’re going to have disagreements. As disagreements surface, you have one of three options:
- Avoid it altogether and hope the problem goes away on its own in time: not the best selection but it could be necessary for some scenarios and with certain personalities
- Blow up and risk escalating the conflict: pretty much never a good idea, but you’re in danger of submitting to if you have poor public speaking skills
- Communicate directly but respectfully to reach a resolution or at least a path forward: this is what separates ladder-movers from those who get stuck underneath a glass ceiling
Public speaking helps you act or react in the best possible way by getting you comfortable with the act of reading others’ reactions. Again, it also helps you choose your words carefully and say what you have to say in a way that deflates tensions.
8. They Prepare You for the Dating Scene
Public speaking can emulate the pressures and communication challenges of the dating scene. Getting proficient at it can also signal to your date that you are put-together in other aspects of your life. It’s all about eye contact, confident messaging, clear delivery, and active listening.
9. They Can Actually Make You a Better Listener
And on the topic of active listening, here’s how public speaking can help you improve your life. It essentially tunes you into your audience so you can pick up on things like tuning out, discomfort, disdain, or any other nonverbal (and sometimes verbal) cues they may be giving you as you plow through your presentation.
10. They Teach You to Step Outside Yourself and See You the Way Others Do
Finally, public speaking demands that you take a closer look at yourself and how you’re coming across to others. That means stepping out of your skin, even if you have to use technology to do it. Record yourself on video, or at least audio, and make note of the things you are doing well and the things you are doing poorly.
You need to be clear on nonverbal cues, vocal tics, audience rapport, loudness, clarity, and messaging. That’s hard to pick up on at the moment. It’s also why most experts recommend standing in front of a mirror and delivering their speech to an audience of one in the buildup to delivery day.
A Final Word
Public speaking is unquestionably not for everyone, or rather, it does not come naturally to everyone. But it’s essential that, regardless of your comfort level, you try to hone and improve so you can port over the qualities into other areas of your life. There is simply too much benefit on the other side of the mountain to avoid it.
Now, what are some of the biggest hangups that may be keeping you from becoming a better public speaker? Are they nonverbal, verbal, or a mix of the two? What have you tried to correct the issue? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Wikipedia Commons]