I read an article today about how to be an effective public speaker. It got me to thinking about the role of public speaking in business. Over the past 30+ years in business I have had many opportunities to address audiences – at conferences, non-profit board meetings, staff meetings, you name it. Early in my career I would get very nervous before speaking. With more experience I have gained confidence so now I am only somewhat nervous before speaking.
I think one key to being an effective public speaker is to embrace that nervous feeling and welcome the energy and alertness that comes with it. Another key is to prepare in the manner that suits you best. I find that a simple outline works but others prefer a fully rendered script. Thinking about how you will present is a minimum requirement, practicing while timing yourself is a great idea for more formal presentations. Breathe, smile, and speak slowly are also keys to success. Since so many people flee from public speaking opportunities/requirements, good public speaking skills can help you stand out from your peers and move ahead in your career. So, embrace your nerves and go for it!