- May 3, 2018
- Posted by: Shari
- Category: Leadership, Workplace Training
Dale Carnegie once said, “Being able to communicate well is the shortcut to distinction.” But there are a lot of reasons why leaders often choose to take the long way around. For one thing, excellent communication (especially what I call “front of the room” work) is a discipline that is learned and developed with hard work over time. You may say — Hey, what about the speaker with natural talent? Or the successful actor who never took an acting lesson? Or the person who taught themselves to play the piano like a virtuoso? These individuals are the exceptions and even they can benefit from some expert instruction and practice.
Well…developing this discipline of speaking well in the “front of the room” takes time that busy executives don’t feel like they can afford. Besides, often they think they are good enough. But they have no idea how great they can be, and the kind of response they can experience from their audience. Too many times I’ve witnessed well-intended leaders kick off a meeting, launch a new initiative, or guide the “troops” through turbulent times and thought to myself, Wow…they could have hit a home run with just a few changes; instead they are sitting on first base because they didn’t:
- Get past the critical voices in their head
- Structure the message in the most logical, easy to remember order
- Choose wording and phrases that punch like a prize fighter
- Utilize their physical presence to establish the strongest connection with their audience
When I coach and train leaders in Persuasive Public Presentation, these are the four critical disciplines we practice.
Sure, we’re too busy, we feel like it’s good enough, we don’t want to admit that we could use some help — these are all common hindrances to developing this skill.
But…the BIGGEST reason we don’t want to take a class on public speaking is that IT WILL MAKE US UNCOMFORTABLE. Maybe a little, or maybe a lot!
I get it. I’ve been a professional speaker for three decades and I still hate to practice — especially in front of others.
But here’s what I know and so do you: It’s never as bad as we fear!
Recently I attended a 5-day (no electronics) retreat in the mountains of Arizona with a bunch of men I’d never met. I knew I (we) would be asked to participate in exercises that will cause my “eyes to roll,” arms to cross and heart to race. I was mostly dreading it for weeks and probably would have withdrawn from the retreat had I not invested so much in lodging and travel.
But…here’s what I learned; It was OK. Better than OK, actually, and I got so much out of the experience I wonder why I had so much resistance.
Emerson said; “Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain.”
The fear that you feel when you consider the opportunity to improve your speaking is a paper tiger! I promise you…within the first 15 minutes of training like my Persuasive Presenting 101 course, you will know that you’re gonna be OK…you’re going to learn a lot and feel proud of yourself for pushing through the fear. And you’ll have gained valuable knowledge and improved your speaking skills because of it.
If you want to be a better speaker and move people to action, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone, invest in yourself, and watch what happens. If you’re ready to do something about it now, here’s an opportunity to sharpen your most important tool as a leader.