Do You Need Public Speaking Skills?
If you asked young Joel Osteen if he thought he’d be making a living by using his public speaking skills, he’d likely have told you public speaking was not in his future. In fact, he turned down his father’s invitation to preach several times before finally giving in. It turns out, Joel did need public speaking skills in a very direct way. It’s hard to be a preacher without them.
Now Joel is the pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. (the largest Protestant church in America) His sermons are seen by millions of people weekly via television.
Maybe you feel the same hesitation young Joel Osteen did about public speaking. Maybe you shy away from public speaking because you think it’s something unnecessary or scary. Joel Osteen didn’t think he’d need public speaking skills and maybe you think the same. It’s my contention however, public speaking skills matter. Even if you think you’ll never deliver a keynote address or a sermon, public speaking skills have application off the stage too.
5 Reasons You Need Public Speaking Skills to Build Your Platform
Public Speaking teaches you storytelling.
Storytelling is a way to support your argument. While business leaders and scientists are keen on facts and figures (so called “objective data”) storytelling is a more effective way to influence an audience,.It bypasses portions of our brain designed to focus on reason and logic. These systems are great and they help us in everyday life, but they can sometimes hold us back from learning important lessons.
When we hear a good story we fall into a state known as “The Willing Suspension of Disbelief”. In this state we can let go and allow ourselves to be transported to other places and times. Every time you find yourself engrossed in a good book, a good movie or a good story, you are in The willing suspension of disbelief.
The willing suspension of disbelief allows us to see life, problems and circumstances from another person’s point of view. We are opened up to different ideas and possibilities for our own lives. Learning how to take an audience to another place and time can help you in business and in life and learning to tell a great story on stage can be applied off stage as well.
Public Speaking teaches you how to persuade.
The Six Elements of Influence
The goal of any public speaker is to share thoughts and ideas in a way that spurs the audience to action. Knowing how to persuade is a key skill you can learn from public speaking. In his famous book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Dr. Robert Cialdini states there are six elements of influence. :
Reciprocity – The feeling of obligation to return value for the value one has received.
Scarcity – We tend to want or value what is rare or valuable. We tend to take action when we feel something is scarce and may go away. Scarcity motivates people because of the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
Authority – We tend to yield to others we see as experts. We give them our attention and compliance in exchange for information we don’t have time or desire to acquire ourselves.
Consistency – The more we encounter something, the more we are influenced by it. Repetition breeds familiarity.
Liking – People want to be with people they like. If you want people to like you, be like them.
Consensus (SOCIAL PROOF) – In any situation where you aren’t sure of what to do you tend to look to those around your for clues as to proper behavior.
Public Speaking teaches you to tailor your message to your audience.
One of the tenants of inbound marketing is to create an avatar for your content. Public speakers are taught the same thing. A hidden secret of Keynote speakers is they only customize 20% of their speech to the audience they’re speaking to.
Public speakers know some things are universally true and apply to all audiences and some things must be specific to the audience they’re in front of. Understanding your audience is a skill you will use in all forms of communication, not just public speaking.
Public Speaking teaches you how to work with visuals.
People love to blame PowerPoint for what’s wrong with public speaking. It’s not PowerPoint’s fault, it’s the presenter’s fault. People who make boring PowerPoint Slides have never taken the time to understand the purpose of the PowerPoint.
PowerPoint is for creating visual aids. Not the written version of your talk. Visual aids assist the presenter in making a point. If you’ve ever read presentation design books from Garr Reynolds or Nancy Duarte, you understand this point.
If you’ve listened to some of the past guests on this podcast like Scott Schwertly of Ethos 3 or Nick Elliot , you’d know that visuals can add tremendous impact to your message. When you learn public speaking skills like working with visual aids, you can take those lessons and apply them elsewhere.
Public Speaking skills transfer to other channels.
The ability to persuade, tell great stories and use visuals isn’t just for standing on stage to deliver a great talk. Public speaking skills transfer to other channels like YouTube, webinars, podcasts and live streams.
Long known for their communication skills, TV reporters, journalists and radio personalities are discovering the public speaking skills they used in mass media transfer nicely to the online platforms listed above. If you’re looking to expand your message to a wider audience, start working on your public speaking skills like these mass communication professionals did.
Take my advice, master public speaking skills; they will serve you well. Ignore my advice and you may be working for someone who listened to me.