By Ashish Arora
Were you one of those kids that sat in the back of the classroom, hoping the teacher didn’t call on you? Glossophobia, the fear of public speaking, is common and not necessarily one we grow out of in adulthood. In fact, this fear is considered the most common phobia in the world—yes, even more common than the fear of dying!
As business owners, it’s important that we overcome this fear and become better communicators. After all, communication is the backbone of human society. An ability to communicate is what allows us to share ideas, tell stories, and influence change. The ability to communicate effectively not only dictates our interactions with coworkers, investors, employees, and clients, it also has a tremendous impact on career growth and success in our chosen industries.
With this in mind, here are six reasons why public speaking is essential for your business growth:
1. Shows us how to inspire others
One of the most important skills public speakers can have is the ability to inspire others. And this skill is just as important offstage as it is onstage. Inspiring an audience of event attendees is a great way to keep them engaged, but inspiring coworkers and employees is how you get your team to share your vision and work toward a common goal, all while building a positive company culture.
2. Builds confidence
Public speaking builds confidence, and this comes in handy for self-promotion. Let’s face it, as business owners, we must be our own PR team. We can’t shy away from the limelight, but rather, should take every opportunity that comes our way to network and promote our business. Public speaking teaches us to feel comfortable when we’re pitching to investors, explaining our business model to lenders, or fielding questions from trade show attendees.
3. Teaches a valuable leadership skill
Public speaking is really about listening, and effective listeners make the best public speakers. When crafting a presentation, keep your audience’s questions and pain points in mind. Good listeners also make the best leaders. When you listen and understand your employees’ concerns, you can build a dedicated team. Also, truly listening to your customers will show you how to serve them better.
4. Encourages critical thinking
Public speaking forces you to become a better critical thinker. Preparing effective presentations requires research, reason, and the ability to analyze information from the viewpoint of your audience. Offstage, these critical thinking skills can help you improve the outcomes of your sales calls and uncover potential landmines during negotiations.
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5. Promotes soft selling
Public speaking is the epitome of “soft selling.” You may not be selling something directly during your presentation, but you certainly can convince an audience of your expertise and provide solutions to their problems. This type of selling is incredibly effective in real-world situations where overtly selling or being overly pushy is not welcomed. Public speaking ultimately teaches us how to sell our expertise.
6. Develops the skill of persuasion
The number one job of public speaking is to persuade your audience to recognize you as a thought leader in your industry. This power of persuasion is equally important offstage when you’re pitching a client, answering employee concerns, or convincing the editor of a local publication that your new product launch would make a great article.