At AdviCoach, we coach entrepreneurs during all stages of business ownership from the startup phase to the later, advanced stages. A fair number of the business owners we help have a great vision, product or service, or a strong background in management, but they often have a negative interest in public speaking. In fact, they often place themselves in the group that fears public speaking more than death. And many business owners fail to realize how crippling that fear is.
It’s not uncommon for business owners to underestimate the importance of having strong communication skills. But in reality, there is extreme value in being able to communicate effectively with employees, vendors, customers, and a variety of other people within their industries, both one-on-one and in front of large groups.
We’re not suggesting that you should aim to be the next Tony Robbins or Grant Cardone, but we assure you that public speaking is not an optional business skill, it’s a required skill. If you’re like the 90 plus percent of business owners with little to no experience in public speaking, we encourage you to invest your time and energy into professional training through something like Toastmasters International or a Dale Carnegie course.
You can also read books from experts on the subject, such as “The Fast Track Guide to Speaking in Public,” by Jan Yager, Ph.D. And after you decide which route suits you best, practice until you’ve mastered the fine art of public speaking – you’ll be glad you did.
Why Every Entrepreneur Needs to Master Public Speaking
In a nutshell, here’s why it’s important for all business owners to master the fine art of public speaking:
- You may need to address investors. You will need to fund your company and this may involve seeking money from investors. Sometimes CEOs try to send their VP of Marketing to meet with an investor, but those requests are systematically rejected because investors like to invest in the people behind big ideas. They’ll want to meet you, the top decision maker, in-person so they can assess your abilities and conviction.
- You get the opportunity to show your expertise. As the owner of the company, you are the face of your business. You are the catalyst behind the brand, and the biggest lead generator. This means you’ll be given the opportunity to showcase your expertise, whether in an article, a guest blog, a television show, a podcast, a workshop or seminar. You cannot afford to turn down such opportunities to share your knowledge and insight because you hate speaking in public forums.
- You may be asked to appear on television. Believe us, talking about your vision on TV is a skill in itself and it requires you to polish your public speaking skills. Since you are the face of your business, you want to deliver a smooth performance – the implications are bigger than you know. In Jan Yager’s book, she dedicates an entire chapter to speaking to the media and she explains why it’s a critical component to public speaking.
- You can explain your vision on podcasts. Even though a podcast interview may be one-one-on, it can be heard by thousands of listeners and that’s being modest. You only get one chance to make a good first impression, so make it count.
- You will host customer seminars. You may think it won’t come down to this, or you may think you can have your employees handle seminars for you, but you will have endless occasions to conduct meetings and seminars in front of potential and existing customers. Essentially, you can expect better outcomes from meetings and seminars when you have mastered your public speaking skills.
- You will be the main speaker at employee meetings and events. When you first start or buy a company, it may seem cool to be a CEO who’s managing a remote team from the road or a home office, but employees are going to rely on your leadership. In order to earn their trust and respect, you need to demonstrateexcellent communication skills. This means you’ll need to speak before your team members during company meetings and employee events. To get your team behind you, you must inspire, lead and motivate employees, and you don’t do this by hiding from them.
- You will be representing your business at industry events. Remember, you’re the face of your company. You are the man or woman behind the brand. You may be able to speak in front of 10 or 20 employees, but you’ll also need to speak in front of 100, 1000, or 5,000 industry peers while representing your company at industry events.
Your public speaking skills will be critiqued by your competitors, potential customers and vendors, strategic partners, and the media. Your performance and their perception thereof will determine the future of your career not to mention your company. So, practice your public speaking skills until you kill it each time.
At AdviCoach, we’ve found public speaking to be one of the most important business skills a business owner can have , whether the company is brand-new or has been around for generations. Just look at Steve Jobs and his influence at Apple… his public speaking skills were a huge asset to the company, and boy is he is missed.
Fortunately, public speaking is a learned skill and it can be taught to anyone who is willing to master it. With practice, just about anyone can become an excellent speaker. If you’re a natural introvert, you may find public speaking not only tolerable, but it may help you overcome your fears and even transform your life.
To be a successful entrepreneur, you can’t win by doing it all alone, and without mastering public speaking, you can’t take your business to the next level. The good news is, not only is public speaking learnable, but a business coach can work with you to develop and cultivate this time-honored skill. Let us help you realize your true potential as a business leader – contact us today to learn more about business coaching.