Your resume might be stacked with technical skills, but a talent for public speaking is the real ace up your sleeve.
Here are ten reasons why public speaking is the unsung talent that will set you apart from the crowd:
See Related: 6 Ways to Guarantee Laughs During Your Next Speech
#1. Great leaders are often excellent public speakers
Who is a leader in your life whom you admire?
A teacher who had a positive impact on you in school? A caregiver who helped you navigate tricky situations while you were growing up?
Think about the skill it took for that teacher to get up and lead your class every day, or the ease with which your caregiver communicated with doctors, cashiers, and other folks they regularly came into contact with.
No matter who you consider an impactful leader, chances are they have excellent public speaking and communication skills.
How can public speaking support you as a leader?
Team members want a confident leader. The way you speak can communicate confidence just as easily as it can communicate self-doubt. After all, would you trust a corporate emcee who walks in nervously doubting every word they say? Didn’t think so.
Would you like to share with the class?
As a student, how would it feel to have a professor who seemed unsure of their lessons? You might feel concerned that they aren’t familiar with the subject matter.
However, a teacher who demonstrates leadership skills through excellent public speaking will motivate their classes and gain students’ trust.
May I have your attention, please?
Let’s say you’re on a corporate marketing team. Would you rather have a team lead who presents the group’s ideas to management with poise and control, or risk the presentation being unsuccessful because they avoid eye contact and seem unsure of themselves?
There is no question – confident leaders with top-notch communication skills set their teams up for success.
#2. An effective public speaker earns respect from their audience
If you are speaking in public, you are probably trying to accomplish a goal.
Speaking in front of a class? Your goal may be to educate the students on the impacts of commedia dell’arte on modern theatre.
Speaking in front of a group of colleagues? Your goal may be to convince management to invest in a helpful software program.
Regardless of the setting, one thing is for sure:
You are most likely to achieve your goal if you have earned respect from your audience.
The confidence you exude while speaking directly impacts the results of your presentation. Audience members are more likely to respond positively to a speaker who knows they are worth listening to.
So put your shoulders back, lift your head high, talk from the heart, and I promise that your audience will value what you have to say.
#3. With practice, public speaking helps you maintain your composure in other situations
Who says that the benefits of public speaking can’t manifest themselves when you’re not in front of a crowd?
Many scenarios in both personal and professional life can be made more comfortable with public speaking skills. What do I mean?
Well, public speaking requires a person to breathe through nerves, despite any insecurities they feel under the surface.
There are plenty of situations in everyday life that require the same poise and communication skills:
Meeting your significant other’s parents for the first time. Interviewing for a dream job. Ordering takeout over the phone!
There may not be a crowd in front of you, but becoming a better public speaker and forming strong communication habits can help make everyday interactions much easier. All it takes is practice!
#4. A great public speaker inspires listeners to take action
Great public speakers motivate listeners to take action, and that action can directly benefit you! For example, public speaking skills can lead to career advancement and professional success.
Here are some of the ways practicing public speaking can impact your career:
If you think about it, a persuasive speech can motivate employers to take college graduates off the job market and put them on a career path. Or, a masterfully delivered sales pitch can result in more sales and more money for a business, and a promotion for the speaker.
A heartfelt speech can improve an organization’s public relations and help them form connections with its community. With a good speech, the possibilities are truly limitless.
In today’s world, persuasive speaking can make an enormous impact.
People make everyday decisions with far-reaching implications based on the information they receive from public speech.
Wait, I’m influenced by public speeches every day?
Yes! From your choice of restaurant to which television shows you choose to watch, so much of your everyday choices are influenced by people who speak effectively, be them professional spokespeople or Margaret from the neighborhood book club (hi, Margaret!).
If you respond positively to a social media ad, chances are you have been influenced by someone’s speaking style! Know that the business of advertising is chock full of excellent public speakers – this is why it is equally important for you to build critical thinking skills as a consumer.
#5. Learning to speak publicly can help you feel confident personally and professionally
Developing leadership skills through public speaking contributes to both your personal and professional success.
Sure, we’ve talked about the ways in which your public speaking ability can help your business. But have you thought about the personal benefits of being a great speaker?
It is empowering to overcome a fear of public speaking
One of the most common fears among human beings is the fear of public speaking. Did you know there’s even a word for it? Glossophobia.
And let’s be honest – it’s not surprising that public speaking is scary to many people! Speaking in front of a group puts you in a vulnerable position, and many have public speaking anxiety.
But overcoming that fear can help you in so many ways: you’ll feel more comfortable meeting new people, more confident pursuing your hobbies and dreams, and more at home in your own skin.
How can I work on my public speaking anxiety?
There are lots of resources available to those who experience speech anxiety and wish to improve their public speaking skills! Here are a few options:
Public speaking coaches can be invaluable resources. Consider hiring public speaking coaches – or even event emcees – if you feel you would benefit from one-on-one instruction in this essential skill.
Taking a public speaking course is a great way to learn the basics behind the art of public speech. Public speaking courses are great tools to use while preparing for public speaking engagements because you get the benefit of practicing among peers – the benefits of public speaking, but with the privacy of an intimate group!
Whether you choose a public speaking coach or public speaking class, either will help you improve communication skills and kick-start your public speaking career!
#6. Meeting new people gets easier with public speaking skills
One of the best ways public speaking can support your personal development is by helping you feel comfortable meeting new people and forming personal relationships.
For those who usually avoid speaking, the very concept becomes more and more terrifying. However, those who practice the vital skill of public speaking come to see the benefits during everyday conversation.
The confidence and poise you develop when practicing public speaking can help you overcome your fear of approaching new people.
#7. If you’re going to speak publicly, you’ll learn the material backwards and forwards
One thing is for sure: if you’re going to stand up and speak in front of a crowd, you’d better know what you’re talking about!
Preparation is key
Whether you’re in the classroom or the business world, it is extremely important to have a strong grasp on the material you are presenting. Audiences can tell when you’re feigning confidence – I promise.
If your speech clearly demonstrates the knowledge you have on a subject, you’ll ensure that the audience understands the material too.
To prepare for your next public speaking opportunity, don’t just prepare a slide deck. You’ll impress the audience and achieve personal satisfaction if you familiarize yourself with the material so well, you could talk about it in your sleep.
We’re always learning
I’d like to point out an important nuance: there is a fine line between exuding confidence and arrogance when delivering speeches.
You’ve reviewed your materials backwards and forward. You feel confident in your presentation. But someone may still ask a question to which you don’t know the answer.
And guess what? That’s okay! Humility is one of the greatest performance skills you can master. A good leader will inspire people by being honest about the extent of their knowledge. Encourage the audience to submit ideas and keep the conversation going!
#8: Learning to speak in public can help you face challenging social situations
If you are someone who suffers from glossophobia (the fear of public speaking), know that you are not alone. It may seem impossible, but I promise you have the ability to become comfortable speaking in front of an audience.
The benefits of participating in a public speaking program go beyond giving successful speeches.
Being surrounded by other speakers who understand the importance of public speaking, but are uncomfortable with it and want to become better, can help you form connections and a safe, trusting community.
As you deliver speeches and share ideas with other people, chances are you will find comfort In the knowledge that even those who seem to speak effortlessly feel nervous sometimes. Even those who make a career out of it can feel scared to get in front of an audience! (Am I giving too much away as a master of ceremonies?)
#9: Public speaking teaches critical thinking skills
“Read the room,” you’ve been told. But how? What does that mean?
To put it simply, “reading the room” means using your observational skills to decide how to most appropriately conduct yourself. You base these decisions on the energy and behavior of your audience.
Those who are great with public speech and effective in leadership roles understand how to shift their speech style based on the audience’s preferences and needs.
What are some examples of this?
For example, a public relations expert will have the ability to recognize, mid-speech, that a certain joke is not landing with the audience. They will adjust their speech going forward to avoid stumbling onto humor the audience does not enjoy.
Or, perhaps a member of your public speaking program is presenting on a day when there is a somber energy in the room. They sense that the room could use a fresh, uplifting dose of entertaining speaking and decide to add a funny anecdote from their personal life to lighten the mood.
#10: Great public speaking skills are the secret ingredient to successful interviews
I know, I know – the Special Skills section of your resume is already full to the brim with tangible skills you’ve amassed over the years (including your knack for playing the banjo, of course). There is no question that you are one smart cookie!
While hard skills and technical qualifications may get your resume noticed, soft skills like public speaking will set you apart in an interview.
Leadership is not something that can be taught. When you walk into an interview, you have the power to impress the interviewee with your confidence, eloquence, and command of the room (all of which are tough to communicate on one sheet of paper).
Why is public speaking important? Let’s recap.
The importance of public speaking can shift based on the individual.
For some, it is a means to an end: inspiring people to support a humanitarian cause, proving they are ready for a promotion in their career, or drumming up excitement for a new product they have created.
For others, learning to talk in front of a large group is an emotional, personal challenge. Developing this ability represents a deeper accomplishment and inspires them to believe in themselves.
Regardless of what motivates you, I encourage you to practice public speaking. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how it can change your life!
Keep Reading: A Beginner’s Guide to Keynote Speakers
Adam Christing has been called “The Tom Brady of emcees.” He has hosted more than 1,000 company meetings, special events, gala celebrations, and more. He is the author of several books and founder of CleanComedians.com. For more event tips, follow Adam Christing on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube.