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Public Speaking and Leadership



Public speaking and leadership are inextricably linked. Effective communication is essential for leadership, and public speaking is a crucial aspect of communication. Being able to speak confidently and persuasively in public can help you sell better, inspire people, and advance your career.


However, not everyone is born with the gift of gab. Many people struggle with speech anxiety or a phobia of public speaking, and may feel that their lack of natural talent makes them incapable of being a good leader. But the truth is that public speaking is a skill that can be learned and honed through practice and perseverance.


In fact, public speaking is so important for leadership that even the most brilliant ideas can fall flat if they are not communicated effectively. I recall a professor in university who was a brilliant researcher and writer, but who struggled to get his ideas across in the classroom. As a result, his students were often bored and disengaged, and his impact was diminished.

To be an effective leader, it is crucial to be able to communicate your vision and ideas in a way that engages and inspires your audience. This is where public speaking comes in. Leaders who can speak with confidence and clarity can motivate their teams, build trust and credibility, and inspire action.


Take, for example, Richard Branson, the charismatic leader behind the success of the Virgin brand. Branson himself has said that communication is the most important skill that any leader can possess. He knows from experience that effective communication, including public speaking, is a key component of leadership success.


Despite the importance of public speaking for leadership, many people struggle with the prospect of speaking in public. Speech anxiety and a fear of public speaking are common, with 19% of the world's population reporting a phobia of public speaking. But the good news is that public speaking is not an innate talent - it is a skill that can be learned and improved through practice.


Brian Tracy, a well-known business author, has said that communication is a skill that can be learned, just like riding a bike or typing. With hard work and dedication, anyone can improve their public speaking skills and become a more effective communicator.


So how can you improve your public speaking skills? One of the best ways is through practice. The most natural and effective speakers are those who have put in countless hours of practice, refining their material and honing their delivery. Jay Leno, for example, used to fit in up to 150 standup gigs in addition to his day job as the host of The Tonight Show.

Another way to improve your public speaking skills is to seek out professional help or attend a workshop. These resources can provide valuable feedback and guidance on how to improve your delivery, body language, and tone.


In addition to public speaking, charisma is also an important aspect of leadership. Charismatic leaders are often seen as more effective, even when their actual job performance may not be as strong. Charisma comes from a combination of body language, approachability, and speaking skills, all of which can be practiced and mastered over time.


In conclusion, if you want to be a more effective leader, improving your public speaking skills is essential. By learning to speak confidently and persuasively in public, you can inspire and engage your audience, convey your message clearly and concisely, and build trust and credibility with your team. With practice and dedication, anyone can become a more effective public speaker, and in turn, a more effective leader.


Looking to improve your leadership through speaking - get in touch from anywhere in the world.


Mark Westbrook

Public Speaking Coach - Glasgow, Scotland.

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