Jerry Seinfeld had a humorous observation regarding the fact that more people are afraid of public speaking than they are of dying. “People would rather be in the coffin than delivering the eulogy”, Seinfeld suggested. I suspect if given the choice, most would choose to speak, but not without fear and trembling.
Speaking in public may not be the primary duty of the entrepreneurial leader, but neglect of this opportunity would be to the peril of the leader. The following tasks are essential to advancing the growth agenda of any enterprise:
- Clarifying the primary objective
- Casting a compelling vision
- Articulating the “why” of your business
- Getting the story of your business told
- Re-calibrating misguided performers
- Personally distributing your marketing message
This list is certainly not exhaustive, but simply elevates your awareness that becoming more effective at public speaking will open new doors for your leadership development. Deciding, practicing, and mastering the art of being relevant in front of an audience is an investment of your time that will pay significant dividends. If your stress at the prospect of presenting is high and your opportunities are great, I would strongly suggest you consider professional coaching. To those looking for tips to improve I offer the following advice:
- Be Authentic: Do not take on the persona of another great presenter. Authenticity is compelling and is the key ingredient to the credibility of your message.
- Be Structured: The most frustrating experience for a listener is not being able to follow the flow of your logic.
- Be Relevant: If you are not clear on why your presentation matters, your audience will not care. Don’t waste anybody’s time by talking about something that just does not matter.
- Be Bright, Be Brief & Be Done: In your preparation be sure to do a little research to advance good data and information-it will help you offer original thought. Brevity is the sign of brilliance and a benefit to the audience. Finally, don’t be sloppy with your conclusion. Your final words should point the listeners in a clear direction. By the time you are finished everyone should know what is next!