Often, people tell me, “I’m not a speaker so I don’t have to think about presentation skills.” I disagree. I think we are all speakers – yes, already you.
Whether you talk to a small or large audience or in a corporate, academic or community setting, you are a speaker. If you give an update to a project team, speak up at a neighborhood meeting or organize a fundraiser, you are a speaker. If you give a toast at a wedding, conduct arrangement for new employees or aim someone on a new course of action, you are a speaker. If you teach a class, rule a conference call or accept a community award, you are a speaker. If you answer a question at a meeting, attend a networking event or interact with possible clients, you are a speaker.
The point of thinking of yourself as a speaker is not to make you crazy. The point is for you to become conscious of your strength to communicate. Public speaking is a skill – it’s not magic or a special gene. And as a skill, it can be learned and improved. You already have knowledge and skill; public speaking gives you the ability to communicate that knowledge and skill effectively to others. And in so doing, you can have a positive impact on your career, your self-confidence and your community.
One of the first people that I coached was a man who had to give the toast at his brother’s wedding. One of my most recent coaching clients was a woman who had to rule a teleseminar with a global audience for a major client. Both of these people are speakers, already though that is not their dominant job description. They had something to proportion with other people and communicating effectively made a difference in their personal and business relationships.
Just by thinking of yourself as a speaker, you assistance from what I call the Focus Effect. Earlier in my career, I worked in course of action improvement and was often called in to analyze a business course of action that was inefficient, costly or time-consuming. I found that just by asking people who were involved in the time of action to focus on what they were doing and how, the time of action often improved because they were more conscious of their actions. Likewise, when you think of yourself as a speaker, you begin to focus on what and how you communicate. And as you pay more attention to your communications, you become more conscious of what works well and more able to enhance what doesn’t.
The next time you have the opportunity to speak or present, think of yourself as a speaker. Doing so will help you eliminate the barriers to letting your voice be heard and make a positive contribution to your specialized and personal success.