Fear of public speaking, as the tongue-in-cheek statement goes, can rank higher than the fear of death itself. But certainly, when it comes to this subject matter, ask the regular man in the street and one would rather plummet down a ravine than stand before a crowded hall to speak. However, public speaking has always been heralded as an essential skill to have to go further in life and in advancing one’s career. Everyone you meet will likely have pondered on the importance of public speaking despite not having the courage to orate in public.
In recent years, public speaking workshops have become a hit – especially among corporations. However, in the digital age whereby online transactions are become more and more commonplace and, in some instances, face-to-face meetings aren’t even necessary – how important is it for an entrepreneur to acquire such a skill in order to succeed?
The answer hinges on this skill being even more important than ever. In a digital world dominated by “text communication”, having the edge in terms of public communication skills will position the entrepreneur over and above the competition. Furthermore, with the advent of YouTube, with billions of ongoing viewerships worldwide and other video channels, having a visual representation of your business can give you immeasurable advantage. This is because cross-border businesses are also conducted visually through Skype and other means, hence making such skills all the more invaluable.
So, how will this help you? Establishing yourself as a good public speaker in promoting your business will ultimately create good branding for you as well as your product and services. Steve Jobs’ public appearances successfully established the brand name of Apple. Even Jack Ma did not shy away from pitching in public to create a strong branding for himself and for his multi-billion dollar global business. Here are some of the reasons why having public speaking skills can create good branding for entrepreneurs and raise the pro le of their business:-
Unlocking Multiple Opportunities
As a business owner, an entrepreneur must take every opportunity to take to the stage and make public presentations. This is due to the universal fact that people and potential customers are generally more attracted to individuals who are con dent in representing who they are and what they do.
When an entrepreneur takes to public speaking – either on stage or on a digital platform – they can never really know who among the audience will be truly watching and paying attention. Among those could be potential investors or people with connections to heavy industry players who could likely look to form some sort of collaboration. Displaying con dence in yourself and passion for your product and services create trustworthiness and increases the chances of people wanting to do business with you.
In 1962, US President John F. Kennedy visited the NASA Space Centre. He met a janitor and asked what he was doing. The janitor replied, with a broom in his hand, “I am helping to put a man on the moon”. The morale behind the tale is that everyone holds a greater purpose regardless of how big or small that person’s role is.
When an entrepreneur makes a passionate pitch to potential investors, clients or customers, their skill in public speaking determines the level of enthusiasm in the audience and whether the message sent across is either “I want your money” or “I want you to be part of a bigger picture”. Having good public speaking skills help can help you to close deals at a much higher rate.
Being inspirational is also important in delivering motivation to your sta . When they believe in your vision and understand that their roles go beyond simply keeping books, typing reports or answering telephones, they will feel inspired and enjoy working for you even more. You will then witness a marked increase in productivity.
When an entrepreneur grows as a person, the business will also grow. The more an entrepreneur exposes himself or herself to communicate his or her ideas e ectively through public speaking, the more self-esteem he or she will gain. The more self-esteem is gained, the more driven the entrepreneur will be in seeking progress within his or her business. Having courage in public speaking does not, in any way, mean having zero fear. Having courage in public speaking however, is all about having the ability to overcome those fears.
The same can be said of businesses. To be successful in business does not mean having zero fear in making decisions. It only means having the ability to make prudent decisions despite having fears – especially of failure. It does not mean totally eliminating the challenges in business – but learning how to face such challenges and pull through. Public speaking mirrors this. A person who gains self-esteem and courage through public speaking can be a successful entrepreneur and con dent business owner. Public speaking helps an entrepreneur to understand people, emotions and the environment which could be translated into good business decisions.
Becoming An Expert
When an entrepreneur gets opportunities to appear in public – either on stage, YouTube or TV, it establishes them as a trendsetter. Their opinions will then matter. They will get to establish their brand, be a brand builder and major lead generator. The implications to business will be tremendous. Air Asia is arguably the most popular no-frills airline in the region simply because of Tan Sri Tony Fernandes’s penchant for public appearances in establishing himself as a trendsetter and a brand builder. As an accountant, one would never peg him as an expert, but constant public appearances establishes himself as the authority in budget airline management.
He is one of the many examples how having good public speaking skills can establish an entrepreneur as a subject-matter expert which would then give them an advantage over their competition. When Malaysians think of budget airline, his image immediately pop up in their minds. When people talk about electric cars, Elon Musk will invariably come into the picture despite having heaps of competition from other auto makers in the world. Similarly, having good and
is a TV personality, master of ceremonies, protocol consultant, voice-over talent and emcee skills trainer and/coach. He runs his own business under the name of Adi Afendi Management primarily focusing on engagements for conferences, seminars, corporate dinners, beauty pageants and more.
constant public speaking engagements will put an entrepreneur at the forefront of their industry. Even within a small community, having good public speaking skills when talking passionately about your business to a group of people at a gathering will have you be seen as somewhat of an expert in what you do.
Whether giving a 90-minute presentation on stage to a crowd of 700 people, sharing a ve-minute video blog on social media or giving a 60-second pitch to one potential customer in an elevator, displaying passion in what you do will help send the message across more e ectively. This creates an aura of credibility. And, when visibility through constantly meeting people on various platforms is added with credibility in your ability to elucidate your business e ectively, this will lead to pro tability to your business. A marketing agent who is being paid to sell a product will give a di erent vibe as compared to a business owner who speaks about his or her own product passionately.
To build passion, a clear understanding of products or services and how they can be invaluable to customers are key. When an entrepreneur gives a clear and crisp description of the business and what they are looking for, it creates a connection with the audience at a di erent level. Having good public speaking skills can enables entrepreneurs to project a sense of sincerity which could led to a higher success rate in closing deals.
In a digital age where the world is dominated by computers, television, tablets and smartphones, where deals can be made at the comfort of one’s own home, the power of face-to-face human interaction is becoming more and more important in business. Intimacy and human contact will be at a premium. The ability to deliver information e ectively in a more personal and direct manner will be the game changer. Spoken words can motivate and inspire people more than written texts on websites. As such, if wielded properly, having good public speaking skills is essential for those who wish to make a di erence in business and in positioning themse lves as a brand. Mastering the art of the gab is an indispensable skill in business leadership.
And, while the prospect of acquiring such skills may seem daunting, there is no escaping this. In an era where people are talking about disruptive technologies and radical business changes, the ability to convince others into believing in your ideals and passion for business will open up a new world of possibilities.
By Adi Afendi.