Is public speaking a leadership skill?

Effective communication is a key skill for leaders and considerable time is spent fostering these skills in leadership development programmes. An often overlooked aspect of communication is public speaking. As individuals develop in their careers, take on more responsibilities and move into leadership roles, the more likely they are to be called on to give speeches and talks.

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Why leaders need to master public speaking

Public speaking skills are not only required because leaders might be called upon to give speeches and talks. Public speaking also means effective communication with your team members. You might be speaking to inform, persuade or inspire, but whatever you’re attempting to communicate, the principle is the same.

Leaders need to communicate effectively

Strong public speaking skills make it easier for the leader to effectively communicate their messages. When you speak you should command respect, and you are telling people something that you believe to be important. If you’re attempting to persuade or inspire, your ability to construct an argument and deploy useful rhetorical skills will be a key advantage. Many of the skills that you learn as an effective public speaker can add colour and texture to your everyday communications, making what you say more interesting and memorable.

Effective public speaking understands how to get a message across without being misconstrued. It grabs the attention of the listener and keeps them engaged, making it more likely that they will take away the key points.

Good public speaking skills can be deployed to inspire and motivate, either through team meetings or one-to-one discussions. Public speaking skills give leaders another tool in their communication toolbox which can be used whenever it is appropriate to do so.

The leadership reflects the company brand

The more senior the leader, the greater the impact they will have on how the organisation’s brand is perceived. Leaders may be called upon to speak both within and outside the organisation. They may need to speak at industry events, within their community or to key stakeholders such as local authorities.

Being able to communicate confidently and clearly is crucial for any leader called upon to speak in public. Leaders who are also engaging and inspiring public speakers say something powerful about their organisation.

Public speaking creates connections

Successful organisations are built on effective communication. Strong public speaking skills can help leaders connect on a human level. If you can communicate passion and vulnerability at the right moment, then other people will relate to you.

Leaders who are able to make the most of any opportunity to connect with people both within and outside the organisation can become inspiring figures.

Uniting people behind a clear message

The most inspiring orators can communicate, inspire and unite people behind a clear, well-understood message. People with effective public speaking skills understand that a strategy or direction of travel needs to be distilled down to key points that, taken together, make a cohesive message. They will then look at how to provide the bare bones of that message with human elements that help listeners to connect.

That message needs to be simple and delivered repeatedly until it becomes second nature. Leaders with effective public speaking skills are better able to unite their teams behind a clear message and then help them move towards achieving collective goals.

Leaders with public speaking skills drive change

Closely related to the above is the ability of effective public speaking to drive effective change within the organisation. Once a direction of travel, set of goals or comprehensive restructuring of the organisation has been decided upon, that needs to be communicated to employees and other stakeholders.

While a range of communication methods may be used to achieve this, public speaking can be effective at not only relaying the reasons for the change but also motivating others to embrace that change.

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Public speaking skills can help you win hearts and minds

Leaders need to take people with them and where necessary change minds and convince people of a particular course of action. Problems can occur in organisations where employees resist change. They can soon become unhappy places, with a knock-on effect on productivity, employee wellbeing and staff retention. For this reason, leaders always need to consider how they will win hearts and minds. Public speaking skills are a key skill when it comes to achieving this.

Public speaking can be learned

Few people are born with natural gifts when it comes to public speaking. It doesn’t matter if you are introverted or extroverted, whether you like talking in public or not, effective public speaking is a talent that can be learned.

Effective public speaking requires close to attention to what is said as well as how it is said. This can often mean that people who are more thoughtful and reserved can often turn out to be more effective public speakers than people who enjoy the limelight. Good public speaking is a skill that can be developed.

How Leadership Success can help

At Leadership Success, our tailored leadership development training for organisations equips people with the skills they need to perform effectively as leaders. Our innovative leadership training programmes are entirely bespoke and tailored to the needs of the individual and their organisation. Our experts include people with proven excellence in a range of leadership skills, including public speaking.

Everyone on the agreed programme will engage in their own individual development journey, with learning resources that have been customised to their individual situation. This includes assessments, e-learning and an on-the-job action guide. Senior managers and executives can track the progress of their participants in real time via online dashboard reporting.

We have a proven track record of success and on average we increase individual manager performance by 40%.

Contact us today to discuss your own particular requirements and to find out how we can help.

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