Is there a difference between the confidence in what you do in your business or profession and your confidence speaking about it in front of groups of people?
Many people set up a business doing something they love and have a flair for. They are very passionate about what they do whether that’s being a graphic designer, an accountant, a florist, a nutritionist, a photographer or something else. After all, we know that two thirds of businesses fail, so why would anyone want to start up a business with all the challenges (and of course, potential rewards) that brings if they were not passionate about what they do.
However, if you are not able to communicate effectively about what you do and how you can help people then it doesn’t matter how amazing you are at what you do if your message isn’t coming across. And you ultimately need to get your message across for your business to flourish; to attract customers, to retain customers, to attract referrals, to secure funding, to build partnerships and so on.
Recently, I went to an introductory talk on meditation and whilst the man giving the talk had some interesting things to say he very rarely looked at the audience as he was either looking down or up at the ceiling. So even though this wasn’t a high powered business meeting or sales pitch if one of the reasons for doing the talk was to inspire people to come to sign up to some mediation classes, which I think it was, then I suggest he needs to improve his connection with the audience.
There are many situations which as a business owner you need to have good, if not excellent public speaking skills :
You may be asked to give a keynote speech, which is amazing opportunity to get your business out there. If there is more than one of you in the company, you may think of sending someone else, however, as your company grows then at some point, you, as the Director of the company will need to have a public presence.
You may need to bid for funding and appear in front of a panel a bit like Dragons Den and it is likely they will want to see and hear from the Director of the company as people invest in people not just ideas.
As your company grows you will need to speak to and inspire your team, as you need them on board with your mission and vision for the company.
At networking events, you will want people to remember you and what you do, so when doing your one minute round as well as speaking to people you need to leave them with the right impression.
There may be conferences or events connected with your industry where you have opportunities to speak and in these situations it may be even more important to get your message across well.
I suggest public speaking is an essential skill to the success of any business, whether that’s a start up or an established business, which is just as important as other business skills such as sales and marketing, time management, customer service and product development. May be the success of Apple was as much to do with the expertise of Steve Jobs as a public speaker as it was to do with their innovative products. The good news is, as it is a skill it can be developed and honed over time.