The Importance of Public Speaking

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I was an engineering student in college during the '70s. My engineering professors never thought it was important to teach me how to give presentations or how to speak in front of groups. Thirty years later, this seems like a quaint notion to me. Effective communication is important no matter what career you pursue.

One of my first jobs after graduation involved helping to sell computer systems to other engineers. I had to participate in sales presentations almost every day. I was pretty bad at giving presentations and was nervous speaking in front of large groups. My lack of skill wasn't surprising--I had little past experience with public speaking. My boss took pity on me, even though I wasn't helping him reach his sales goals. Instead of firing me, he sent me to a sales training course where we practiced speaking in front of groups. As a class project, I once had to give a surprise fifteen-minute sales pitch to a room full of total strangers about any object I happened to have in my pockets at that moment. I wound up spending those fifteen minutes standing in front of a group talking about how wonderful pink rubber pencil erasers were!

Amazingly, I survived this experience. After several positive experiences in class, I even began to enjoy the adrenaline rush of speaking to groups. I felt like I could talk to anybody about any subject. After my class ended, I could give sales presentations to army generals and company executives with confidence. I could give speeches to large conventions without breaking into a cold sweat. That one sales training class I took probably did more for my career than most of my engineering courses.

At Thinkwell, we've heard from lots of students who have used Thinkwell's Public Speaking course to overcome their fear of speaking and to give them the skills to convince others of their point of view. Watch these video clips of students describing their fear of speaking to groups: Student Voices: "Let me tell you...". Then, watch a sample lecture from Thinkwell's Public Speaking with tips for dealing with these fears: Physical Management of Speaker Anxiety.

It's never too late to learn skills like these. Learn the techniques for effective communications, even on your own time, and then go try out your new skills to get what you want in life.

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This page contains a single entry by Kent Fuka, CFO published on May 27, 2009 1:45 PM.

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