One of the first public speaking jobs I ever had still sticks with me. It was at an interactive space I was emceeing for Coca-Cola at a state fair, and we just weren’t grabbing the audience the way we should have.
So I decided to ramp up the showmanship. After 20 minutes of working the crowd — including initiating a 3-on-3 hockey game with some kids in the audience — the number of onlookers ballooned from 50 people to more than 300.
Moments like that illustrate the power a charismatic emcee holds. Public speaking skills came very naturally to me. That quality has not only served me well in front of large audiences, but it has also been an invaluable trait in running my own business.
How Public Speaking Skills Help a Business
Advantages of Public-Speaking Skills
Talented public speakers and talented businesspeople have a lot in common. Both possess engaging personalities that can liven up even the most mundane topic or anecdote. Effective public speakers draw in audiences; effective businesspeople do the same with clients.
Gifted public speakers and businesspeople also know when to flip the excitement switch on or off. You don’t have to be the pesky salesperson who’s more overbearing than engaging. Recognizing the ebbs and flows of delivering a message can be crucial in business or public speaking because an overly abrasive messenger is less likely to connect with his audience.
In my business career, my public speaking background has often helped me properly present myself to new clients. Recently, I beat out several larger agencies to win a company’s business. It wasn’t a flashy presentation that helped me prevail; it was my ability to be engaging enough to convince them of my company’s worth.
The ability to articulate what distinguishes your company from others can speak volumes. Positioning myself as an effective public speaker allowed me to hone that skill.
Lessons I’ve Learned From Public Speaking
I owe some of my success in business to the lessons gained through my emcee work. Here are four practices I picked up on the public speaking circuit that easily apply to running a business:
1. Pay attention to your audience.
Public speaking instilled in me the power of observation. Watch your audience’s reactions to determine whether they are responding well to your message or whether you need to try a new approach.
2. Read the room and cater your message.
Good public speakers tailor presentations to their specific audiences. Because each crowd is different, nuance is key. Similarly, businesspeople must do their due diligence to ensure they cater their dealings to the companies they’re addressing.
3. Pursue the excitement of “nailing it.”
I get an adrenaline rush when I’m in front of a crowd. When running my business, I search for a similar rush. Finding that “job well done” sensation is what helps drive me to new levels of success.
4. Work to improve your confidence.
Humility and flexibility are important for business leaders to have, but we also face adversity that others don’t experience. Business owners have to use performance-enhancing ego boosts to gain confidence in themselves, such as public speaking, which raises courage.
Public speaking skills aren’t just for entertainment; the ability to engage an audience like an emcee is essential for a good business leader. Applying these skills to your business could be the variable that helps you close more deals and become more successful.
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About the Author
Anthony Michael Russo is the owner of Double Down Strategy.