Five Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Need Public Speaking Skills

Five Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Need Public Speaking Skills.

Most people fear public speaking more than anything else (even death). As Mark Twain once said, “There are two types of speakers in this world: those that are nervous and those that are liars.”

Still, the ability to speak well in front of a group is worthwhile skill to develop – especially if you’re an entrepreneur. Among other things, it can help you:

  1. Communicate effectively. People are more likely to buy your product or service if you can tell them about it in a way that gets them excited.
  2. Raise capital. The ability to persuade is a must if you plan to pitch your business idea to a group of investors.
  3. Market your business. Speaking engagements can be great ways to gain exposure for your product and yourself.
  4. Clarify your thinking. You have to take what’s in your head and present it in a way that makes sense to others.
  5. Challenge yourself. Preparing a talk requires time, effort and lots of practice. But you’ll feel a real sense of accomplishment (and probably relief) after it’s over.

If you’re an older entrepreneur, you may be especially good at public speaking for a couple of reasons:

One, you have more stories to share. Audiences love interesting and/or entertaining anecdotes that illustrate key points. The longer you’ve been around, the more experiences you’ve accrued.

And two, you may have more tolerance for the unexpected. Whether it’s a missing handout or a typo on a PowerPoint slide, something will go wrong during a presentation. Forty-and-older people tend not to get as rattled by these things. They just go with the flow.

So where can you go for practice?  Here are a few places to check out:

  • Toastmasters International – A world leader in communication and leadership development.
  • Ignite – A “geek event” in over 100 cities where presenters use 20 slides that auto advance to ensure a finish in five minutes.
  • Dale Carnegie Training – Named after the man who wrote “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”
  • Your local community college – It may offer a public speaking class.

Maybe no one has asked you to speak in front of a large group yet. But chances are that you’ll receive an invitation one day.

When it happens, swallow your fear. And say yes.

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