Your Speaking Skill; The Wind Beneath Your Wings



Specialized knowledge may be your most valuable asset.


But specialized knowledge may not be enough..


What benefits do you think there are to being an excellent speaker?


What are the consequences of being a poor speaker?


We asked accountants, lawyers and executives in Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Edinburgh at our Commanding Presence Workshops. Here are the top three responses in each category.


Benefits of Being an Excellent Speaker


1. Respect


One of the most highly valued achievements in the traditional professions is to gain the respect of colleagues.  Most of the professionals we surveyed said that the ability to speak well was synonymous with respect.  You can have all of the qualities that should command our respect - but without the ability to express and convey those qualities, it is difficult to gain the respect of colleagues and clients.


2. Persuasion


"It's all about persuasion" said one of our clients recently.  "I have to persuade clients that I should represent them - I have to be persuasive in the work that I do on their behalf - and I also have to persuade them continuously throughout our relationship.”  The high quality of your work may impress a colleague - but the layperson is persuaded by how well you can explain the issues and the recommendations that you make.


3. Career Advancement


Toiling in obscurity - even when the quality of the work is good - seldom advances the careers of young professionals.  The ability to speak well has self-perpetuating benefits.  By acquiring the ability to speak well you will raise your visibility and increase your value within your organization.  But the bonus is that improving your speaking ability accelerates your learning and is the single best way to develop your self-confidence.


Now to the Consequences…


1. Being Underestimated


Our 1500 professionals were almost unanimous in choosing this as one of the most serious consequences of poor speaking ability.  Poor speakers are not credited with having the same level of professional ability as their colleagues who are better speakers.


2. Perceived as less intelligent


This was a close second - and for many - their first choice.  It is certainly unfair, but nonetheless true that society generally perceives people who do not speak well as being less intelligent.


3. Unfulfilled Potential


This was rated as a serious consequence of poor speaking skills.  Tragically, professionals who believe they cannot become good speakers often achieve success much later in their careers.



Speaking: The Essential Leadership




Do You Have A System?


Do you have a system for mentally organizing your thoughts so that you can respond eloquently and persuasively with no preparation time?  If not, you’re not alone.


In fact, of the thousands of professionals we have coached in North American and Europe, none used a deliberate system when they were required to think on their feet.  Most of them were very good impromptu speakers but all of them benefited from adopting a consistent method.



Personal Communication


Can you explain your specialized knowledge to colleagues and non-experts?  If you can do this, you are on your way to success - that is very good - but it's still not enough.


Will people remember what you have said?


The ability to make complex things simple and to speak so that people will remember what you have said is the challenge of verbal communication.


The ability to teach, persuade, and inspire your listeners is what all highly successful professionals are able to do. I call it “Commanding Presence”


"The journey from expertise to Commanding Presence is challenging, but if you truly love your chosen profession, I can promise you it will be the most enjoyable, enriching and rewarding journey you could possibly make". -- John Plank


What is “Focus”?


“Focus” is the program which enables you to think on your feet. “Focus” helps you to prepare in advance for important meetings and conversations.  Clients tell us there’s a double effect - not only are they speaking more eloquently - but knowing they are prepared reduces anxiety and gives them


These are just a few quick tips on developing a Commanding Presence. For more training on developing a Commanding Presence, managing anxiety, and increasing your speaking skills to the same high level as your writing skills then you should attend one of our Commanding Presence Advanced Communication and Presentation Skills Two-Day workshops.


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