Asked by Susan on July 11, 2016
Answered by Ashlyn, Hiring Expert at Worthington Industries, on July 12, 2016
Hello. This is a great question! Public speaking will play a huge role when it comes to your career, whether you are speaking in a small meeting or in front of a large group. Some key things to focus on are eye contact, body language, and the use of filler words. It is important to maintain eye contact; if you are uncomfortable doing so, try to focus on their forehead. Body language is also something to think about; a lot of people sway back and forth, cross their legs, have their hands in their pockets, etc. and don't even realize it. You should video tape yourself and see if there is anything you're doing that may be distracting to the audience. The last thing I would recommend (and you can hear this in your recording) is to be aware of filler words, "umm", "like", "OK", etc. Listen for these when you present- if you use them a lot people will notice. Try to focus on pausing rather than using these fillers. Being a great public speaker can certainly further your career; being strong in front of an audience can do nothing but help you advance and gain more opportunities.
Answered by Beamer, Hiring Expert at Textron Inc., on July 13, 2016
Public speaking can help set you apart as a leader or diminish your credibility. Having confidence, charisma and conveying clear thoughts is extremely important to your career. The good news is that everyone can learn to speak well. I spent a year leading a Toastmasters Club at my work and saw myself and others grow their abilities. I highly recommend finding a Toastmasters Club or starting your own.
As far as tips, the "filler" words can be the most significant downfall but are easily fixed. There are some great TED Talks on this but by simply being quiet and pausing when you have the urge to say "um" or another word can do wonders. Learn to be comfortable with the silence. It may seem uncomfortable to you but your audience hardly notices it. Secondly, make sure you are speaking slow. What may seem slow to you can sound very natural to your audience. Lastly, speak in simple terms and concisely get your point across. The fewer words you take to clearly communicate your thought, the more effective you will be.
Hope this helps, best of luck!
Answered by Traci, Hiring Expert at Accenture, on July 13, 2016
The ability to speak in public, whether that be to just a small room full of peers, or in front of a larger audience, is something that not everyone loves to do, but with a bit of practice and preparation, everyone can do.
Answered by Ashley, Hiring Expert at Cardinal Health, on August 31, 2016
Public speaking is a fear for a lot of people and is often a skill you have to develop. You are not alone in this. Your ability to effectively speak in public can advance or hinder your career, especially as you get further along and are seeking advancement opportunities. It is important to appear polished, well-spoken and professional. If you have a fear of public speaking, you can start out small. I first started trying to strengthen my ability to better speak in public by practicing on the phone and in meetings. If you're making phone calls, pay attention to the way you speak and use filler words. This is a great way to catch common mistakes you may make while speaking in public and it can help boost your confidence. Also, start speaking up more in meetings. This is a chance to become more comfortable speaking to groups of people. Take advantage of leading as many meetings as possible. Eventually, you should get more comfortable. Also, seek out resources in your company or community. Is there a Toastmasters group in your company? Are there courses you can take at work or through a local school? You could even start by practicing on your own and use a video recorder so you can watch yourself from the angle of the audience. Best of luck!
Answered by Patricia, Hiring Expert at ADP, on September 12, 2016
Great question! Public speaking is one way to promote your personal brand.
Practice your presentation with a peer and be open to their feedback. Be sure your material doesn't stray from the topic and is relatable to your audience. Be confident and know your material, you never know who you'll impress during that meeting and/or presentation.