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What are the Benefits of Public Speaking?

August 18, 2017 - Dom Barnard

Public speaking is a great way of building personal development on many levels, since improving communication skills is helpful in almost every area of life. Whether your goal is to engage in political debate, make a career as a motivational speaker or gain confidence in front of an audience, public speaking can help you meet your goal.

We’ve listed the top benefits of public speaking, which will encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and sign up to speak at a few events in the future.

The benefits of public speaking are numerous

1. Career advancement

Effective public speaking skills can help with career advancement, as they indicate creativity, critical thinking skills, leadership abilities, poise, and professionalism, qualities which are very valuable for the job market.

Speaking at events and conferences is a good way of building credibility. The more well known the event the better, as you can add these speaking achievements to your resume.

Public speaking can also help you stand out at work. You’ll learn to speak up in meetings, to promote your ideas, and to present yourself as a professional. Speaking skills can also help you excel in job interviews.

After speaking at a few events, people will remember you and begin to see you as an authoritative figure on your area of expertise. You’ll find yourself getting new client and business from people who watched you speak. All sorts of new business and speaking opportunities will open up for you.

2. Boost confidence

Public speaking can significantly boost your confidence. Overcoming the fears and insecurities that accompany public speaking is empowering. Furthermore, connecting with audiences can be a strong reminder that you have valuable insights and opinions to share with the world.

Your confidence levels will grow as you go from speaking to small groups of people up to large audiences. This will benefit you not just on stage, but in everyday life as well, whether it be in a meeting or on a date.

A study by North Carolina Cooperative Extension of people aged 9 to 18 who participated in a public speaking program found that public speaking increased confidence. The study found that meeting a goal was an important factor when it came to increasing the students confidence.

While the nervousness that comes with speaking in front of a crowd won’t entirely disappear, it will teach you how to deal with your fears and turn your weakness into strength.

Regularly speaking in public boosts confidence

3. Critical thinking

Public speaking is an excellent way to build critical thinking skills. Writing a speech requires a great deal of careful thought, from the audience analysis to the closing sentence. It’s not enough to have a message, you also need to figure out how to tailor the message to fit the needs of your audience.

How can you make your points relevant to your listeners? How can you help the audience understand your views? If you start thinking critically about your speaking style, you may find ways to improve your general communication style at home and at work.

4. Personal development

Communication skills are crucial for personal and professional success and improving this area is one of the greatest benefits of public speaking. Preparing a speech forces speakers to take a step back and think critically about effective ways to communicate. In everyday life, it’s easy to fall back on communication habits we formed many years ago.

5. Improve communication skills

When you write a speech, you have to think carefully about the best framework, persuasive strategy, and diction to communicate your message to the audience. This type of thinking can help you improve your communication skills in other areas of your life.

Personal relationships, social interactions and work situations require you to communicate ideas to other people. Public speaking focuses on communicating ideas. You can learn to calmly take up an opposing view, to present your ideas in an organized and coherent manner, and to defend your views to others.

6. Make new social connections

Public speaking engagements are good places to meet other people who share your interests. You’ll find that people approach you after your presentation to engage in conversation. It makes it much easier to make new social connections. Try to mingle with the audience for as long as you can after your speech, answering questions and seeking fresh perspectives on your topic.

Give audience members the option of getting in touch with you at a later date by listing contact information on handouts or slides. If you have a website, direct audience members to find more information there.

If you are part of a speaking line-up, reach out to your fellow presenters. Congratulate them or, if you miss a talk, ask how it went. There are lots of opportunities for networking in the realm of public speaking, so plan ahead and make use of them.

Make new social connections with public speaking

7. Personal satisfaction

Public speaking is a very common phobia, right up there with spiders and heights. Many people would prefer to do almost anything instead of standing up and talking in front a crowd of people. Delivering a speech can feel intimidating and risky.

Fears and insecurities tend to multiply as the speech draws closer: “What if I forget my speech?” “What if I can’t answer the audience’s questions?” Public speaking is a way of showing yourself that, with practice, you can do the things that scare you the most. What starts out as a nightmare can turn into a personal boost.

8. Expand your professional network

Another benefit of public speaking is that when you speak at an event, you will suddenly find that everyone wants to talk with you. This is a valuable opportunity for making friends, building business contacts and generating business.

Not only this, but you also get the opportunity to network with other speakers, some of whom may be very difficult to contact normally. Speaking events may also have guest rooms for speakers where they are given food and drink and can network together.

9. Learn to persuade

Public speaking has a long history as a catalyst for nonviolent activism and political change. It is a powerful way to unite people under a common cause and motivate them to take action. It’s no secret that people throughout history have used the power of public speaking to make a difference.

You’ll hardly ever have a better opportunity to speak to a captive audience about what really matters to you. You’ll get a chance to influence your peers. You won’t change the world with every speech, but you can easily impact someone in some small way.

10. Build leadership skills

If you let others do your talking for you in the past or found it hard to express what you wanted to say, that will fade. Not only will you be able to fluently speak your mind but you’ll find yourself doing it for others too.

In standing up and speaking in a way that is powerful, you’re speaking in a way that will change people’s minds about something. If you’re able to master that skill, changing hearts and minds and learning how to persuade, you will be already honing one of the major aspects of leadership.

If you’re able to do it in public to a group of people, chances are you’ll be able to do it in a more individualized setting. Leaders require the capacity to drive change, public speaking skills are vital in learning that ability.

Public speaking skills help leadership

11. Learn performance skills

You’ll have become conscious of timing, when to pause and how long for. You’ll know about vocal variety, how to shift through changes of volume, speech rate and tone. Your articulation will be clearer. As you become more confident you’ll know about mime, using props and storytelling. All of these acting skills enhance your speech.

12. Develop your vocabulary and fluency

You’ll know the effect of the words you choose to express your message and you’ll also know they need to be different for different audiences. As well as having a flexible vocabulary, you’ll no longer use common filler words we hear in everyday conversation indicating that the speaker may be unsure about what they’re saying or anxious about speaking.

13. No fear of impromptu speaking

When called upon to say a few words at a moment’s notice at a wedding, awards ceremony or other special occasion, your heart will not pound. Instead you’ll find yourself graciously accepting the opportunity for an impromptu speech. This is a huge benefit of public speaking and you’ll stop constantly worrying at formal events about being asked to speak.

Public speaking helps with impromptu speeches such as wedding speeches

14. Learn to argue

When you present, you often need to put forward a well thought out argument. In the preparation, in the practice and on the actual stage, you will learn much about the art of argument, especially if you get to engage with your audience in some form of question and answer.

15. Helps you drive change

Who do we listen to more, someone talking to us in person or an email? The person speaking is always going to be more convincing than a note sent across the internet. You could spend your time going from person to person, if that’s your comfort zone.

But think about how many more people you could reach if you stood up on stage and had them all gathered together in an audience. If you’re speaking to an audience of 300 versus one-on-one, then you’re driving serious change. The more people you’re able to speak to, the more change you can implement.

16. Be a better listener

Listening may be a lost art, but a public speaking course actually teaches you to become a better listener. When you attend conferences, you’ll hear several different types of speeches about a wide variety of topics, from people who may be very different from you. This will passively build your listening ability and note taking.

These benefits of public speaking make getting out of your comfort zone and giving a speech absolutely worth it. You’ll be nervous the first few times you speak, however you’ll quickly learn to enjoy the experience.