Approximately 2,500 years ago, in Ancient Athens, public speaking was considered one of the most important skills one could have.
Citizens met in large Assemblies in the marketplace (agora) to debate issues of war and economics and politics.
In addition, with the institution of the People’s Court by the Sage, Solon, in 594-593 BCE, citizens could take their grievances before a magistrate and argue their cases.
Since a family did not have a lawyer, they had to represent themselves in front of a council.
Therefore, if you had a dispute or disagreement, your capacity to influence and persuade groups was important–it was a matter of life and death.
Rhetoric, the study of persuasive communication became a field of study by great influencers of that time, like Plato, Aristotle among many others.
2,500 years later, many facets of communication have changed, or developed, yet, Public Speaking (or being able to communicate to groups of people) is STILL one of the most important skills you can master. Now, before I tell you why I believe that, let me tell you that I am biased!!
Of course I am biased, because:
a) I teach public speaking and presentation classes
b) I am a full time trainer and speaker for 8 years
c) Presentations are the # 1 vehicle I use to get clients.
So, that being said, I would like you to consider the fact that I will do the best to remove myself and give you purely concrete reasons why you should invest in yourself and work on your public speaking skills.
Here are the 13 reasons I believe it will be one of your best investments in 2010:
1. You will grow as a human being: There is an old saying “if you want to learn something, teach it.” That is so true, if you want to MASTER real estate, go teach it! You will improve your skills, guaranteed!! You will become better at what you do!
2. You will achieve expert status: People who can conduct professional, educational and value-driven presentations are perceived as experts in their field. Most people prefer to do business with experts than non-experts. Plus experts usually can charge a premium (they better deliver the goods).
3. You will help more people: If you really believe in your product, service or message, and you know 100% in your heart that you are creating WIN-WIN-WIN scenarios (your clients, you and society wins), then the more people that gets your message the better, true? Speaking through groups allows you do to just that!
4. You will generate more leads: Once you create one presentation, you can distribute via video (YouTube), PowerPoint (slide share), podcast, social media sites, etc. The more people see it, the higher chances you have to attract clients.
5. You will make more money: As you start to realize the benefits of being and expert, spreading your message to larger audiences and charging a premium for your services, you will naturally increase your income.
6. You will increase passion in your life: There is something magical that happens when you research, develop, write and talk about your topic. It is my personal experience that it as exciting as your 21st birthday, it is reinvigorating!
7. You will discover another side of yourself that you did not know: Public speaking is like participating in individual sports, like running or swimming. At the end of the day, it is you, only you, with nobody else to blame. You will have some stressful moments preparing and rehearsing your talk in your hotel room, office or living room, but at the end of the day (or night), it will be 100% worth it.
8. You will save traditional marketing dollars: When you master your presentation and your topic, you will be able to: a) use the technology and the free resources available to promote your message that will live on forever! And b) speak to groups, minimizing the acquisition cost of your leads.
9. You will enhance your leadership skills: leaders are expected to speak to an audience. The higher you go up in your professional career, the more opportunities and requests you will have to speak up and tell your story. In times of crisis, change or opportunities, leaders are the first ones to speak up. Leaders are the ones who represent a company, a mission. As Jeff Taylor, CEO of monster said “I have always felt that as the CEO of an organization, you have got to be wiling to put yourself in front of the brand”. Leadership and public speaking are twin brothers!
10. Better relationships: Developing your group presentation skills is like losing weight, the result will end up affecting many areas of your life. When you loose weight, you feel better, look better, have more energy, which in turns give you more energy, more confidence, and that leads to more social interaction, dates, fun, outside activities, and the list goes one and one. Becoming a master presenter is the same thing. You will be able to transfer those new-learned skills into your personal relationships and that will lead to more connection, more understanding, relationships that are more positive, more influence, etc.
11. Transfer into sales skills: Most of the presentations you will do are called “persuasive” presentations, where you want to influence people’s feelings, beliefs, and behaviors. So, as you further develop your group communication skills, you are also learning skills that could be applied in one-one-one sales situations.
12. Increases your confidence and self-esteem: Knowing that 98% of the population and your peers won’t speak in public is very self-edifying. Speaking effectively in front of groups will give you more confidence because, at some point or another, you had to overcome your own FUDA (fear, uncertainty, doubt and anxiety).
13. You will be among the elite group: Simply stating: frogs hang out with frogs, ants with ants, leaders with leaders. People who conduct group presentations are willing to take risks, to play the business and the life game at a higher level.
Even though your Rhetoric (ability to persuade) by today’s standards is not a matter of life or death, I hope you can clearly see that an investment in developing your presentation skills will have a direct impact on your life, your future, your family’s future and your financial prosperity.