Public Speaking Is Important for Everyone

Public Speaking Is Important for Everyone

Karen Burns,

You're at a funeral. Whom would you rather be: the person giving the eulogy or the person lying in the casket?

If -- like a lot of us -- you say you fear public speaking more than you fear death, then maybe you'd choose the casket.

Which means you may not appreciate the following advice: A large part of career success involves knowing how to speak in front of groups.

Why? Because speaking makes you visible. Speaking makes you memorable. What better way to shine at interviews, in meetings or on the factory floor than by expressing yourself clearly, confidently, coherently and concisely?

OK, that probably doesn't make you any less terrified at getting up in front of people and -- ulp! -- saying something.

Buck up. It's normal to be nervous about public speaking. So your first job is to just accept that, push it to the side and turn your thoughts to your audience. What are their concerns, their priorities? It will help to look at each person in turn and pretend you're talking to just that person. Most of all, let your enthusiasm show. (Enthusiasm is the best way to engage listeners.)

Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.

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