C-suite leaders without this vital skill are lagging behind other executives
Public speaking is a coveted skill for senior executives. A Harvard Business Review survey showed that communication and presentation skills are among the most prized C-suite skills that companies value.
The ability to speak like a high-powered professional means commanding attention and building trust with your audience, delivering stellar presentations, leading important meetings with conviction and communicating clearly and effectively with internal and external stakeholders to achieve an organisation’s goals.
Cale Guthrie Weissman aptly made this observation on Fast Company: “Since boardrooms have been ground zero for presentations, employees have worked to enhance their ability to communicate and engage.”
Despite its importance, not all leaders are born as excellent orators. Public speaking can be anxiety-inducing for many, which means leaders risk diluting their key messages to their audiences if their nervousness or fear gets in the way.
Being in the spotlight, addressing tough questions from the media and speaking at high-stakes events and the like are just some examples why mastering the art of public speaking is so essential for any C-suite or aspiring leader who’ll have to think on their feet and speak without losing credibility in any given situation.
So, how do you avoid letting fear from holding you back and sharpen your public speaking prowess?
Master the ABCs of public speaking
Becoming a better presenter and public speaker is not an overnight endeavour. C-suite leaders and senior executives can benefit from public speaking training, learning about content structuring, using visual aids as well as media training.
Many executive education programmes can teach senior executives and C-suite leaders both the theoretical and practical aspects to master the art of effective communication.
Johns Hopkins University’s Carey Business School, for instance, offers Mastering the Art of Public Speaking, a two-day programme in which candidates explore advanced public speaking principles, learn to deliver high-stakes presentations with poise and power and respond to difficult questions more effectively, among other skills.
University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business offers Sharpening Your Message, a programme that helps candidates learn how to research topics and audiences, identify their natural speaking style and tailor their message for maximum impact. Candidates will learn how to think quickly and make unrehearsed presentations and deliver a well-organised, compelling message with confidence.
Ultimately, public speaking can be vital to anyone’s career growth and is a necessary skill for anyone aspiring to climb up to the upper echelons of corporate leadership.
How well you express your message can show your clarity of thought and help your passion shine through to your audience, however big or small, making it an area worth upskilling in.