Is public speaking important to a small business owner or entrepreneur? Absoutely!
You might not always speak in front of large groups, but you probably do speak in public every day. Do you:
- Answer the phone?
- Talk to customers?
- Interview an employee?
- Introduce your business to a banker?
- Train staff members?
- Share your ideas and goals with employees?
- Interact with people at meetings, networking events or on the street?
Public speaking can be with an audience of one or a group of a hundred or more. This can be with staff, clients, bankers, or professional or community groups. Public speaking skills can help you communicate important messages inside and outside your organization.
The way you speak (your broadcast and your content) will greatly affect the outcome of the communication. Unfortunately, not all humans are born with high level oral skills. Do you stutter and use a lot of “uh” and “uh” loads? Is your presentation boring or unclear?
Using some basic concepts and techniques, as well as practice, can dramatically improve your presentation and communication skills. To plan your communication, you must:
- Understand your goal – why do you communicate?
- Understand your audience – who are you communicating with and what do they need to know?
- Plan what you want to say and how you will send the message
- Choose words and body language that allow your audience to really hear what you are saying
- look the body language of your audience
- Request feedback on how your message was received
To be an effective communicator, you need to stay calm, know your material, maintain a pace that keeps the listener engaged, make eye contact, be concise, and know your audience.
In today’s impersonal, computerized and automated world, opportunities for personal communication do not present themselves as often or in the same way. Don’t miss an opportunity by making a bad presentation.
Communicators who speak well can evoke an aura of leadership and expertise. It can motivate and inspire. This can allow your employees to continue working towards the same goal with the same understanding of the “rules of the road”.
Even if you can’t afford a marketing campaign, you can promote your business by going out and talking about it.
Develop a short, one-minute elevator speech about what your business does. When you feel more comfortable and comfortable speaking in front of groups, take the opportunity to speak in various community and civic groups. You will be in front of potential new customers and show off your knowledge and expertise, even if your talk at the time is not focused on marketing your specific business or product.
Communication skills are among the most important skills that you need to be successful in your business. If you want to be an expert communicator, you have to be effective at all stages of the communication process and you have to be comfortable with the different communication channels.
Celia Núñez is Director of the Chemeketa Small Business Development Center.