The most powerful communication tool you can learn is the ability to give a talk–a speech, a presentation, a pitch. Call it what you will but without this skill you will never feel that commanding confidence needed to sell your product, service, idea, or yourself in a way that gets others to believe in you and consequently buy in.
Speaking well is a learned skill. That’s the good news. The bad news is that you can’t learn it by reading about it. Sure reading can give you guidelines on creating an outline, controlling nervousness and confidence boosting tips but nothing trumps practicing out loud.
Confidence comes from owning your topic and ease on the platform and that’s where practice comes in.
Practice by joining Toastmasters.
Practice in front of a trusted friend.
Practice in front of your dog.
Practice in front of a camera.
Practice is the start of confidence building.
But practice isn’t the be all and end all. And here’s why–you may not know if you are practicing an ineffective speech!
It’s no different than practicing hoops but never knowing what to correct to get the ball in the basket.
Getting feedback that supports what you are doing right and suggestion for what to change if you want to be better in the next practice is essential. I learned this feedback technique as Like Best and Next Time or LBs and NTs. It supports a speaker by letting him or her know what is working now so it can be carried forward and gives suggestions for consideration to step up a presentation.
Give it a try by asking your reviewers to use the LB and NT technique.
Watch for my new coaching program for entrepreneurs who want to speak to sell their services. In the meantime pick up a copy of Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work. You can get it at here.