Kaytie Zimmerman, Contributor
(Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.)
4 Reasons All Millennials Should Develop Their Public Speaking Skills
It is uncommon for millennials to spend time developing their public speaking skills outside of structured schoolwork and required courses for their careers, but they should consider honing their skills in other ways.
According to Statistic Brain, 74% of people suffer from glossophobia,or a fear of public speaking. This can contribute to the number of young adults who do not spend the time and effort to develop the ability to present in front of a group of people. Beyond a fear of public speaking, most millennials don’t find themselves with opportunities to develop their skills, since so many careers use written communication as the primary medium.
Public Speaking Is A Rare Talent Among Millennials
Especially in a tech-dominated world where few people excel in the spotlight, effective communication skills come at a premium. The bottom line is that millennials have started at a disadvantage because of their upbringing. They have learned to communicate primarily via text, emoji, and social media, so they can struggle at times with presenting themselves formally in front of a group.
We already know that millennials usually prefer communicating via text message, but there are many scenarios where face-to-face or presenting for an audience is necessary. In these cases, millennials who develop their skills are more likely to excel and stand out. This could be in an interview, presentation, or sales pitch.
“Millennials may not realize it, but many engage in public speaking every day, albeit through platforms like Facebook Live and YouTube,” said Kristi Dosh, Public Speaker and Founder of Guide My Brand, a publicity firm. “While there are still many advantages to getting on a stage and speaking to an audience you can shake hands with afterwards, public speaking as a skill is still an easy way to stand out from the crowd and develop your personal brand.”
As Dosh mentions, developing public speaking skills does not have to be done the traditional way anymore. In fact, millennials can develop their skills with just their phone. They have the ability to broadcast a message, short or long, simple or complicated, with just the push of a button on social media. Feedback to their message comes in many forms, but likes, comments, and shares are often indicators of how well received the message is.
Public Speaking Skills Give You A Competitive Business Edge
Whether you are an entrepreneur or work for a company, there are numerous areas where public speaking opportunities add value. As a millennial entrepreneur, not only would you be unique in having the ability to carry yourself well to a crowd, but you may find it easier to raise capital, inspire teams, and win customers with the right speaking skills. Further, it can help an entrepreneur craft and hone their brand.
“Public speaking is still one of the quickest, most efficient ways to establish your credibility,” shared Dosh. “From attracting clients to impressing potential employers, public speaking is a personal branding technique that bridges generational gaps.”
As a professional employed by a company, the ability to speak in front of an audience will put you ahead of your peers for promotions and opportunities. One look at most town hall or all hands presentations by managers or executives of any given company will show you that public speaking is still a rare skill.
Public Speaking Can Move Your Message Further
Improving public speaking skills can help your online presence too. There’s benefit to speaking face to face with a crowd, but often times your reach and influence ends there. As you develop confidence with any speaking endeavors, you can take your influence online by creating videos and live streams.
“Learning how to effectively communicate your message will never go out of style,” said Dosh. “Today, there are even more platforms for public speaking than ever, so even if you aren’t getting up on a traditional stage, being able to deliver a message that engages an audience is still valuable.”
Many people find that even spreading their message in short snippets on platforms such as YouTube, Facebook Live, Periscope, Instagram Stories and Snapchat help them develop a following and makes their message spread faster when their audience likes, comments and shares their content.
Public Speaking Can Give Your Business Or Brand Depth
Whether you are conscious of it or not, you have a personal brand. It may align with your business or your work in your particular industry. Either way, public speaking can deepen your reach within that brand or business. It only happens when you follow one of the main rules of public speaking, which is to make your message about your audience’s needs and wants.
“Your speech must be about your audience,” said Lindsey Pollak, Author of Becoming the Boss: New Rules for the Next Generation of Leaders. “This is excellent advice I got from my speaking coach, Jane Atkinson. For example, when you are tempted to think about where your hands are gesturing or whether anyone will get your jokes, consciously focus on whether the audience members are hearing your message and you are giving them solid takeaways to implement. Instead of telling too many stories about your own experience, pre-interview or research your audience before your speech and share some of their anecdotes. If your energy is focused on your audience and how you’re helping them, you can’t lose.”
When you ensure your audience is getting what they want and need out of your content, they are more likely to want more from you. That’s where your business and brand reach expands as they follow you on social media and buy your products.
“Because so few people conquer their fear of public speaking and take the time to develop their skills, those who become public speakers can easily stand out in a crowded marketplace,” said Dosh. “Public speaking can be leveraged to achieve many goals – establishing your credibility, selling books, building your personal brand, and attracting clients, just to name a few.”
Whether you are considering developing your public speaking skills in order to stand out among a crowd, gain a competitive edge in job seeking or business, deepen your business or brand impact, or furthering your message, there’s a strong case to be made for spending time and effort becoming comfortable in front of a crowd.
Millennials are particularly unique in that public speaking presence is uncommon among young adults, so the ability to use it to your advantage is even greater.