Great civilizations of antiquity, from Mesopotamia to Ancient Rome, all taught rhetoric, or persuasive speech. It was seen then, and remains today, the most compelling way to make a point and get others to see things as you do. As an entrepreneur, you’re constantly required to articulate the strengths of your company or product to all manner of people. Knowing just how to craft that message may well become the most crucial skill in your arsenal.
Despite the multitude of messages we receive every day through our phones, TVs and computers, the power of a well-delivered speech can still inspire the way it did for the great minds of the distant past. To be able to break through all the modern noise and deliver your crucial message, whether to your team, your customers, or your business partners, is to do something truly special. Doesn’t your business deserve the most effective sales pitch you can create? You do that with effective and skilled public speaking.
You may not be Steve Jobs addressing thousands from a lighted stage, but to build any kind of company requires the ability to communicate clearly and convincingly to a skeptical audience, no matter what size. In concerns both internal and external, public speaking’s value is immeasurable to those building a business in all industries.
A multitude of the intra-company skills that an entrepreneur must master are related in some way to public speaking. Interviewing potential candidates requires you to articulate your expectations to attract great candidates, and pitching ideas to your team requires you to be conversational and persuasive at the same time. While it may not feel as pressure-packed as talking with clients or investors, internal communication needs a public speaker’s touch in order to be truly effective. Even regular meetings with your team, routine as they may be on occasion, are a form of public speaking. Their mundanity doesn’t have to be a given, if your message is delivered with skill and passion.
There are few better ways to motivate your team than speaking to their concerns and focusing their attention on the next big challenge. Check in at least once a month to get a feel for team morale and concerns. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate meeting, but it’s crucial to take the temperature on a regular basis. It’s no exaggeration to say that good companies run on great communication.
Once your internal workings are solid, it becomes time to sell the world on your game-changing ideas. Every email you send and elevator pitch you deliver amounts to public speaking, albeit on an occasionally smaller scale. As your company grows, your audience will grow, too. Board meetings become an opportunity to keep your braintrust in tune with your everyday work. Shareholder confidence is retained with compelling words delivered at quarterly gatherings. Keynote speeches, sharing your philosophy and lessons learned to a wider audience, become an incredibly effective advertisement without costing you a dime. An entrepreneur that’s good at public speaking creates opportunities for their company nearly every time they open their mouth.
Since these external communications are so important, it becomes necessary to plan out what you’re going to say, how you’re going to say it, and brainstorm responses to potential questions. Crafting a vision statement for your company gives you a foundation to work from. Even if you change it over time, it’ll be the inspirational basis for your messaging, and a compelling reason for outside entities to buy into what you’re selling.
You may be concerned that these skills don’t come naturally to you. It didn’t come naturally to the ancients, either: that’s why they studied it and refined their knowledge over the centuries. But it’s been true throughout time that the work to effectively address a crowd was always worth it. You know in your heart that your business is worth buying into. The public is going to be skeptical. The most effective way to puncture that skepticism is with your words. Choose them wisely.T