Our ability to speak to others — one-on-one, in small groups, or in front of an audience — is critical to our success in life. We all have something important to contribute to the world that will most likely rely on our ability to use our voice.
- Butterflies are okay. They just need training to fly in formation. It’s acceptable and natural to be nervous in front of a group.
- You can get practice by contributing and taking small roles in meetings, coordinating activities in the community, and talking to customers. You’ll discover yourself getting more comfortable speaking in front of larger groups over time.
- Speakers learn more from their failures and mistakes in front of a live audience than they do from rehearsing in front of the bedroom mirror.
- The ability to speak is revered by people everywhere because so many people fear it. People are attracted to those who are skilled communicators.
- Gaining speaking experience will give you the courage to step out of the crowd, actively expose yourself to new experiences, and meet new people.
- Toastmasters (www.toastmasters.org) provides a supportive environment. The organization’s mission is to improve speaking skills. There are clubs all over the world.
- Listening is the most powerful communication tool of all. It accounts for 70 percent of all communication.
- There is no substitute for two-way communication — live and in person. We can ask for clarification, read the speaker’s facial expressions and body language, and hear their tone of voice.
This article is an excerpt from Currency: Striking Networking Gold in a Relationship Economy. Click here to learn more about the book and buy your own copy.