Making a new pool presentation? Signing a new customer to a pool service route? Giving a seminar at a pool and spa trade show? Speaking at your local Rotary club?
Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt. – A. Lincoln
Whether you are planning a speaking engagement, or just prefer to appear more professional, here are a few thoughts on the value of public speaking and leadership.
I was at Parents Night to get introduced to the staff at the high school my younger son will go to next year. It is one of the best high schools in the state and has been listed in top schools in the country. I had a déjà vu moment. The teachers – who are good teachers at a good school – speak to audiences every day of their professional career. To be honest they stunk when speaking in front of an audience. How is that possible?
I had similar experiences when my kids went to elementary school and middle school. The reality is that most of us don’t get better until we get feedback. When is that last time you thought, “She/he says um a lot?” When is the last time you went up to someone and said, “When you speak, you said uh 87 times during that presentation?” Chances are, you hear bad verbal crutches all the time, but you keep it to yourself.
I hate to break it to you, but you are most likely using verbal crutches like, so, ya know, ah, and um also. Guess what? NO ONE IS TELLING YOU! Heck, even our Presidents, who are generally gifted orators, often use ah and um when speaking off the cuff. Next time, you listen to a live speaker or someone on TV, count the number of times they say um. You will be surprised.
Do something for yourself today, go to http://www.toastmasters.org/, click on “Find a club near you” and put in your zip code. Join a professional speaking club for 1-2 years and earn your Competent Communicator (CC) Certification. NSPF® Certified Instructors get a credit towards future purchases when they complete their CC.
It will be the best thing you do for yourself. After all, we need to stop being the person that says uh all the time, or my favorite, you know, so people can begin to remove doubts about us. No one has the guts to tell us – except our fellow Toastmasters!