December 15, 2009

What are your speaking skills worth to Warren Buffet?



On November 12, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates were interviewed at a town hall meeting by CNBC's Becky Quick and students from Columbia Business School. Toward the end of the meeting, the following question was asked by a student:

"What's the one thing that your MBA didn't prepare you for when you got out into the real world?"

Warren Buffett replied:

"Right now I would pay $100,000 for 10% of the future earnings of any of you, so if anybody wants to see me when this is over...

Now if that's true, you're a million dollar asset right now, right? If 10% of you is worth $100,000. Many of you, and I certainly could have when I got out, just in terms of learning communication skills... you know, it's not something that's taught. I actually went to a Dale Carnegie course later on, in terms of public speaking.

But if you improve your value 50% by having better communication skills, it's another $500,000 in terms of capital value. See me after class and I'll pay you $150,000."

Okay, so not a very articulate plug for public speaking training, but you get the gist.

(Pet peeve: Every single student to ask a question thanked Buffett and Gates for appearing. Here's what I think about wasting time at the beginning of your talk to thank people, especially when they've already been thanked by everyone who spoke before you! They could have added a whole other question and answer with all the time these students spent saying "thank you" and "we're so honored.")

Here's the transcript, but it's incomplete; this question is missing, and maybe others.

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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

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