May 18, 2009

Can public speaking skills be harmful?

"I really can't think of anyone whose life and/or career has taken a turn for the worst after working on their communication and presentation skills." ~ Reginald Braithwaite

Reginald and I are not related, but he does have a rather catchy last name. This was a comment he made to me while chatting on Facebook, and it stood out to me as being especially profound.

I'm sure that, if you really want to play devil's advocate, you can think of some reasons why developing communication and presentation skills could harm you, but let's be realistic.

Communication skills aren't just important in the workplace; they're valuable in all relationships and in all situations. Communication skills aren't just about being heard and getting your message across. Communication skills are also about knowing how to listen to others and hear them as well.

Communication is a two-way street. It involves expressing yourself and your point of view, and it also involves making sure you understand another person by clarifying what you've heard them say and making sure you're getting it right.

Presentation skills, as well, are not just for the workplace. How do you illustrate your ideas? How do you engage others in conversation and maintain their interest while also showing interest in them? How do you use stories and demonstrations to communicate your points more vividly? Do you look people in the eye and project a confident persona?

Can you imagine these skills not being helpful in your life or work?

When people say "I hate public speaking," they are considering a very narrow application.

Hating public speaking is like saying, "I hate communicating," because public speaking skills encompass every kind of communication and interaction we use on a daily basis.

Could your life and work improve if you improved your communication and presentation skills? How?

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4 comments. Please add yours! :

Dr. Wright said...

when people tell me they hate public speaking, I assume the are uncomfortable with taking command and having everyone look at them.

Dr. Letitia Wright
The Wright Place TV Show

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Certainly that's one good reason! I also think that people don't realize how much "public speaking" they do every day and how they're probably pretty good at and comfortable with most of it!

Datta Groover said...

Good points! I definitely agree with you about public speaking skills being useful everywhere.

However, I disagree about hating Public speaking meaning hating communication. That's like saying "I hate Indy Racing" means "I hate Driving". Kind of an "enhanced analogy", I know, but still makes a point. :)

Datta Groover
Higher Speech

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Datta, I just meant that people who say they "hate" public speaking are not realizing that they are public speaking all the time. They are referring only to a narrow definition of public speaking, but if they really were to "hate" public speaking, they would hate all kinds of communication. Just making a point. :-)

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