Mastering The Skill Of Public Speaking

Public speaking is a skill that technical leaders need to master
Public speaking is a skill that technical leaders need to master

Image Credit: Brain POP

One of the most important parts of your job is communicating with the people who are looking to you for guidance. Just exactly how to go about doing this in an effective way is a big challenge that every CIO faces every day. The great thing about living and working in the 21st Century is that we have a number of different ways to accomplish this task: email, phone calls, text messages, and making presentations. Of all of these different techniques, making a presentation is the technique that has been shown to be the most effective.

What We Are Doing Wrong

Let’s face it – speaking in public is hard to do. If you want to do it well, it’s even harder to do! As CIOs, the ability to effectively deliver a speech to an audience is a critical skill. A good speech can clearly communicate a complicated idea to a large group of people and can also motivate that group to take action. The ability to do this and do it well is a skill that every CIO needs to have.

The problem that we often run into is that when we make speeches we make mistakes. These mistakes can diminish the effectiveness of our speech. One of the most glaring of these mistakes occurs when we speak too quickly. The reason that we do is this simply because we are nervous when we are speaking. This causes us to speed up and what happens then is that it becomes harder for our audience to follow what we are trying to tell them.

You would think with the level of anxiety that a speech can cause, we would have no problems focusing on the process of delivering our speech. However, it turns out that one of the big problems that many of us face is that while we are giving a speech we may allow ourselves to be distracted. Distractions can take on many different forms including having people join or leave your speech while you are talking, having members of your audience work on laptops or cell phones, and when members of your audience are having discussions among themselves.

How We Can Become Better

If we can all agree that giving a speech is a difficult and challenging thing to do, then the next question that we’re going to have to tackle is how we can get better at this critically important skill. The good news is that it’s not all that hard to do. The first step is that we need to become aware of how we give speeches. We can do this by video taping ourselves and then watching ourselves and taking notes. Alternatively, we can recruit people whom we trust to watch us speak and provide us with suggestions on how we can become better.

In order to boost our ability to be understood by our audience, we need to take a moment and understand how our words are being interpreted. At a fundamental level, we need to slow down how we talk so that our audiences can absorb what we are telling them A simple way to accomplish this is to insert more pauses into our speech. Just stopping for a moment allows you to catch your breath and allows your audience to digest what you have already told them.

If you truly want to become a better public speaker, then you are going to have to take the time to seek out training. Yes, you can always find a trainer who will be willing to work with you one-on-one. However, what you really want to do is to get a chance to speak before people on a regular basis so that you can polish your skills. A great way to go about doing this is to seek out and find your local Toastmasters club. This is an organization that meets to allow its members to practice their public speaking skills. Check it out.

What All Of This Means For You

CIOs have important ideas and need to get their IT department to support their plans. Although there are many different ways to go about doing this, giving speeches has been found to be the most effective. The challenge is that effectively giving a speech is a skill that many of us don’t have.

One of the biggest challenges that we have is that because we become nervous when we are speaking we tend to speak too fast. In order to help us slow down, we need to learn how to insert pauses into our speeches so that we can catch our breath and our audiences can absorb our words. Take the time to video tape your next speech or have a trusted colleague take notes and let you know what changes you need to make. Finally, you have a local Toastmasters club that you should check out in order to find a way to practice giving speeches in front of a real audience.

In order to be successful, we need to find ways to inspire and motive the people who work for us. Being able to deliver a powerful and effective public speech is a great way to accomplish this. Understanding how important this is is the first step in becoming better at doing it. Take the time to study how you give speeches today and then take the first step to improving your speaking skills!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: How much time should you spend each week on improving your public speaking skills?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

CIOs need to make sure that their IT department is a smoothly running machine. There are many different things that they can do in order to make sure that this happens. Hiring the right employees is a great way to start. Taking steps to keep employee moral high and ensuring that employees are motivated are both important. However, as the person with the CIO job, you need to also know what kind of things that you need to make sure are not present in your IT department.