Everybody has heard of Warren Buffett. He is the multi-billionaire CEO of Berkshire Hathaway who made his fortune from value investing. However, he maintains that the best investment you can make is investing in yourself. He has quoted:
“You can improve your value by 50 percent just by learning communication skills – public speaking”
The dividends on the investment you make in sharpening your communication skills will pay off for the rest of your career. Mastering the art of public speaking is the single greatest skill to boost your career. It doesn’t matter whether whether you’re a high flying financial broker, a retail manager or working in academia. Each and every one of us can benefit from the skill that is public speaking.
Defining Public Speaking
Public speaking is not just getting up on stage and delivering a speech to an audience. While we may typically think of it this way, public speaking is simply just communicating with other people. We communicate in all sorts of ways but ninety-nine percent of time, we’re not doing it on stage. Public speaking is a skill that can be used to communicate effectively with your loved ones, lead meetings for your community organisations, or negotiate deals in your professional life. Public speaking is all of these things and more.
So why is it important to be able to communicate well? You may love your partner unconditionally, but if you can’t communicate and show this love, then it won’t be felt. You may have a fantastic vision for the community, but if you are unable to communicate your ideas and gather support, then it won’t go anywhere. You may have discovered a great cost-saving opportunity at work, but if you can’t convince your manager and demonstrate the savings, then it will be lost.
It is a matter of fact that most things in life require interaction with other people. Anytime we communicate, we can apply what we learn through public speaking.
Learning Public Speaking
Public speaking is definitely one of those things you learn by doing. Have you ever heard of anyone reading a textbook on public speaking? And while watching YouTube videos of famous speeches is great, it won’t be until you start speaking yourself that you will improve. The best way to start speaking is a public speaking course or a public speaking club. Warren Buffett agrees with this, having said:
“My public speaking course was arguably the best investment I made in my life”
Toastmasters offers a variety of ways for you to develop your public speaking skills. If you’re after a short course on public speaking, Toastmasters International offers Speechcraft courses to learn how to be an effective public speaker in six two-hour classes. Otherwise the best way to develop as a speaker is to join a Toastmasters club. There are plenty of clubs all around the world – you can find a list on the Toastmasters website and chances are there is one near you! If you live in Perth, make sure you come check out Young Guns Toastmasters!
It’s never too late to learn public speaking – you’ll just wish you didn’t do it sooner! It’s a low-cost, low-risk investment that yields extraordinary returns. If Warren Buffett invested in it, you’d be crazy not to.