Benefits of Public Speaking: Why This Skill Is Important For Your Life
The process of improving public speaking skills can dramatically transform many aspects of your life.
While an amazing speech – delivered well – can uplift an audience and make an impactful impression on an audience, the skill of public speaking is more than a tool to inspire the masses.
It has the power to completely revolutionise both your professional and personal selves.
In fact, public speaking is something that many people fear more than death! If this is you, you’re probably wondering whether it is worth the trouble. It is also probably something that has stopped you from realising your full potential in your personal life and in your career.
If you are not convinced, I’ve taken stock of my own public speaking experience, as well as feedback from other learners, on the best reasons why good public speaking skills can and will upgrade your life in every way.
10 Underrated Benefits of Public Speaking
1. Gain confidence – and in other areas of your life too.
This number one speaking benefit goes without saying – but I shall include it here for the purpose of emphasis.
Sure, approaching that cute girl to finally ask her out on a date might seem like a harrowing experience…
…But once you have developed skills and confidence to speak on stage to hundreds of people, things like that just stop fazing you the same way they used to.
In the pursuit of these skills, you are pushed out of your comfort zone again and again and again (as long as you are willing to be) – from speaking off-the-cuff to making speeches in front of a live audience and opening yourself up to evaluation.
You learn to laugh off your gaffes and take mistakes in your stride, even finding benefit in making them because they are opportunities for improvement.
And you learn to do this by surrounding yourself with like-minded people or mentors who raise you up rather than pull you down.
You’ll emerge new, improved, and with more confidence than when you first started.
2. Feel in control of your message.
This is often an overlooked benefit of developing good public speaking skills but is one of the basic goals of communication – being in control of your message.
Have you ever sat through a colleague’s presentation and wondered what were the main points they were trying to convey?
Or have you found yourself in the midst of sharing a story and noticed your friends squinting in an effort to make sense of your confusing spiel?
Do you fear the embarrassment of forgetting what you wanted to say – or worse, going off tangent?
When you are armed with good storytelling techniques, you’ll know how to evoke the right emotions and deliver punchlines at the right time.
By using a good opening, you know that you can capture your audience’s attention within the first 60 seconds of your presentation.
When you know exactly how to structure and deliver your message so that it delivers maximum impact, speaking in any situation will become a breeze.
Such confidence for any context is priceless.
3. Speak with credibility.
No matter how good you are in a particular field, the ability to appear trusted, credible and respected has a lot to do with how well you put your point across. The next level is being able to speak about it on stage (or on camera).
Sure, some say the pen is mightier than the sword…
But in this age of TED talks and platforms like IG TV, one must recognise the importance of combining rhetoric with performance. The mere fact that you are speaking in front of an audience has the potential to confer an authority status.
Just think about the most memorable speaker you’ve watched.
Were they memorable because of their credentials?
Or was it because they delivered a kick-ass speech that kept you captivated, entertained and demonstrated that they knew their stuff?
If you know the makings of a good speech, you’ll know what components are needed to convince and persuade.
You’ll be aware of the body language essential in communicating confidence and know-how.
You’ll have the tools to speak with authority on subjects that matter to you – at work, your personal life, or as a hobby. And with such power comes great responsibility.
4. Boost your influential capacity.
You might think that good public speaking involves having a good story, memorising from a script, having good eye contact and varying your vocal variety.
But it is more… WAY more… than that.
To start, you need to understand your audience. Who they are, what do they do, what are their values and how your message will benefit them.
Think about the last time you butchered a client presentation because they could not trust that you knew their business well enough. This happened to someone I know – just think how things might have turned out differently if she had techniques to deliver a great pitch!
Or that time you lost a well-deserved job promotion to someone else with a lot of style but barely any substance, because you didn’t know how to market your own achievements despite working harder than anyone else.
Good marketing has the power to trump logical considerations and speak to someone’s emotional side. The same goes for an excellent speech.
It is why certain brands have legions of loyal fans…
…Regardless if their products fall short of expectations or have the habit of spontaneously bursting into flames.
When you can promote yourself well and articulate your appeal in a way that speaks to your target audience, you can build a strong personal brand that works for you.
The same goes for brands, businesses, products, Kardashians, and Presidential candidates.
5. Speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.
When I was still a wee kid, I wanted to be a policeman.
Something about their good guy persona and the idea of catching bad guys earned the respect of eight-year-old me.
(I also aspired to be a garbage collector, but that is a story for another day.)
As I grew older, I realised that catching bad guys was just one part of the legislative process.
To convict them, someone was needed to make a case, before the court, for why they should or should not be placed behind bars.
And a good lawyer needs to be able to inform, persuade, influence and convince – their role is pivotal because this can make or break the trajectory of someone’s life.
This left a deep impression on me on the power of public speaking skills for the purposes of advocacy.
If you have a cause that you believe in passionately, a great way to contribute to it is bringing more people into that cause.
Advocacy is ultimately an emotional endeavour than a rational one, and using a variety of techniques and with practice, an experienced speaker can move both hearts and minds, and call people to action.
6. Write and speak well.
Personally, it has become a habit of mine to unconsciously evaluate myself as I speak, as well as my conversation partners, especially when storytelling.
When you’re developing skills for speaking in public, you are likely to cultivate a keen awareness of how you and your message are perceived.
Grammar, vocabulary, enunciation, flow, tone, cadence, story structure…
This percolates down to how you speak and write. Suffice to say that your writing and speaking skills will improve in tandem with more public speaking.
However, be careful about who you are dispensing speaking advice to… lest you find yourself not being invited out for dinner very often …
7. Make money.
Public speaking is one of the highest paid gigs in the world.
Former US president Barack Obama commands a whopping USD 400,000 per speaking engagement, and motivational speaker and author Tony Robbins’ speaker fees start from USD 100,000.
Of course, you will need to be deemed an expert in a field or have garnered sufficient celebrity in order to be sought after for such engagements.
However, if you already are, pivoting and taking your message behind a podium can translate to opportunities to becoming a paid speaker and increase your revenue.
There is no shame in asking to be paid for your time, especially when you bring benefit to the audience (and the organisers by participating in their event).
That said, there are also benefits to public speaking for free, such as obtaining sales leads or for padding your portfolio, so it really depends on what you deem is a fair exchange.
8. Inspire and motivate in an unparalleled way.
Nothing compares to an in-person experience.
It is why people are willing to pay hundreds to attend a concert, or to watch a play compared to a movie.
The same goes for people who pay thousands to attend seminars, talks, and conferences fronted by their favourite speaker… they know the value of being in the same space, to soak in the excitement, and feel transformed by the end of it.
In essence, the energy from speaking to a crowd is simply different from what you can achieve through a book or a screen. And it is what you should strive to do if you want to be able to inspire and motivate in a tangible and indelible way.
It even relates to everyday life. You are more equipped to make an impact face-to-face than over an email. From motivating your team as a leader, to inspiring students to “make your lives extraordinary” ala Dead Poets Society.
9. Impact more people.
This may seem like an obvious one. When you can speak to a crowd, you impact more people than in one-on-one conversations.
If you think from a sales perspective - you can maximise your time closing sales with a hundred, or even thousands, of people at a time – provided you have the skills to command a stage.
Some might argue that technology can multiply reach in the millions and video conferencing tools can bypass the need to speak to a crowd in person. But I humbly beg to differ.
These may be good substitutes to traversing geographic distance and pandemic safe distancing… but it is simply not the same.
I compare it to replacing the need to eat warm, home-cooked meals, with beige-coloured meal replacement shakes. They each have their place and purpose on this earth, but there is no argument which most people prefer.
10. Get closer to becoming the person you wish you could be.
Alright, I know this benefit sounds odd and cheesy but just stay with me.
Take a second, closing your eyes, to think about the person you wish you could be.
What is that person doing, what are their mannerisms, and how do they behave?
For an acquaintance of mine, she always saw herself as a lecturer with a big-name university confidently teaching a massive, full-house auditorium.
While she was incredibly smart, this always seemed like just a pipe dream to her because she was an extreme introvert and hated any kind of limelight.
She would freeze up at the thought of doing a presentation to one person, let alone hundreds.
My point here is that in many areas in life, we might be called upon to do something that requires public speaking.
However, many of us would shrink away from the thought, even if it was something we wished we could do.
Perhaps working hard all year, you’ve at last made valedictorian… but you don’t have the courage to deliver the valedictorian speech.
Or finally getting to see your best friend marry the love of his life… but you’re too afraid of making the best man toast at his wedding.
If you’re wondering what happened to that friend, she ended up joining a public speaking group. She still has some ways to go, but she is actively pursuing her dream of becoming the person that she hopes to be, instead of letting things be.
Conclusion: On Public Speaking Benefits
If you found yourself on this page, I believe that you’re hoping to find a reason to become the person you wish you could be too.
There are many other benefits to public speaking, too many to list, but I hope these 10 benefits have helped to persuade you a little closer towards your goals.