How Public Speaking Helps Perfect Your Pitch
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett has learned a lot about success in his 60-plus years in the business world. He is a master at valuing potential investments, identifying future trends and at managing a large and diverse portfolio of holdings. But he credits a large part of this success not to his education, or years of experience, or business acumen, but to a simple skill that too many entrepreneurs today overlook: public speaking.
It all dates back to a Dale Carnegie public speaking course that Buffett took (twice) in the 1950s as a young stockbroker. He dropped out on his first attempt because he was too nervous to speak up in class, but went back and finished the course later that year and to this day proudly displays his Dale Carnegie certificate in his office.
There is a lesson here for entrepreneurs. Few of us are born speakers, but even in today’s digital world there is significant value in being able to present your ideas to an audience cleanly, concisely and engagingly.
Think about it: Entrepreneurship is never a solo endeavour. We all have to get our ideas out there into the world, and public speaking, whether we like it or not, is how this is done. We need customers, we need employees and we need partners -- an entrepreneur who cannot communicate their ideas effectively will never be able to reach any of these audiences or engage with them enough to move their business forward.
It’s not just Buffett, either. Kauffman Fellow Brady Forrest, co-founder of Ignite Talks, believes that public speaking is a critical skill for entrepreneurs, and describes it as a way for founders to share their message and share their story while getting their name out there. But, he says, it doesn’t happen overnight. Public speaking is a skill that needs to be practiced and perfected in order to be effective. There is no “magic bullet” that will make you a better speaker, but for entrepreneurs it is absolutely worth the effort.