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The Power of Conquering Public Speaking: Unlocking Your Potential

Apr 02, 2024 By Rosheen Singh

Public speaking – it’s something that can strike fear into the hearts of many, right!?

Mastering this art can be one of the most transformative journeys you’ll ever embark upon.

From career advancement, enhancing your professional brand to personal growth, the benefits of conquering public speaking are boundless.

As someone who has only ever worked in the wonderful world of recruitment, my professional career has forever been about building relationships through conversation. My job is centred around talking to people on the phone and meeting people to build my network and grow my business, and I love it.

I love being around people and building connections and I love having meaningful conversations about the sector that I work in. I am someone who has always been known for having a loud voice and always appearing really confident in whatever my business interactions might me and I am that person, but that confidence in one-to-one conversation doesn’t always translate to public speaking and that has always been a misconception that I have seen. While a loud voice can sometimes convey assertiveness or authority, true confidence is about more than just volume.

It was clear immediately for me at the start of my career that speaking in group situations was something I found hard. I would immediately start to experience both physical and emotional discomfort; increased heart rate, sweating, shaking, nausea, insecurity, negative self-talk, mental blocks, speed talking and so on. None of this was pleasant and after several embarrassing attempts at speaking in public, I decided to put it into a box of things that I just can’t do.

For years I would say no to any invite to speak in public. I was asked to talk at presentations, present at conferences, hold training sessions and so on and the answer was always the same, no thank you.

As I progressed in my recruitment roles, I was starting to miss opportunities to really advance my career. There were moments where if I could have taken to a stage and spoken, I could have really got my name out there to influential crowds, I could have built my professional brand and I know that I could have won a lot more business, which ultimately is my job.

It wasn’t until a previous manager of mine who genuinely cared about my professional development sat me down one day and reminded me that public speaking is a skill, like so many, that can be learned, developed, and improved with training, practice, and proper techniques. My company at the time coached me around the benefits that this skill could bring me in my work, and we sat down together and looked at a range of public speaking training options, and there are many options, both free and paid resources. These include workshops, seminars, one to one training, group coaching, self-study and so on.

We decided on a training path that would work for me and my company invested in a public speaking course at NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Art) – it was important to look through all the training options to pick something that was best suited to my style of learning and their public speaking bootcamp seemed right for me as it is a mix of information and practical sessions that includes coaching from performers (the dramatic elements of my personality was excited by this)!

I was so nervous to go on the course, but I knew I had to embrace it wholeheartedly for it to work, and I did. I completed the training, I did all the homework that was set for me and with the help of my colleagues, I immediately starting to practice what I had been taught. I started practicing internally and I started small scale; speaking more in team meetings and then company meetings or training sessions.

There were so many techniques that I was taught that I started to really work on; preparing in detail, focusing on my content rather than myself, practicing relaxation techniques such as breath work, eye contact techniques and so on.

After months of practice, I finally took the huge leap and said yes to my first big external public speaking opportunity. I made sure I knew the make-up of the audience, I prepared my content, I practiced the physical tips I had been given on nerves management, I practiced…and practiced some more and, I did it. It wasn’t perfect, but I did it.

Fast forward 4 years from that day and you can’t shut me up in public! I genuinely love it. I get excited to stand up in a room full of people and talk about topics that mean something to me. I see very clearly how public speaking is one of the most valuable skills for the development of my career. It has opened up opportunities for me to reach networks that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to, it has helped build my professional brand and has allowed me to share my knowledge across the sector which has helped create trust and connection with clients and candidates that I work with.

If you are someone who feels how I did for all those years then trust me when I say, it is something you can conquer. I genuinely would have never believed that the turnaround was possible, but like anything, if you do the work and follow the process of learning something new then you can make it happen. 

I know first-hand that investing in developing your public speaking skills can enhance your professional reputation, open doors to new opportunities, and accelerate your career advancement.

Step out of your comfort zone, you won’t regret it!