In this post, we’re sharing 3 not-so-obvious signs your speaking skills might be holding you back in your career, so you can overcome those obstacles and advance like never before.If you’re like most high-achieving people, always striving for more and looking for the next way you can succeed, you’re probably constantly looking for ways to improve your performance. However, with that said, do you ever feel like you should be further along in your career? Whether you’ve just started making moves in your industry or you’ve been at it for years, sometimes it can be hard to identify exactly what it is that’s holding you back. Your public speaking skills might be holding you back more than you know. It’s something few people recognize, so we want to help you get ahead of the game. When people think about public speaking, their first thought is often of a TED Talk or professional speaker like Tony Robbins, but a public speaker is really just anyone who is speaking in front of an audience—of any size. When you’re in meetings, discussions, negotiations and really any type of conversation, you’re actually engaging in a form of public speaking. So when you look at it that way, it’s pretty obvious that becoming a stronger speaker will help you advance in your career. And the best part? You don’t need to have big dreams of standing on auditorium stages to benefit from everything effective public speaking has to offer. Every single time you’re communicating with other people, you’re reaping the benefits. The connection between public speaking and career success isn’t always obvious. So to help you out, we have put together a list of 3 not-so-obvious signs to look for if your public speaking skills are in fact holding you back.
Whether or not you have plans of becoming a professional speaker, or ever stepping on a big stage any time soon, overcoming your fear of public speaking will enhance your life in ways you might not expect. Here are a few powerful examples:
You often feel misunderstood or ignored
It’s easy to feel misunderstood, even by those you’re surrounded with every day–like your colleagues, for example. Sure, you’ve brought forward great ideas, you’ve diligently proved your worth, and you’re the clear choice for promotion, yet they just don’t seem to get it, or you for that matter.
Your ideas go unimplimented, unnoticed, and unacknowledged. Time after time you find yourself getting looked over. Though it might seem like a game of luck, there’s a good chance your speaking skills are to blame.
Speakers are articulate leaders. They have to be. They have to be capable of clearly articulating their points, while keeping their audience’s attention. They have to be able to persuade an audience and encourage them to see things from a different perspective. Embodying these skills can help you get noticed and have your ideas heard, because the people around you have no choice but to listen.
Once you develop strong public speaking skills, you will naturally stand out. People will take notice of you. On the flip side, lacking those public speaking skills means you’ll just blend in with the crowd and your ideas will continue to get looked over.
So, if you feel like you’re stuck with no other option but to blend in and have your ideas ignored as you get snubbed for promotions over and over again, there is a good chance your public speaking skills are to blame.
Anxiety creeps in when you’re addressing people
Picture this: you’re sitting in a meeting (or on a video call—it’s 2020, afterall) discussing important issues with your team, when your name is called… It’s your turn to address the room. What do you do? Do you step up and address your peers comfortably and with confidence? Or is there a moment of hesitation where some anxiety and nervousness starts to creep in?
The latter is completely normal. In fact, many people feel a sense of anxiety when they have to address people, either in a group or individually. This leads to avoiding important conversations, not speaking up during meetings, or even feeling like co-workers are getting the credit for your idea. That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what issues can stem from you not speaking up.
Fear of public speaking is extremely common, but you can’t let it take over your life. If you’re the person hesitating to contribute in meetings or discussions because you’re shying away from it, then your lack of public speaking skills are certainly holding you back.
The world looks up to people who can establish their points without hesitation and with a respectable air of confidence. Think about this. We’re all looking for someone who is confident in what they are talking about, because we want someone who gives us certainty. A confident leader has the ability to create that feeling. If you can address a crowd confidently, and with no hesitation, you will naturally make people want to listen to what you have to say, and therefore follow you. This is sure to help you reach your maximum potential.
You’re struggling to make an impact with your clients
Sure, your clients get good results when they work with you, but…sometimes those results can be short lived. Can you relate to this? It might seem far fetched, but this could be a direct result of subpar public speaking skills.
If your work involves creating transformation for people in any way, shape, or form, you might be surprised to find out that you are actually a public speaker. It’s true, because any kind of behavioral change work starts with telling stories and sharing ideas meant to inspire a person to want to make real changes in their life.
Many people tend to focus so much on the mechanics of what they do, that they forget to consider the importance of the speaking skills that make facilitating the transformation possible. This is where the problem lies. You see, when people get long-lasting results, it’s usually for one of two reasons: they had compelling enough personal reasons for wanting to change that they were wholeheartedly motivated to make it happen, or the person who helped facilitate the change for them spoke to them in a compelling and memorable way so the lessons stuck and they were able to continue implementing them even after the teacher’s no longer present.
If you’re not creating the impact you had hoped with your clients, it’s possible that the problem is not with the mechanics of what you do, but with how you do it. You already know what you’re doing; if you didn’t, you wouldn’t have clients in the first place. Try to focus on your public speaking skills instead. Learn to tell stories so the information you share sticks. Learn to engage emotions so your clients have powerful reasons to motivate them. And become so memorable your clients imagine you there with them, helping them get results even when you aren’t present.
It’s possible that public speaking is the single most versatile skill available to you today, simply because it has the ability to help you advance in your career. As a nearly universally applicable skill, it has the power to help you in every facet of your work, from the interview, to the sales floor, to the boardroom and beyond. But remember, lacking those strong public speaking skills (and even worse, failing to realize it) is perhaps the single biggest challenge you might face in advancing your life in more ways than one.
If you have ever felt stalled in your career, or like you aren’t moving up as fast as you would like, there is a very good chance that improving your public speaking skills could be the answer you are looking for. Like we said, you don’t need to have aspirations of addressing thousands of people from a stage every night. But just imagine how much easier life would be if every time you had an idea, you had no hesitation sharing it. If every time you needed to have a difficult conversation, you could do so comfortably and with confidence. If your team hung on every word you said and had a clear understanding of what you were trying to communicate to them, you could create a positive and engaging environment for all. The possibilities are endless.
Overall, you’ll find that life just runs smoother when you are a great communicator, and guess what? Great public speaking skills are an effective and efficient way to get you there.