The Importance of Being a Good Speaker

The experts tell us there is one nonnegotiable, undeniable prerequisite for great leadership.

If you guessed visionary, charismatic, decisive or likeable, you would be wrong.

The essential requirement is to be a powerful, compelling and confident speaker.

There are many essential traits that great leaders have in common and my own experience in working with many such leaders is that there is great truth to the above statement.

It is said that in ancient times there were two great orators of note: Cicero, a Roman politician and lawyer and Demosthenes. a Greek general and statesman.

Legend has it that when Cicero spoke, people cheered and danced with eager anticipation – a sure sign of a powerful message.

Words can lead to action

But when Demosthenes spoke, the people rose as one and shouted out, “Let us march.”

Cicero led people to emotional highs, Demosthenes inspired people to take action.

I was recently an audience member at an event where the keynote address was delivered by a high profile, well-known business leader.

This man is frequently in the news and I was eagerly anticipating an entertaining and highly informative address.

And, in my opinion, he delivered neither.

As I listened to his delivery I remembered the words of a teacher from many years ago who told me there are two parts to any presentation. The first part is the content where the audience gains comprehension of the message. The second part is the impact on each person present where the quality of delivery of the message helps determine who will flee and who will march.

My thoughts on the calibre of his presentation were by no means exclusive. Over the next few days I spoke with more than a dozen others who had been in attendance and each one shared an opinion identical to mine.

The findings of Albert Mehrabian – best known for the "7%, 38%, 55% Rule - serve as strong validation of the need for great leaders to be captivating message deliverers. The Mehrabian rule plays a minimal role in how the message is comprehended, and a vital role in how the message is received.

The rule states that in terms of impression, content – what is said – accounts for a mere 7% of the affect the message will have on the audience. It further states that 38% – slightly more than one third – is influenced by tone of voice and the remaining 55% is gleaned from body language.

The Importance of Being a Good Speaker

For many people the fear of public speaking is a powerful inhibitor that prevents them from even trying. It is one of the most common fears and even has its own name – glossophobia.

If we aspire to become great leaders and enjoy enormous success in almost any field, our ability to clearly articulate our thoughts, ideas and suggestions in a way that influences others to willingly go along with us, is paramount to our success.

Remember, when it comes to having things we (say we) want, we always have the choice of one of two prices to pay: the price we pay for acquiring the skill and the price for not doing so.

If we are not firmly placed on a pathway to where we want to be and constantly moving closer to that destination, then, perhaps, we have chosen to pay the price of not developing the skill.

Perhaps not such a bargain after all?

Till we read again.

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