When I was in high school graduation was contingent on the completion of a Speech class. I seriously considered dropping out! Fear of speech making, or glossophobia, effects 75% of the population (if not more). That equates to roughly 238 million people.
According to one of my idols, Warren Buffett, you can raise your worth by 50% just by learning one skill, public speaking. Think about that. What an incredible return on your investment. And the good news is, it’s a skill you can learn! Lessons are readily available on YouTube, Ted Talk or a Dale Carnegie Course, which is how Warren Buffet learned.
In writing this blog, I Googled Mr. Buffet’s speeches to give readers a quick link to some of his wisdom. I became so engrossed, once again, in this man’s story that I was almost paralyzed at choosing just one link. I finally settled on this 2009 Columbia University speech. In this video, you can still see his awkwardness in front of a crowd, which makes his accomplishment even more endearing. As a young man, his glossophobia was so bad that he would throw-up before a speech. His first attempt at the Dale Carnegie Course was so frightening that he had to take the course again.
Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking to BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Assoc). They asked that I speak about 25 minutes. That’s a long speech! I stretched it out by telling my career story. The part I felt they would enjoy most was the renovation of the Taborian Hall with its historic Dreamland Ballroom.
Over the years, I have been asked to speak at several venues. I have learned three keys to speech making: 1) talk about something you are passionate about, 2) provide visuals–I like powerpoint pictures and 3) if you can, add some fun or humor. I try to do all of those things.
This time, I decided to approach the speech like a football game by hiring a videographer to record it so I could watch the film later to improve my game. When it comes to public speaking, just say yes. Worry about the content and delivery later. My mother used to say about me, “Kerry jumps off of buildings and builds her wings on the way down”. That is the way I have to approach public speaking, by taking the leap. It forces me to take the risk, do the work and like everything, the more you do it the better you’ll get. I mean if Warren Buffett is talking numbers and statistics, I’m listening and testing his 50% raise theory!