“If you can’t communicate and talk to other people and get across your ideas, you’re giving up your potential.” Warren Buffett
Your business success and your personal success depend on your ability to communicate. You must communicate to your past customers, present customers and future customers. You must communicate with shareholders, stakeholders, employees, contractors, vendors, wife, kids, family and so many other people. Failure to communicate effectively is a lid on your potential and the potential of your business.
Warren Buffett was extremely shy and terrified of public speaking early on in life. However, he knew that he had to overcome this fear and learn how to communicate if he wanted to be successful. So, he registered for a Dale Carnegie class which he completed early in his career and what he learned there helped him to communicate effectively and live up to his potential instead of give up his potential.
There are many other examples of high profile people who were shy and frightened of public speaking but overcame these fears and went on to great success – from Abraham Lincoln to Winston Churchill, Sir Richard Branson and even Joel Osteen
Personally, I can relate to this fear. I did not like speaking in public. In fact, I did not take biology in grade 12 because there was a project associated with the class and each person had to present their project at the end of the semester to the rest of the students. I wanted nothing to do with speaking in public!
It wasn’t until I graduated from university and launched out into the “real world” that I found out that most career advancement opportunities depend upon the ability to communicate effectively to groups of people. In fact, I would say that a person cannot achieve anything of significance without being able to communicate effectively.
Although I believe that speaking to groups of people may be the most important communication media there is, there are many other communication methods available for today’s business leaders. Things like; email, text messaging, instant messaging, phone conversations, video conferences, blogging, Twitter, newsletters, employee meetings, shareholder meetings, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, standard business meetings . . . and so many more! You do not have to be good at all of these but you must balance these properly so that you are a good overall communicator.
The good news, for all those people that need a communication “boost” is that there are many resources available to help you become a better communicator. I have listed just a few of these below for your reference.
- CAPS FastTrack program – http://www.capscalgary.ca/fast-track/
- Toastmasters – https://www.toastmasters.org/
- Patricia Fripp – http://www.fripp.com/public-speaking-school/
- Dale Carnegie – http://www.dalecarnegie.com/events/public-speaking-courses/
- Talk Like TED – http://gallocommunications.com/
- Life is a Series of Presentations – http://gallocommunications.com/Blogging and copywriting and presenting
Blogging, Copywriting and Presenting:
- Michael Hyatt – http://michaelhyatt.com/
- Ray Edwards – http://rayedwards.com/
- Think Outside The Slide – http://www.thinkoutsidetheslide.com/
- Life Is A Series Of Presentations – http://www.mrpresentation.com/
- Email Etiquette http://hbswk.hbs.edu/archive/4438.html
Keep in mind that communication is two ways. The most important component of communication is active and engaged listening. See my post; How Much Are Poor Listening Skills Costing You?. The best communicators are excellent listeners.
Get started on your communication skills improvement by following the seven steps below;
- Take a public speaking class. I took the 6 month FastTrack program through CAPS and it made a huge difference for me.
- Find a mentor or advisor that will review your speech material prior to the speech and then observe you during the speech. Have them provide productive feedback on what you need to do to improve.
- Take as many speaking opportunities as your workload can handle to practice and refine your new skills.
- Learn to listen to your audience whether you have an audience of one or one thousand. Understand the needs and concerns of your audience before “blasting” them with your message.
- Take a writing class.
- Find a mentor or advisor that will review all your written communication before it is issued.
- Practice refining your writing using multiple forms of media; email, blog, newsletter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
Remember that nothing great comes without practice. Don’t stop learning and practicing. Always push yourself into new areas and expand your communication skills.
“If I went back to college again, I’d concentrate on two areas; learning to write and speak before an audience. Nothing in life is more important than the ability to communicate effectively.” Gerald R. Ford