While learning all aspects in business are important, it’s also important to build soft skills – skills that will be useful that aren’t necessarily learning about specific concepts in business or technology. This specific topic is about presenting with confidence – you may have heard of this before. Here’s a quick refresher on why this is important – especially during team presentations and interviews!
Many of you may have devoted countless hours of practice to learning concepts in business or technology, whether it was in the classroom, or in your free time. You may have seen the direct result of this practice when you were able to solve an issue or when you completed your first app from scratch. No one would argue that devoting time to learning concepts in business or technology is the key to improving your skills.
However, not everyone would expect that public speaking works in the same way. We’ve heard from countless students (and adults in the workplace!) that presentation skills are innate–either you have the confidence or you don’t.
Check out this video of Eric Schmidt in a public speaking workshop back in the 1980’s. You’ll notice that he starts off his presentation looking uncomfortable and nervous. He’s shuffling his feet, not maintaining eye contact, and speaking softly. However, you can see that he progressively gains confidence even by the end of the video. Today, you can YouTube videos of him speaking confidently to large crowds, which often include important international leaders or heads of business.
I thought this example was interesting for two reasons. First, it’s a good reminder that we all start somewhere. Even Eric Schmidt, one of the most visible business leaders in the world, had to practice his communication skills. He wasn’t born a natural public speaker, but he put in the work to build his confidence. I also I wanted to point out that he was practicing these skills well before he was in the role he occupies today.
So why does public speaking matter for you now? You may not be addressing large crowds of people, but it sneaks into our lives in smaller ways. You’ll have more confidence in interviews. Seek out opportunities to practice your presentation and communication skills. And more importantly, recognize each time that you flex your public speaking muscles–even if it’s for something small. Each of these experiences builds on one another and will make you more confident than the time before.
Source: Google’s CSSI Program