Five Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Need Public Speaking Skills

MicrophoneMost people fear public speaking more than anything else (even death). As Mark Twain once said, “There are two types of speakers in this world: those that are nervous and those that are liars.”

Still, the ability to speak well in front of a group is worthwhile skill to develop – especially if you’re an entrepreneur. Among other things, it can help you:

  1. Communicate effectively. People are more likely to buy your product or service if you can tell them about it in a way that gets them excited.
  2. Raise capital. The ability to persuade is a must if you plan to pitch your business idea to a group of investors.
  3. Market your business. Speaking engagements can be great ways to gain exposure for your product and yourself.
  4. Clarify your thinking. You have to take what’s in your head and present it in a way that makes sense to others.
  5. Challenge yourself. Preparing a talk requires time, effort and lots of practice. But you’ll feel a real sense of accomplishment (and probably relief) after it’s over.

If you’re an older entrepreneur, you may be especially good at public speaking for a couple of reasons:

One, you have more stories to share. Audiences love interesting and/or entertaining anecdotes that illustrate key points. The longer you’ve been around, the more experiences you’ve accrued.

And two, you may have more tolerance for the unexpected. Whether it’s a missing handout or a typo on a PowerPoint slide, something will go wrong during a presentation. Forty-and-older people tend not to get as rattled by these things. They just go with the flow.

So where can you go for practice?  Here are a few places to check out:

  • Toastmasters International – A world leader in communication and leadership development.
  • Ignite – A “geek event” in over 100 cities where presenters use 20 slides that auto advance to ensure a finish in five minutes.
  • Dale Carnegie Training – Named after the man who wrote “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”
  • Your local community college – It may offer a public speaking class.

Maybe no one has asked you to speak in front of a large group yet. But chances are that you’ll receive an invitation one day.

When it happens, swallow your fear. And say yes.

About Lynne Strang

I'm a freelance writer who helps organizations and individuals meet their marketing and communications goals. I am also the author of "Late-Blooming Entrepreneurs: Eight Principles for Starting a Business After Age 40." To learn more, please visit my website:
This entry was posted in Business, Career Changes, Careers, entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Retirement, Success and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Five Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Need Public Speaking Skills

  1. What a fantastic post! I recently joined my local Toastmasters group and it really has helped me become more comfortable not only with speaking to groups but even communicating one on one. How can you possibly be an effective business person if you cannot communicate your ideas to others. I have never heard of Ignite, will have to check that out and would like to take Dale Carnegie Training. Thanks for the helpful, informative post.

  2. itakepicturessometimes says:

    Reblogged this on I Take Pictures Sometimes.

  3. I am very interested in joining toastmasters… I wish I could join from here in Indonesia.

  4. I will suggest this to husband who loves to speak. Thank you so much for the info and the ideas. One of my colleagues who joined Toastmasters in our area is an excellent speaker.

    • lbstrang says:

      You’re very welcome. Toastmasters offers something for everyone, from beginners to semi-pros. Those seeking a greater challenge can participate in the organization’s international speaking contest and/or join a local club that’s especially for more experienced members. These might be good opportunities for your husband and your colleague.

  5. rightme1 says:

    I am an entrepreneur who has just started speaking engagements although I have been doing it for a while in my networking group. So you could not be more correct. This is very useful information.

    • lbstrang says:

      I’m glad it is. In a way, public speaking is like exercise — you know it’s beneficial but it can be difficult to get started. I hope the suggestions in this post help a few people take that first step. Thank you for commenting.

  6. Thanks for the insight, adding options for training in public speaking was a nice plus.

  7. hra246 says:

    Totally agree. I am also 66 and finding my way in life. Though general business has opted to “settle” on the younger set, many who are 55+ still need the support and positive thinking of their peers…..I am one such peer who now does resumes to help people find jobs AND help people self assess.

  8. KT Rayma says:

    Very good post Lynne. Nothing better for overcoming your fears than getting comfortable public speaking. So many benefits. I went back to school at 49 and learned to hone my skills during a theology degree. Keeps ones brain young and plasticity increases.

    • Lynne Strang says:

      Good for you for returning to the classroom. The experience is completely different when you have a couple of decades of life experience under your belt. I imagine your study of theology involved philosophical debates, which is a good way to learn how to persuade others.

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