Why Public Speaking Is The Most Important Skill You Need Right Now

by Andrea Pacini

Now vs Later

The most likely reason for any setbacks and disappointments in your business, role or career is a communication deficiency—or lack of communication skills.

If you can’t convey your ideas to others then you won’t be able to reach your true potential.

The number one factor holding people back in their lives, especially in business, is poor communication skills.

If your business isn’t growing, there’s a communication deficiency.

If you’re finding it hard to lead your team, there’s a communication deficiency.

If you’re struggling to make the necessary impact for causes you care about, there’s a communication deficiency.

So, what do we do about it? 

Take action now

The most important step towards improving your communication skills, and reaching your business and career goals, can be summarised in three simple words: “Do it Now.”

This applies to anything in life, not least to public speaking. If you want to make change you need to take action.

Instead, most people who read articles and watch videos do nothing afterwards. They won’t put the lessons into action. Or they will put off doing anything to improve and procrastinate. 

Procrastination (the action of delaying or postponing something) is the enemy of improvement. 

When we procrastinate, we’re in a permanent state of wanting to do things but never actually doing them一passive spectators to the other people who are moving forward.

We come across procrastinators all the time. They say things like:

‘I’d love to start a business but now is not the right time. I’ll wait for the perfect time.’

‘One day I’d like to travel to Southeast Asia but now is not the right time. I’ll wait for the perfect time.’ 

‘I’d love to learn how to play the piano but it doesn’t fit in with my life at the moment. I’ll do it next year.’

‘I need to improve my presentation skills but it’s not the main priority. I’ll wait until things change.’

The truth is, the perfect time will never arrive. There will never be a perfect time. Perfection is an unachievable ideal.

Instead of focussing on perfection, think about making progress.

When it comes to public speaking in particular, there’s no such thing as a perfect presentation. A good presentation is good enough. 

My business mentor once asked me to create a brochure for a new product I was launching, so that I could use it during sales conversations with potential clients. 

It took me months to create one brochure. To me it was never ready because it was never perfect. 

One day, after months of tweaking and changing and improving, I was so proud of myself I texted him and said, “My brochure is 99 percent done!”. What a great accomplishment, I thought. 

He replied with one sentence: “99 percent done is not done.” 

That was a huge lesson for me. Almost done is not done. Done is better than perfect. 

Now is better than later. 

If you want to achieve your goals, you need to have a healthy sense of urgency. 

Most people postpone what could be done today until tomorrow. They procrastinate. They spend more time stressing about their presentations rather than giving them.

Don’t fall into the trap of standing still when you could be doing something to improve.

Top entrepreneurs and business leaders are implementers. They take action to move towards their goals. They make sure that what needs to be done, gets done today, not tomorrow. 

If you’ve ever asked yourself, “when is the right time to start working on my presentation skills?”, the answer is now. 

Boost your value 

Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, has done alright for himself. 

He tells business students that the one skill which will boost their value by 50 percent is public speaking.

Addressing a group of students at Columbia University in 2009 he said: “Right now, I would pay $100,000 for 10 percent of the future earnings of any of you, so if you’re interested, see me after class."

Having grabbed their attention he added: “Now, you can improve your value by 50 percent just by learning communication skills—public speaking. If that’s the case, see me after class and I’ll pay you $150,000."

Buffett is a firm believer in the value of public speaking for business leaders. The certificate for the Dale Carnegie public speaking course he took as a young investor still hangs on his office wall.

Mastering the art of public speaking can be rewarding. You’ll be rewarded in your business and your career. 

But there will be no reward without action.

Good things don’t come to those who wait. Be the best presenter you can be. Be the best version of yourself. Today, not tomorrow. 

Start your journey now. 

What next 

If you want to become a more confident presenter, take the Confident Presenter Scorecard. Answer simple Yes/No questions, get an instant score plus suggestions for improvement. It takes less than 3 minutes. Once you complete the scorecard, you’ll receive a free pdf copy of my best-selling book Confident Presenter.