Public speaking, a recommended entrepreneurial soft skill

Public speaking, a recommended entrepreneurial soft skill

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By Amanda-Ellen Jojo

COMMUNICATION is the pillar of any functional organisation and it is imperative for entrepreneurs to master the art of communicating effectively. This can be achieved through the art of effective public speaking as it allows entrepreneurs to share ideas, tell stories and influence change.

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Speaking to The Entrepreneurial Magazine, Chief Executive Officer of Coach Andre Inc. Zimbabwe, Andrew Mungoriwo said public speaking is a crucial skill for entrepreneurs, workers and the general public.

“As an entrepreneur and business owner, you have to explain your ideas to others. Whether it is a sale pitch to a potential customer, an elevator pitch to an investor or an inspirational speech in front of the team, an entrepreneur must be able to communicate their vision and mission with clarity and conviction.

“With superior speaking skills, an entrepreneur can win support from investors and inspire confidence among their employees to help bring their vision into life,” Mungoriwo explained.

He further affirmed that public speaking is equally important for workers as it paves way for career growth and visibility which may ultimately lead to a promotion.

“From my perspective, public speaking helps you demonstrate your competence and confidence, both employers like to see in their employees.

“People who take on public speaking opportunities can also gain added credibility. Furthermore, when you speak, you are demonstrating leadership characteristics. You are going above and beyond, exceeding expectations.

“Mastery of this skill can help you advance your career, increase confidence, improve leadership skills, develop vocabulary and ensure personal development,” Mungoriwo said.

On a general perspective of public speaking, he added that it is important because with heightened communication, one is able to level up their personal life.

He said: “The skill will help you achieve an increased sense of confidence. They will help you connect with people around you more effectively. They may even motivate you to reach for goals you previously thought were out of your reach.

Evidence suggests that public speaking is a soft skill, Mungoriwo stressed that it is a necessary skill that makes it easier to form relationships, create trust, dependability and lead teams.

“By definition, soft skills are personal attributes that influence how well you work or interact with others. So yes, public speaking skills are soft skills that showcase how well you can speak and engage your listeners.

“Influential public speakers have the power to persuade, inform and educate others. It helps you sway opinions, motivate others and become a natural leader,” he stated.

He implored human resources department to offer public speaking as part of employee talent development as it is important in professional presentations, pitching proposals amongst others.

“…Public speaking skills training supports team building, also offering your employees a group presentation skills training brings the team together and takes them through a shared experience they can bond over.

“This is especially true for presentation skills and public speaking because it’s interactive, and can feel more personal by nature. In the training they will have to share and open and authentically show their personality through fun and dynamic speaking exercises. When team members show vulnerability to one another, trust is built,” he highlighted.

Mungoriwo is an award-winning public speaking coach and over 1000 students have benefited through his venture Coach Andre Inc. Zimbabwe.

“I have made noticeable strides in the coaching fraternity and as a result of my work I was awarded public speaking coach of the year by Black Belt Human Capital Institute.

“I consider myself an entrepreneur because I have a passion to improve the lives of my customers. My goal is to develop confident, professional public speakers with exceptional presentation skills, soon we will be employing talented individuals to help us in this journey of discovery,” Mungoriwo stated.

He underscored that there are many business opportunities that can be tapped through public speaking and these include; coaches or trainers, motivational speakers, business speakers and keynote speakers.

Mungoriwo added that during his journey as an entrepreneur in the public speaking arena he encountered some wins and losses.

He said: “As far as the journey is concerned, everyone has a similar journey. It is filled with some happy moments, some sad, some achievements, some failures. There are times when you feel at the top of the world and sometimes you find yourself buried under mountains. It wasn’t easy to get out of the starting blocks because I had no capital to start my business, but I figured out ways on how to start a business from scratch. In my early days it was difficult to sell because I wasn’t known in the market and at times I felt like giving up. I never stopped believing in myself and I was consistent in my efforts.”

Below are some of the valid tenets that Coach Mungoriwo shared for effective delivery of public speaking especially for entrepreneurs

Body language is essential. When we speak about communication style, body language is key. When we are in front of an audience, how we stand, what we are doing with our hands and where we are looking all greatly attribute to our presence and ability to come across with confidence, conviction and passion. A few Dos and Don’ts to get you started:

Do: Make eye contact, keep your hands/arms quiet, hold your head up and do not: pace, sway, look down.

Also, use the right words. Do not get caught up twisting your tongue on your own jargon and pretension. The idea is to help us stay simple with your messaging and communication. It is not about sounding intellectual or using big words. It is about getting your thoughts across, succinctly and passionately, so that people can understand it and be able to visualise it.

Thus, use short words, common words, words of definite meaning and words of vivid impression.

KEY ADVICE ON PUBLIC SPEAKING: “Lastly, leave them with something to remember. My mentor once gave me some advice about giving a speech and he said: If you are lucky, people will take away one message or one story from your speech. That’s all most will ever retain. Hence, think about one thing that you really want to convey. Own it, learn it, believe in it and practice it over and over until you can say it in your sleep. The more you know your speech, the more confident you will feel and the more you can play with it when you go live on stage. Above all, the most important thing to remember when public speaking is to HAVE FUN. Enjoy yourself up there because if you are smiling your audience can’t help but smile with you.”

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