Ask Amber: Why public speaking is the most important professional skill you can have

By Amber Alarid, JVA Consulting

There are many skills a young nonprofit professional should perfect, but one of those skills is the key to opening all other doors. Above all, a young professional should be well versed and comfortable speaking to anyone, anywhere, any time.

In the words of one young professional I interviewed: “Today, most communication revolves around emails, facebook, texts, etc. Thus, many young professionals forget about public speaking and practicing and improving on their public speaking skills. However, these skills are invaluable assets that must not be forgotten. Public speaking portrays the emotions of the speaker that electronic forms have difficulty portraying.”

There are many occasions where you will need to have the gift of gab, including but not limited to the following:

Job Interviews

Wendy Silveira-Steinway, recruitment/staff development manager at JVA, explains that “interviews are your chance to shine” and without good communication skills you won’t really be taking advantage of the time you are given. In an interview you must be ready to speak one on one with a recruiter, answering any impromptu questions they have about you personally. There may also be times where you interview with a panel or a committee, so you must be prepared to speak to a group, which means it’s important to watch your eye contact and body language so as not to exclude anyone from the conversation.

Community Dialogues/Public Events

If you attend an event that requires active participation by anyone in the crowd, you should be prepared to speak your mind. If the reason you are there is that you are passionate about the subject, why not offer your own thoughts? This occasion calls for the ability to project your voice, articulate clearly and captivate a large group.

In a Class/Training/Meeting

When you are asked to give your opinion in a professional setting, it is important to be confident and knowledgeable about the subject. Since meetings and professional development trainings are common, you will need to be prepared to speak in this setting on a regular basis.

If you are not already a confident speaker, this is something to prioritize. Practice speaking in front of friends or family, attend more community dialogues and volunteer to speak or attend a class.

In order to help all of you out there who are not yet seasoned public speakers (and those who absolutely dread public speaking) JVA is proud to announce that we are starting a Toastmasters club in 2012. If you want to make a difference in the world and improve your speaking skills in a welcoming environment, join the ChangeMakers. Call Lydia at 303.477.4896 for more information. All new and current Toastmasters members are welcome to join. We hope to see you there!


This entry was posted in College graduates and nonprofits, Gen Xers, Generations, Human resources, Millenials and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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