What's In It For You?

This Year Why Not Resolve to Become A Great Presenter?

What's in it for you? According to a recent survey conducted by University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Business School, the ability to communicate is the single greatest factor contributing to one’s success in business and a critical skill for anyone in a position of leadership! Higher grades, better performance reviews, stronger sales results, bigger pay checks, exciting new opportunities, greater respect and admiration, even fame and fortune are but a few of the many rewards that accrue to those who can confidently, convincingly and compellingly present their ideas to others… especially to those who can do so to groups.

Public speaking is a must have skill both in business and in life. Unfortunately, most of us don't exactly look forward to the opportunity to stand in front of others and present and for some of us, the mere prospect is terrifying. A surprising number of studies have even gone as far as to rank the fear of public speaking as our #1 fear! If the prospect of having to speak in public makes your throat go dry, stomach churn, or knees goes weak, this book will help you leave your fears behind and become a great presenter - Guaranteed!

Friday, May 4, 2012


If I was writing this book today, I would add the following as just one more way to leave your fears behind and become a great public speaker: We'll call it 'Way 51' for now, but I'll likely place it earlier in the book if I ever get around to a secound edition.

Talking to Strangers

When we were small, our mothers told us time and time again not to talk to strangers. It was good advice back then, but sadly, most of us have continued to heed this well intended counsel long past its best before date.

Now that childhood is behind us, the benefits of talking to strangers far outweigh the risks. It is amazing how much we can learn from people we don’t know… and how enjoyable that experience can be for all parties involved.

In the vast majority of cases, all you need to do is smile and initiate the conversation with a few simple questions like “How are you?”; “Where are you from?”and/or “What do you do?”  

You’ll be amazed at how simply asking these questions of total strangers (and doing so often) will make you far more comfortable, confident and competent on those dreaded occasions when you are called on to make presentations at work, or speak out in social situations.

If, like most of us, you are a service provider and/or in sales, make it a regular practice in the workplace and I suspect you'll find your job will get much easier, not to mention more rewarding. After all, a little friendly conversation can only enhance the customer experience… and increases sales!

For these reasons and more, I have made ‘talking to strangers’ not only a personal habit, but also a regular and often mandatory assignment for all of my public speaking and customer experience workshops; and the feedback has been very positive indeed.  

So next time you’re queued up at the grocery store checkout, on an elevator, or riding the bus, put away your Blackberry, iPhone, or whatever little electronic device you are addicted to, and strike up a real conversation with a total stranger? You’ll likely find that face-to-face communications is the still the most powerful of the social media.

If we all just spent a little more time talking to strangers, especially those from different cultures, generations and belief systems, we’d all be a little happier... and maybe, just maybe, the world would be a better place.