Why Is Public Speaking Important for Leaders and in Business? According to 24 Experts

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When it comes to leadership and business, why is public speaking important? Does it play a significant role?

Find out from these 24 experts who shared their inputs on the subject of public speaking.

Table of Contents

Jayne Latz M.A., CCC-SLP

Jayne Latz

President & Founder, Corporate Speech Solutions | Author, Communicate Up the Corporate
Ladder: How To Succeed in Business With Clarity and Confidence

An essential component of professional success

Whether negotiating a deal, networking with business contacts, or conducting a meeting, strong communication and presentation skills are an essential component of professional success. Poor communication skills can be a significant professional roadblock and can cost you money, a promotion, or even your job.

In today’s business environment, we are presenting all day long, whether your audience is one or 1000, on the telephone or in person. Strong communication skills are essential to delivering a strong, engaging presentation that will immediately connect with the audience.

So what are the benefits to presentation training?

Your team’s presentation skills impact the brand and image of your company

The training addresses the development of a dynamic, engaging speaking voice, essential to delivering your message with confidence.

Miscommunication can lead to confusion, unhappy customers, and lost business

By ensuring your team communicates with clarity and professionalism, you can improve customer service,
increase customer satisfaction, and improve your bottom line!

Communication skills are closely tied to productivity

Strong communication ensures effective management and ensures that tasks are readily understood and properly executed, reducing the margin of error. Information is well organized and disseminated correctly, ensuring deadlines are met on time.

Professional communication training will transform your employees

This training transforms them into confident, articulate, and professional speakers and will improve their communication both within the company and with clients.

Let your audience know why your message matters

The value of your messages may be evident to you, but some people in your audience might need to be told explicitly. Consider who is in your audience and how your content will improve their lives.

Then, spell that out directly. Let everyone know what they have to gain upfront, and you’ll have a more attentive audience throughout your presentation.

Carla Howard

Carla Howard

Owner, The Professional Woman’s Mentor

Learning how to become an effective speaker is a critical skill for professionals interested in advancing in their careers. This is true whether you hold a leadership title, aspire to lead people, or want to become more influential in your current role.

Why?

Because great leaders are extraordinary at leading change, and the best change leaders are skilled speakers.

Competencies that will skyrocket you to leadership success

Many times we think that the best leaders have the best ideas and make visionary decisions. These are certainly desirable qualities, but they are not the competencies that will skyrocket you to leadership success. Knowing how to lead change will, and mastering the art of public speaking, is a key component.

Public speaking and leading change, in a few ways, go hand in hand

Great change leaders and fantastic public speakers share many competencies.

The most respected leaders are:

Strong communicators

This includes being comfortable and effective in delivering key messages by:

  • Speaking from the podium to groups large and small
  • Sharing information about the change in town halls, departmental meetings, and small group discussions
  • Delivering webinars (preferably recorded for publication on shared internal site)
  • Creating video messages

Storytellers

They understand how to catch and keep the attention of their audience. Skilled public speakers know they have a limited amount of time to get a message across to their audience, and they craft stories to help their message stick.

Concise and compelling

Rambling doesn’t work whether you are leading change or delivering a keynote presentation. This requires a clear vision of the key points you want your audience to remember and being mindful of how much time you have to deliver your message.

Willing to practice

Great speakers would never hit the stage without practicing the delivery of their presentation. Great leaders don’t “wing it” either. Delivering an inspiring message requires practice. A lot of it. Until your message is smooth and feels natural, even when it’s memorized.

Confident

Here’s the good news about confidence. It’s a habit! This means, with deliberate practice, you will increase your level of confidence. Learning how to become a dynamic speaker will increase your level of confidence as it increases the confidence others have in your message. The only way to become a great speaker is through practice, combined with targeted feedback. Toastmasters is a fabulous organization that will provide both at a reasonable price.

Learn how to master the art of public speaking, and watch your career skyrocket!

Steve Turner

Steve Turner

Principal, Solomon Turner PR

I operate a public relations firm in St. Louis, Solomon Turner PR, now in our 30th year. We work with all kinds of authors, speakers, and thought leaders. Over the years, we have worked with Anthony Robbins, Brian Tracy, Michael Maher, larger corporations, small firms, and startups. We recommend public speaking to all our clients, if applicable.

Related: Best Brian Tracy Books

There are a ton of benefits for the leader and his or her business:

Great publicity for you and your firm

The organization listing you as a speaker will promote it to its members so you can reach hundreds if not thousands of people. You can also create news releases and company emails publicizing your appearance. It establishes your credibility and is a great public relations vehicle.

Gain more clients or sales

If the audience likes what they hear, many will want to talk to you. They will discuss their issues or needs with you and ask for your help. Many business owners, leaders, and consultants get new business every time they speak.

Establish yourself as a thought leader

Speaking helps to establish or reinforce your brand as a “thought leader.” It puts you in an authoritative position as an industry expert and helps separate you and your company from the competition.

Builds on your marketing campaign. Each time you speak, you meet new prospective clients. Many will readily want to connect with you and share contact information. You can quickly build or add to your email list this way and send them information regularly about your firm.

Creates great content for social media

We recommend taping and/or photographing your speeches. You can edit the good parts. It is exclusive content that you can use on YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and whatever social channels your firm utilizes for their marketing. You can also post it on your website and share it through emails with customers and prospects.

Helps you garner more media coverage

Your credentials as a speaker and thought leader will help you build credibility and influence with editors and writers of industry publications. Multiple speaking engagements will elevate you from your competition and place you at the top of the pack when they need a resource for an article or an op-ed piece.

Builds your authority and leadership reputation within your own company

Your team will tend to visualize you differently in a more positive way as you are called upon to speak at various organizations, national conventions, and trade shows.

Leverages your speaking as a sales tool for other members of your team

Members of your sales staff can invite customers and prospects to hear you speak. This will help these prospects gain a greater understanding of how your firm operates and how your company can help them. It can also serve as an introduction as they meet the CEO or top person in the company and go home with warm, positive vibes about your business.

Kelly O’Neil

Kelly O’Neil headshot

Multi-Award-Winning Entrepreneur | Profit Strategist | Brand-Marketing Expert |
Author | International Speaker

To spread the mission and vision in their own unique voice

Public speaking has been a core staple of the way that we spread our mission throughout our company.

When someone is in a leadership role, it is important for them to share the mission and vision in their own unique voice with their audience, whether it’s their internal team, stakeholders, current or potential customers, or clients.

People tend to underestimate the power of their voice. It’s not that public speaking is so important; it’s the sharing of your vision and your unique message through public speaking that is important.

As Stephen M. R. Covey discusses in his book “The Speed of Trust,” it helps people accelerate and position themselves in a position of authority or as an authority on their subject matter.

To create better outcomes for all

It’s not so much about public speaking, it’s how they choose to utilize the platform. And when they use the platform correctly to spread ideas, share their vision, and to enroll people in their vision and mission to create better outcomes for all. This is when it becomes important and quite profound.

Public speaking is just a tool.

It’s more about how you use that tool that’s going to make the most significant difference.

Brian Krogh

Brian Krogh

Adjunct Professor, Boston University’s College of Communication | Public Speaking Coach

Public Speaking provides two things crucial for any business leader looking to increase their leadership capital.

Increases your visibility

First, unlike anything else, public speaking increases your visibility within an organization. For ambitious employees who desire to rise up the leadership ranks, volunteering to sit on a panel or to give a report is important. Doing so gives you visibility within the organization and especially to senior leaders that you would not achieve otherwise, and this visibility is key to securing advancement opportunities.

Makes you a leader that employees want to follow

Secondly, public speaking will make you a leader that employees want to follow. Even with all the ways we have to deliver content in our world, we never grow tired of someone who can stand up in front of a room and express ideas and vision with clarity and purpose.

These are the leaders we like to follow. You can send an email or record a video for your team, but there is nothing like the dynamic, emotional exchange that takes place when leaders and employees are in the same room.

For leaders who desire to get the best out of those they lead, learning to communicate with clarity and purpose is key. It is important to remember as well that public speaking is a learned art; it is not something you are “born with.”

The only way to become a more effective speaker is to take advantage of every opportunity you have to lead a meeting or give a presentation, evaluate your results, and try again. Avoiding opportunities to speak will stunt your growth as a leader; however, embracing these opportunities will help you excel.

Howard Prager

Howard Prager

Founder & President, Advance Learning Group

There are three reasons public speaking is so important for leaders and in business:

Leaders need to keep awareness of their brand high

By speaking in public, it keeps the leaders’ business in the public eye as well in the eyes of their employees, suppliers, and customers. Visibility helps.

Leaders need to be the public face of their firms

In doing so, they add credibility and relevancy to their status. And by being in the public eye, they also have a higher chance to be picked up by media and social media, expanding their reach.

The more communication, the better

People like to be associated with highly visible organizations and people. So the more the leader is communicating, the more significant the effect it can have for retention, recruitment, and results. A known leader engenders greater support and esteem when they are frequently communicating. It also continues to improve their speaking ability.

Nicole Royer

Nicole Royer

Business Owner | Mentor | Innovator

To share experience and stories

Public speaking is so important for leaders and in business because it offers you a way to share your experience and stories about a topic, to entertain, enlighten, and engage people who have similar interests.

Sometimes, speaking gives us the chance to share things about ourselves that we feel are outside the norm but allow others to connect with us and our message deeply. It gives us a chance to cause conflicted thinking, questions our prior learnings, and go on a journey through a new way of seeing things in our work and the world.

For leaders to organize thoughts better

Leaders benefit from speaking because it helps us to organize our thoughts better and allows us to craft stories in a way that draws people in, which makes learning less drudgerous and more engaging.

For listeners to benefit from the stories and experience

Listeners benefit from leaders sharing their stories and experiences because it gives them something to work toward, someone to use as a resource in their continued education, and a path to where they might want to go (and sometimes, a cautionary story about what not to do).

Dr. Ziad Jalbout, DDS

Ziad Jalbout

Founder, Making You Smile Cosmetic Dental Studio

There are two aspects of public speaking that benefit business owners and their endeavors.

In-house, public speaking is critical for connecting with the team and communicating effectively

Often, it’s an opportunity for the leader to share their visions and provide direction, but more importantly, it allows team members at all levels to know who the leader is as a person. Speaking with your team not only conveys your thoughts and the reasoning behind those decisions, but it also shows vulnerability because you’re bringing the team to the table.

An effective leader needs to be comfortable with accepting competing views and honest feedback. But, you actually have to be open to that criticism or feedback. Otherwise, it’ll just feel hollow, so make sure you’re genuine with your intentions.

Externally, public speaking is about sharing knowledge with the public

This also includes sharing with peers, and in most cases, your clientele – particularly in the health-related verticals. In its most altruistic version, it is like teaching, where detailed and honest sharing of information happens.

In these instances, public speaking can quickly transfer and spread know-how for the benefit of those you encounter. It also conveys a willingness to share your expertise for their understanding, which is important in the medical or health-related industry.

If a doctor can convey their years of study and expertise into a simple message that brings comfort and confidence to their patient, I’d say that’s invaluable, as it bridges the gap between doctor and patient.

Without public speaking skills that are much harder, which is why I believe any business owner or leader should jump into as many speaking engagements as they’re offered, because the benefits will be taken with you for years to come.

Jeanne Hopkins

Jeanne Hopkins

Chief Marketing Officer, Lola.com

To let your voice be heard

Being able to speak to teach, coach, and present is critical to any business leader. Without the ability to stand up and own a room, your voice can go unheard, unheeded, and unknown.

Oftentimes, women, in particular, don’t use the opportunity to speak publicly and be heard because they may be used to being talked over or interrupted. However, this is exactly the time to take the chance to be heard. Speaking is an opportunity for women’s voices, and men’s, to be heard.

Some tips include organizing your thoughts into three parts:

  1. What do I want to tell them?
  2. Key points to the first point, and
  3. A summary of what did I tell them.

By leveraging no more than a key point or thought and subset into three bullets, your speaking will be well-regarded.

Speaking can take many forms, such as presenting on webinars as an expert, or as a subject matter expert on a podcast. Speaking in front of a live group is not necessarily the ultimate. Use other virtual experiences to gather your thoughts and build your following.

If you have a chance to speak in front of a group, find a friend to videotape you so that you can learn from that experience.

Lastly, join a group like Toastmasters to gain the experience of one-minute talks, then two-minutes, and so on. This teaches that you will not die from the process. Also, always have water on hand to sip when you pause. Pausing is okay and expected.

Mark Armstrong

Mark ArmstrongOwner, Mark Armstrong Illustration

Why is public speaking important?

  • It helps you become more confident.
  • It helps you become a better planner. You have to organize your thoughts, do research, learn to edit yourself of what’s relevant and what to leave out.
  • You learn how to tailor your remarks to a particular audience and speak their language.
  • It helps you become a better networker. An example would be working a room at a meet-up.
  • Public speaking and talking and answering questions are skills you need when you’re making a pitch. This is true, for instance, when you’re trying to get funding from investors.
  • It helps you become more confident and relaxed in a teleconference. You’re interacting with multiple people on a screen; you can see them, they can see you, and everyone’s evaluating everyone else.
  • It helps prepare you for future speaking invitations: e.g., Chamber of Commerce, business and fraternal groups, etc., which are great opportunities to showcase your brand and your business.

I’m a freelance illustrator. I was once asked to speak to over 100 eighth-graders at a Shadow Day lunch (they’d all spent the morning “shadowing” various business people to see firsthand what their jobs were like). I told them that life gives you little hints about possible careers. I said I’d worked in a drug store after school, and that my favorite part of the job was decorating the store windows— a hint that I might enjoy a visual arts career.

Here’s the funny part: I’d never considered that life gives out “vocational hints” until I start working on that Shadow Day speech— which means that sometimes public speaking gives you new insights.

  • It’s a good practice for taking risks and handling consequences.

By a funny coincidence, I just wrote a post about the importance of “becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable”— of putting yourself “out there,” learning to handle rejection, etc.

For most of us, public speaking is an uncomfortable situation (at least at first)— so it’s good practice for taking risks and handling the consequences, good or bad— and that’s a must-have skill for any leader or entrepreneur.

Leah de Souza, CPLP

Leah de Souza

Business & Leadership Coach

I have been on both sides of this powerful skill – I use it in my business, and I help leaders master this skill.

I’ve been an entrepreneur and involved in public speaking for the past 15 years via my Talent Management consultancy, Trainmar.

To get audience respect, earn visibility, and showcase ability

From personal experience and from working with thousands of professionals across the globe, the ability to positively impact an audience with your public speaking skills is one of the best ways to immediately get audience respect, earn visibility for your brand and showcase your ability to influence people to action.

To connect with the audience

In addition, it’s one of the best ways to become the audience and listener focused. Public speaking is all about the audience – connecting with them, understanding their concerns, reading changes in their reaction, and adapting to their needs. And being a great listener and honing your empathetic qualities are fundamental to being a great Leader.

As a leader, we are tasked to engage people, and the ability to connect with the people around you is what will make your job easier and often much more fun. Unexpressed knowledge is useless, and an email is not going to cut it if you want to uplift, move, and motivate people in a certain direction.

The great thing is that it is a skill and can, therefore, be learned.

Public speaking is not at all just for extroverts; once you learn the dos and don’ts and then practice, practice, practice, anyone can become a powerful public speaker.

Tracy Benelli

Tracy Benelli

Founder & CEO, The Relevant You

A critical part of building relationships – whether it is with clients, friends, colleagues, employees, partners, constituents, or family – is communication.

Getting ideas and actions across in a way that resonates, and helps people understand how a thought or an action is going to make a difference, happens more easily when spoken than when written.

Why?

It comes down to emotion. People can read into the written word: intent, tone, emphasis, etc. But speaking makes the communication more relational and alleviates any potential misunderstandings that may happen in the reading the written word.

More approachable leaders

Public speaking also helps the leader her/himself become more approachable. People want to do business with leaders who they can believe in and relate to.

Cultivating a unique speaking presence does more for communicating ability, vision, and leadership than relying wholly on written communication. It can be invaluable in creating belief, advocacy, and momentum for a leader’s ideas, proposed actions, and vision.

Bruce A. Hurwitz, Ph.D.

Bruce A. Hurwitz

Executive Recruiter & President, Hurwitz Strategic Staffing | Author, The 21st Century Job Search

Best way to gain credibility and gauge relevance

The reason public speaking is so important for leaders is that it is the best way to gain credibility and gauge relevance. If a person is invited to speak at a function, or even just at the public library, that sends the message that someone believes their opinions are worthy of consideration.

Think of it as the difference between placing an ad in a newspaper and being quoted in an article in the same paper. The former means you have enough money to pay for an ad; the latter means you are, at least in the opinion of the reporter, an expert.

Put differently; the speaker gains credibility and, if they are a business owner, that means their someone with whom people will want to do business.

As for gauging relevance, anyone can rent a room and send out invitations. If all the seats are taken, it means people respect your opinion and want to learn from you. This and the previous example of being an invited speaker, show that you, the speaker is truly a leader in their field.

But, if they rent the room, invite their network and advertise, and no one shows, that tells them that either no one cares about their topic or that they don’t consider them worth their time or (if they are charging) their money.

That can be devastating, but it’s the quickest way to confirm that someone is not a leader.

Richard Pummell

Richard Pummell

Human Resource Lead, Develop Intelligence

A necessity

For many leaders and those in business, public speaking is a necessity. Whether it’s promoting the organization’s mission, communicating plans or results, or presenting to current and future customers, it is essential to have solid public speaking skills.

An opportunity

Public speaking may be “in person” or live-streaming; however, crisp messaging and delivery is essential. Public speaking is an opportunity to create a relationship between the organization and its constituents. The ability to engage with internal and external audiences is essential to create engagement, build a brand, manage a crisis, and grow the business.

A determinant of progress within an organization

The ability to confidently speak in public is frequently used as a determinant in how far an executive can progress within an organization. Those who can be confident speakers in addition to possessing exceptional business or technical acumen will go further in their careers than executives who are not comfortable with public speaking.

Beth Noymer Levine

Beth Noymer Levine

Founder & Principal, SmartMouth Communications | Author, Jock Talk: 5 Communication Principles for Leaders as Exemplified by Legends of the Sports World

I always say that communication is the currency of success.

It’s how we get things done and achieve goals. No one succeeds in business or leads a team without being an effective, compelling, and appealing communicator.

Public speaking is communicating on steroids.

There’s no better way to demonstrate confidence, credibility, and command than at the front of a room – big or small – and inspire or motivate a group of people. Reputation, which I think is an asset that should be accounted for on balance sheets, is the beneficiary.

Reputation brings talent, capital, partnerships, customers, and opportunities. It’s a full circle from being able to articulate a vision and connect with people to success and opportunity.

Damon Nailer

Damon Nailer

Author & Leadership Trainer

Effective communication of ideas

First off, to receive the necessary assistance required to fulfill their visions, executives must be capable of effectively communicating their ideas to others.

They must clearly articulate and analyze their goals, plans, expectations, products, and services. This will enable them to educate their followers, so they can competently fulfill their roles in bringing the leaders’ vision into fruition, and this will also empower them to persuade potential customers to buy their services/products.

Ability to explain and train other

Additionally, leaders/business owners must be able to explain and train others. Many of them will eventually find themselves having to conduct workshops/seminars for their companies and the public. This requires good communication skills.

If the leaders are uncomfortable or deficient in speaking, then these activities will be hindered and adversely affected. ​

Kathryn Roberts

Kathryn Roberts

Entrepreneur & Mindset Coach, Quest for $47

To know the mind behind the headline

Public speaking skills are critical for leaders and business owners because we are moving away from a time where the logo of a business is the face of the company. Now, it’s all about the mind behind the headline. It’s about who that person is, standing front and center.

Getting comfortable in front of people is one of the most important things an online business owner can do to grow their business, especially if they’re in the early stages.

The more you get in front of your audience, the higher the traction you will find. The easiest way to dip your toes into public speaking and allowing your audience to get to know you is through live video, on places like Facebook or Instagram—two platforms that heavily promote the use of live video.

With live video, it’s you, in the most authentic way possible. If you’re the type of business owner that wants their audience to know that it’s possible to run a business wearing your pajamas, then that’s what you portray in your video.

That will resonate with your audience and will allow them to say, “Hey, I know this person can help me because they’re just like me.”

Without the barrier of a polished and edited video (which there is still a place for, of course), your audience can hear how you speak, the way you talk, and, most importantly, how you teach. To look someone in the ear when you’re learning from them, even if it’s on a computer screen, is an incredibly empowering way to both teach and learn.

Paige Arnof-Fenn

Paige Arnof-Fenn

Founder & CEO, Mavens & Moguls

I started a global branding and marketing firm 18 years ago, and a lot of my work comes from public speaking. It is a great way to build your brand, increase your visibility more broadly, raise your profile, and attract more clients or customers.

Builds your following

Activities like speaking on a panel or at a conference build your following on social media and contribute to increasing your awareness with potential customers, building your credibility with a larger community, and sets you up as an Influencer and Thought Leader in your category.

Related: How Social Media Affects Communication Skills

When your talks become available online, make sure to send them out via social media to all your friends, followers, and contacts. Everyone is not going to like you or hire you, but for the ones who would be an excellent fit for you, make sure they feel and keep a connection and give them a reason to remember you so that when they need your help, they think of you first.

It helps you stand out from your competition!

Debra Eckerling

Debra Eckerling

Founder, The DEB Method & Write On Online | Author, Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap
for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals

Public-speaking skills are essential for anyone in business. Master the ability to communicate, and you can handle yourself in nearly any situation.

When you can express yourself, you are better at networking and negotiating, as well as presentations, sales, and leadership.

The best way to improve verbal and written communication is practice. Whereas there are plenty of opportunities for young people to develop speaking skills – through classes, clubs, and leadership – there are options for adults as well. Check out Toastmasters, participate in pitch and networking events, or join a mastermind group with trusted peers.

Develop communication skills at any age. It will serve you well in business and life.

Violette de Ayala

Violette de Ayala

Founder & CEO, FemCity | Author, The Self-Guided Guru Lessons for Everyday Humans

A platform to share valuable content

Public Speaking is important for leaders and in business because you have the platform to share valuable content based on your experience and expertise to a group which will then exponentially grow your brand.

Often, public speakers are quoted, videoed, and shared on social media, which only serves to amplify your brand, message, and name. Every time I have spoken in a public setting, our followers, and the interest of our organization has grown and developed more interest.

Be sure when you are crafting your public speaking topics, that it remains beneficial to the entire audience and also memorable with what you share.

Shawn McBride

Shawn McBride

McBride For Business, LLC | Speaker | Business Attorney | Author, It’s About Time: How to Do More of
What Matters in the Time You Have

Public speaking changed my business and my life. I think it is critical for leaders in business because:

  1. It gets your message to your audience.
  2. Preparing for the speech forces you to enhance and refine your knowledge.
  3. As you speak on the topic, your expertise increases.

Kevin Eikenberry

Kevin Eikenberry

Founder & Chief Potential Officer, The Kevin Eikenberry Group
Author, Remarkable Leadership

Make a bigger impact

Leaders are in communication and influence business. If they lead an organization or team of any size, they will need to do that communication, and be an effective influencer in a one-to-many setting. Having the comfort, competence, and confidence to speak to a group in public is, therefore, a critical skill to help any leader make a bigger impact in their role.

Anand Iyer

Anand Iyer

Public Speaker | Blogger | Digital Marketing Manager

Inform, persuade, educate, and share

As a leader, you need to inform, persuade, educate, and share your vision with your audience to bring them on board and achieve your goals.

Effective speaking in public can develop your leadership skills, build authentic relationships, and become a thought leader.

All of them are critical for a leader in advancing in their career and driving sales for their business.

Advocate for causes, inspire, and amplify the message

By delivering a great speech, you can advocate for causes, inspire your internal and external stakeholders, and amplify the message before potential customers.

Change brand perception

From a business perspective, a good public speaker can change the perception of a brand, create new opportunities for innovation, handle a crisis situation, and set a growth mentality for the business.

David LaVine

David LaVine

Marketing Consultant and Founder, RocLogic Marketing

To raise the potential customer’s confidence in you

In the B2B services world, it’s important for building trust with your potential customers. When you sell a product, there’s a lot of implicit trusts built into that tangible good. When you sell services, you’re trying to sell something that doesn’t exist yet. This uncertainty makes potential customers very uncomfortable.

Public speaking at conferences and trade shows helps your potential customers feel more confident in buying from you. It’s not only important for them to believe in your domain expertise, but your message needs to come through succinctly and coherently. There’s not a lot of margin for error.

You essentially become the proxy for the service.