How does experience in public speaking make one a stronger leader overall? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Aaron Webber, CEO, investor, and learner of leadership, on Quora:

Does public speaking make one a stronger leader?

The answer is yes.

There are three ways that public speaking makes you a stronger leader overall:

  1. In order to be an effective public speaker, it takes preparation and practice--and much more than you would usually, or casually, assume. One of the great speakers that I have a great affinity for said once that he wrote his talk or speech an average of thirty times. Great speakers look like they're speaking off the cuff, but they're not. It's well practiced, well thought through, and then it's well executed at the time they're giving their speech. Sounds like leadership to me.
  2. Public speaking gives instantaneous feedback. If people are getting up and walking-out, if they're fidgeting or folding their arms, if they're checking their phones or surfing the net and texting, etc., then you clearly aren't engaging your audience or delivering the message that makes the difference. Be tuned in to that feedback. Understand what drives your audience. Understand what moves them. Deliver to them, and for them, what it is they expected to come for and hear (with a little more added on top) that engages them. Again, sounds like leadership to me.
  3. In order to be a great speaker, you need to know your stuff. You need to speak from the gut notwithstanding great preparation and thinking it through. Same with leadership. You present in a speech what you are, or rather I should say more effectively, you present in a great speech what it is you've become. When you're not just delivering a paid presentation, but speaking from real experience and using real anecdotes to deliver something for which you have a passion, then people become engaged in that and they will listen to you. Same is true in leadership, except this time they will follow you.

That's why public speaking is a great metaphor, and as a finer point, well honed in terms of making you a leader. Usually, to use a generalization, great public speakers are also great leaders. Great leaders, more often than not, are also great public speakers. The aptitudes, attitudes, and skill sets are common to both.

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