When Warren Buffett speaks to his business students, he tells them that mastering the art of public speaking is the single greatest skill to boost your career. For small business owners, enhancing your public speaking skills could go a long way towards building communication with your customers, partners, and prospective investors. 

You might be thinking, "That's great, but I have a fear of public speaking." That's OK. Buffett was actually terrified too. As a young stock adviser, Buffett took a Dale Carnegie public-speaking course to overcome his fear. It's a little-known fact, but Buffett dropped out of the course on his first try, because he was afraid he'd be asked to speak up. He worked up his courage a second time and today proudly displays his Dale Carnegie certificate in his office.

According to TED curator Chris Anderson, public speaking matters more than ever. In his book TED Talks, Anderson writes: "As a leader -- or as an advocate -- public speaking is the key to unlocking empathy, stirring excitement, sharing knowledge and insights, and promoting a shared dream."

Your goal is to create empathy, a bond of trust between you and your listener. Public speaking can stir excitement, share knowledge, and promote a shared dream. To get more comfortable, check out your local chapter of Toastmasters, International or take a public speaking class through a local college or university.