4 public speaking skills you need to master to become a leader

Steven Benna
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If you’re like most people, just the thought of addressing a group is enough to send chills up your spine.

In 2014, public speaking was ranked America’s No. 1 fear, coming in ahead of heights, bugs, snakes, and needles.

But presenting in front of people is one of the core skills leaders need to master.

Skip Weisman, a workplace communication expert, offers advice to help businesses improve their communication. He says there are four fundamental characteristics of a great presenter.

1. A good presenter is focused.

It all starts with focus. A good presenter is focused on providing value to the audience and addressing the audience from their perspective, Weisman says. You shouldn’t just highlight your expertise or knowledge; offer examples or anecdotes to connect with the audience.

2. A good presenter has delivery skills.

Delivery skills are crucial in any form of communication, especially when talking to a large group. It’s important to use powerful body language, like maintaining eye contact and using open gestures, to engage with the audience and reinforce your points, Weisman says.

3. A good presenter is a storyteller.

Your audience doesn’t want to be lectured. It’s imperative that you speak to your audience, not at them. In this regard, a good presenter “is a great storyteller that takes the stories and connects them to learning points important to the audience based on the presentation content,” Weisman says.

4. A good presenter is patient.

As a speaker, it’s critical to give your audience a moment to reflect on key statements, Weisman says. It can be brief, but a skilled presenter “takes a few breaths and slows down after making a key point.” The speaker can also ask a reflective question to make the discussion more applicable and relatable for the audience.

This article is published in collaboration with Business Insider. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.

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Author: Steven Benna writes for the strategy vertical at Business Insider.

Image: Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds Apple’s new Macbook Air notebook computer as he delivers his keynote address during the Macworld Convention and Expo in San Francisco January 15, 2008. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

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