Projecting the image of a leader and someone who has the confidence and capability to take on more responsibility can be possible.
“If you want to maximize the trajectory of your career, you also must present the image of a person who is on their way up and who people want to listen to,” said Eileen Smith, founder of SpokeSmith. “Part of it is talking at the big picture level, before you get down to details.”
Smith has worked with executives and government officials all over the country to improve their public speaking skills and executive presence, and says she has seen firsthand the difference it can make in someone’s career.
And while public speaking might seem like a skill reserved for those who are only making speeches in front of large audiences, she said it’s an important skill to have for anyone looking to progress in their career.
“Every engagement you have inside your organization, with your clients and your broader CPA community is an opportunity to establish credibility and connect with your audience,” she said. “Whether that is an audience of one or a larger group.”
Strengthening public speaking skills can also be a way to take credit for your accomplishments, Smith said, especially if you don’t have an advocate who will do it for you.
“Projecting confidence is a key piece of public speaking and executive presence,” she said. “Even if you don't feel it on the inside, it is important to project it on the outside.”
Smith said when practicing what to say ahead of time remember to consider posture, the room and clothing. If you feel confident in what you’re saying, as well as these other factors, you will project the image of someone who is capable and self-assured.
“A big piece of executive presence is about gravitas, which is what you know, and how you talk about what you know,” she said. “It's not enough to be good at your job and have strong skills.”