While public speaking can send chills down any professional’s spine, one expert says it’s a skill that shouldn’t be overlooked.
“CPAs find themselves in public speaking situations all the time,” said Eileen Smith, founder of SpokeSmith. “Every time you speak up in a meeting, meet with a client, or make a presentation to the big boss, CPAs are putting their public speaking skills to work.”
Smith joined The State of Business podcast this week to discuss how public speaking can improve career trajectory and offer advice to those who dread it.
She said improving public speaking skills is an opportunity to strengthen your credibility in front of whatever group you’re speaking to, whether that’s internally to colleagues or external stakeholders. And since CPAs are trusted business advisors who have to communicate information to others, it’s an essential skill to sharpen.
Public speaking is also a great way to enhance executive presence, Smith said, which can be crucial as you look to gain more responsibility and influence in your career.
“It's not enough to be good at your job and have strong skills,” she said. “If you want to maximize the trajectory of your career, you also have to present the image of a leader, and the image of a person who is on their way up who people want to listen to.”
Not everyone will be presenting in front of hundreds of people, Smith said, but even if you only speak to small groups, it’s still beneficial to strengthen your skills. If you’re someone who gets nervous about public speaking, she offered some tips.
“Practice is excellent for everyone,” she said. “Prepare ahead of time what you are going to say. Identify three main points that you want to deliver and come up with stories or relatable statistics around those points. Make it all memorable and easy for people to take home and share with others.”
Posture, clothing and feeling confident in your appearance are all essential parts of the process as well, she said, and shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to prepping ahead of time.
“These skills can improve the success of your organization's mission and increase the trajectory of your career,” she said. “These are skills that you can work on today and put to use for you immediately.”
To hear more from Eileen at the upcoming Fall Accounting Shows, . And learn more about public speaking by purchasing her course available now.
And for more learning on business success skills, check out our Transformational CPA Business Skills Bundle.