Contrary to popular belief public speaking isn’t a skill we are born or blessed with but one we acquire. Sure, there are people who might be better than others – more natural speakers but none are born successful in this skill. Like most else in the world, hard work and discipline define this skill. I often equate public speaking it to any competitive sport which with practiced discipline produce incremental improvement and eventual success. As a runner, I can tell you that hours of training is the ONLY path to improvement. Like running we warm up, stretch, and train our way to success by overcoming consistent obstacles. Not every race leads to improved time or even a medal but rest assured there is incremental improvement. So too with speaking.
Nature & Nurture
Today the scientific consensus is less of a world where it is nature vs. nurture. The scientific community frames it as nature and nurture working together to produce a result. That said, it is more scientifically accurate to explain the presence of speaking and leadership skills as a function of genes *AND* environment together. Much of what produces a Steve Jobs or a Barack Obama is a mix of genes, upbringing and experience — as a whole.
We Can Learn & Grow
Human beings can learn, grow and evolve. We do this everyday whether we are conscious of it or not. We can choose to master new skills by conscious, consistent effort. Public speaking success isn’t a skill we are born with but one we foster. Our direct effort in public speaking education can and do improve our speaking outcomes. Just like a muscle, when exercised it grows — when not it atrophies (weakens). When we focus on learning and growing as a speaker, a multitude of positive outcomes arrive — but only with our investment of time and effort.
What disciplined path do you plan to take to improve you speaking skills? When will you start?