PM Commentary by Stacy Goff, ProjectExperts CEO.
Last month we wrote about The Importance of Writing Well. This month, we gently approach the topic of Effective Speaking. This is not to be confused with dialogue between persons–that is yet another topic. Instead, this topic involves speaking in front of groups. Actually, that really makes this multiple topics, because different audience sizes require very different skills. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Effective Speaking has received a lot of recent attention. In part, this is because our USA President is perceived by some to be an excellent orator. In addition to political settings, we have observed many other situations where the ability to speak in a clear and compelling way is an asset to the initiative, whether that initiative is a project, a program, or any other Change Agent venue.
Great Writer = Great Speaker?
You’d think that great writers would find it easy to also be great speakers. After all, being able to clearly explain complex topics in a way that everyone understands, is a gift–one that should easily transfer to speaking. But ‘taint necessarily so. I recall the excitement, when it first came out, around the book, In Search of Excellence. Author Tom Peters (together with Robert Waterman, Jr.) wrote such a compelling book that everyone wanted him to speak to their group or company. As I recall, at that time, his speaking skills did not match his research and writing skills. Some people were disappointed.
But, Tom Peters understood: He worked on his Effective Speaking skills. Soon, he was such a great speaker that he had no need to write another book; his speaking, advisory services, and overall message were all so popular. But the question remains: Great Writer = Great Speaker? A web search turns up many interesting discussions, and the results are mixed. Some say “yes!” Some say, “not necessarily so.”