Public Speaking and the Air Force Pilot
What could the 2 possibly have in common? That was my thoughts as well.
Late last year I was speaking to a young man who is determined to become a pilot in the Australian Air Force. I assumed (very wrongly) that the process would be to firstly enlist then go through due process. The conversation which ensued was very enlightening.
He told me the best way was to in fact apply to become a pilot without actually having joined the Air Force. He went on to explain the various processes and steps he had to go through. Sadly he was not successful and had stumbled at the last hurdle which was an interview with 3 officers and a psychologist. Not to be discouraged and highly motivated to succeed he was currently two thirds the way through with his second attempt.
As we know, one of the most critical things in improving in any aspect of our lives and businesses is feedback. Be it from our customers, work colleagues friends and family, constructive feedback is important. So naturally I asked, whether he was either provided feedback or there was a process to request feedback to clarify or identify areas which needed to be addressed. I was stunned with his response……..the FIRST recommendation was to improve his Public Speaking skills. I was speechless (which for those who know me is a rarity!). He went on to explain that they felt he lacked conviction in his responses and that to be a leader he required better speaking skills to articulate instructions or orders or respond to situations requiring fast responses. Also by his own admissions he was terrified standing in front of just 4 people! I was blown away but then got to thinking.
I am constantly faced with the misconception of what Public Speaking is. The common interpretation is to speak in front of a large group or audience of sorts. While that is partially correct, the reality is that Public Speaking is, at the core being able to better communicate in any size group. Be it one on one with a friend, family member or work colleague, a department meeting or workshop and anything in-between. He is now in the process of learning all the required skills to address his fear and confidently respond. One of those skills is the art of Impromptu Speaking. Thinking on your feet with a response or comment with no opportunity to prepare. This he tells me is without a doubt the most valuable skill.
I am convinced that EVERYONE can benefit from learning Public Speaking skills. Think about the last time you got caught in the lift with your manager or boss and he threw you a curveball to which you were like a deer in the headlights or the time you had an idea at a department meeting and you were so overcome with fear you sat quietly. Understand these are not isolated instances and they have strong ramifications for you both personally and professionally moving forward.
Remember, the quality of your communication will ultimately determine the level of your success.
To Your Success,
My name is Con and I am The Con Versationalist
Con is an accomplished and articulate speaker and presenter with over 25 years of high level sales experience.