This post is an excerpt from Anthony Fasano’s new book Engineer Your Own Success: 7 Key Elements to Creating an Extraordinary Engineering Career. Anthony is a design engineer turned executive coach, speaker and author and now spends his time helping engineers around the world to create careers that are exciting, enjoyable, and rewarding while being well-balanced. In this post Anthony will discuss the impact that effective public speaking skills can have on your engineering career.
If you were to choose only one thing to do to improve your communication skills and your engineering career overall, I would recommend developing your public speaking skills.
Many engineering professionals, especially those early in their career, don’t realize how important it is to be a good public speaker. In fact, some engineers are terrified of public speaking because of their introverted personality. Fortunately, the ability to be a good public speaker is not one of those “You either have it or you don’t” skills. It is something that you can learn and develop over time.
As an engineering professional, your ability to present to people, whether it be to 2 or 2000 people, can make or break your career. Once I realized that I had a powerful message about career advancement that I wanted to communicate to professionals, I decided that I was going to learn how to speak effectively so I could get my message out to the world.
To develop my speaking skills, I joined Toastmasters International, a non-profit educational organization that operates chapters around the world for the purpose of helping members improve their communication, public speaking, and leadership skills. Groups like Toastmasters help you to not only develop your speaking skills, but also to increase your confidence and ultimately help you become a great communicator. You will learn how to speak spontaneously and also have the opportunity to prepare and present longer speeches with specific goals and objectives. These organizations provide a comfortable, supportive atmosphere for you to practice your public speaking. Odds are that every person in your local chapter was just as fearful, if not more, of public speaking at some point in their life as you may have been.
Having great public speaking skills is an absolute MUST in order to have an extraordinary career! In addition to improving your communication skills, public speaking will help you to bring new business into your firm. Prospective clients may see you presenting a project at a local board meeting, and the next thing you know they are calling you to take over their project. Your company may be impressed enough with your presentation skills that they may ask you to accompany a marketing professional in meetings with prospective clients. The list of benefits is endless.
These skills will also prepare you for being a manager, if you are not one already. Managers have to be able to clearly communicate messages to their team and your employer may take that into account when considering you for a promotion.
If you are reading this and are terrified of public speaking, I have great news for you. With some hard work, determination, and practice, you can become a great public speaker. Believe me, becoming an effective communicator and public speaker could very well be the ultimate differentiator between hoping that all of your career goals and dreams come true and actually ACHIEVING THEM!
FYI, Anthony is also donating a portion of each book sold to Engineers Without Borders.
Your turn: do you have a fear of public speaking? Have you considered how public speaking is required to generate your own clients? Share your thoughts in the comments below.