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Why the Best Leaders are Great Public Speakers

a young woman speakers to her team in a library while an older woman looks on

Barack Obama. Oprah. Brené Brown. What do these public speakers have in common? They are all great leaders. In fact, pick any leader you admire and you may notice that they are also an exceptional orator. The question is: do they become leaders because of their public speaking skills, or do they develop exceptional public speaking skills because of their leadership positions? 

The answer is probably a little bit of both. Public speaking and leadership overlap in many ways. Here are just a few of them.

Leaders Need to Be Prepared for Anything

Have you ever prepared a meticulous presentation, only to have your PowerPoint fail? Public speakers need to be prepared for technical glitches, unexpected questions, and arguments they didn’t anticipate. So do leaders. The ability to think on the fly is crucial for both leaders and orators. For example, leaders need to be prepared for questions from the media that require quick thinking.

Leaders Need Emotional Intelligence

Just as speakers need to be able to evoke emotion in their audience to keep them engaged, leaders need to have the emotional intelligence to put themselves in their team’s shoes and understand what they care about. For example, Barack Obama’s campaign slogan, “Yes, we can,” resonated with a country that wanted change.

Leaders Need to Understand & Convey Facts

If a speaker presents an inaccurate speech, they’ll lose their credibility and authority. Just as speakers need to be knowledgeable on a variety of subjects, leaders need to be able to understand the information their advisors give them and easily convey that information to a variety of people. 

For example, a CEO needs to be able to understand the financial position of their company and accurately convey issues to the board. They also need to be able to understand their industry and convey the state of the market to their employees. These are two very different topics and audiences, but they have to have the adaptability to be accurate and understandable in both scenarios. 

Leaders Need to Unite People

Persuasive speeches are all about converting your audience to your point of view. Those are the same  skills leaders use when uniting people around their platform. Whether through speeches or one-on-one interactions, leaders need to speak eloquently and passionately in order to ignite a fire in their followers and direct actions to their cause. 

At LeadYouth, we believe that leadership skills and public speaking skills go hand-in-hand. Leaders who are also excellent public speakers have a much easier time establishing their credibility and authority to speak on a subject, than those who stumble over their words. Plus, public speaking teaches “soft” leadership skills, such as overcoming fears, building confidence, and rising to challenges. 

Could you be the next great orator? Unlock your leadership potential. Learn more about LeadYouth here. 


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