Public speaking: an essential leadership skill

As we work with organizations and teams to help them to improve and collaborate better, we see again and again that one of the cornerstones of these changes is the capacity to communicate effectively and transmit our message with impact.

Florian Mueck is dedicating himself to exactly this. He is a public speaking trainer and his main focus is to help you to Boost your Charisma so you can deliver your message with more impact.

He has worked with thousands of people across companies of all sizes and agreed to answer to answer our questions on public speaking.

 

Florian, public speaking is more and more recognized as an essential leadership skill. Why is it becoming so important?

Public speaking has always been an essential leadership skill. The ancient “Rat Pack” of rhetoric – Pericles, Aristotle, Demosthenes  – embraced the power of public speaking. They used their rhetorical skills to change the course of time. The big question for me is: Where has all this rhetoric gone? At school, at university, in companies? Isn’t it weird? Who would ever question the human need to persuade others and move them to action? What kind of leader are you, if you cannot persuade your people? And yet, we invest so much in all sorts of skills, BUT rhetorical skills!

Today’s good news is, the game is changing. Thanks to YouTube, TED and TEDx, public speaking appears, more and more, on corporate communication radar screens. The biggest European e-commerce player, for instance, hired me to coach their top engineers and to turn them into top conference speakers. They decided to use public speaking as part of their corporate communication strategy.

When people come to you to learn public speaking, what are they really looking for?

Everyone has different objectives. At the beginning of my trainings I ask the participants about their expectations. Most mentioned expectations are: lose my fear, gain confidence, be more spontaneous, learn about structure, be humorous, improve my body language, be more enthusiastic, … Of all these expectations the reduction of stage fright stands out.

Can you share with us something extraordinary about your journey in the public speaking word?

The beginning. No clothes for 2.5 years, losing the car, giving up the apartment, the struggle to keep my son in his school, frustration, self-doubt, and definitely too much beer. Plato said that, “The beginning is the most important part of the work.” I would add that it’s not only the most important part, but also the most difficult one. I won my first big corporate client after 16 months. Other public speaking professionals told me: “This is fast!” It wasn’t fast for me when I couldn’t pay a subway ticket in Berlin.

Of course, today, I would do it again!

During your work as a trainer, what did you find to be the most effective teaching tools, the ones that produce the best results?

One of my biggest worries I have as a trainer is to copy someone else. Apart from Aristotle, who is impossible to avoid, I always strive to come up with my own exercises, my own models, my own techniques. For me, the most effective teaching tools are your unique and original tools. Take the Speech Structure Building, for example. Is it rocket science to come up with a model that looks like a Greek temple? No. But I added one new element – the drainpipe. The drainpipe makes all the difference. Originality is important.

What change do you see in people by the end of the process?

Before, I mentioned my training participants’ expectations. At the end of my trainings I never go back to those expectations. This would be the normal approach of a trainer. Ticking off the expectations: “Mission accomplished!” I cannot do that because those expectations belong to their old me. Their new me has nothing to do with that person. After 48 hours, just like the ancient “Rat Pack” of rhetoric, they know about the power of public speaking. They stop thinking about their fears and start to persuade their audience with logic, energy, emotion and… smile! They are more self-confident, more poised, they are better versions of themselves. I love to see that – again and again.

The problem is, there’s no short cut! Not even the best book on public speaking will ever make this transformation happen. You have to participate in this painful pilgrimage of personal growth. Sorry, my friend, no pain, no gain!