This discussion series is an excerpt of my book: The Competence Myth – Why your technical skills are no longer enough and what you can do about it
(Post #10, based on Chapter 12: Articulating Yourself)

I have a question for you, what do you think is the biggest challenge for engineers, scientists, and analytical types? Is it staying on top of rapidly changing technology, well that’s always been an issue, but we can do that. So that’s not your biggest challenge, and not being up on the absolute latest technology is almost certainly not the biggest threat to your job and your relevance in the workplace –not to mention that we’re the ones driving all that technical innovation anyway.

No, the new challenge is effective communication skills. These days, you’re being called upon to articulate your ideas and your perspective and vision in a formal coherent presentation. You’re also expected to actively facilitate a broader discussion as part of a collaborative process. This might happen in a small conference room one day and in an large auditorium the next. It might start as an interdepartmental exercise and quickly evolve to a briefing for upper management. The bottom line is that you need to be ready to communicate, clearly and confidently, no matter the circumstance.

So what’s your game plan? How do you get from where ever you at this point, to that level of verbal dexterity? Well, part of the answer is practice, practice, and more practice. The world’s best speakers and presenters occupy that space only as a result of countless hours of rehearsal and practice. Granted, some people are just naturally more gregarious and talkative than others. In fact, some people just love to hear themselves talk.

The point is that you are perfectly capable of developing your speaking skills and learning to fully articulate yourself. If you’re willing to apply yourself to the process of becoming an accomplished speaker/presenter, you’ll do exactly that.

And, the good news is that your individual growth as a public speaker is not limited or controlled by anyone else. You’ll get back every ounce of effort you put into it. You’re in total control.

It’s like one of those old-fashioned high interest-bearing checking accounts –try finding one of those today; my point is there is a compound effect. Your skills as a speaker tend to accrue. Once you establish the foundational skills, you’ll be able to start building from there. Let’s get started!

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