It seems like some people are born with great public speaking skills and simply come alive in front of a crowd. Others get dry mouth, sweaty palms and then stammer their way through a conversation whether they’re in front of two people or 200. Most of us probably fall somewhere in between, but bolstering your public speaking skills can not only help you impress in a job interview, but also make sure you perform well after you get the job.
We interviewed Anthony Fleming, Senior Director Clinical Recruitment, Talent Acquisition for Baton Rouge-based, national home health company, Amedisys. Fleming says that finding tips to enhance your public speaking skills is fairly easy. There are a number of online courses you can take, seminars to attend and most cities have a local Toastmaster’s affiliate that offers classroom training along with active public speaking opportunities to put your skills into practice.
Speaking of practice, Fleming believes that nothing beats being prepared to help you gain confidence especially in an interview situation. “I cannot stress enough how important it is to be prepared, whether you’re up speaking in front of a group or in a one-on-one interview,” says Fleming. “The best interviewees are confident because they have done their homework on the company and practiced what they want to communicate about themselves.”
Being adept at public speaking also helps you frame your thoughts and learn to be more concise, which is important because most interviews are limited in time and you can easily lose someone’s attention by dragging on unnecessarily.
“One interesting byproduct of public speaking is that it actually teaches you to listen and formulate a thoughtful response,” adds Fleming. “In many interviews, I’ve asked about something specific that may have been a bit off script and then had the candidate respond, but fail to answer the question.”
Fleming agrees that being adept at public speaking goes far beyond just the interview process, even if your job does not entail traditional communication, sales, or making presentations.
“In a corporate setting, you’re often working with executives and senior leaders who don’t have a lot of time,” he explains. “When you’re engaging them, it’s important to formulate your thoughts, be concise and appear confident. The same can be said as you address the people you are leading. At Amedisys, we also have clinicians who care for people in their homes. They need to adapt different communication styles to fit their audience. For example, communicating to an elderly patient is most always different from how you speak to their children who might be making decisions in regard to their care.”
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