If you want to get ahead in the business world, just ask Warren Buffett. He once advised a group of college students to “get comfortable with public speaking,” and added, “whether you like it or not!”
Boston area business owner Jacki Rose is not only comfortable with it, she is helping others overcome a fear of public speaking and improve their presentation skills. She takes Buffett’s sage advice to the next level for herself and for others.
“It’s a skill that all successful people share,” notes presentations coach and author Rose, “but often we need to develop not only confidence but also the necessary skills to become an effective presenter.”
Rose, who has a passion for coaching others to improve their public speaking skills, is extremely comfortable on the speaking platform herself, having addressed audiences of more than 1,000 with ease. But even for Rose, speaking in public was often challenging. Over the course of the last 20 years, she was often called upon to address groups in the fields of sales, hospitality and education. She found that her nerves often got the best of her. She experienced all the classic symptoms: her heart raced wildly, she would quickly pace back and forth before her audiences and her voice would morph into a shrill squeak.
That all changed after Rose completed a grueling cross continental bicycle journey—3,500 miles in just 32 days. After that life-changing experience, she knew that she could overcome her fear and learn to speak effectively in public. Rose quickly turned her bike trip into a motivational speech and accelerated quickly through the ranks of professional speaking groups such as Toastmaster’s International (winning numerous speech contests and earning the organization’s highest level of achievement -- the DTM designation -- distinguished toastmaster), the National Speaker’s Association and became a Certified Trainer through the American Society of Training and Development.
In 2001 she launched Top Performance, a business dedicated to turning business professionals into business presenters, and wrote and published 11 Steps to Powerful Public Speaking.
Today, in the midst of a challenging economy, Rose finds that good public speaking skills are more important than ever. With so many business professionals out of work and looking for jobs or for those just trying to keep a job, knowing what to say and how to say it becomes a crucial skill, She believes. "Developing good speaking skills will set you apart from the competition," she advises. "And today, we all need to have that competitive edge."
To meet this need, Rose has been speaking at various Boston area meetings and events, and is now offering a series of free, one hour lunch-time seminars to local businesses. She is also offering one of her instructional CDs free with a subscription to her online newsletter.
For Rose, “it’s about planting seeds,” as she reaches out in this economy. “People need to develop these skills to move ahead, but I also realize that folks do not have as much to spend on education.” Rose says her programs have expanded to include more affordable options. For example, she offers online slide-by-slide coaching for PowerPoint presentations, and has most recently partnered with a style and wardrobe consultant to offer low-cost seminars for business women.
Rose is also relying more on technology to keep her clients and prospects informed and aware via email blasts, videos, online newsletters and involvement with social media platforms.
Business success is “all about the right mix of confidence and skills,” according to Rose. “If you want to get ahead in the business world, develop good public speaking skills. If you don't believe me, just ask Warren Buffett!” she exclaims.
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