Public Speaking Skills for Designers
One of the things they don’t teach you in school is that you should have great public speaking skills. I took public speaking in high school and in college, because I always thought it would be a good skill in the back of my mind. Luckily, I was right. However, it isn’t required in the typical designer’s curriculum. If you want to be a successful freelance designer, you should hone your public speaking skills, and here’s why:
You Have to Sway and Persuade Clients
You have to walk into a room with people you don’t know and persuade them to hire you for your services. That’s tough, especially if you are first starting out, or you don’t have a lot of experience. Public speaking skills will help you to address your audience in a professional way that will command attention and respect.
You Learn to Have Confidence
Confidence is essential, especially when you’re on your own. Potential clients will be the 1st to tear you down, especially if they sense weakness or doubt. Not only should you know your stuff, but you should be able to walk into a room full of people ready to pitch your services without batting an eye.
When I first started out, I used to frequent a lot of networking events. It’s a great way to grow your business and get your name out there. You get in front of other business owners and talk about yourself, your business and what you do. It will help if you know how to be comfortable with yourself in front of people.
Even when you do get hired, clients will want to see what you’ve done. A killer presentation can help seal the deal and solidify a project and ongoing work, especially with a larger company. You have to be able to give a professional presentation to a room of people in suits. Many times, it is expected, especially with larger clients.
Even after you’ve built a name for yourself and snagged some decent recognition, you’re still going to have to get up in front of other people and speak. You may get invited to speak to other designers at conferences.
Public Speaking Skills Teach You Some Important Traits:
- You learn to speak clearly.
- You speak with adequate volume.
- You learn not to fiddle with things or make odd gestures.
- You learn to address everyone in the room.
- You learn to have good posture.
- You learn how to dress for the occasion.
- You learn to be comfortable with yourself.
- You build confidence to speak in front of any number of people.
- You learn how to prepare your thoughts and topics ahead of time.
All of these elements are useful when running a design business, or working for someone else. You can quickly become a star within an agency if you can take the reins and learn how to command a room with authority and success.
What About You?
How important do you think public speaking skills are to a designer’s career? If you meet with clients at all, I am willing to bet that you use most of the skills mentioned above. What do you have to say? Do you use public speaking skills in your daily routine? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.