During the pandemic, one of our key learnings at Global Public Speaking was that we could no longer operate in a “business as usual” mindset, especially during a time of extreme uncertainty. We had to spring into action and adapt our thinking in order to transform our company and remain competitive.
Coming out of the pandemic and potentially entering a recession, we all need to maintain an adaptive mindset. And the most successful clients we work with realize the strategic advantage of having public speaking skills during challenging times.
Here are five ways public speaking can help you — and your organization — pull through a recession.
1. Communicate Uncertainty to Your Team
The ability to effectively communicate during a time of conflict is one of the greatest challenges that leaders face. To maintain trust, we need to respond with empathy as events are unfolding – especially when we lack certainty. During the onset of the pandemic, I shared tips for reassuring your team when the news is scary via Harvard Business Review, and later, how to talk to your team about distressing global events. Communicating with empathy builds trust and connection between you and your team.
2. Handle Tough Questions from Clients
Challenging questions don’t just come from our in-house team during unpredictable times; clients will want to know how our business is responding to the latest shifts in the economy. While we may have a trusty compass for navigating rough waters, it’s okay to not know the answer should the winds change direction. Understanding how to say “I don’t know” when answering questions can help us gain control of the conversation, while the transition phrase “here’s what we know right now” helps us pivot to information at our disposal. In our workshops, we talk about three types of confident voices; only one of those types is related to having the right answer.
3. Strengthen Your Sales Team’s Skills
The best sales professionals know how to authentically connect with their clients and build excitement around their solutions. Get ahead of your competition by ensuring your sales professionals use their words in impactful and persuasive ways. These 5 Speaking Tips for Sales Situations can help them get started. For an in-depth conversation on this topic, join my LinkedLive next month with Fred Diamond of the Institute for Excellence in Sales.
4. Get Funding for Your Projects
Whether you’re responsible for raising money for a nonprofit, pitching to investors, lobbying for raises for your team, or securing approval on next year’s budget, motivating others to provide financial support is no small feat. Learning the art of persuasion can help you create more effective appeals that take into account your target audience’s interests and barriers to action, and to build a compelling case for your mission.
5. Build Brand Awareness
One of the most effective methods of attracting new business is public speaking: on panels, in webinars and podcasts, and at in-person events. When you speak with confidence and authority in front of your target audience, you’re not only showcasing your expertise, you’re selling your business without the cold calls, “hard sells” or expensive advertising. In my best-selling book Speak with Impact, which recently came out in paperback, I discuss different places where you can put those speaking skills into practice.
In business, we often need to sharpen our core skills to get us through challenges and transitions. Being able to effectively communicate with employees, partners, investors, and clients is an essential part of our leadership strategy during times of uncertainty. Invest in your speaking skills to weather the upcoming turbulence, and you will emerge stronger, clearer, and ready for the future—whatever it brings.