In part 2 of his series on public speaking, Sean Lanigan reviews Suzanne Bates' book, Speak Like A CEO: Secrets for Commanding Attention and Getting Results.
By Sean Lanigan
How can you effectively lead a production crew or team in a group project? Ever since enrolling at Five Towns College in the Mass Comm program, I have been intrigued about the role of communication. That curiosity led me to Suzanne Bate’s book, Speak Like A CEO: Secrets for Commanding Attention and Getting Results.
The 2005 book was written by an award-winning news anchor and top CEO Consultant, Suzanne Bates. Bates focuses on how important speaking is for any CEO or person in a big leadership role. Though I have watched and listened to many great speakers in my life, this book taught me some great tips on how "the best" do it.
Here are the top takeaways I took from the book to share with everyone reading this article:
First, why is public speaking important? It’s important because your words and actions mean so much more than just a reflection on you. Bates retells the story of when a CEO of a firm with 400 employees and 430 million dollars in revenue said to her, "It’s not just public speaking, it is body language every minute of every day. If I walk around moping, they don’t think something is wrong with me; they think something is wrong with the company." I have often read how non-verbal communication is as important as verbal communication. So when walking around school, you have to watch how you act in terms of your attitude, even if you’re having a bad day.
While people think that great speaking is a natural gift, the book provides countless examples of how even famous leaders grew to become great speakers.
The late Mario Cuomo, former Governor of New York, was known for his unique and authentic voice. Actually, he was terrified of speaking when he was growing up. In college, he got an incomplete in his speech class because he didn’t show up for his final exam. The first speech Cuomo ever gave was in the Court of Appeals of the State of New York, and in order to prepare for that speech, he studied, wrote, and rewrote, and the speech was a success. Think about that for a second. An elected official who was terrified of speaking growing up became a great speaker.
Some of the best speeches ever written involve leaders in incredible moments and with big ambitions. Great speeches need big ideas. Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address was only 272 words. The crowd wasn’t even there to see him; they were there to see another speaker. And when Lincoln stepped up to deliver his speech, it was only three minutes. In those three minutes, he convinced the nation to fight on. The rest, as they say, is history.
Speak Like A CEO: Secrets for Commanding Attention and Getting Results is a helpful book to read for anyone who wants to improve their public speaking. This book will show that speaking is a skill that is learned and can be mastered.
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