Most valuable thing Warren Buffett owns? A degree in public speaking.

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Most valuable thing Warren Buffett owns?  A degree in public speaking.

What’s the only diploma the 3rd richest person in the world has hanging in his office?  

It’s from Dale Carnegie’s public speaking course issued to one Mr. Warren Buffett in 1951.  Buffett credits it as “the most important degree I have.”  Even at the young age of 20, Buffett was smart enough to understand that it didn’t matter how much of a financial genius he was.  He knew if he didn’t invest in his public speaking skills he wouldn’t be able to share his expertise with others.  And that would mean not achieving the success he envisioned for himself.  What kind of success do you envision for yourself?What role does communication and public speaking play on your path to achieving it?  

So Why Don’t We Invest In Ourselves More?

Why do many of us shy away from investing in our communication skills in a significant way?  I think it’s common for people to think those who excel at speaking in public are just naturally natural. Or that performers are good liars.  Or that some people are just born hardwired with the ability to speak in front of others.  In my opinion, none of these are true.  Communication is a muscle.  And just like any muscle it takes time to build and strengthen.  More than likely the underlying cause why people avoid practicing their public speaking skills is fear of discomfort and the unfamiliar.  So much so that sometimes it takes a goal like wanting to be a millionaire by the age of 35 to push us past whatever’s holding us back and sign up for the public speaking course.

An Investment in your public speaking skills is an investment in yourself.

At Bespoken we believe that developing effective communication skills is something that positively influences all aspects of a person’s life.  The ability to communicate confidently will support you from informal conversations with colleagues all the way to full-scale public presentations.

One way to warm up to the idea of formally practicing your communication skills is by making a list of all the possible opportunities you have to communicate publicly.  It may surprise you how many options there are.  Sharing an idea during a staff meeting.  When you’re having your weekly check-in with your boss.  Taking a potential client out for lunch.  Then, of course, there are the more formal opportunities – presenting or speaking in front of a live audience.  Think about what it would be like if each one of these encounters was rewarding and successful.  It would be pretty great, wouldn’t it?

If you’re reading this article chances are you’re contemplating working with a communication coach or want to improve your communication skills.  Take a moment and be honest with yourself.  If you haven’t taken the plunge already, why is that?  What exactly are you afraid of?   “When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.”–Aude Lorde.

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