Evaluate Your Public Speaking

The most common fear that people have is public speaking.  The idea of being up in front of a large audience, whether that audience is sitting right in front of you or listening to you on radio or television, can be very intimidating.  However, it is important to try to overcome this fear and develop your skills as a public speaker. 

This is very relevant in sports, whether you are a player, coach, sales rep, marketer, PR director, vice-president, GM or intern.  There are just too many situations, both internally within a company and externally to the public, where you have to stand up and speak confidently and persuasively.  Do not think that if you’re lower down on the totem pole that this does not apply to you.  This is a skill to develop now before you’re in a position of more authority.  In fact, being a strong speaker will help you advance much faster. You will be able to present your ideas more effectively to your co-workers, helping you stand out from the crowd.

The reason I’m writing about this today is because of yesterday’s episode of PTI.  On the show, they had Greg Paulus, the former Duke point guard, come on for their “Five Good Minutes” interview segment.  I was listening to the interview and was immediately distracted by how often he was saying “you know” in the middle of his sentences.  It was his “hesitation phrase” the way a lot of people say “um” when they speak.  You can visit the PTI page on ESPN.com’s Podcenter and listen to the April 16th episode and hear it for yourself (skip to the 10:35 mark).  I went back to listen again, and counted 62 times that he said these words.  I’m sure he didn’t realize he was doing this, and I’m not trying to pick on Paulus as I’m sure he’s a nice guy.  The point is that you need to evaluate yourself as a public speaker so that you can avoid embarrassing moments like this.  You will definitely benefit in the long run!

2 thoughts on “Evaluate Your Public Speaking

  • April 20, 2009 at 2:08 pm


    I was watching the same segment and noticed this too. I was surprised, considering he’s a player from Duke and Coach K usually has his players well-trained in off the court skills.

    To add onto your post, Toastmasters http://www.toastmasters.org/ is a great way to get some work on public speaking, especially for college students and young professionals.

  • April 21, 2009 at 9:25 am

    Toastmasters is a great organization. I was actually the president of a Toastmasters chapter at business school. Participating in that group really helped me develop my public speaking skills (I used to have a big problem with “um” but not any more).

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