Public Speaking as an Effective Skill Essay

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Public speaking is a highly important and useful skill that carries multiple advantages for personal life and professional career. Public speaking skills are required for specialists of various kinds. In this regard, mastering public speaking is going to serve as great enforcement for anyone. The purpose of this essay is to demonstrate different situations where public speaking skills play an important role to show the reasons why public speaking is considered an effective skill.

First of all, the knowledge of theoretical and practical sides of public speaking provides one with multiple benefits such as understanding the ways people think and process the information, communicating thoughtfully and with higher efficiency, using the critical thinking, knowing how to organise and prepare presentations, researching the unfamiliar audiences and using appropriate communication strategies (Coopman, Lull 2014, p. 12). It is a well-known fact that most people experience certain difficulties in adjusting to a new society. For example, in a situation when a person starts working at a new place, they would feel the need to fit into the group of new co-workers, find a common language and establish friendly atmosphere at the workplace.

Public speaking skills provide a person with an ability to evaluate the audience, analyse their needs, learn their potentials, and successfully build contact with them. Proper application of public speaking knowledge will allow the new member of a group to move through the stage of getting to know the colleagues and feel comfortable talking with new people in unfamiliar situations (Coopman & Lull 2014, p. 12). In this case, public speaking skills will allow avoiding the discomfort at the workplace, which may lead to disruption of the work process and create problems for the whole company.

The most obvious situation where public speaking skills are always very useful is an actual performance in front of a group of people such as a public address, presentation of a new project at work, or a motivational speech. In such situations, the speaker can represent a group of fellows or the ideas important for many people. Due to this, a successful performance and efficient delivery of information are highly valuable and important (Keith & Lundberg 2013, p. 4). When one person is chosen to speak on behalf of many, it creates a certain pressure and responsibility for the speaker. In the case of the successful performance of one, the whole group will benefit. The good public speaker has to be able to present the information, keep the audience interested in the delivered ideas, and defend the point of view in case of criticism or counter argumentation.

The skills of public speaking provide one with courage, confidence, and the ability to fluently express themselves. One more situation that demonstrates the importance of public speaking skills is a casual conversation with a stranger. People are social creatures, interpersonal relationships of different kinds are highly important for us. Starting and maintaining friendships, being close to family members, having romantic relationships makes our lives easier and fuller. A skillful speaker will be able to represent themselves in the best and most appropriate way. This can be quite a challenging occupation. Performing in front of just one person is another variation of public speaking (Goldwasser 2006, p. 42). Successful personal representation in any situation, will it be a first date or a job interview, is extremely meaningful for anyone. This is why the development of public speaking skills is considered highly beneficial.

To conclude, almost every day, people face situations where speaking in front of an audience is required. The size of the audience may vary from one to hundreds or thousands of people, but the importance of professional and efficient delivery of information is always high. Knowledge of theoretical and practical sides of public speaking will enable the speaker to feel confident and comfortable and to present themselves and the necessary information in the best ways.

Coopman, S. & Lull, J. 2014, Public Speaking: The Evolving Art. Cengage Learning United States, Boston.

Goldwasser, I. 2006, Interactive Communication: A Guide to Effective Communication. Pearson Education Australia, Sydney.

Keith, W. & Lundberg, C. 2013, Public Speaking: Choice and Responsibility. Cengage Learning United States, Boston.

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The Importance Of Speaking Skills

1. introduction.

The ability to communicate effectively through speaking is crucial in various aspects of life, from personal relationships to professional success. This essay will delve into the importance of speaking skills and how they contribute to individual growth and achievement. The introduction will provide an overview of the significance of speaking skills, setting the stage for the subsequent discussions on their impact on personal, social, and professional spheres. Additionally, the introduction will highlight the key themes and ideas that will be explored in detail throughout the essay, offering a preview of the comprehensive analysis that awaits. By emphasizing the relevance of speaking skills and outlining the structure of the essay, the introduction aims to capture the reader's attention and establish a foundation for the subsequent exploration of this essential topic.

2. Benefits of Effective Speaking Skills

Effective speaking skills offer a wide range of benefits that can positively impact various aspects of an individual's personal and professional life. In terms of career advancement, individuals who possess strong speaking skills are often better equipped to articulate their ideas and viewpoints, leading to greater opportunities for leadership roles and professional growth. Effective communication is also enhanced through strong speaking skills, as individuals are better able to convey their thoughts clearly and persuasively, leading to improved relationships and collaboration in both personal and professional settings. Moreover, developing strong speaking skills can also contribute to confidence building. The ability to communicate effectively can boost an individual's self-assurance, leading to increased assertiveness and a greater sense of empowerment. This confidence can, in turn, positively impact various aspects of an individual's life, from social interactions to public speaking engagements. Ultimately, the benefits of effective speaking skills extend beyond mere verbal communication, with the potential to drive career progression, improve relationships, and foster personal development.

2.1. Career Advancement

Effective speaking skills play a crucial role in career advancement. Individuals who possess strong communication abilities are more likely to succeed in the workplace and advance in their careers. This is because effective speaking skills enable individuals to articulate their ideas and opinions clearly, persuasively, and confidently, which are highly valued attributes in the professional world. Furthermore, individuals with strong speaking skills are better equipped to engage and influence their colleagues, clients, and superiors. They are more likely to be chosen for leadership positions, as they can effectively convey their vision and motivate others. Additionally, those with strong speaking skills are often perceived as more competent and knowledgeable, which can lead to opportunities for promotions and increased responsibility in the workplace. Finally, effective speaking skills are particularly beneficial in job interviews, as they enable individuals to confidently present themselves and their qualifications. By effectively communicating their strengths and experiences, individuals are more likely to impress potential employers and secure job opportunities. In summary, the ability to speak effectively is a valuable asset in career advancement, as it can lead to increased opportunities for leadership, influence, and professional growth.

2.2. Improved Communication

Effective speaking skills are crucial for improved communication across various aspects of life, including personal relationships, professional settings, and social interactions. When individuals are able to express themselves clearly and confidently, they can effectively convey their thoughts, ideas, and emotions, leading to better understanding and connection with others. Improved communication skills enable individuals to articulate their thoughts with precision, listen actively to others, and engage in meaningful conversations that foster mutual respect and empathy. Furthermore, enhanced communication skills facilitate better collaboration and teamwork, as individuals are better equipped to convey their needs and expectations, as well as understand and address the concerns of others. This is particularly important in the workplace, where effective communication is essential for achieving organizational goals, resolving conflicts, and building strong working relationships. Improved communication also contributes to better decision-making processes, as individuals are able to gather and synthesize relevant information and perspectives, leading to more informed and strategic choices. In addition, effective communication skills play a crucial role in conflict resolution and negotiation, as individuals are better equipped to express their viewpoints, negotiate mutually beneficial solutions, and build consensus. Overall, improved communication skills enable individuals to navigate various social and professional interactions with confidence, clarity, and empathy, leading to more meaningful and fulfilling relationships and experiences.

2.3. Confidence Building

Confidence building is one of the key benefits of developing effective speaking skills. As individuals improve their ability to communicate their thoughts and ideas clearly and persuasively, they also experience a significant boost in self-assurance. This increase in confidence can have a positive impact on various aspects of their lives, including personal relationships, professional interactions, and overall well-being. Furthermore, the process of honing speaking skills often involves overcoming initial fears or anxieties about public speaking or expressing oneself in front of others. As individuals practice and refine their speaking abilities, they become more comfortable and self-assured in their communication, leading to a greater sense of confidence in their own abilities. Moreover, confidence building through speaking skills is not limited to public speaking or formal presentations. It also extends to everyday conversations and interactions, as individuals become more adept at expressing themselves and asserting their viewpoints. This increased confidence can contribute to improved self-esteem and a more assertive and proactive approach to both personal and professional challenges. In conclusion, developing effective speaking skills contributes to confidence building, enabling individuals to communicate with greater assurance and self-assuredness in various areas of their lives. This improved confidence not only enhances their ability to articulate their ideas persuasively but also plays a vital role in their personal and professional development, ultimately leading to greater success and fulfillment.

3. Practical Tips for Enhancing Speaking Skills

To effectively enhance your speaking skills, there are several practical tips to keep in mind. Firstly, it is crucial to practice regularly. This can be done by engaging in conversation with others, participating in public speaking events, or even recording yourself to analyze and improve your delivery. Additionally, seek out constructive feedback from peers, mentors, or coaches to identify areas for improvement. Another important tip is to focus on body language and vocal delivery. Maintaining good posture, using hand gestures, and varying your vocal tone and inflection can greatly enhance your communication effectiveness. Moreover, be mindful of your pacing and pausing to emphasize key points and allow for audience comprehension. Furthermore, preparing and organizing your thoughts beforehand can significantly improve your speaking skills. Develop a clear and concise message, structure your presentation, and anticipate potential questions. This will help you speak with confidence and coherence. Finally, be open to learning from others and be flexible in adapting your communication style to different audiences and situations. By implementing these practical tips, you can enhance your speaking skills and become a more effective communicator.

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1.1 Why Is Public Speaking Important?

Learning objectives.

  • Explore three types of public speaking in everyday life: informative, persuasive, and entertaining.
  • Understand the benefits of taking a course in public speaking.
  • Explain the benefits people get from engaging in public speaking.

A man speaking to a group of women

Christian Pierret – Leader – CC BY 2.0.

In today’s world, we are constantly bombarded with messages both good and bad. No matter where you live, where you work or go to school, or what kinds of media you use, you are probably exposed to hundreds. if not thousands, of advertising messages every day. Researcher Norman W. Edmund estimates that by 2020 the amount of knowledge in the world will double every seventy-three days (Edmund, 2005). Because we live in a world where we are overwhelmed with content, communicating information in a way that is accessible to others is more important today than ever before. To help us further understand why public speaking is important, we will first examine public speaking in everyday life. We will then discuss how public speaking can benefit you personally.

Everyday Public Speaking

Every single day people across the United States and around the world stand up in front of some kind of audience and speak. In fact, there’s even a monthly publication that reproduces some of the top speeches from around the United States called Vital Speeches of the Day ( ). Although public speeches are of various types, they can generally be grouped into three categories based on their intended purpose: informative, persuasive, and entertaining.

Informative Speaking

One of the most common types of public speaking is informative speaking . The primary purpose of informative presentations is to share one’s knowledge of a subject with an audience. Reasons for making an informative speech vary widely. For example, you might be asked to instruct a group of coworkers on how to use new computer software or to report to a group of managers how your latest project is coming along. A local community group might wish to hear about your volunteer activities in New Orleans during spring break, or your classmates may want you to share your expertise on Mediterranean cooking. What all these examples have in common is the goal of imparting information to an audience.

Informative speaking is integrated into many different occupations. Physicians often lecture about their areas of expertise to medical students, other physicians, and patients. Teachers find themselves presenting to parents as well as to their students. Firefighters give demonstrations about how to effectively control a fire in the house. Informative speaking is a common part of numerous jobs and other everyday activities. As a result, learning how to speak effectively has become an essential skill in today’s world.

Persuasive Speaking

A second common reason for speaking to an audience is to persuade others. In our everyday lives, we are often called on to convince, motivate, or otherwise persuade others to change their beliefs, take an action, or reconsider a decision. Advocating for music education in your local school district, convincing clients to purchase your company’s products, or inspiring high school students to attend college all involve influencing other people through public speaking.

For some people, such as elected officials, giving persuasive speeches is a crucial part of attaining and continuing career success. Other people make careers out of speaking to groups of people who pay to listen to them. Motivational authors and speakers, such as Les Brown ( ), make millions of dollars each year from people who want to be motivated to do better in their lives. Brian Tracy, another professional speaker and author, specializes in helping business leaders become more productive and effective in the workplace ( ).

Whether public speaking is something you do every day or just a few times a year, persuading others is a challenging task. If you develop the skill to persuade effectively, it can be personally and professionally rewarding.

Entertaining Speaking

Entertaining speaking involves an array of speaking occasions ranging from introductions to wedding toasts, to presenting and accepting awards, to delivering eulogies at funerals and memorial services in addition to after-dinner speeches and motivational speeches. Entertaining speaking has been important since the time of the ancient Greeks, when Aristotle identified epideictic speaking (speaking in a ceremonial context) as an important type of address. As with persuasive and informative speaking, there are professionals, from religious leaders to comedians, who make a living simply from delivering entertaining speeches. As anyone who has watched an awards show on television or has seen an incoherent best man deliver a wedding toast can attest, speaking to entertain is a task that requires preparation and practice to be effective.

Personal Benefits of Public Speaking

Oral communication skills were the number one skill that college graduates found useful in the business world, according to a study by sociologist Andrew Zekeri (Zekeri, 2004). That fact alone makes learning about public speaking worthwhile. However, there are many other benefits of communicating effectively for the hundreds of thousands of college students every year who take public speaking courses. Let’s take a look at some of the personal benefits you’ll get both from a course in public speaking and from giving public speeches.

Benefits of Public Speaking Courses

In addition to learning the process of creating and delivering an effective speech, students of public speaking leave the class with a number of other benefits as well. Some of these benefits include

  • developing critical thinking skills,
  • fine-tuning verbal and nonverbal skills,
  • overcoming fear of public speaking.

Developing Critical Thinking Skills

One of the very first benefits you will gain from your public speaking course is an increased ability to think critically. Problem solving is one of many critical thinking skills you will engage in during this course. For example, when preparing a persuasive speech, you’ll have to think through real problems affecting your campus, community, or the world and provide possible solutions to those problems. You’ll also have to think about the positive and negative consequences of your solutions and then communicate your ideas to others. At first, it may seem easy to come up with solutions for a campus problem such as a shortage of parking spaces: just build more spaces. But after thinking and researching further you may find out that building costs, environmental impact from loss of green space, maintenance needs, or limited locations for additional spaces make this solution impractical. Being able to think through problems and analyze the potential costs and benefits of solutions is an essential part of critical thinking and of public speaking aimed at persuading others. These skills will help you not only in public speaking contexts but throughout your life as well. As we stated earlier, college graduates in Zekeri’s study rated oral communication skills as the most useful for success in the business world. The second most valuable skill they reported was problem-solving ability, so your public speaking course is doubly valuable!

Another benefit to public speaking is that it will enhance your ability to conduct and analyze research. Public speakers must provide credible evidence within their speeches if they are going to persuade various audiences. So your public speaking course will further refine your ability to find and utilize a range of sources.

Fine-Tuning Verbal and Nonverbal Skills

A second benefit of taking a public speaking course is that it will help you fine-tune your verbal and nonverbal communication skills. Whether you competed in public speaking in high school or this is your first time speaking in front of an audience, having the opportunity to actively practice communication skills and receive professional feedback will help you become a better overall communicator. Often, people don’t even realize that they twirl their hair or repeatedly mispronounce words while speaking in public settings until they receive feedback from a teacher during a public speaking course. People around the United States will often pay speech coaches over one hundred dollars per hour to help them enhance their speaking skills. You have a built-in speech coach right in your classroom, so it is to your advantage to use the opportunity to improve your verbal and nonverbal communication skills.

Overcoming Fear of Public Speaking

An additional benefit of taking a public speaking class is that it will help reduce your fear of public speaking. Whether they’ve spoken in public a lot or are just getting started, most people experience some anxiety when engaging in public speaking. Heidi Rose and Andrew Rancer evaluated students’ levels of public speaking anxiety during both the first and last weeks of their public speaking class and found that those levels decreased over the course of the semester (Rose & Rancer, 1993). One explanation is that people often have little exposure to public speaking. By taking a course in public speaking, students become better acquainted with the public speaking process, making them more confident and less apprehensive. In addition, you will learn specific strategies for overcoming the challenges of speech anxiety. We will discuss this topic in greater detail in Chapter 3 “Speaking Confidently” .

Benefits of Engaging in Public Speaking

Once you’ve learned the basic skills associated with public speaking, you’ll find that being able to effectively speak in public has profound benefits, including

  • influencing the world around you,
  • developing leadership skills,
  • becoming a thought leader.

Influencing the World around You

If you don’t like something about your local government, then speak out about your issue! One of the best ways to get our society to change is through the power of speech. Common citizens in the United States and around the world, like you, are influencing the world in real ways through the power of speech. Just type the words “citizens speak out” in a search engine and you’ll find numerous examples of how common citizens use the power of speech to make real changes in the world—for example, by speaking out against “fracking” for natural gas (a process in which chemicals are injected into rocks in an attempt to open them up for fast flow of natural gas or oil) or in favor of retaining a popular local sheriff. One of the amazing parts of being a citizen in a democracy is the right to stand up and speak out, which is a luxury many people in the world do not have. So if you don’t like something, be the force of change you’re looking for through the power of speech.

Developing Leadership Skills

Have you ever thought about climbing the corporate ladder and eventually finding yourself in a management or other leadership position? If so, then public speaking skills are very important. Hackman and Johnson assert that effective public speaking skills are a necessity for all leaders (Hackman & Johnson, 2004). If you want people to follow you, you have to communicate effectively and clearly what followers should do. According to Bender, “Powerful leadership comes from knowing what matters to you. Powerful presentations come from expressing this effectively. It’s important to develop both” (Bender, 1998). One of the most important skills for leaders to develop is their public speaking skills, which is why executives spend millions of dollars every year going to public speaking workshops; hiring public speaking coaches; and buying public speaking books, CDs, and DVDs.

Becoming a Thought Leader

Even if you are not in an official leadership position, effective public speaking can help you become a “ thought leader .” Joel Kurtzman, editor of Strategy & Business , coined this term to call attention to individuals who contribute new ideas to the world of business. According to business consultant Ken Lizotte, “when your colleagues, prospects, and customers view you as one very smart guy or gal to know, then you’re a thought leader” (Lizotte, 2008). Typically, thought leaders engage in a range of behaviors, including enacting and conducting research on business practices. To achieve thought leader status, individuals must communicate their ideas to others through both writing and public speaking. Lizotte demonstrates how becoming a thought leader can be personally and financially rewarding at the same time: when others look to you as a thought leader, you will be more desired and make more money as a result. Business gurus often refer to “intellectual capital,” or the combination of your knowledge and ability to communicate that knowledge to others (Lizotte, 2008). Whether standing before a group of executives discussing the next great trend in business or delivering a webinar (a seminar over the web), thought leaders use public speaking every day to create the future that the rest of us live in.

Key Takeaways

  • People have many reasons for engaging in public speaking, but the skills necessary for public speaking are applicable whether someone is speaking for informative, persuasive, or entertainment reasons.
  • Taking a public speaking class will improve your speaking skills, help you be a more critical thinker, fine-tune your verbal and nonverbal communication skills, and help you overcome public speaking anxiety.
  • Effective public speaking skills have many direct benefits for the individual speaker, including influencing the world around you, developing leadership skills, and becoming a go-to person for ideas and solutions.
  • Talk to people who are currently working in the career you hope to pursue. Of the three types of public speaking discussed in the text, which do they use most commonly use in their work?
  • Read one of the free speeches available at . What do you think the speaker was trying to accomplish? What was her or his reason for speaking?
  • Which personal benefit are you most interested in receiving from a public speaking class? Why?

Bender, P. U. (1998). Stand, deliver and lead. Ivey Business Journal , 62 (3), 46–47.

Edmund, N. W. (2005). End the biggest educational and intellectual blunder in history: A $100,000 challenge to our top educational leaders . Ft. Lauderdale, FL: Scientific Method Publishing Co.

Hackman, M. Z., & Johnson, C. E. (2004). Leadership: A communication perspective (4th ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland.

Lizotte, K. (2008). The expert’s edge: Become the go-to authority people turn to every time [Kindle 2 version]. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Retrieved from (locations 72–78).

Rose, H. M., & Rancer, A. S. (1993). The impact of basic courses in oral interpretation and public speaking on communication apprehension. Communication Reports , 6 , 54–60.

Zekeri, A. A. (2004). College curriculum competencies and skills former students found essential to their careers. College Student Journal , 38 , 412–422.

Stand up, Speak out Copyright © 2016 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Home — Essay Samples — Sociology — Effective Communication — Effective Communication: The Key to Building Strong Connections


Effective Communication: The Key to Building Strong Connections

  • Categories: Connection Effective Communication

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Words: 791 |

Published: Sep 12, 2023

Words: 791 | Pages: 2 | 4 min read

Table of contents

The importance of effective communication, key elements of effective communication, barriers to effective communication, strategies for improving communication, 1. building relationships:, 2. resolving conflicts:, 3. achieving goals:, 4. personal development:, 5. success in the workplace:, 1. clarity:, 2. active listening:, 3. empathy:, 4. nonverbal communication:, 5. respect:, 1. misunderstandings:, 2. lack of active listening:, 3. emotional barriers:, 4. assumptions and stereotypes:, 5. lack of feedback:, 1. practice active listening:, 2. foster empathy:, 3. be mindful of nonverbal cues:, 4. seek feedback:, 5. adapt to your audience: h3>, 6. practice constructive communication:, 7. educate yourself:.

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Don’t Underestimate the Power of Your Voice

  • Dan Bullock
  • Raúl Sánchez

importance of speaking skills essay

It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it.

Our voices matter as much as our words matter. They have the power to awaken the senses and lead others to act, close deals, or land us successful job interviews. Through our voices, we create nuances of meaning, convey our emotions, and find the secret to communicating our executive presence. So, how do we train our voices to be more visceral, effective, and command attention?

  • The key lies in harnessing our voices using the principles of vocalics. Vocalics primarily consists of three linguistic elements: stress (volume) , intonation (rising and falling tone), and rhythm (pacing). By combining vocalics with public speaking skills, we can colors our words with the meaning and emotion that motivates others to act.
  • Crank up your volume: No, we don’t mean shout. The effective use of volume goes beyond trying to be the loudest person in the room. To direct the flow of any conversation, you must overtly stress what linguists call focus words. When you intentionally place volume on certain words, you emphasize parts of a message and shift the direction of a conversation toward your preferred outcome.
  • Use a powerful speech style: The key to achieving a powerful speech style, particularly during job interviews and hiring decisions, is to first concentrate on the “melody” of your voice, also called intonation. This rise or fall of our voice conveys grammatical meaning (questions or statements) or even attitude (surprise, joy, sarcasm).
  • Calibrate your vocal rhythm with the right melody: Our messages are perceived differently depending on the way we use rhythm in our voices. Deliberately varying our pacing with compelling pauses creates “voiced” punctuation, a powerful way to hold the pulse of the moment.

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  • Dan Bullock is a language and communications specialist/trainer at the United Nations Secretariat, training diplomats and global UN staff. Dan is the co-author of How to Communicate Effectively with Anyone, Anywhere (Career Press, 2021).   He also serves as faculty teaching business communication, linguistics, and public relations within the Division of Programs in Business at New York University’s School of Professional Studies. Dan was the director of corporate communications at a leading NYC public relations firm, and his corporate clients have included TD Bank and Pfizer. 
  • Raúl Sánchez is an award-winning clinical assistant professor and the corporate program coordinator at New York University’s School of Professional Studies. Raúl is the co-author of How to Communicate Effectively with Anyone, Anywhere (Career Press, 2021). He has designed and delivered corporate trainings for Deloitte and the United Nations, as well as been a writing consultant for Barnes & Noble Press and PBS. Raúl was awarded the NYU School of Professional Studies Teaching Excellence Award and specializes in linguistics and business communication.

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Essay on Importance of Communication for Students and Children

500+ words essay on importance of communication:.

Communication is one of the important tools that aid us to connect with people. Either you are a student or a working professional, good communication is something that will connect you far ahead. Proper communication can help you to solve a number of issues and resolve problems. This is the reason that one must know how to communicate well. The skills of communication essential to be developed so that you are able to interact with people. And able to share your thoughts and reach out to them. All this needs the correct guidance and self-analysis as well.

essay on importance of communication

Meaning of Communication

The word communication is basically a process of interaction with the people and their environment . Through such type of interactions, two or more individuals influence the ideas, beliefs, and attitudes of each other.

Such interactions happen through the exchange of information through words, gestures, signs, symbols, and expressions. In organizations, communication is an endless process of giving and receiving information and to build social relationships.

Importance of Communication

Communication is not merely essential but the need of the hour. It allows you to get the trust of the people and at the same time carry better opportunities before you. Some important points are as follows –

Help to Build Relationships 

No matter either you are studying or working, communication can aid you to build a relationship with the people. If you are studying you communicate with classmates and teachers to build a relationship with them. Likewise in offices and organizations too, you make relationships with the staff, your boss and other people around.

Improve the Working Environment 

There are a number of issues which can be handled through the right and effective communication. Even planning needs communication both written as well as verbal. Hence it is essential to be good in them so as to fill in the communication gap.

Foster strong team

Communication helps to build a strong team environment in the office and other places. Any work which requires to be done in a team. It is only possible if the head communicates everything well and in the right direction.

Find the right solutions

Through communication, anyone can find solutions to even serious problems. When we talk, we get ideas from people that aid us to solve the issues. This is where communication comes into play. Powerful communication is the strength of any organization and can help it in many ways.

Earns more respect

If your communication skills are admirable, people will love and give you respect. If there is any problem, you will be the first person to be contacted. Thus it will increase your importance. Hence you can say that communications skills can make a big change to your reputation in society.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

Don’t Go Overboard With Your Point

The conversation is about to express your thoughts. And to let the other person know what you feel. It is not mean to prove that your point is correct and the other person is wrong. Don’t Overboard other With Your Point.

Watch Your Words

Before you say something to Watch Your Words. At times, out of anger or anxiousness, we say somethings that we must not say. Whenever you are in a professional meeting or in some formal place, where there is a necessity of communicating about your product or work then it is advised to practice the same beforehand

Communication is the greatest importance. It is important to sharing out one’s thoughts and feelings to live a fuller and happier life. The more we communicate the less we suffer and the better we feel about everything around. However, it is all the more necessary to learn the art of effective communication to put across ones point well.

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importance of speaking skills essay

What Are Effective Speaking Skills?

American writer Dale Carnegie famously said, “There are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave. The one you…

What Are Effective Speaking Skills?

American writer Dale Carnegie famously said, “There are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave. The one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave.” His words are a testament to the importance of speaking skills when it comes to communication.

Effective speaking has the power to change history, whether it is to turn the tide of war or announce the independence of a nation. In the modern context, speaking skills have been effective in launching iconic products. They’ve even brought back companies from the edge of bankruptcy.

The right combination of words and gestures can inspire people, spur them into action, and get them to dedicate themselves to a cause.

What Are Speaking Skills?

The importance of speaking skills, types of speaking skills and frameworks.

People believe that effective speaking is a natural talent. Either you have it or you don’t. But this is not true. You can learn different types of speaking skills and become good at it.

You can’t take speaking skills lightly, no matter how talented you are. If you speak with conviction and passion, it will help the audience relate to you, believe in you, and remember you.

The question then is: what are speaking skills? They are techniques that enable a speaker to convey a message effectively.

Speaking skills don’t just involve the use of the right words. Your body language also has a major role in conveying a message.

There are three main aspects of effective speaking:

Language is an integral part of speaking skills. The words you use must suit the occasion and the audience. For example, the language you use when speaking to a friend is different from the one you use for a formal presentation.

Effective speakers customize their message to suit their audience. The audience is familiar with certain types of words. It’s important to use such words to get them to respond. For example, using industry terms in a client meeting can evoke desired responses.

As a general rule, shorter and simpler sentences work well. They are easier to process and understand, and they create a sense of urgency. For example, in the Avengers series of movies, when Captain America says, “Avengers assemble!”, and not “Avengers, gather around me”, the message becomes memorable and impactful.

Similarly, the memorable line in Jawaharlal Nehru’s Independence Day speech in August 1947, “At the stroke of the midnight hour”, conveyed the gravity of the occasion, which a line like “At 12.00 am…” may not have.

Another aspect of speaking skills in communication that is often ignored is your voice. It includes pitch, tone, and strength. How you speak signals your emotional state.

A low voice and too many pauses could denote hesitation. Clarity and volume could denote confidence. A strong and confident tone portrays conviction. People believe what you say when you deliver it in a strong voice.

Public speaking requires practice. You might be quite comfortable talking to small groups or in informal settings. But that is not the same as addressing a large crowd, which is why practice and rehearsals matter.

You can slowly read your message aloud, making sure you pause at the appropriate places. This will help you polish your speaking style. Good orators have a tone and style which they own. It’s his distinctive voice that makes Morgan Freeman a favorite Hollywood narrator.

The final aspect of speaking skills is not about speaking at all. Non-verbal communication consists of body language. It includes facial expression, posture, eye contact, and hand gestures. Your body language must match your words for your address to be effective.

Your body language signals to the audience how invested you are into what you are speaking about. It shows the passion behind your words and helps draw the audience emotionally to your message and make them feel involved.

You might think that you’re never going to lead an army or coach a cricket team. So why would you need to practice speaking skills? The fact is, such skills will come in handy not only at your workplace but also in your personal life. Here’s how:

Getting them to say ‘yes’

One of the objectives of speaking effectively is the ability to persuade: when you need your manager to back your idea, when you want your team to work longer hours or when your spouse needs convincing to watch your favorite movie. These are all instances that require effective speaking.

The whole point of speaking skills is to be able to sway people’s opinions. It’s to get them to act in alignment with your goals.

Developing a career edge

Being an effective speaker separates you from the corporate herd and pitches you as a valuable resource for your company. It, of course, gives you an edge over your colleagues.

Effective communicators get special treatment because they are often asked to represent the company. They’re the ones meeting the important clients, negotiating and closing deals, and building a reputation for the company.

For example, when you need to impress a new client, you send your best salesperson. You won’t send in someone new or inexperienced. The best salesperson is almost always your best speaker.

When it’s time for promotions and bonuses, speakers are rewarded first. Companies invest significantly in their training. They’re the ones who get groomed for leadership posts.

Holistic communications development

Speaking skills hold a special place of value. Good speakers are also good writers for they would have written several drafts of each speech.

Good speakers are also those who can connect and empathize with people. This makes them approachable and authentic. Often, people gravitate towards them for support and advice. ( )

They are also readers, as reading helps expand the vocabulary and develop the flair for using suitable words for different situations.

Thus, practicing speaking skills leads to the development of writing, listening, and reading skills too.

Becoming an expert

Effective speaking signals subject matter expertise because of the research that the making of a good speech would involve. That is why a good speaker is also regarded as a leader and influencer.

Popular intellectuals such as Barack Obama and Richard Dawkins are all good speakers. When they talk, we believe them. We trust them to know what they’re talking about. To rise to a position of fame and influence, having effective speaking skills is a must.

Feel like a boss

Establishing a genuine connection with the audience gives a sense of accomplishment. Listening to the audience’s applause is a great boost for self-esteem . Being appreciated by the audience is like receiving a gift for all the hard work that a speaker puts in.

While speaking effectively is rewarding, it is also challenging. Various speaking skills and frameworks can help overcome the challenges.

1. Aristotle’s Appeals

One of the most useful frameworks speakers use is Aristotle’s Appeals. They help you find various ways to appeal to the audience. Your appeal can be based on logic, authority, and emotion.

The audience might listen to you because your argument makes sense. They might listen because you’ve appealed to their anger or sadness or some other emotion. They could also listen to you because you’re an expert.

These different types of appeals are also known as Logos, Ethos, and Pathos .

2. The PAM Framework

Another useful framework is PAM (Purpose, Audience, and Message). You convey the purpose or objective of your speech to the audience through a verbal message.

The PAM framework requires you to know your audience, their triggers, likes, and dislikes.

3. The Three Ws

You can also use an introspective framework. This is where The Three Ws of speaking will come to your aid.

The first ‘W’ is ‘Why are you delivering this speech?’ The second is ‘Who is listening?’ And the third ‘What are you talking about?’  Together these questions help you define your purpose and your audience. The third question helps you structure your speech.

The importance of speaking effectively lies in its tremendous potential to induce change. A good speech can inspire employees and even save companies.

Their words may fade over time, but the feeling they leave us with never diminishes. In the words of American poet Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

To learn more, sign up for Harappa Education’s Speaking Effectively course. It covers all these concepts and a few more including the Harappa Idea Funnel and the Elevator Pitch . Join now to learn how to become an effective speaker.

Explore our Harappa Diaries section to know more about topics related to the Communicate habit such as the importance of reading , report writing , and interpersonal skills .



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Speaking effectively is defined as speaking in such a way that your message is clearly heard and, if possible, acted upon. There are two main elements to speaking effectively: what you say, and how you say it.

What you say means your choice of words. The words you might use when chatting to a friend are likely to be quite different from those used in a formal presentation or interview.

Similarly, the way that you speak will also vary in different situations. However, there are also likely to be some common factors: for example, whether you naturally talk quietly or loudly, and how you use body language.

This page discusses aspects of effective speaking. It also suggests ways in which you can become a more effective speaker.

Aspects of Effective Speaking

Effective speaking means being able to say what you want to say in such a way that it is heard and acted upon.

Whether you are talking to a major conference about a new scientific discovery, your children about their behaviour, or your boss about a pay rise, you need to be able to speak effectively. This means considering every possible tool and aspect to ensure that nothing distracts or detracts from your message.

There are three main elements of effective speaking

  • The words you use.
  • Your voice.
  • Your other non-verbal communication, particularly body language.

Choosing Your Words

What you say—the words you choose—matters.

If in doubt about your meaning, your audience will come back to the words that you used and double-check what you might have meant. It is therefore important to choose carefully, especially when you are saying something important. Things to consider include:

Your audience . The words you choose will be different if you are talking to 200 people at a conference, a trusted colleague, your boss, or your children. You need to think about your audience’s overall level of understanding of the subject, and also the type of language that you use.

Shorter sentences are easier to process and understand. Using shorter sentences also creates urgency.

Simpler words are also easier to understand. If you cannot explain something in simple terms, you have probably not understood it yourself. This is particularly important if your audience are not all native speakers of the language.

Regional and ethnic accents are part of individual personality and add a unique element to the way that you speak.

They may also, however, in some situations, create potential barriers to communication. For example, if you have a very strong accent, people from another area or country may find it harder to understand what you are saying. You may therefore need to slow down your speech to ensure that they have time to process what you are saying.

It is worth remembering, however, that words are only a part of your overall communication and message. The tone of voice and your body language also send strong messages.

Your voice can reveal as much about your personal history as your appearance. The sound of a voice and the content of speech can provide clues to an individual's emotional state.

For instance, if self-esteem is low, it may be reflected by hesitancy in the voice. A shy person may speak quietly, but someone who is confident in themselves will be more likely to have command of their voice and clarity of speech.

It is worth taking time to improve your command over your voice, especially if you find it hard to speak in public. It can even help to boost your confidence!

It is important to get used to the sound of your own voice. Most people are more relaxed in a private situation, particularly at home, where there are no pressures to conform to any other social rules and expectations. This is not the case in public situations when there are all sorts of influences exerted upon the way people speak.

An exercise to improve public speaking

Try recording your own voice in an informal setting, such as at home.

Listen carefully to how you sound. This will help you become accustomed to your own voice.

You might also note any aspects of your speech which reduce the overall effectiveness of your message. This might include a tendency to say ‘um’ or ‘er’ a lot, to slur one or more letters together, or stammer slightly.

Often people don’t like the sound of their own recorded voice - in the same way that some people don't like photographs of themselves - they can feel embarrassed.

Most of us are not used to hearing our own voices and these feelings are totally normal. Get past the initial, ‘ Do I really sound like that? ’ stage and develop a better understanding of your voice.

The more you get used to the sound of your voice functioning in a slightly more formal way, the easier it is when doing it 'for real'. In conversational mode, individuals tend to speak in short phrases, a few at a time. Speaking or reading aloud helps you to become used to the more fluent sound of your voice.

An exercise to help develop your effective speaking skills:

Find a document to read, something about two pages in length - the first few pages of a book would work well.

Read your document through silently first, then read it aloud in your normal speaking voice.  Don't worry if you stumble or falter, just pick up and continue to the end.

Now read it a third time, recording your voice if possible and remember:

  • Slow down: It is a natural reaction to want to get it over as fast as possible and this often causes people to stumble over their words. Speeding up also occurs when you are nervous and usually makes you more difficult to understand.
  • Keep your head up:  Try not to tuck your chin into the book as your voice is then addressing the floor. Hold your book higher and project your voice.
  • Pause occasionally: Let the end of a sentence or the end of a paragraph give you a chance of a small, two or three second rest. Pauses can be useful for emphasis.

Practise this exercise as often as you can.

Anyone can improve the sound of their voice and the way they speak in a matter of days through a few simple exercises, like the one above. To improve you will need to maintain a certain commitment and practice regularly for a few minutes.

The Effect of Breath on Voice and Speech

The voice is responsive to emotions and sometimes gets ' blocked ', which can prevent or hinder the expression of a range of feelings.

When under stress an individual's breathing pattern will change. When your muscles are tense you cannot use your lungs to their full capacity. When someone is frightened or nervous, a common symptom is tension in the neck and shoulders. This occurs because, when under pressure, we tend to breath faster. This means we inhale plenty of air, but there is not enough time to exhale fully and relax, so we do not get the full benefit.

Good breathing is essential for two reasons:

By using full lung capacity the breath will support the voice and the voice will become richer, fuller and stronger.

This will benefit individuals who have a small voice and who worry that they cannot be heard when speaking to a group of people. Volume is controlled in the abdomen not in the throat, so breathing to full strength will allow for greater control of the voice.

Breathing deeply and rhythmically has a calming and therapeutic effect as it releases tension and promotes relaxation. People who are relaxed are more balanced, receptive and confident.

It is no coincidence that many religions use rhythmic breathing techniques such as meditation, yoga and silent contemplation, and vocal release in the form of chants, mantras or hymn singing as aids to their devotions. By easing physical tension, mental stress decreases and the mind is effectively freed to follow creative pursuits.

Breathing Exercise

Stand in an easy position with your feet one pace apart, with the knees ‘unlocked’ and not rigidly pushed back. Keep your spine straight, head balanced and face muscles relaxed.

Breathe in to a slow count of three, then out to a slow count of three.

Try not to raise your shoulders as you breathe. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Consciously think of your breath 'filling down' to the bottom of your lungs.

Put the palm of your hand flat against your abdomen and feel the movement. Push slightly against your hand as you breathe in and out.

Repeat this exercise ten times.

Depending on how you feel after several days of doing this exercise, extend the count of the out-going breath from three to four, five and six gradually building up to ten before you need to take another breath. Then count out loud on the out-going breath from one to ten. Repeat five times.

By building up your control of out-going breath, you will never sound ‘breathy’ or feel you are 'running out of breath’ when you speak to a group or a meeting.

See our Relaxation Techniques section for more on breathing and relaxing.

Further Reading from Skills You Need

Our Communication Skills eBooks

Learn more about the key communication skills you need to be a more effective communicator.

Our eBooks are ideal for anyone who wants to learn about or develop their interpersonal skills and are full of easy-to-follow, practical information.

Vocal Production

The following three core elements of vocal production need to be understood for anyone wishing to become an effective speaker:

  • Volume   -  to be heard.
  • Clarity  - to be understood.
  • Variety  - to add interest.

This is not a question of treating the voice like the volume control on the TV remote. Some people have naturally soft voices and physically cannot bellow. Additionally, if the voice is raised too much, tonal quality is lost. Instead of raising the voice, it should be ' projected out '. Support the voice with lots of breath - the further you want to project the voice out, the more breath you need. It also needs to come from the diaphragm, not the throat.

When talking to a group or meeting, it is important not to aim your talk to the front row or just to the people nearest you. Instead, you need to consciously project what you have to say to those furthest away. By developing a  strong voice,  as opposed to a loud voice, you will be seen as someone positive.

Some people tend to speak through clenched teeth and with little movement of their lips. It is this inability to open mouths and failure to make speech sounds with precision that is the root cause of inaudibility. The sound is locked into the mouth and not let out.

To have good articulation it is important to unclench the jaw, open the mouth and give full benefit to each sound you make, paying particular attention to the ends of words. This will also help your audience as a certain amount of lip-reading will be possible.

To make speech effective and interesting, certain techniques can be applied. However, it is important not to sound false or as if you are giving a performance. Words convey meaning, but the way that they are said reflects feelings and emotions. Vocal variety can be achieved by variations in:

Pace: This is the speed at which you talk. If speech is too fast, then listeners will not have time to assimilate what is being said. It is also a good idea to vary the pace - quickening up at times and then slowing down – because this will help to maintain interest.

Volume:  By raising or lowering volume occasionally, you can create emphasis. If you drop your voice to almost a whisper (as long as it is projected) for a sentence or two, it will make your audience suddenly alert. Be careful not to overuse this technique, though, or it will lose its impact.

Pitch - Inflection - Emphasis:  When speaking in public, try to convey the information with as much vocal energy and enthusiasm as possible. This does not mean your voice has to swoop and dive all over the place in an uncontrolled manner. Try to make the talk interesting. Remember that when you are nervous or excited, your vocal chords tense and shorten, causing the voice to get higher. Emphasise certain words and phrases within the talk to convey their importance and help to add variety.

Pause:  Pauses are powerful. They can be used for effect to highlight the preceding statement or to gain attention before an important message. Pauses mean silence for a few seconds. Listeners interpret meaning during pauses so have the courage to stay silent for up to five seconds – dramatic pauses like this convey authority and confidence.

Warm up your voice

Before any important speaking situation, whether it is an appointment, meeting or talk, it is beneficial to have a voice warm-up.

The voice is an instrument - no musician arrives at a concert hall and launches into Beethoven without first tuning up.  The length of time and frequency of a warm-up is up to you and will depend on how much speaking you need to do.

There is more about using your voice effectively on our page non-verbal communication: face and voice .

A considerably amount of communication—some estimates suggest over 50%—is non-verbal. Tone of voice, pace and emphasis are all part of non-verbal communication.

However, your body language is also important. This includes how you stand, your facial expressions, the way you use your hands to emphasise your speech, and even whether and with whom you make eye contact.

There is more about how to use body language to communicate effectively in our page on Body Language . This includes considering how far away you are from your audience, and therefore whether you need to exaggerate your gestures to make them clearer.

The importance of congruence

Perhaps the most important aspect of effective communication is congruence .

For communication to be effective, your non-verbal communication needs to reinforce your words: the two must say the same thing. Non-verbal communication is much harder to disguise than verbal—if you see that someone’s body language is giving a different message from their words, it pays to listen to the non-verbal communication first as it is more likely to reflect their real views.

You may therefore need to put some thought into how you want to use body language and other non-verbal cues. This is particularly important if you are trying to get across a difficult or unwelcome message.

Continue to: Conversational Skills Verbal Communication Skills

See also: Networking Skills The Art of Tact and Diplomacy 7 Qualities of Good Speakers That Can Help You Be More Successful


Essay on Importance Of Effective Communication

Students are often asked to write an essay on Importance Of Effective Communication in their schools and colleges. And if you’re also looking for the same, we have created 100-word, 250-word, and 500-word essays on the topic.

Let’s take a look…

100 Words Essay on Importance Of Effective Communication

Understanding each other.

When people talk and listen well, they understand each other better. Just like friends sharing secrets, clear talking and careful listening make sure no one gets confused or upset. It’s like playing catch – if you throw and catch well, the game goes on smoothly.

Getting Things Done

Building relationships.

Talking and listening to each other is the glue in friendships. When we share our thoughts and feelings, we grow closer. It’s like building a bridge between two islands, making it easier to meet in the middle.

Stopping Arguments

When we talk clearly and listen to what others say, many fights can be avoided. It’s like seeing a stop sign before a crash happens – it keeps everyone safe from misunderstandings and hurt feelings.

250 Words Essay on Importance Of Effective Communication

Why good communication matters, learning together.

In school, if a teacher explains lessons in a way that’s easy to get, students can understand and remember things better. If students ask questions and give answers clearly, everyone learns more. This is why being good at talking and listening can help in getting good grades and knowing more.

Work and Teamwork

At work, if a boss tells workers what to do in a simple, clear way, the job gets done right. If team members talk to each other well, they can work together without getting mixed up. This means the work is better and everyone is happier.

Making Friends

With friends, talking and listening are keys to having fun and helping each other. When we share stories and listen to what others say, friendships grow. If we can’t talk well or don’t listen, misunderstandings happen, and feelings might get hurt.

Solving Problems

When there’s a problem, talking in a calm and clear way can fix things faster. If we listen to others and explain our side without getting mad, most problems can be solved easily.

In short, good communication is a superpower for learning, working, making friends, and solving problems. It’s a skill worth getting better at every day.

500 Words Essay on Importance Of Effective Communication

What is effective communication, why is talking well important.

Imagine you have a great idea during a class project. You share it with your friends, and because you explain it well, they all get excited and want to help. This is one reason why talking well is important. It helps us share our ideas and feelings in a way that others can understand. When we talk well, we make friends, solve problems, and get things done.

Listening is Part of Talking Well

Talking isn’t just about speaking; it’s also about listening. When we listen, we learn what others think and feel. This helps us to know them better and to work together well. Good listeners show they care about what the other person is saying. This makes the other person feel important and happy to talk more.

How Does Talking Well Help at School?

In school, you need to talk well to do many things. You need it to ask questions when you don’t understand something, to answer questions to show what you know, and to work on projects with other students. When you talk well, teachers and classmates understand you better, and you can learn and do more.

Talking Well Helps With Problems

Talking well is important for the future.

As you grow up, you will meet many new people and do different things. You might work on big projects, help others, or lead a group. To do these things well, you need to talk well. People who communicate effectively are often chosen for important tasks and leadership roles because others trust them to share ideas and information clearly.

If you’re looking for more, here are essays on other interesting topics:

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Public Speaking Essay | Importance of Public Speaking Skills, How To Improve Public Speaking?

December 24, 2021 by Prasanna

Public Speaking Essay: Public speaking is an important part of today’s life. If a person can master the art of public speaking then there is a lot of chance for him or her to make a successful career in life. In whichever field you look at today, public speaking is very important to establish your identity and brand image. We need to know what public speaking is and why we need to master it. Public speaking refers to delivering some important topic in front of a group audience. This group could be small or at times big. But the main objective of public speaking is to catch the attention of the audience and convince them of the idea that the speaker wants to convey. This task is not very easy.

One may think that public speaking is easy as he has the knowledge on a particular subject but there are a lot of intricate things one needs to take care of. Some common mistakes are very often committed by people while delivering a topic on public speaking. All knowledgeable persons can’t become good public speakers. So the first step to public speaking is to go through the process systematically and master the skill. Public speaking is an art so it needs to be learned both in theory and practice. It is a test of an individual’s knowledge and expertise in certain fields. It also helps to develop an individual’s communication skills and confidence. This is a very basic thing and one needs to practice a lot to improve the oratorical skills.

You can also find more  Essay Writing  articles on events, persons, sports, technology and many more.

Long Essay on Public Speaking

Public Speaking Skills

A good public speaker must have the required skills to create a substantial impact on the audience by communicating his points clearly and by building a connection with the audience. The key to success in public speaking depends on the expressions and body language of the speaker which helps to keep him connected to the audience while speaking. To be a successful public speaker one needs to work on the content as well. The content has to be different from boring lectures overflowing with data and facts but should be made interesting to draw the attention of the audience. This can be done by adding some inspiring and motivational stories, quotes, and real-life examples within the speech.

Another important aspect is to create an environment for effective interaction between the speaker and the audience. It is a special skill of a good public speaker to keep the audience involved all the time so that their mind can never get diverted. The effectiveness of public speaking depends primarily on the speaking skills that keep the audience engaged and engrossed in the topic being discussed. These speaking skills involve some modulation and variations in voice, expression, and delivery. The purpose is to draw the attention of an audience and get you noticed in front of a large gathering.

The Trend in Public Speaking

In the current scenario, public speaking has become a successful career in terms of earning opportunities. People want to hear from certain eminent personalities about their experience and their journey towards success. It is also a professional approach adopted by many coaches and guides to building a brand of their own by appearing as public speakers in a gathering of selected people. It has become a part of organizational culture to conduct sessions for working professionals where an expert public speaker is invited to provide insights into some topics of relevance in a motivational and interesting manner.

One aspect is to provide the audience with some updated knowledge but the main motive is to make the people present in the session more charged and motivated in work with some increased energy. The success of a public speaker depends on how well he can influence the thought process, views, ideas, and corresponding actions of the people after attending the session.

Essay on Public Speaking

Short Essay on Public Speaking

Opportunities in Public Speaking

There are plenty of situations where good public speaking skills are required, be it in a social or organizational setup. You might be asked to make a speech at an award function or in a cultural event or talk to a group of volunteers or recruits. In the virtual platform, speaking to an audience also includes online presentations or discussions, consulting a team, or speaking to a group of customers in an online meeting. Showing good public speaking skills helps to open up new career opportunities and build your identity in social circles as well.

Strategies for Public Speaking

To become a better public speaker, one has to use the following strategies:

Plan appropriately: Work on the content that can resonate with your audience. As a good speaker, you need to intrigue your audience from the very beginning. It is better to start with an interesting fact, headline, or story in the context of what you’re going to talk about.

Engage with the audience: It is necessary as a speaker to keep everyone involved with your speech so that you don’t feel isolated from the audience. It is very effective to interact and ask questions and encourage people to participate and give feedback.

Pay attention to body language: The gestures and body language of a speaker generates positive vibes to the audience constantly. The confidence and belief can be communicated to the audience through your body language and voice. Instead of standing, walk around and present yourself as more active and passionate.

Think positively: A positive approach with confidence brings effective results in public speaking. The primary focus should be that you’re trying to help a group of people in some way, so convey your message in a more meaningful way.

The essence of public speaking lies in the way you create awareness and educate others to bring some tangible results. As a public speaker, you must ensure your communication is always natural, confident, and authentic.

FAQ’s on Public Speaking Essay

Question 1. How are the main types of public speaking?

Answer: There are mainly three types of speeches public speakers use to influence their audience. The informative speech conveys information, the persuasive speech motivates people to take action and the special occasion speech is given to commemorate a person or event.

Question 2. How one must practice the habit of public speaking to gain confidence?

Answer: One of the best ways to practice public speaking is to be involved in situations that require public speaking, such as volunteering to speak at team meetings and events.

Question 3. How do voice modulation and pace of speech help in building engagement with the audience?

Answer: A vocal variation in volume, pause and pacing can help to break the monotony of speech and create better engagement with the audience.

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Ready, Set, Speak

By  Aisha Langford

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Public speaking is a critical, but often underdeveloped, skill among higher education professionals. Your ability to convey ideas with confidence and clarity is essential for articulating the importance of your research, getting buy-in for your projects and obtaining funding from sponsors.

Many people are afraid of public speaking. They think that effective public speakers are “naturals” who were born with strong oratory skills. Luckily, it is practice and not genetics that will make you a better public speaker. With practice and a few tips, you can improve your skills in a relatively short amount of time. This article will discuss five tips to becoming a better public speaker.

WAIT Method

WAIT stands for Why Am I Talking ? Before you jump right into making Powerpoint slides or writing a speech, take some time to think about why you’re speaking and what you want the audience to remember. That is, begin with the end in mind (habit number two from Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People ). For example, pick three things you want people to take away from your presentation and then work backward. A clear understanding of your end goal will keep your thoughts cohesive as you prepare. More details can be found on Loren Ekroth’s webpage .

10/20/30 Rule

Introduced by the entrepreneur, author and speaker Guy Kawasaki, the general idea behind the 10/20/30 rule is that your Powerpoint presentations for most talks should:

  • Have only 10 slides
  • Last no more than 20 minutes
  • Use 30 point font or greater so the audience can actually read your slides.

Keep in mind that these guidelines were created with the business community in mind and may not always apply to academic situations (e.g., dissertation defenses). However, it’s worth noting that our attention spans are short. There’s nothing worse than listening to a talk that goes on and on, or seeing slides that you can’t read.

Content Over Medium

The content of your presentation is far more important than fancy slides without substance. Powerpoint is a wonderful tool; however, it isn’t a requirement for effective presentations. Let’s repeat. Powerpoint isn’t a requirement for effective presentations.

Sometimes speaking without Powerpoint slides is even more effective and engaging. This may be especially true if you’re sharing aspects about your life (e.g., how you landed in higher education) or giving a motivational speech.

Unfortunately, Powerpoint is often used as a script instead of the visual aid tool it was designed to be. Using the analogy of a music concert, you are the lead singer and Powerpoint is your backup singers -- there to support you, but not the main focus. You are the show.

If you choose to use Powerpoint slides, avoid common Powerpoint mistakes like reading every slide and presenting crowded tables. Your audience will thank you.

Control the Controllables

The marketing and management consultant Somers White once said, “90 percent of how well the talk will go is determined before the speaker steps on the platform.” Reduce your public speaking anxiety by following these steps:

  • Organize your thoughts. This blueprint for a presentation by Eleni Kelakos is a good guide.
  • Decide which format is best (Powerpoint, no slides and/or paper handouts).
  • Practice by yourself and refine.
  • Practice in front of others and refine.
  • Time yourself. Staying within allotted time limits is crucial.
  • Decide what you’re going to wear. Be comfortable, but look professional.

If possible, practice in the room where you’ll be speaking. Test the equipment to make sure it works. If using your own laptop, remember to bring your charger and adapters. This is especially true for Mac users. Also ask about:

  • Wireless clickers
  • Laser pointers
  • Internet connections
  • Sound system
  • Microphones

Speaking of microphones, please use one if you’ll be in a large room. As we present, our voices get tired. Tiredness makes it hard to project our voices to the back of the room. If people can’t hear you, then you’ve missed an important opportunity and wasted everyone’s time, including yours. Lastly, if you have interactive exercises or surveys that require writing, be sure to bring pens.

Body Language and Other Distractions

A few years ago, I attended a job talk. The candidate -- we'll call him John -- had great training and an interesting program of research. Unfortunately, all I remember about John’s talk is that he spoke too fast, fidgeted a lot and rambled during the Q and A. He didn’t seem prepared, and he didn’t get the job. The selected candidate was probably a better fit overall for the department. However, I still wonder if John’s poor public speaking skills were a factor in the final decision.

Keep these things in mind when you’re giving presentations:

  • Make good eye contact and scan the room. Force yourself to look to the left, center and right portions of the room.
  • Eliminate filler words like um and ah . Take a pause instead.
  • Reduce excessive hand movements, including taking your hands in and out of pockets.
  • Try not to sway or rock in place.

Finally, it’s okay to move around the stage and interact with the audience. If you do so, use a wireless microphone so the audience can hear you.

For more information on public speaking, check out Toastmasters International , a nonprofit organization focused on public speaking and leadership development. If you own a smartphone, this article, Fearless Public Speaking: 6 Apps to Help You Prepare for Presentations (pages 46 and 47), may also be helpful.

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Importance of Communication Skills in English Speaking: Review of Research

Published 10 Jun 2024

English is the most globally used language and having good command over it is very essential. As we know, all international affairs and business communications use English as their base language. Nowadays, it is necessary for everybody to have a good command of the English language, and this is true especially for professionals who work in the field of information and technology. Engineering students should know the importance of the English language as it is the base for their survival in the fast-growing industry. Due to lack of communication skills, there are many incidents in which the Engineering student is technically sound but still faces challenges to survive in this competitive world. Thus, the main cause of unemployment among the engineers is the lack of good communication skills. As the world has already acknowledged the importance of English, so it is high time that our Engineers should do the same.

The researcher herself, being a science student with an engineering background, is well-versed with the problems faced by fresh engineering graduates. Also, they face many hardships while communicating in situations like facing job interviews or other interviews, group discussion rounds, or even presenting themselves in professional situations. In the words of Clement and Murugavel, “Many engineering graduates in India are found to be unemployable due to their poor communication skills and lack of confidence. There have been a lot of research papers that have recapped the importance of improving engineering graduates’ employability skills; however, the problem of poor communication skills grows unabated in India.”5 (116). Every Engineering course offers the teaching of English language or communication skills in their curricula, even then the problem of lack of communication skills on the part of fresh engineering graduates still exists. This is very shocking as after having studied English till class 12th with further training in an Engineering course. Still, the students are not able to speak English fluently and confidently. So, the teachers must initiate to improve the students' communication skills by properly evaluating the English pedagogy.

Read also: TOP science homework help across subjects!

This study focuses on the current education system which undergraduates are going through in the engineering colleges as very little focus is given to communication skills as compared to the technical subject. So, it is a high time that we revise our education system as per the needs of placement companies and other colleges. As marketing and many other fields require good communication skills to impress the consumer so the English language is gaining equal importance as the technical knowledge. Also, the growing foreign investments in our country and the continuous increase in corporate culture is demanding students to have good English speaking and communication skills to get placed in such companies. We also need to improve the spoken English part of the learners as it will help them in their employability and their survival in the long run. It is necessary to maintain an internationally acceptable standards of the English language, as English is a foreign language poses a number of challenges to both students and teachers who are obviously non-native speakers. To discuss in detail, there are some facts that need to be acknowledged, like nearly 1.5 million Engineers pass out in India every year, but 20 - 33% of Engineers do not get recruited at all. Engineering colleges have almost doubled up in the last decade.

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How to Speak English Fluently: 33 Easy Tips

Do you want to learn how to speak English well?

Read on for 33 solid tips that will help you speak English more fluently, in less time.

Our team includes language learners from different countries who picked up English as a second language as well as native English teachers, so these are all based on our own experiences.

From pronunciation practice to handy online resources, consider this your roadmap to becoming confident speaking English. 

1. Get Clear on What Fluency Means

2. immerse yourself in english every day  , 3. accept that english grammar has a lot of exceptions, 4. use mirroring to answer english questions, 5. focus on whole phrases instead of single words, 6. learn intonation, body language and gestures, 7. use speech-to-text for text messaging, 8. talk yourself through everyday activities, 9. memorize and use conversation starters, 10. share your opinions online, 11. get direct feedback, 12. read along with podcasts, 11. learn some english slang, 12. look out for common pronunciation issues , 13. pay attention to the sounds native speakers use , 14. record your own english-language audiobooks , 15. record what you want to learn, then listen to it throughout the day, 16. think directly in english instead of translating, 17. set specific language goals, 18. figure out your weak spots, 19. don’t be afraid to make mistakes when talking, 20. record your mistakes , 21. review and test yourself often, 22. practice using new words right away , 23. expand your vocabulary with spaced repetition, 24. learn basic grammar rules  , 25. but don’t worry too much about grammar , 26. get comfortable first with the english words you know, 27. learn from everyone who speaks english, 28. hire a personal tutor, 29. make sure to use resources appropriate for your level, 30. consider a big move, 31. pre-plan conversations that you’ll need to have, 32. sing some karaoke, 33. remind yourself why you want to speak english, helpful resources for learning to speak english fluently, faqs about how to speak english well, and one more thing....

Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

how to speak english fluently

You know that you want to become fluent in English, but what does that mean?

There are two parts to fluency: knowing the language and knowing how to produce the language.

Being fluent means that you can use the English language comfortably. You can communicate freely and you can have conversations with native speakers without having to constantly look for help.

Fluency can also be seen in how you speak. You can know plenty of English vocabulary, but if you have to pause or repeat a lot when speaking, your fluency might not be so obvious to someone. If you speak very slowly or in a very flat, unemotional manner, then you won’t sound very fluent, either.

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importance of speaking skills essay

On the other hand, sounding fluent doesn’t mean you actually are speaking good English.

To be fluent in English, you need to master both the language and how you speak it!

There’s often an expectation that you must know a certain number of words for fluency. But it’s important to remember that you can’t just study the words and grammar. It can be scary, but you’ll also need to practice speaking.

The tips below will help you master your speaking skills so that you can speak proper English and sound good doing it. Don’t forget how important both features of fluency are!

To read about how many words you need to know to be considered fluent, read this post:

  • Interactive subtitles: click any word to see detailed examples and explanations
  • Slow down or loop the tricky parts
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  • Review words with our powerful learning engine

importance of speaking skills essay

Studying English for an hour once a week isn’t usually enough to make any real progress. The best way to quickly improve your English is to spend at least a few minutes practicing every day.

There’s a special language learning method called “immersion.” With immersion, you try to surround yourself with the language as much as you can in your day-to-day activities. You want English to become part of your daily schedule so that you’re frequently learning and practicing until it becomes natural to hear and speak the language.

You can create immersion in a lot of fun, creative ways, besides just constantly studying English from a book or a course! You can switch your phone settings to the English language. You can start watching and listening to English movies and songs, keep an English diary or volunteer in a place where English is required.

Immerse yourself in English as much as possible every time you study. Challenge yourself to listen to, read and even say things in English that you think might be too difficult for you. If you want to speak English fluently, you need to make it an essential part of your everyday life.

Watching authentic movies and videos can help with this, by exposing you to the natural sounds of the language.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

P.S. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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how to speak english fluently

Sometimes, you can find patterns in English grammar, but other times English doesn’t make sense at all.

For example, why are “read” (pronounced reed) and “read” (pronounced red) the same word, but said differently depending on whether you’re speaking in the past or present tense? Or why is “mice” the plural of “mouse,” but “houses” is the plural of “house”?

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importance of speaking skills essay

Unfortunately, there are many exceptions to English rules. It’s easy to get stuck on learning how to speak English properly if you try to find a reason for everything. Sometimes, English is just weird! So the best thing to do is just memorize the strange exceptions and move on.

A monkey holds up a mirror to its face

Listen carefully when someone asks you a question in English and you’ll answer perfectly every time. English questions are like mirrors:

  • Does he…..? → Yes, he does .
  • Can she….? → Yes, she can .
  • Is it….? → No, it isn’t .

If someone asks you a question and you’re not sure how to answer, start by thinking about the words used in the question. The person has already said most of the words you need to make your answer.

Instead of just memorizing English grammar, start to look for patterns like this one. There are a lot of simple ways to “cheat” and make it easier to remember the right words.

how to speak english fluently

Speaking English fluently means being able to express your thoughts, feelings and ideas. Your goal is to speak English in full sentences, so why not learn it in full sentences?

You’ll find that English is more useful in your everyday life if you study whole phrases, rather than just vocabulary and verbs. Start by thinking about phrases that you use frequently in your native language, and then learn how to say them in English.

A woman waves on a video call

True English fluency is about more than just vocabulary and grammar. If you can figure out intonation , body language and gestures, you’ll really look and sound like a native speaker.

  • FluentU builds you up, so you can build sentences on your own
  • Start with multiple-choice questions and advance through sentence building to producing your own output
  • Go from understanding to speaking in a natural progression.

importance of speaking skills essay

Intonation is the “rise and fall” or tone changes in how a person speaks. Body language is how a person uses their own body to support (or go against) what they mean. Gestures are hand and body movements that work together with what someone is saying.

It’s not easy to learn these three things because they seem very natural. One way to learn is to just watch how native English speakers communicate with each other.

One way to study these aspects of the language is by hiring an English teacher, if that’s in your budget. Another is watching YouTube videos, if you can avoid getting distracted with other videos.

A man reads a text message on his smartphone

You can practice speaking English even when you’re texting people. Just speak your texts instead of typing them!

You may need to change your settings to enable speech-to-text first. Then, find the “speech” option on whatever keyboard you’re using. Often, you just need to tap a microphone icon on the right side of the keyboard.


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importance of speaking skills essay

But what if most of your communication is with friends and family in your native language? Microsoft Translator has a way around this. Check to see if your native language is included in Microsoft’s Conversations feature—if it is, you can speak out loud in English, and have your words automatically translated into text in your native language.

Your chat partner can speak in your native language and have their words show up for you in English. This way, you get English speaking (and reading) practice while having the conversations you’d be having anyway.

cooking pasta

Think about all the things you might do that have a beginning, a middle and an end. For example, following a recipe when cooking dinner or putting together a piece of furniture.

Try writing out instructions for a process in English and make them as simple as possible.

For cooking something, your instructions might start like this:

  • Peel the garlic.
  • Dice the garlic.
  • Peel the onions.
  • Slice the onions.

Once you have your instructions, follow them. In the meantime, say what you’re doing out loud. For example, “Now I’m cutting up the onions. Uh oh, my eyes are starting to water!”

importance of speaking skills essay

A more challenging version of this would be to keep an audio diary. Record yourself on your phone describing your day or a specific experience, from beginning to end. This would force you to learn words that you often use in everyday life (or think about!), and you’ll also get more comfortable with speaking smoothly.

Two men talk in a cafe

You might miss out on opportunities to practice English speaking if you just can’t think of anything to say.

An easy solution to this is to memorize conversation starters or ideas for beginning conversations. You can find lots of these online. For example, here’s a list of 250 conversation starters from Conversation Starters World.

Of course, you wouldn’t want to use all of these at any moment. It would probably seem weird if you just walked up to someone and said, “What three words best describe you?” But memorizing some ideas will help you feel better about talking to people in casual situations or to keep conversations going when talking to exchange partners .

how to speak english fluently

To really learn English speaking, you need to learn how to express yourself in English. Even if you have ideas for conversations, it can be hard to know how to put them into your own words.

You can practice this by participating in conversations online. Posting on social media, leaving comments on articles or writing reviews are all good approaches.

Goodreads is a site where people leave their thoughts about books they’ve read. Writing about books and movies is always a nice way to practice sharing your opinions in English, because they give you a lot to think about!

But if you don’t have time to do this, there are simpler options: Watch a short video on YouTube and leave a comment underneath it. Post short opinions on Twitter about anything. There are many options for practicing your English skills before you speak out loud!

Two women doing a language exchange

To improve your speaking, you can ask directly for feedback. Since you usually can’t do this with casual conversations, it might be worth setting up a language exchange , where you can ask the person to tell you directly if any of your sentences sound awkward or unnatural. 

There are even apps for this, like Go Correct where you can connect with English teachers. HelloTalk also allows you to chat (or voice call) in English, and then your conversation partner will literally mark out your mistakes. 

For self-studying, you can work on your grammar and sentence constructions when speaking by typing out a simple message or paragraph. Try running this through Grammarly to check your grammar. Afterwards, correct any mistakes you might have made, then try reading everything out loud! 

Woman listening to music

Podcasts and audiobooks don’t just make for amazing English listening practice —they can help with your speaking too! Most of the top English podcasts have word-for-word transcripts.

What you can do is download the transcript and then try reading the first few lines out on your own. Then play the podcast while reading along out loud, matching the speed and accent of the speaker. This is a handy technique that’s called shadowing, which can really help with your intonation and pronunciation. 

Of course, choose a podcast that matches the type of English you’re learning. This would usually be American or British English since you’ll also have to imitate the accent! 

While you should be focusing on learning standard English, it can be helpful to know English slang words and phrases so that you can “stay current” and understand modern English speech. Slang is always present, especially online , so you can’t really avoid seeing it.

Knowing slang , idioms and other casual expressions can improve real English fluency, because they can let you follow along with the kinds of conversations that happen today.

If you want to learn some great English slang, check out this post and this helpful video:

Learn popular American slang words with this guide, which covers must-know terms like “hype,” “bae” and “simp.” You’ll find these all over the internet (and even…

A group of friends sitting around and talking

While there’s no single “correct” English, if people have trouble understanding you, it’ll be hard for you to speak confidently.

There’s no magic to improving pronunciation—you just need to learn the mechanics, and then practice. It’s all about how you move your mouth and use your lips, tongue and throat. For this, you should watch native speakers while they’re talking and observe not just what they say, but how they say it.

It’s also helpful to know about well-known pronunciation issues . Sounds like th and r  are difficult for a lot of English learners, but your native language has a major impact on your pronunciation. Try looking up the most common pronunciation mistakes made by speakers of your native language!

To read more about English pronunciation rules, check out this post:

English pronunciation can seem tricky, but with this guide, you will be able to speak clearly in no time! This post will take you through the 25 most important English…

how to speak english fluently

When most students listen to a native English speaker, they focus on understanding what all the words mean. This is definitely important, but there’s a lot more you can learn from listening.

If you listen closely to English speakers, you’ll notice that sometimes vowels in English are pronounced as uh, such as in “th e “ , “ a gain” and “reas o n” . This is called the schwa sound . It’s the most common sound in the English language, but most English learners don’t notice it, which leads to sounding a bit different from a native speaker.

In English, words also aren’t pronounced in a disconnected way. Sometimes one word flows into another —for example, “leave it” and “no idea” both sound like they have no spaces between the words. Native speakers do this a lot!

Try to remember these details the next time you speak and your English will begin to sound more natural.

how to speak english fluently

When we think of practicing a language, we often think of putting ourselves in situations where we have to use the language. But the truth is, a lot of confidence and fluency come from actually speaking. This technique can help you do a lot more of that.

Think about your favorite books. Even if you don’t have any favorite books that were written in English, you can probably find some in English translations. For example, the Harry Potter series has been sold all over the world.

Take any English-language book that you already enjoy, and record yourself reading it in English. This will take you a while, of course. But it’s a way to practice your English pronunciation every day in a way that’s fun and interesting for you.

Once you finish recording the book, you’ll have a homemade audiobook of it to listen to, which will give you a way to practice your listening skills, too.

A woman records herself reading a text

Use the same technique described above to learn English in general while also practicing your speech.

For example, let’s say that you’d like to get better at talking to waitstaff. Maybe you see a blog post that includes examples of English conversations to have in restaurants . Instead of just reading the post and trying to remember the examples, record yourself reading it!

This will give you multiple opportunities to remember the material: when you first read it, when you read it out loud and when you listen to yourself reading it later.

A woman deep in thought

Stop thinking of yourself as someone who is learning English, and start thinking of yourself as someone who speaks English. It’s a small change, but it’ll make you feel more confident and help you to better use the English you already know.

This also means you need to start thinking in English. If you want to say the word “apple” in English, for example, you probably think of the word in your native language first, and then try to think of the correct word in English. Instead, try imagining a picture of an apple, and then just think of the English word “apple.”

Real fluency happens when you stop mentally translating conversations. This is the biggest step from learning English to just being an English speaker!


Fluency is a very high level to reach and will take a long time to achieve, so “becoming fluent” can be a pretty unclear goal. Having such a big, non-specific target won’t be helpful in planning out your studies.

That’s why you should think of more concrete and obvious goals that can lead you to fluency. By themselves, they may seem like small steps, but all together they’ll provide a steady path in your English learning journey.

Good goals should be specific and achievable. When setting a goal, you should decide exactly what you want to learn, and how long you want to spend learning it.

Here are some examples of good goals:

  • Learn 30 new English words in 30 days
  • Have a conversation with a native English speaker this week
  • Learn to conjugate five irregular verbs before your next tutoring lesson
  • Perfect your pronunciation of 10 words over the weekend (then ask a native speaker to tell you how you did!)

Make sure that the goals you set are reasonable and challenging enough to keep you motivated . You want to achieve your goals without over-stressing yourself!

A man holds his hand over his face after making a mistake

You might find some parts of the English language are especially difficult for you. These “weak spots” can be anything: grammar usage, pronunciation, sentence formation and so on. It’s important that you find out what they are so that you can focus on improving them.

English does have a lot of tricky features, and some can be even trickier depending on your native language. Pay attention to what you’re having problems with and dedicate more studying to it.

You want to make sure you improve in all parts of the English language without lagging behind in any of them.

To read more in depth about common errors in English, check out this post:

Read this to learn the 26 most common mistakes in English, why people make them and how to correct them. This guide includes common grammar errors, like subject-verb…

A woman holds her hands up to her head after making a mistake

Sometimes, it can be difficult to put all those rules and words together into a simple sentence. Don’t let the fear of saying something wrong stop you from speaking at all.

Even if you think you’re making a mistake, keep speaking anyway. Most of the time, people will understand what you’re trying to say, even if you make a mistake.

Plus, the more you speak, the easier it gets, and the faster the right words will come to mind.

To read about some common mistakes when speaking a new language, check out his post:

how to speak english fluently

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes… but also make sure that you understand them!

When you know that something went wrong in your English conversation, make a note of it (in your mind or, better yet, on paper). In your own time, study what exactly made you trip up. Did you use the wrong vocabulary? Was something pronounced incorrectly? Maybe you were using the wrong tense in your sentences?

Mistakes are inevitable and necessary, but to lower the chance of repeating the same mistakes, you must learn (and not run away!) from them.

A man taking an examination in a classroom

Reviewing what you learn is just as important as, well, actually learning!

Without proper review, you can easily forget a lot of previously learned material. This can greatly slow you down in your path to fluency because advanced English constantly builds upon basic, easier concepts. That’s why you must frequently test your skills.

You can review your learning in a number of different ways. You can make your own vocabulary quizzes , do translation exercises or have quick training sessions with a speaking partner. There are also online resources that you can use for review .

You should also think about when to review. Maybe you want to review right after you finish a new topic or after completing a whole unit of study. Or maybe you want to be extra studious and just review every time you study English!

Your reviews and tests will help you see your progress in English. Seeing how much you’ve improved can greatly increase your motivation to learn!

If you want to find out some free websites for testing yourself, check out this post:

A close-up on a dictionary page

There’s an expression in English: “Use it or lose it,” which basically means if you don’t practice an ability, you might forget it. This idea can be used to help you remember new English vocabulary.

The best way to remember a new word is to use it right away so that it stays in your memory. When you learn a new word, try to say it in sentences a few times over the next week and you’ll be less likely to forget it.

Sometimes, you may learn a word or phrase that might not be immediately useful to you. It’s okay to not focus on memorizing that vocabulary right away, especially if there are other more important things to learn.

Do you want to find out the most common 1028 English words? Then check out this post:

The most common words in English, when added to your vocabulary, can give your communication skills an instant boost! Read on for a list of 1,028 words you will most…

Rows of repeating orange stadium seats with one man sitting

Aside from using new words on your own, there’s a trick to remembering English vocabulary for good and making your reviews efficient: spaced repetition. 

Anki Logo

If you keep it up, you’ll avoid a common pitfall: learning new words—and then forgetting them. 

No need to keep track of this manually too! There are flashcard apps like Anki  that make reviewing automatic, and many language learning apps with flashcards already have this feature. 

To read more about spaced repetition, read this post:

Scrabble tiles laid out reading "choose your words"

Speaking English confidently also means having a good grasp of grammar. While you can pick up grammar just from listening and reading a lot of English, studying grammar intentionally still helps. You’ll probably have to memorize irregular verbs , which aren’t very predictable when they change tenses.

Other tricky grammar topics include subject-verb agreement —for example, saying “he smile” instead of the grammatically correct “he smiles.” Here are other tricky topics that confuse even native speakers sometimes:

  • Your vs. You’re
  • Fewer vs. Less

Since it’s easy to forget a new grammar concept, you can get it to stick faster in your mind with quizzes and exercises. Most grammar books, including “ English Grammar in Use”  and “Practical English Usage” , have exercises that you can work through. There are also tons of exercises and drills online about practically every grammar topic. 

To read more about English grammar rules, see this post:

Check out these top 12 English Grammar tips that can help you avoid common mistakes and speak like a natural! Whether you’re a learner or a native speaker, these tips will…

worrying about grammar

While you should still devote some time to studying grammar, don’t worry too much about having to get it right all the time. The key to learning a language is finding a balance between studying and practicing. Speaking English fluently isn’t the same as knowing perfect English grammar—even native English speakers make grammar mistakes!

Fluency is about being able to communicate. That’s why it’s also important to go out and practice your writing, reading, listening and speaking skills in the real world. As you keep practicing, you can learn plenty of grammar rules along the way.

A pile of magnetic English words

When you’re writing and saying your own sentences, focus on using the words you’re already familiar with. You may want to use more difficult, advanced English words to sound more fluent, but you should stay true to your skill level and keep practicing what you already know.

Make sure that you’re “comfortable” with the English you use, instead of just trying out new, unfamiliar words just because you want to. Doing so can lead you to say incorrect or strange things.

Of course, you do want to learn more and more words and skills to advance. We recommend studying a new word for a little while in context (in sentences and videos) before you use it in real conversations.

Learn the 300 most used words in English here:

Are you looking for an English vocabulary list of common words? Click here to find out 300 useful English words, including nouns, verbs, adjectives and more. If you master…

Language Exchange

You don’t have to only learn English from textbooks and teachers—anyone who speaks English can help you practice.

Imagine how you’d feel if someone asked you, in your native language, how to pronounce something. Would you be angry? No! You’d probably be happy to help, just like most English speakers are happy to help you.

If you know any English speakers, whether it’s a friend or co-worker, take advantage of the opportunity to practice and learn from them. Make sure to also ask any specific questions you have and be open to feedback.

A tutor helping a student in a computer lab

Sometimes you have to “throw money at the problem.” This common English idiom means that sometimes, you have to invest in your future. And because this future is about speaking English, it may be a wise investment to hire a personal language tutor.

It’s like having a teacher to yourself for hours at a time. You can ask literally any question you want and get an immediate answer, and you don’t have to follow a textbook unless you want to.

To learn about some amazing websites for hiring an English tutor, read this post:

Find English tutors online to guide you on your language-learning journey with this 2024 guide! Read on for 16 excellent websites for finding a suitable English tutor…

A row of old books on a table

Tailoring learning materials to your own proficiency ensures that you’re not overwhelmed by complex content or bored by material that is too basic. This approach promotes a balanced and gradual progression, allowing learners to build a solid foundation before advancing to more challenging concepts.

Level-appropriate resources also help learners stay engaged and motivated, fostering a positive learning experience. By gradually increasing the complexity of language input, learners can develop their skills in a systematic manner, leading to improved comprehension, vocabulary acquisition and overall language proficiency. 

To find out where to get some great online English resources, check out this post:

Free online English courses are a convenient and accessible way to learn the language at your own pace. Check out these 26 resources you can get online for free (or mostly…

Sydney Opera House along Sydney Harbor in Australia

This isn’t for everyone, I know, and there are many, many considerations you need to deal with before moving, but I can promise you this: there’s no faster way to learn English than by being completely immersed in an English language culture. 

You’ve got lots to choose from. The United States of America, of course, but also the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia , Canada and plenty of smaller countries too: Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, Malta, New Zealand, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and lastly, Trinidad and Tobago.

To learn about even more English-speaking countries, check out this post:

How many countries speak English? To date, we count 96 countries that speak English as a native language, an official language, or a lingua franca in the context of…

A group of students sits on the grass and talks

Thinking ahead about potential topics, relevant vocabulary and common phrases allows you to feel more confident and prepared during conversations. This proactive approach helps alleviate anxiety and enhances their ability to express themselves more effectively.

Pre-planning also encourages you to anticipate potential challenges in communication, enabling you to strategize solutions in advance.

Additionally, it allows individuals to focus on specific language aspects they aim to improve, such as pronunciation or grammatical structures. 

To find out some basic conversations to have in English, see this post:

English small talk is easy to learn. It will help you fill in silences and make other people happy to chat with you. All you need are these seven great topics, and you…

A woman singing karaoke on stage

Yes, really.

Singing karaoke provides a relaxed and enjoyable environment for practicing pronunciation and intonation. Singing along to English songs helps you develop a natural feel for the rhythm and melody of the language, improving your overall oral communication skills.

Karaoke also exposes learners to a variety of vocabulary and colloquial expressions found in song lyrics, contributing to an expanded understanding of conversational English.

Additionally, it fosters a sense of confidence and comfort with the language, as singing allows learners to express themselves creatively.

To read more about learning through karaoke, see this post:

Put your English studies to music with these awesome karaoke resources! Don’t like the crowd? These musical programs can be used at home or on the go!

A group of friends holding their hands up at sunset on a beach

No matter what your reason is for wanting to learn English, from work, academics, friendships, dating or travel, this is your number one motivator!

If you remind yourself each day why you’re learning English, you’ll be much more likely to stick with it.

So write it down, put it on your bathroom mirror or fridge and think about this reason every day. Believe me, it works.

To read about some of the best reasons to learn English, check out this post:

Why learn English? There are plenty of great reasons! Yes, learning English can be difficult, but it is extremely valuable. Check out these 13 reasons why learning English…

The English Speaking Practice app


This app lets you practice having basic conversations in English. It’s really simple to use!

Just choose a subject that you want to hear a conversation about. Then, listen to the conversation. After that, you can take a quiz to test your understanding, or use the “Record” tab to practice speaking.

Decide which person in the conversation to speak for, and go through the dialogue talking as them. You can then save the recording and play it back.

The SayHi translation app


This is a simple voice translation app that you can use to have bilingual conversations. However, you can also use it as a quick way to look up translations or to practice speaking, as long as the app has an option for your native language.

Set up the translator for a conversation between English and your native language. Then, try speaking English and see how your English translates. This will give you an idea of how well the app understands your English speech.

Also, if you ever forget how to say something in English, you can speak your native language into the mic and see how it translates into English. This can be much faster than using a dictionary!

Preply for Private Tutoring

Preply logo

Preply, an online language learning platform, is a valuable resource for English language learners looking to enhance their speaking skills.

Choose a suitable tutor by reviewing profiles and trying trial lessons for compatibility. Consistency is crucial, so schedule regular lessons for continuous improvement. Come prepared with topics or questions to ensure focused learning.

Actively engage in conversations during lessons, embracing mistakes as part of the learning process. Supplement Preply lessons with external resources like language apps or podcasts.

Practice English outside of lessons through activities like watching movies or reading books. Seek constructive feedback from tutors, addressing common mistakes. Expand vocabulary by discussing various topics during lessons and exploring recommended materials. Leverage Preply’s platform features, such as chat options and lesson reviews, for enhanced communication and progress tracking. 

American superhero movies and TV

Watching English-language movies and TV, in general, is a good way to get used to natural speech.

American superhero movies and TV series are especially great for learning English because they’re meant to appeal to a wide audience, sometimes including children. This means that it’s usually pretty easy to figure out what’s going on.

Another reason why superhero stories are easier to understand is that they tend to be very dramatic and emotional. Characters will often talk about what’s happening in a very loud and obvious way.

While there’s a lot to choose from, a good way to start is with some of the CW network shows that are available on Netflix, like “The Flash” and “Black Lightning.” These shows have a lot of talking in them, and focus a lot on relationships between characters. You can keep up with them for multiple seasons and become used to the way different characters talk to each other, all while being entertained by exciting storylines.

The English TV YouTube Channel

This YouTube channel has a bunch of videos that you can use to hear different types of English speech and conversation. For example, this video  includes over 50 minutes of multiple conversations between native English speakers.

The audio in this video and others like it on the English TV YouTube channel are actual recorded conversations. American English is the dialect of English mostly used in these conversations, but there are examples of British English and Australian English , as well.

These conversations are also spontaneous (done without a script, natural), so this is the way that English is actually spoken by native speakers. There’s a bit of slang used, but these conversations will help build your listening skills so that you can understand English speech in real life.

Loecsen Learn English


This is a free online English course with a big focus on speaking. To practice your English speaking, scroll down to “Start a new quiz.” You’ll then be able to choose from different lists of phrases that you can listen to and repeat.

When you repeat a phrase using the microphone on your computer, you get to see if the program is able to understand your speech. This is useful even if you already know the material in the lessons because you get a chance to speak English out loud and practice your pronunciation.

How can I improve my English pronunciation?

  • Practice regularly by listening to native speakers, mimicking their pronunciation.
  • Use pronunciation guides, online resources, or language learning apps for targeted exercises.
  • Record yourself speaking and compare it to native speakers to identify areas for improvement.

What are some effective ways to expand my English vocabulary?

  • Read widely in English, including books, articles and online content.
  • Make use of flashcards or vocabulary apps to memorize and review new words.
  • Engage in conversations with native speakers to encounter and learn new words in context.

How can I overcome the fear of speaking English in public?

  • Start by practicing with friends or language exchange partners in a supportive environment.
  • Gradually expose yourself to larger groups or join conversation clubs to build confidence.
  • Remember that making mistakes is a natural part of the learning process and an opportunity for improvement.

What are some effective strategies for improving English fluency?

  • Engage in regular conversations with native speakers or fellow learners.
  • Watch movies, TV shows or listen to podcasts in English to improve comprehension and fluency.
  • Set aside dedicated time each day for language practice, focusing on speaking and listening skills.

Are there specific tips for learning English as a second language?

  • Immerse yourself in English-speaking environments whenever possible.
  • Take advantage of language exchange programs or conversation partners.
  • Use language learning apps and online platforms to supplement traditional learning methods.

How can I maintain consistency in learning and practicing English?

  • Create a schedule and set realistic, achievable language-learning goals.
  • Integrate English into your daily life, such as labeling items in your home in English.
  • Stay motivated by celebrating small achievements and tracking your progress over time.

If you’re wondering how to improve your English speaking skills, there isn’t one easy answer.

Learning how to speak English fluently isn’t something that happens overnight. Because of this, it’s important to have tools and techniques ready for practicing every day.

Ultimately, if you have activities that you enjoy and that require you to speak English, your skills will improve more and more over time.

Try the resources and suggestions above, and pay attention to how they make you feel. Which ones help your confidence? Which ones seem to help you speak English over longer periods of time?

Use the methods that work for you, and your speaking will come together naturally.

If you like learning English through movies and online media, you should also check out FluentU. FluentU lets you learn English from popular talk shows, catchy music videos and funny commercials , as you can see here:


If you want to watch it, the FluentU app has probably got it.

The FluentU app and website makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition, and useful examples.


FluentU lets you learn engaging content with world famous celebrities.

For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you see this:


FluentU lets you tap to look up any word.

Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.


FluentU helps you learn fast with useful questions and multiple examples. Learn more.

The best part? FluentU remembers the vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You have a truly personalized experience.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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Communication is key in the workplace. Here's how to improve

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Why is communication important in the workplace?

7 common types of communication in the workplace

The benefits of good communication in the workplace

8 reasons to work on your communication skills

8 ways to develop communication skills at work

How to improve communication when working remotely.

Communication, communication, communication. We all know it’s important, but communication skills can be challenging to develop and implement at work. The rise of remote and hybrid work hasn’t made it any easier, either. 

Yet, effective communication at work can be transformative for individuals, teams, and businesses. We’re here to show you why communication is important in the workplace and how to start building your and your team’s communication skills today. 

Why is effective communication important in the workplace?

Communication in the workplace is important because it boosts employee morale, engagement, productivity, and satisfaction. Communication is also key for better team collaboration and cooperation. Ultimately, effective workplace communication helps drive better results for individuals, teams, and organizations. 

To take it a step further, specifically as a manager, building good communication skills has profound short- and long-term benefits for your organization. An effective communicator is able to motivate their team to get more done with better results and fewer misunderstandings. And who doesn’t want fewer misunderstandings?

All of these things can contribute to the company’s success — and to your own personal success as a leader.

Not all work communication is made equal. We’ve all had the experience of sitting through a boring, lengthy meeting with the thought, “This should have been an email.” 

Different communication channels are ideal for different types of communication. Depending on the type of information being conveyed, those different channels can enhance — or detract — from how it is received. An effective communicator will develop different skills and tools to match the type of communication needed.

1. Leadership communication 

Leaders often deliver one-way communications to their teams. The goal may be to inform or update, such as a memo about a new company policy or a change in direction. Leaders also often communicate to persuade, encourage, and inspire commitment. They often communicate through stories more than data.

2. Upward communication 

Managers (and team members) often have to communicate with their own managers and with other leaders who are not in their direct chain of command. These may take the form of memos/emails, reports, or a slot in a standing meeting. Regardless of the format, these types of communications should be considered more formal. 

3. Updates 

Since they’re brief by nature, updates often fall short of being a type of strong communication. Use a visual tracker or dashboard to carry the load, and save your verbal or written commentary for drawing the audience’s attention to what is most important — typically, what requires action or further involvement from them. This might include surprises, obstacles, and potential risks, as well as wins.

4. Presentations

These formal communication events tend to receive the lion’s share of attention, for good reason. Presentations are communication tools that are typically aimed at a larger audience with higher stakes. They have objectives like informing, influencing, and persuading. In addition, many people fear public speaking , and thanks to TED and other series, we have a high expectation for entertainment as well as insight. 

5. Meetings 

Meetings, whether large or small, are a critical part of a workplace’s internal communication strategy . They’re also one of the least understood and most overused types of communication. Effective meetings build synergy between teams and quickly communicate information that would have a high potential to be misunderstood in another format (like email). The best meetings are highly collaborative and leave participants feeling energized, not drained.

6. Customer communications 

Communicating with customers can run the entire gamut discussed above, from one-offs to face-to-face , virtual, spoken, or written, formal to ad hoc. In general, all of the considerations of communication among employees go double for customers. Be deliberate and plan your messages to provide what your customer needs, in the way they prefer, and create a positive impression for the company and the product.

7. Informal interactions 

Informal communications include the emails and chats you engage in all day: making requests, asking for information, responding to requests, and giving or receiving support and guidance. In addition to moving the work of the organization forward, these informal communications have secondary objectives of forming social connections , building culture, establishing trust , and finding common ground.

woman communicating with male coworker at desk (1)

When employees are directly involved in work products and initiatives, it helps to foster a sense of ownership in the company’s future. It also makes them want to work to improve things like the company’s profitability, customer satisfaction, and brand.

Let’s take a look at some ways that building your communication skills cascades down through your organization — and directly impacts its bottom line.

1. Better engagement

Better communication results in greater employee engagement , which is a key metric for employee productivity and potential retention. It reinforces that your people are key contributors and people who the company values for their unique skills and experience. In other words, their contribution — and input — truly make a difference. 

2. Increased morale

Team members with low job satisfaction take more time off of work, are less productive when in-office, and often negatively impact the productivity of other employees when they are present. However, when an employee has an understanding of the work that they have to do and how it connects to the overall success of the team, they bring more energy and pride to their work. 

3. Improved productivity

Better communication techniques help employees to better comprehend their roles, which in turn helps employees perform their assigned duties better. Resources and time can be saved through these techniques, therefore getting more work done and reducing stress .

4. Reduced churn

From customer support representatives to senior technical staff, experience equals value to customers and to the company. And no organization wants to waste the huge costs of recruiting and training good employees by having them leave quickly. As a key factor in employee satisfaction and engagement, communication adds value to the organization by reducing the turnover of skilled and seasoned staff members. 

5. Greater loyalty

Longer-term, keeping employees for many years can add strength to the company and impact the bottom line. Many jobs require years of experience before an employee has sufficient expertise to drive innovation, solve critical problems , and lead others. How an employee feels toward the company — based on how they feel they are treated and valued as individuals — impacts how loyal they will be.

6. Better collaboration

Most companies today use technologies that don’t require team members to be in the same room, the same building, or even the same country. This shift presents new communication challenges, which means managers can facilitate collaboration by helping groups communicate effectively when using the latest technologies. 

7. Fewer workplace conflicts

Many conflicts originate with miscommunication . Poor communication can create negative relationships or even toxic or hostile work environments . Building clear communication can improve company culture and prevent misunderstandings between managers and employees . This includes honing and refining communication styles that focus on listening to others, having empathy, and considering individual differences. 

8. Greater motivation

Psychologists have found that unless people understand the “why” of a concept, they will be less likely to understand or remember it. The same goes for many aspects of people’s work lives. As a manager, one key communication skill is hearing the “why” and following up with a “because.” This approach will help you motivate employees .

coworkers meeting communicating and shaking hands in an office (1)

Now that you understand the importance of good communication at work, you need to know how to develop those skills. Remember: effective communication is about active listening — while it may seem counter-intuitive, a “listener-first” approach will often help you structure the delivery of your message. 

Here are 8 more tips for developing your communication skills .

1. Think it through

There are many communications frameworks, but if you want to improve your communication skills, start by getting in the habit of thinking through these 5 questions for any communication you create:

  • Why are you communicating?
  • Who is the receiver, audience, or participant? 
  • What is your goal or objective? 
  • What do you want the recipient to do as a result of the communication? 
  • What format will best accomplish your goal? 

If you struggle to answer these five questions, you should spend some additional time thinking about how and why you’re communicating. Then, test your understanding with co-workers or your manager.   

2. Give it time

Plan what you want to say and review your communication to make sure it’s actually doing the job you need it to. For written communications, especially, this means: revise, revise, revise. Remember, great communication might seem effortless, but it rarely is.

3. Make it easy

Workplace communication almost always has a larger goal. People are busy. Don’t make them work too hard to understand what you are saying and what you need them to do. State your objective and main point from the beginning of a presentation or written communication so that your audience knows where you’re going. Then fill in the details.

4. Simplify

While you don’t want to condescend or “dumb it down,” in everyday work communications, be mindful of not making the other party work too hard to understand. Find a clear, simple phrasing to encapsulate your point. Repeat it at the beginning, middle, and end, and consider using a simple visual or metaphor to make your point clear and memorable.

5. Experiment and diversify

Work on developing different tactics for different communication needs. Focus on experimenting with one aspect of your communication at a time. For example, spend a week paying extra attention to how you structure informal communications. Then spend a week trying different structures for formal meetings or updates.

6. Practice and reflect

Be deliberate about reflecting on what goes well and what doesn’t in your day-to-day communications. Maybe an email to your manager didn’t go well. Can you see how it might have been misinterpreted? What would you do differently next time? Similarly, if a conversation with a co-worker didn’t yield the expected results, try to identify whether you clearly communicated what you needed. 

7. Consider the full package

Consider recording yourself through a few interactions to gain insight into what your full package is communicating in your daily interactions with your team. Do you make eye contact? Is your facial expression relaxed and confident, or tense? How’s your body language? Do you leave time for questions and clarification? 

8. Seek feedback

Ask a few trusted co-workers and your manager to rate your communication skills. Start by asking them to rate (i.e., on a scale of 1-10) your written and spoken communication separately. Then ask these 3 questions: 

  • What one thing should I start doing to communicate better with you?
  • What one thing should I stop doing in my communications with you?
  • What one area or skill should I work on to improve how I communicate in this organization?

woman in yellow and headphones smiling on virtual call (1)

Communicating well is even more important for leaders and managers during remote work . Doing it well can help build trust and connection with your team and avoid some of the frustrations that come from miscommunication. 

Here are a few areas to consider to improve remote communication:

1. Clarify expectations 

State expectations upfront and repeat them at the end of a communication . Even better, ask the other person to restate their understanding of your expectations. 

2. Engage in 2-way flow 

Being remote can make it easier for employees to check out and disengage. Be deliberate and creative about giving others a role in communication. Ask questions, use polling and ranking tools, and solicit responses in the form of emojis, gifs, or one-word descriptors.   

3. Remember the power of in-person 

A lot can be misinterpreted in the flat space of text without additional cues like tone of voice and facial expression. Don’t default to communicating solely through text or chat. A well-crafted team Zoom call or in-person meeting can establish a better connection and shared understanding, giving others a chance to surface areas of misalignment.

4. Focus on quality 

People may feel protective of their time when working remotely, so make sure that live events are well-thought-out. Send agendas, meeting objectives, or background reading ahead of time to help people prepare to have productive conversations.

5. Create an informal space 

Assuming good intentions and a sharing culture are both foundational for effective day-to-day communication at work. That said, they’re hard to build and maintain without opportunities for casual interaction like happy hours or non-work Slack channels . 

6. Show you care 

You don’t have to spend a lot of time checking in with people and asking about their personal lives. But, now more than ever, it’s worth reminding yourself that the recipients of your communications are real people who have their own challenges, distractions, hopes, and fears. Before getting on a video call or firing off an email, try picturing that person on the other end.

Start communicating better today

Every year communication tops the list of skills in demand by employers. There's a reason. Communication is what makes our professional and personal relationships go smoothly. It's how we show care, catalyze change, and get things done. Business coaching for your team and yourself can help with this skill.

That's reason enough to improve — and keep improving — these important skills. Luckily, we can all learn to communicate better.

Boost your team's communication

Explore coaching techniques to enhance workplace dialogues and foster productivity.

Allaya Cooks-Campbell

With over 15 years of content experience, Allaya Cooks Campbell has written for outlets such as ScaryMommy, HRzone, and HuffPost. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and is a certified yoga instructor as well as a certified Integrative Wellness & Life Coach. Allaya is passionate about whole-person wellness, yoga, and mental health.

7 Critical teamwork skills and how to develop them

How to handle gossip in the workplace and encourage communication, 10 essential workplace skills for success, leverage love languages at work to improve your office culture, foster strong communication skills to enjoy professional success, what is nonverbal communication 10 different types (with examples), improve your interpersonal communication skills with these 6 tips, 30 communication feedback examples, team collaboration 101: learning the art of working together, similar articles, 18 effective strategies to improve your communication skills, why workplace flexibility matters and 4 ways to offer it, what is asynchronous communication, 6 proven ways to create a culture of engagement, feedback in communication: 5 areas to become a better communicator, transparency in the workplace: what it is (and what to avoid), 8 types of internal communication (and 4 factors that matter most), stay connected with betterup, get our newsletter, event invites, plus product insights and research..

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  • AI firms mustn’t govern themselves, say ex-members of OpenAI’s board

For humanity’s sake, regulation is needed to tame market forces, argue Helen Toner and Tasha McCauley

importance of speaking skills essay

C AN PRIVATE companies pushing forward the frontier of a revolutionary new technology be expected to operate in the interests of both their shareholders and the wider world? When we were recruited to the board of OpenAI—Tasha in 2018 and Helen in 2021—we were cautiously optimistic that the company’s innovative approach to self-governance could offer a blueprint for responsible AI development. But based on our experience, we believe that self-governance cannot reliably withstand the pressure of profit incentives. With AI ’s enormous potential for both positive and negative impact, it’s not sufficient to assume that such incentives will always be aligned with the public good. For the rise of AI to benefit everyone, governments must begin building effective regulatory frameworks now.

If any company could have successfully governed itself while safely and ethically developing advanced AI systems, it would have been OpenAI . The organisation was originally established as a non-profit with a laudable mission: to ensure that AGI , or artificial general intelligence— AI systems that are generally smarter than humans—would benefit “all of humanity”. Later, a for-profit subsidiary was created to raise the necessary capital, but the non-profit stayed in charge. The stated purpose of this unusual structure was to protect the company’s ability to stick to its original mission, and the board’s mandate was to uphold that mission. It was unprecedented, but it seemed worth trying. Unfortunately it didn’t work.

Last November, in an effort to salvage this self-regulatory structure, the OpenAI board dismissed its CEO , Sam Altman. The board’s ability to uphold the company’s mission had become increasingly constrained due to long-standing patterns of behaviour exhibited by Mr Altman, which, among other things, we believe undermined the board’s oversight of key decisions and internal safety protocols. Multiple senior leaders had privately shared grave concerns with the board, saying they believed that Mr Altman cultivated “a toxic culture of lying” and engaged in “behaviour [that] can be characterised as psychological abuse”. According to OpenAI, an internal investigation found that the board had “acted within its broad discretion” to dismiss Mr Altman, but also concluded that his conduct did not “mandate removal”. OpenAI relayed few specifics justifying this conclusion, and it did not make the investigation report available to employees, the press or the public.

The question of whether such behaviour should generally “mandate removal” of a CEO is a discussion for another time. But in OpenAI’s specific case, given the board’s duty to provide independent oversight and protect the company’s public-interest mission, we stand by the board’s action to dismiss Mr Altman. We also feel that developments since he returned to the company—including his reinstatement to the board and the departure of senior safety-focused talent—bode ill for the OpenAI experiment in self-governance.

Our particular story offers the broader lesson that society must not let the roll-out of AI be controlled solely by private tech companies. Certainly, there are numerous genuine efforts in the private sector to guide the development of this technology responsibly, and we applaud those efforts. But even with the best of intentions, without external oversight, this kind of self-regulation will end up unenforceable, especially under the pressure of immense profit incentives. Governments must play an active role.

And yet, in recent months, a rising chorus of voices—from Washington lawmakers to Silicon Valley investors—has advocated minimal government regulation of AI . Often, they draw parallels with the laissez-faire approach to the internet in the 1990s and the economic growth it spurred. However, this analogy is misleading.

Inside AI companies, and throughout the larger community of researchers and engineers in the field, the high stakes—and large risks—of developing increasingly advanced AI are widely acknowledged. In Mr Altman’s own words, “Successfully transitioning to a world with superintelligence is perhaps the most important—and hopeful, and scary—project in human history.” The level of concern expressed by many top AI scientists about the technology they themselves are building is well documented and very different from the optimistic attitudes of the programmers and network engineers who developed the early internet.

It is also far from clear that light-touch regulation of the internet has been an unalloyed good for society. Certainly, many successful tech businesses—and their investors—have benefited enormously from the lack of constraints on commerce online. It is less obvious that societies have struck the right balance when it comes to regulating to curb misinformation and disinformation on social media, child exploitation and human trafficking, and a growing youth mental-health crisis.

Goods, infrastructure and society are improved by regulation. It’s because of regulation that cars have seat belts and airbags, that we don’t worry about contaminated milk and that buildings are constructed to be accessible to all. Judicious regulation could ensure the benefits of AI are realised responsibly and more broadly. A good place to start would be policies that give governments more visibility into how the cutting edge of AI is progressing, such as transparency requirements and incident-tracking.

Of course, there are pitfalls to regulation, and these must be managed. Poorly designed regulation can place a disproportionate burden on smaller companies, stifling competition and innovation. It is crucial that policymakers act independently of leading AI companies when developing new rules. They must be vigilant against loopholes, regulatory “moats” that shield early movers from competition, and the potential for regulatory capture. Indeed, Mr Altman’s own calls for AI regulation must be understood in the context of these pitfalls as having potentially self-serving ends. An appropriate regulatory framework will require agile adjustments, keeping pace with the world’s expanding grasp of AI ’s capabilities.

Ultimately, we believe in AI ’s potential to boost human productivity and well-being in ways never before seen. But the path to that better future is not without peril. OpenAI was founded as a bold experiment to develop increasingly capable AI while prioritising the public good over profits. Our experience is that even with every advantage, self-governance mechanisms like those employed by OpenAI will not suffice. It is, therefore, essential that the public sector be closely involved in the development of the technology. Now is the time for governmental bodies around the world to assert themselves. Only through a healthy balance of market forces and prudent regulation can we reliably ensure that AI ’s evolution truly benefits all of humanity. ■

Helen Toner and Tasha McCauley were on OpenAI’s board from 2021 to 2023 and from 2018 to 2023, respectively.

Read a response to this article by Bret Taylor, the chair of Open AI’ s board, and Larry Summers, a board member.

Explore more

By invitation june 1st 2024.

  • OpenAI board members respond to a warning by former members

The three women who will shape Europe

From the June 1st 2024 edition

Discover stories from this section and more in the list of contents

More from By Invitation

importance of speaking skills essay

Digital finance is a money-launderer’s dream, argues an author

Curbing dirty money will require both governments and techies to be less dogmatic, says Geoff White

importance of speaking skills essay

American business should not empower a criminal, says Reid Hoffman

No rational CEO would want a capricious strongman in the White House, argues the entrepreneur

importance of speaking skills essay

A whack-a-mole approach to big tech won’t do, says Europe’s antitrust chief

Margrethe Vestager insists that openness need not come at the expense of security


  1. The Importance of Speaking Skills

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