You’re a Civil Engineer. You didn’t become a Civil Engineer to present in front of people. I get it. I’m an engineer, too, and when it came to communicating, I didn’t think it was a big deal. My job was to design and develop. Any communicating could be done by someone else. How wrongheaded I was…
There are a bevy of reasons that you should want to improve your public speaking.
Here are three.
Three Reasons to Improve Your Public Speaking
No one can explain your work like you can
It’s easy to pass along your work for someone else to talk about. But is that person going to do your work justice? Besides, as an engineer, you have a lot of technical expertise. It’s unrealistic to expect a non-engineer to nail down that expertise well enough to present effectively on it. Your company will be more productive and profitable if you’re the one talking about your work.
Effective communication leads to visibility, which leads to promotions and pay raises
Have you ever been passed up for a promotion? Wonder why? It could very well be because you don’t say anything! Those who are the most technically proficient aren’t always the ones who get promoted. Those who speak well and network with decision-makers reap the rewards. Improving your communications skills gets you in front of the right people. Not improving your communication skills leaves you in your cubicle stewing while somebody else gets the job you want.
I realize that you went to school and studied Civil Engineering. You’re going to be a civil engineer for your entire career, right? Maybe not. I have a podcast, and I speak with countless engineers who started off in one path and ended up in an entirely different one. You want to be ready if and when you decide to change course. One way to get ready is to improve your communication skills. It makes you more flexible so, if you decide to change careers, you are able to communicate that to others, especially at job interviews. You’re not the engineer who does engineer things and nothing else.
There really are no downsides to improving your communication skills. It can open up opportunities, fatten your bank account, and make you more relatable to others. The best way to get started is…to get started. Volunteer for speaking opportunities both at work and outside work. Practice makes progress. Video yourself to see what you like and what you can improve. And ask for feedback, remembering that you can reject it if it doesn’t speak to you.
Neil Thompson is the founder of Teach the Geek and the creator of Teach the Geek to Speak, an online public speaking course. To learn more about the course, visit https://civilengineeringacademy.com/teachthegeek.