Why those who stand up and speak get ahead in the workplace…

Powerpoint alternativesAt the age of 19 I successfully delivered a eulogy at my Grandfather’s funeral – one of my earliest experiences of public speaking.

“Well done”, said my Godfather, “now you’ll be the one who is asked to speak at every family event going…”

…as if standing up and speaking was some kind of curse.

Far from it, over the last decade I’ve watched colleagues, competitors and entrepreneurs separate themselves from the chasing pack by standing up and speaking. Whether it is in meetings, at corporate events or as part of a pitch, far from being a curse, being able to stand up and present confidently is a gift that allows those who can master it to get ahead of the competition in their professional lives.

Now, don’t for a second think this is an article glorifying public speaking and presentation skills as the only key to success in the workplace.

I am simply saying that those who do stand up and speak find more opportunities coming their way – they still then need a large amount of skill, luck and of course, hard work to seize those opportunities!

So, if you’re looking to open up more opportunities in your professional life, here’s my thoughts on a few reasons why developing the skills to stand up and speak confidently might just be the answer:


Even if your heart is racing on the inside and you are sweating underneath your suit jacket, those that have the confidence to stand up and speak instantly demonstrate that they are brave enough to take on challenges that millions of others wouldn’t dare to.


Successful speakers quickly build rapport and understanding with their audience through their style of delivery. If you’re successfully standing and speaking then you are demonstrating to the world that you have the communication skills to get others to follow you on mighty business journeys.


Standing up and speaking up is the quickest way to demonstrate your expertise, knowledge and understanding to a group. Be careful though, because it’s also the quickest way to get found out if you are bluffing your way through a topic!

The ability to think on your feet

When you stand up and speak, you are in control of the room. But, you are still going to have to think on your feet when the audience have questions, or the unexpected happens! Quick thinking and innovation are key skills for future leaders, and speaking gives you the perfect opportunity to demonstrate them.

Clear communication

It might seem like the most obvious aspect of them all, but if you’re speaking up, you are learning to communicate ideas simply. Communicating ideas and sharing inspiration are key skills for leading teams, and by standing up and speaking, you are already displaying these skills!


Again, it seems so obvious, but by standing up and speaking you are reaching more and more people to display your best qualities to. The more people you reach, the more opportunities that will come your way!

If you’re nervous about standing up and presenting, or just looking for ways to get ahead in your career, I hope that this article has opened your eyes to how developing your presentation skills can help you to get ahead.

You don’t always need structured training to develop your skills (although it may help). As long as you set yourself a public speaking goal and take steps towards achieving it on a daily basis, you are certain to be moving forward, and most importantly, ahead of the rest of the professional pack!

Good luck, and I’m here to answer any questions that you may have!

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Rich Watts is the UK Business Speaker of the Year and a past JCI National Public Speaking champion. He setup and now runs Rich Public Speaking providing presentation skills and public speaking training.

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