Have your public speaking skills ever caused you to miss an opportunity or promotion?

A strong blend of soft and hard abilities is required for product management. Many people, in my opinion, assume that product managers are all excellent communicators from the beginning, but in my experience, many PMs feel anxiety related to public speaking and communication. What do you think?

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Not a missed promotion, but it has impacted my reputation among stakeholders and coworkers. I think I understand my job pretty well, but as someone with high functioning anxiety, if you don’t get your point over the first time in this environment, people will evaluate you right away.

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How effective are you typically at communicating? Beyond speaking in front of an audience, What is required are general speaking abilities (clarity and succinctness). The public speaking suffers as a result. It’s a soft talent that interviewers are known to focus on.

Do you respond to the query? or do you go in circles?

I recommend writing things down clearly, going over them, going over them again, and creating a framework for presenting ideas. You’ll become more confident as you practice more.

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@LawrenceMartin, I agree totally… To overcome your fear of public speaking, you must first work on becoming a better communicator and speaker.

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Yes. I’ve had prospective employers tell me they specifically wouldn’t hire me because I failed to look them in the eye during (a common trait of autistic individuals) certain parts of the interview as an undiagnosed but likely autistic person. They are being foolish and ignorant, but I’ve had to deliberately try to get through it in order to develop my workplace communication abilities.

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Yes, I have a little anxiety of speaking in front of crowds, and also because I work remotely, I’ve had to fight off anxiety during presentations. I always keep a script on hand so I can refer to it if I start to stumble. Sometimes I don’t feel that way, and I believe one factor I can identify is the relationship between caffeine consumption and lack of sleep.

Practice certainly benefits. Knowing the subject matter is obviously important in case a boss ruins the presentation, which has happened a few times in my career. “I know all this … tell me what you think!” etc.

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Most of my communication is written. Has served me fine- and less meetings :smile:

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I wish we could all choose to do this. Some companies seem to be overly focused on slide decks and presentations, leaving little room for project managers to experiment with other forms of communication (because the org just assumes because you are a PM, you will give live presentations)

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@BethanyGrey, that’s awful. We respect written narrative and most of our communication is asynchronous, which is excellent for me.

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I have no knowledge about the organizational structure or financial resources of your business, but this is something I would bring up in your next one-on-one meeting with your manager. Many businesses will pay for public speaking coaching.

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I would advise gently gaining strength and enrolling in improv classes. Being an introvert, I’ve been questioned on the spot during large organization meetings. Additionally, prepare your questions in advance of key meetings – it helps!

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Also, Toastmasters is a good mix of both presenting and improv. There are clubs in almost every city.

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I took improv lessons. I’m a natural public speaker, but it was more about honing my listening and social skills than my speaking abilities (not to brag, I had to learn those skills the hard way!).

But everyone else in the class really impressed me. They actually learned how to connect with people more successfully and came out of their shells. They were so much more skilled at coming up with ideas on the spot and exhibited no nervousness at all (despite telling me that they were very nervous).

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I wholeheartedly agree that improv stimulates alternative thinking and teaches how to live in the moment. A PM’s ability must be a living, breathing thing. I still have trouble reading the audience in this far-off place as a presenter! Though I have been consciously shifting toward briefs/writeups with voice overs, tools like PowerPoint or Miro boards still help me communicate concepts.

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I used to feel internally terrified. I would drench myself in sweat.

Techniques include dumping right before a big occasion, practising in front of a mirror, and donning a jacket to hide the sweat.

Fortunately, I came out as confident right away, even though I was actually terrified.

Experience sorted out every issue.

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Thanks. Additionally, I believe that practising is crucial, and I highly recommend improv and toastmasters clubs.

We appreciate you all sharing your knowledge and experiences. Really grateful.