Haris Ahmed, Chicago Consultant: 3 Champions of Public Speaking
Haris Ahmed of Chicago management consulting firm Pragmatium Consulting Group Inc. believes that effective public speaking is a must-have skill. He has given talks in front of large groups of people, having served as a facilitator for various organizations:
They say, the best way to get better at something is to practice. However, there are other means of learning besides practice. For instance, I believe there’s value in studying the techniques and mannerisms of the best speakers in the world, and when it comes to the best of the best, these gentlemen easily make the top of anyone’s list:
1. John Maxwell – John Maxwell needs no further introduction – a #1 New York Times bestselling author, coach, and speaker to Fortune 500 companies, presidents of nations, and the world’s top business leaders. A titan of public speaking, he has trained more than 5 million business leaders and continues to be a powerful thought leader in transformational leadership. While he packs a hefty punch in his books, like The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership and The 21 Indispensable Qualities of A Leader, his motivational speeches, when seen live, are something else. He has presence and charisma, and he tackles storytelling in front of large crowds like no other. Every word draws you in that it makes you think whether he was born immune to the fears of public speaking. Among the most salient points Maxwell shares is the importance of feedback. The more feedback you can get, the better you can hone your strengths.
2. Barrack Obama – Some claim Barrack Obama’s oratory skills surpasses JFK, FDR, and Ronald Reagan’s but whichever way you rank these great orators, there’s no doubt that the bar has been set high. For instance, Obama’s Tucson speech has gone down in history as one of the most important, having garnered praise across party lines. The Tucson speech honored the 18 victims who were shot at the Tucson metropolitan area in Casas Adobes, Arizona. Another speech of Obama’s that clinched his spot among the greatest is his keynote speech in DC back in 2004. The young Obama, then only a Senator from Illinois, delivered the keynote address, which catapulted him as a leading candidate of the Democratic Party. If there was any evidence needed that Obama was ready for the White House, this is the speech to watch. What’s notable about these speeches is that Obama wrote them himself, which shouldn’t come off as a surprise in light of his impeccable delivery of the said speeches.
3. Steve Jobs – Steve Jobs may not be as charming as Maxwell or as witty as Obama, but his ability to work a room is definitely worth noting. He is, by far, still the business world’s greatest storyteller. Anyone tasked to give an elevator pitch or give a business presentation can pick up a thing or two from Steve Jobs. For one, his passion for design was palpable across every speech he gave about Apple’s products. He never missed a beat as well, knowing his products like they were the back of his hand – this confidence is what allowed him to access his speaking flow much faster.
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