Billionaire Warren Buffett is one of the most important businessmen in the world. As the world’s top investor and the chairman of the conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett is constantly asked for his advice for success, for getting rich, and more. And, while there are many things that he attributes to his success, there is one that he believes everyone should learn: public speaking.
“You’ve got to be able to communicate in life. It’s enormously important,” Buffett said. “If you can’t communicate and talk to other people and get across your ideas, you’re giving up your potential.”
If that idea terrifies you, then don’t worry; you’re not alone. In fact, public speaking is actually one of the most common fears—right up there with death. Even Warren Buffett, who spends countless hours of his time in front of a camera or microphone spouting his wisdom, was afraid of public speaking when he was younger. In fact, he took a Dale Carnegie course on public speaking and was so terrified that they would ask him to speak up that he dropped out. A short time later, he enrolled again, and passed the course. The certificate is on display in his office to this day.
“Public speaking is an asset that will last you 50 or 60 years if you are comfortable with doing it, and a liability that will last you 50 or 60 years if you aren’t comfortable with it,” Buffett said. “It’s a necessary skill.”
If you’re really terrified of public speaking, here are a few tips for working through it:
- Be organized
- Practice and rehearse extensively
- Take a public speaking class
- Stop overthinking audience reactions
- Breathe and relax
Public speaking is one of those skills that is immeasurable in value and notoriously hard to grasp. However, if you have the perseverance to work through your fear, then you are sure to succeed.