When we hear the word public speaking, we imagine a confident, well-dressed speaker who not only hooks you from the very beginning of their speech but also carries an aura that is unmatchable. So essentially we tend to see public speaking as someone’s strength! But have you ever thought of public speaking as a weakness?
Public speaking is an act of presenting a speech, presentation, or topic in front of an audience with the idea of sharing one’s opinions, discoveries, stories, and more.
Having good public speaking skills gives others the impression that you are confident, knowledgeable, and easy to talk to; all of which are widely appreciated traits.
Can Public speaking be a weakness?
Yes! Public speaking can be a weakness for some people. And it is totally okay!
If you happen to be one of them, don’t worry. This blog is here to guide you toward becoming a more confident public speaker.
Why is public speaking a weakness?
Speaking in front of a crowd or a team has become a very important part of our everyday life. So it doesn’t matter if you like it or you don’t. There will be times when you will be bound to take the role of a public speaker.
From presenting your topic in front of your classmates in schools or colleges to giving interviews and conducting meetings, public speaking is a very important skill to have.
Further, public speaking is a good way to reach out to a large number of people. It strengthens your confidence in yourself and your ability to communicate your point effectively to others.
So is public speaking a positive weakness?
Weaknesses are not positive or negative but can be seen as areas that need some improvement. And public speaking isn’t a weakness in itself. Instead, there are a few elements that you might have to improve upon to not see public speaking as a weakness.
These elements may include unstructured speech, poorly researched content, poor delivery, overuse of fillers, and more.
For instance, you might have enough knowledge about the topic that you’ll be speaking about. And may even have prepared a structured speech but if you are not able to deliver it effectively, it becomes a weakness.
So rather than seeing public speaking as a weakness, you can see it as an opportunity. An opportunity to identify what is it that is coming in your way of being an effective public speaker? Once you find that out, you can work on it and stop seeing public speaking as a weakness.
Let us now try to identify what might be the possible reasons that are making you think of public speaking as a weakness.
Reasons why you may see public speaking as a weakness?
Some of the biggest reasons why public speaking can be a weakness for you are listed below. Try to understand which all relate to you, list them down, and later work on overcoming them.
Is the fear of public speaking a weakness?
Yes! In fact, the fear of public speaking is very common. This fear of public speaking usually begins from a very small thought like “What if I don’t perform well? What will everyone think of me?”
In short. fear of public speaking stems from a fear of being judged by our audience.
2. Lack of Practise
There is a possibility that public speaking is not your weakness. But your lack of practice is what is coming in your way of being an effective public speaker.
Lack of practice would make even a well-researched and most interesting content very bleak.
3. Lack of control
When you are performing in front of an audience, all you have control over is yourself and your presentation or props. You can never gauge your audience’s reaction or enthusiasm. This brings the element of uncertainty and loss of control on your part.
The audience may ask some questions that you might have no clue about, or they might not seem very interested. You might find that out by the number of people falling asleep or talking on their phones while you present your topic to them.
Such a lack of control instills tons of anxiety in the speaker. This anxiety then makes the speaker go blank or comes in the way of effective public speaking.
How do improve public speaking weaknesses?
1. Know your topic well
The first thing that you need to understand when you are presenting a speech or a presentation in front of an audience is to have enough knowledge about your topic.
Not knowing your topic well enough can be very detrimental to your credibility.
For this, it is ideal to spend enough time researching your topic.
When it comes to research you might want to check out credible sources like the ones available on government portals or surveys. You can also include findings of papers that have been cited by a considerably large number of people.
Also, make sure to check out the latest developments happening around your topic. See if there was anything in the news recently that the audience could question you on.
2. Structure your speech
Structuring your speech is very important as it can help you identify the flow of your speech. It also helps you recall the information quickly to avoid going blank on stage.
Further structuring your speech or presentation rids of going back and forth in your speech and thus giving your audience a chance to understand your content quickly and easily.
Practice plays a crucial role when it comes to effective public speaking. It is very easy for the audience to identify speakers who haven’t practiced their content well enough.
Poorly practiced speeches or presentations might involve going back and forth in your speech, saying a lot of filler words like uhs and ums, being very still while speaking, not having enough knowledge about the topic or the presentation, and more.
To avoid any of them to happen to you, we advise you to practice!
You can practice your speech in front of your family or friends. You can also video record yourself and then go back and observe the places where you shall improve to effectively present your speech to your audience.
4. Use psychological Techniques
Priming is a technique wherein you trick your mind to feel a certain way. So for instance, if you feel nervous before your presentation or speech, the idea is to think confident and positive thoughts continuously until your mind starts feeling the same energy and positivity.
You can also try to prime yourself by adding value to the audience rather than focusing constantly on your appearance and body language.
Conversion Emotion Rule
Your arms are sweaty; you are walking back and forth, talking very fast and breathing heavily. That is how we describe fearing right? But if you take a look from another perspective, you’ll realize that these are the same emotions we feel when we are excited!
So what you can do to get rid of your fear of public speaking is to treat it as an exciting opportunity.
Tell yourself that you are not afraid of public speaking; you are just excited to speak in front of people and be heard.
Brendon Burchard Rule
Brendon Burchard’s theory on fears is very simple. He talks about how when we fear something or are nervous about something, we instantly end up thinking about the worst possible scenario that would follow.
So if you are nervous about speaking on stage, you might have thoughts like “what if I don’t remember my line? People will think I’m so dumb and unprepared.”
The idea is to avoid such thoughts or rather try to overpower them by thinking of positive outcomes instead. So in the example above you can think something like “I have prepared enough number of times and am confident that I would be able to recall all the information on stage.”
Check out the video below to know more about psychological hacks to beat stage fright.
5. Interact with the audience
One of the major reasons why you might find your audience yawning or uninterested in your speech or presentation is because it involves only you. Or rather it involves you talking about something on a stretch!
To overcome this you can try to engage the audience.
You can do that by implementing any of the following in your speech or presentation:
Humor adds a little extra charm to your speech that the audience might be looking for. To make your speech or presentation less monotonous, adding a joke or 2 never hurts. It also keeps the audience interested in what you have to say.
If you are looking for an example of how to use humor in public speaking, check out the video below
Props are very effective when it comes to getting your point across as it provides something that the audience can view it and understand what you are trying to say better.
Anything can be used as a prop, from a half-filled glass to a rose.
Check out the video below to see how Dananjaya Hettiarachchi made use of a rose as a prop in the world championship of public speaking in 2014.
The most convenient way of delivering effective presentations or speeches is through stories. And if you see public speaking as a weakness, then you must try to add stories to your speech.
The reason is quite simple. Stories easily attract the audience’s attention but at the same time, it makes it easier for you to maintain a flow.
Think about it, the polar difference between you giving a speech on global warming versus you talking about your first day of college. Do you now understand how stories can make your speech or presentation effortlessly effective?
6. Sign up for a professional training
The most effective solution to improving public speaking as a weakness is to get advice from a professional who can help you in understanding your public speaking skills better. They usually also provide feedback so you can also check the improvements you make.
If you are looking for a professional to help you navigate your way to becoming an effective and confident public speaker, check out our services at frantically speaking.
Public speaking as a weakness in an interview
One of the most infamous questions in any interview is the one where they ask you “What is your biggest weakness?”
And if public speaking is the answer you are planning to give, then you might want to reconsider.
As discussed public speaking and communication skills have become a very crucial part of our everyday life, so telling the interviewers that public speaking is your biggest weakness might lead to an unfavorable outcome for you.
Before telling your interviewers that public speaking is your weakness, check whether public speaking happens to be an important part of the role. If yes, then try your level best to address it.
For instance, if you are applying for an HR job, saying that public speaking is your weakness may cost you that job while it might not affect your prospects of getting a job related to software development.
But if you still want to add public speaking as your weakness, then keep scrolling to see how exactly you should go about it.
How to talk about public speaking as a weakness?
Cases in an interview where you can mention public speaking as a weakness
1. Not a requirement for the position
It can be justifiable when you say that public speaking isn’t your strong area when you are applying for jobs that don’t require public speaking and hence not being excellent in public speaking would not come in the way of your bagging the role. Job roles like software developers and accountants may be able to add public speaking as a weakness in their interviews.
2. Remote work
Another instance when you can justify public speaking as a weakness is when the job is entirely virtual or remote. In such cases, we assume you are comfortable speaking to large groups through online mode.
In such cases, you can say to the interviewer something like,
“I believe public speaking is one of my biggest weaknesses. However, I am comfortable speaking to both small and large groups of people online. Being behind the screen, I find it easier to effectively communicate and point my point forward. However, I am also improving my ability to speak in front of large groups in person and am confident of overcoming that soon.”
3. A safe answer
A safe answer is when you mention public speaking as a weakness but you also give your interviewer an idea of how you are constantly improving your public speaking skills.
An example of this can be,
“I find public speaking a little challenging, however, I believe that every weakness can be overcome by practice and dedication. And I have been consistently improving upon my public speaking skills as well. I have also taken up professional help for the same. I believe, this opportunity will further help me work on my public speaking skills which is also a reason why I look forward to contributing to your esteemed organization.”
Cases in an interview where not mention public speaking as a weakness should
1. When the job asks for it
If you find “public speaking” or “good communication skills” anywhere in the job description while applying for that particular position then mentioning public speaking as a weakness should be the last thing you should do.
The reason is very simple, the employer will straight up ask you why you applied for the job when it was one of the requirements or may simply sideline your resume.
2. It requires working with customers
Let’s say you are being interviewed for a sales job, but nowhere have they mentioned good communication skills or public speaking skills in the job description. Think to yourself, will it be a good idea to say that public speaking is your biggest weakness for a sales job?
The reason? Because that is a very basic skill necessary for the job and everyone knows it.
3. It requires working in teams
Any job that requires working in teams would also require you to communicate ideas, strategies, and findings with them. This would mean that you will have to be good at public speaking for the job, at least according to the employer.
Strengths and weaknesses of a public speaker
Strengths of a public speaker
1. Personal factor
Personal factors would include confidence in oneself and passion for the topic on which are speaking. These are things that cannot be taught but come naturally to people.
For example, someone who is interested in humanities may be able to give a presentation on the laws of physics, however, their lack of passion and understanding of the subject will be easily noticed.
But if the same individual were to present on a topic related to psychology, for instance, they might not only be well versed with the topic but also confident in what are speaking which will reflect on their overall public speaking experience.
2. Repetition of key ideas
When a public speaker keeps reminding the audience of the core idea behind giving the presentation or speech, he or she effectively establishes the takeaway to the audience through constant repetition.
3. Clarity of content
Having researched thoroughly about the topic, a public speaker often gets clarity and proper understanding of the topic they are presenting. As mentioned, having enough knowledge about your topic is a very important aspect of being an effective public speaker.
4. Nonverbal communication
Weaknesses of a public speaker
1. Extensive use of filler words
The use of filler words like arms and uhs is an indication that either the speaker isn’t well prepared or is not confident enough, both of which give an unpleasant experience to the audience.
2. No interaction with the audience
A public speaker who goes on and on about their topic without taking into consideration their audience turns out to be the most boring experience for the latter. That is the reason why it is suggested to make use of props, stories, and humor to keep the audience interested in what you have to say.
Essay on Public speaking as a weakness
Public speaking is an act of presenting a speech, presentation, or topic in front of an audience with the idea of sharing one’s opinions, discoveries, stories, and more. Having good public speaking skills gives others the impression that you are confident, knowledgeable, and easy to talk to; all of which are widely appreciated traits.
But unlike general belief, public speaking is not always a strength. In fact, at times it can end up being your biggest weakness.
Public speaking requires the speaker to be well versed with the content that they are presenting or talking about. When the speaker fails to research the topic properly, it reflects on the content being shared with the audience. It may end up being too generic or even biased.
In case the public speaker works on his or her research, he or she may still see public speaking as a weakness when they fail to properly accommodate and structure the information gathered in a way that is both easy to understand and recall for the audience. Weakness in public speaking further comes into the picture when the speaker is not able to reach their audience.
The possible reasons for this could be the heavy use of technical or difficult words and concepts, the use of complex props, or overemphasis on speaking. When the speaker is unable to use tools like props, stories, and humor to engage the audience, it further adds to the boredom of the audience and comes as a barrier to the effective public speaking of the speaker.
But public speaking is a skill that can both be learned as well as improved on. And practice is what makes it happen!
Practicing in front of family or friends can be effective. Recording one’s speech and improving accordingly can also go a long way in enhancing one’s public speaking skills.
One can also try to add some props. Or make use of easy-to-understand presentations to give a visual explanation to the audience. Lastly, consulting a professional in the field can be a really good idea. They will help you improve quickly in a structured manner with constructive feedback.
Hence, we realize that public speaking isn’t always a strength for everyone. In fact, it can actually be people’s weakness.
But we must realize that we are not born with poor public speaking skills. And hence possess the capabilities to work upon it and not call it our greatest weakness anymore.
Public speaking, despite being seen as a strength, can actually be a weakness for some people. However, we are not born with poor public speaking skills and end up learning to be afraid of public speaking as we grow up. And this means that we can always unlearn and improve upon our public speaking skills.
To identify why you see public speaking as a weakness. Once you get an idea about it, try to find ways in which you can improve those areas where you lack.
Check out our blog which provides well-curated answers to most of your questions related to the public!