How will AI affect the ability of people to communicate on a human level? A future-outlook article in Forbes cites the soft skills of communication and interpersonal networking among the 10 most in-demand skills in 2024.
The reason? Organizations need humans with the ability to talk to other humans in ways that AI can’t match (yet). And when it comes to making friends and building bonds of trust and common goals, the human voice is highly prized.
So, putting generative AI aside for now, let’s jump start the year with inspiring words of wisdom to guide your public speaking journey.
Remember, public speaking isn’t just about delivering words; it’s about connecting with your audience, sharing compelling ideas, and leaving an impression. Embrace the power of these quotes, integrate their lessons into your approach, and watch as your speaking skills reach new heights.
Here are 10 of my favorite quotes that provide insights into the essence of public speaking and its role as the foundation of leadership.
1. John F. Kennedy
“The only reason to give a speech is to change the world.”
Kennedy’s quote challenges speakers to aspire to make a difference through their words. Public speaking, at its core, is a tool for positive change and impact.
2. Dale Carnegie
“Talk to someone about themselves, and they’ll listen for hours.”
Carnegie’s wisdom emphasizes communication as a two-way street. By tailoring your speech to resonate with your audience’s interests and concerns, you create a bond that captivates attention.
3. Steve Jobs
“The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. The storyteller sets the vision, values, and agenda of an entire generation that is to come.”
Jobs underscores the transformative power of storytelling in public speaking. Crafting a compelling narrative can make your message memorable and impactful across generations, as Jobs was uniquely able to do as a tech visionary.
4. Leonardo DiCaprio
“Don’t wait around for someone else to tell your story. Do it yourself by whatever means necessary.”
DiCaprio’s quote encourages individuals to take the initiative in sharing their stories, reinforcing the idea that everyone’s voice is valuable. In his acting roles, he has portrayed numerous individuals with remarkable stories.
5. Chris Anderson
“Your number one task as a speaker is to transfer into your listeners’ minds an extraordinary gift—a strange and beautiful object that we call an idea.”
Anderson, curator of TED Talks, highlights the transformative power of ideas. Great speakers are effective conveyors of ideas that inspire, challenge, and provoke thought. Prioritize the clarity and strength of your ideas, ensuring they are communicated with passion and purpose.
6. Maya Angelou
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Angelou’s famous quote reflects the ability of speaking to touch hearts. Create an emotional connection with your audience to leave a lasting impression. Craft your message with authenticity and empathy and watch as your words resonate long after the speech concludes.
7. Eleanor Roosevelt
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Roosevelt’s quote encourages speakers to overcome the fear of judgment and criticism and give themselves permission to believe in the value of what they have to say. She championed the right of every individual to speak their mind.
8. Jerry Seinfeld
“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”
Is it true that people fear speaking in public more than death? It depends on how you ask the question. 70 percent of people who prefer to be in the casket than at the podium were really expressing their fear of public scrutiny and rejection. Seinfeld put the contrast in perspective with this memorable quote.
9. Mark Twain
“There are two types of speakers: those that are nervous and those that are liars.”
With inimitable wit, Twain calls out those who deny the inevitable nervous energy that precedes public speaking. The best way to deal with this anxiety is to acknowledge that this fear is perfectly normal, and you are not alone. Even the pros get butterflies in their stomachs before speaking.
10. Oprah Winfrey
“What’s the most important message you want to leave your audience with—and why should they care? Every listener instinctively wants to know one thing: What’s in this for me?”
The best public speakers are those who work at making their addresses both interesting and relatable. Oprah, the quintessential communicator, offers advice to speakers challenged with preparing a speech. What does your audience want to hear? Define your message in one sentence and add a poignant story to illustrate it.
Let these quotes resonate as you embark on a quest to refine your communication skills everywhere you go. May your words echo in the hearts and minds of those who listen, making the year ahead one of promise and fulfillment.