Entrepreneurship is undoubtedly an exciting endeavor, but it’s certainly not an easy one and definitely not meant for everyone. There’s an interaction of a multitude of unique skills and capabilities that have to work in sync with one another; assertiveness, creativity, adaptiveness, subject-matter expertise, resilience, motivation, etc. These are the typical characteristics that we think of when we think of successful entrepreneurs. While they are certainly essential, being a capable public speaker is often the one that can truly propel a business to the next level, yet is rarely spoken about.
It doesn’t have to be painfully boring…
As a business owner, I’m always thinking up of fun, yet challenging ways to sharpen my entrepreneurial skillset. To become adept at Photoshop, I would create custom-made medical memes and then sell them to medical facilities for social media purposes. To better my negotiating tactics, I’ve spent many Sunday afternoons bargaining at estate sales and then re-selling the furniture on craigslist. As PromoAmbitions has been making bigger waves as of late, I found myself in bigger meetings with high-stakes, and I was dissatisfied with how nervous I was feeling. I knew I had to become more comfortable with public speaking, and so I thought it would be healthy to take myself out of my comfort zone and start performing on stage. After rummaging through my drawer of late night insomnia writings and stumbling upon many scribbled poems, I figured that reading my late-night ramblings to a packed poetry club would be the ideal endeavor.
My experience at Manhattan’s Bowery Poetry Club…
I decided that Bowery Poetry Club in New York City was the perfect venue to challenge myself and I started attending their Poet NY Open Mic nights hosted by the always entertaining Mason Granger. I was taken aback by how enriching the whole experience was. Just being in the room, you can feel it’s a stage from which a lot of art was intimately shared. The range of material is truly amazing; everything from cathartic to comedic, therapeutic to provocative, stream-of-thought to creative chaos. I found myself sitting there and absorbing art, trying to experience whatever effect it had on me objectively.
When I’d get up on stage to perform, I’d concentrate on releasing the tension and being mindful to breathe. To look at my audience and to connect with them. To speak my writings and be okay with the fact that I cannot control if the audience likes me or my work, and to just do my best and make sure that with each time I go up, I feel less and less tense and uncomfortable. You’d be surprised at how quickly you become desensitized to your fears once you expose yourself to them.
Other fun ways to challenge yourself to improvement…
Performing poetry at open mics is not the only way I have been exercising my public speaking aptitude. I started to give more toasts at occasion which call for them. I started running 3D Printing workshops for kids where I get to speak about all the cool real-life applications of 3D Printing and how the whole process works. I have even tried stand-up comedy, although I prefer and recommend poetry open mics because you don’t have to bandy insults with hecklers for half of your set.
We all have areas in our skillset that need improvement, and I promise it’s so rewarding when you can identify them and find ways to refine and polish them. Not only will you excel at what you do, but also you’ll be proud of yourself for it. I hope this post inspires you to enhance your skills, and if you have found other fun ways to go about doing it, please do share them in the comments…I’d love to know what’s worked for you!
Special thanks to one of my favorite poets, Kira Stevens, for introducing me to Bowery Poetry Club and all that it has to offer.