Back in October of 2021, Speak for Success had the amazing opportunity to take on Ryan Madigan as an intern who supported us in the development of our Learning Portal and promoting community engagement amongst our Speak for Success members.
Ryan is a student at McGill University and a part of the institution’s Desautels Faculty of Management.
Throughout his internship Ryan also embarked on his own Public Speaking journey, participating in our curriculums many lessons and exercises.
We had the great opportunity to sit down and chat with him about what he’s learned throughout his time with us and why he believes public speaking skills are essential for all emerging leaders.
1. What did you learn about the importance of public speaking while working with Speak for Success?
One thing I learned while working with Speak for Success is that public speaking skills are essential for any career. It doesn’t matter what position or industry you’re in, being able to clearly articulate your thoughts and your ideas is really key for success both in your professional life and also in your personal life.
2. How will strong public speaking skills benefit you in the workplace?
I will be able to clearly articulate my ideas and my opinions to my colleagues. In the past, sometimes I’ve found that I’ve had a great idea or strong opinion on something but I wasn’t able to find the right words to clearly explain it to those around me and that can be very frustrating. But after learning a few of the frameworks and techniques taught in the Speak for Success curriculum, I’ve had more success being able to clearly explain my ideas in a way that is more understandable. I think this is really valuable and will help me achieve my goals throughout my career.
3. Why do you think it’s important that young professionals participate in public speaking training?
It really is such an essential skill to career and workplace success and I think for a lot of people there really isn’t a dedicated time where they are able to practice this skill. Doing specific public speaking training gives you the tools and techniques, but also offers you specific time where you’re able to practice and apply everything you’ve learned, and where you really start to see improvement.
4. How do you think being a part of a supportive community can help you become a better speaker?
Public speaking isn’t a skill that’s going to be learned overnight it really is a journey and there are going to be setbacks and times where you feel like you’ve hit a wall, and having that supportive community that you can bounce ideas off of and get advice from is super valuable and can help you reach the next level of your public speaking journey.
5. What are 3 things you’ve learned since being introduced to Speak for Success/starting your public speaking journey?
The first is that there are solutions to people’s biggest public speaking fears. For me, a big source of fear was impromptu speaking or being put on the spot and not knowing what to say. Through Speak for Success, I’ve learned that there are mechanisms and frameworks to deal with this and methods to practise being in that situation so it’s not as daunting when you find yourself there. I already feel more comfortable, whereas before I thought it was something I would have to deal with for the rest of my life.
The second thing I learned was, for how important of a skill public speaking is most people rarely get a chance to practice it by itself. Whether it’s at school or in the workplace, I’ve found that public speaking is usually just an adjacent skill to whatever you’re doing – like a presentation or a speech – and we never really get the chance to focus solely on developing this skill alone. Being able to set aside time and have dedicated resources to improve this skill has been super beneficial.
The third thing I’ve learned is that the most important thing you need to improve your public speaking is having a safe space to practice all the skills that you’ve learned. It’s great to learn skills and techniques, but you need to put those in action and you need to do it in a space where if you mess up there are no negative repercussions and that’s really how you’re going to get out of your comfort zone, apply these techniques, and see improvement in places like the workplace.