Here's why public speaking is a "must-have" skill for software engineers
Ignore, avoid, or settle for less. It will always come to haunt you.
Public speaking is an essential skill for software engineers, especially those aspiring for career growth. In fact, a 2015 study found that public speaking and presentation skills were the top factors that impacted a software engineer's successes or failures.
Software engineers may consider technical skills as the most powerful weapon in their arsenal. Now, if you are a software engineer, you would have realized where the problem lies – "no software engineer works in a silo." You need to collaborate with your peers, managers, clients, and other stakeholders to convey complex ideas and concepts. From daily stand-ups and code reviews to project update meetings, you need to present your work quite often.
Unfortunately, a particular burden rests on your shoulders – the subjects you deal with are quite technical and complicated. Yet, your expertise and perspective are critical to making sound decisions that drive business results and profits.
So, what should you do? Seize the opportunity to level up your public speaking skills. Let me tell you the top three reasons why.
Reduce conflicts and misunderstandings
Traditionally, you are taught to communicate through writing. Your technical reports follow a particular style and format. As a natural tendency, you try to replicate a similar format and style during team-customer interactions. The listeners may not always comprehend or interpret your messages that align with your intent.
Conflict and misunderstandings can put a real crimp in project plans and damage relationships.
Be attentive to the needs of your audience and ameliorate their concerns. Prepare a good speech and deliver your message tailored to the audience.
Advance your ideas
Have you ever said this?
"I took at least 80 hours to write this code and algorithm. I have been nicely telling this to my manager, but she is still not convinced that this is the right choice for the project at hand. Just because I am not loudmouthed about it!"
Well, your sentiment isn't wrong.
Many software engineers are geniuses in their 'world of codes and algorithms, but they fail to sell their plans and ideas.
The harsh reality is if you are quiet, can't speak up, and can't sell your ideas, you are not effective and valuable to the team.
Remember, desperation won't sell. Break out of your shell and become more assertive. When you're presenting to your team or client, do it correctly. Pay attention to minor details – confidence, hedge words, fluency, speech rate – all these make up the final impression.
Better opportunities for career advancement
When a software engineer rambles through a long and technical progress update, the audience tunes out and stops paying much attention to what the engineer is telling them? Hiring managers are looking for software engineers who can communicate with various stakeholders, inspire confidence in their ideas, and make things happen. The irony is most software engineers can't transcend beyond love for their codes and algorithms and rally support for solutions that align with business goals.
The basic premise is even if you have all the data, it will all be for nothing if your audience doesn't understand it or find it compelling. This is why a vast majority of software engineers do not get an opportunity to work on crucial projects. They never progress to senior roles.
Gain visibility and increase your influence by speaking in a way that wins the crowd. Overcome distractions, get heard, and navigate the path to your desired career destination.
Harry T.Roman, the author of Public Speaking for Engineers, says, "Because of my communication skills, I was asked to lead corporate project teams, present my work in front of PSE&G's board of directors, lead VIPs on tours of the company's facilities, and represent the organization at important forums and meetings."
Do you know what prevents software engineers from improving their public speaking?
Lack of proper feedback. They live with their own subjective evaluation of their performance during meetings and presentations.
Public speaking is more of an art than science.
There is no single formula, manual, or rule that can transform you into a great public speaker. It is like painting – you need to be mindful of your habits, explore different techniques, and learn what style works best for you.
An AI-powered tool like speechx uses combines proprietary voice analytics and Carnegie Speech's patented Speech Recognition Engine and Pinpointing Technology to evaluate pronunciation, grammar, and fluency. It helps software engineers to master their public speaking skills by replacing their feeble attempts with a more objective assessment of their linguistic abilities.
Users integrate SpeechX into their Zoom, Slack, Microsoft Team, Google Hangouts, and other virtual meeting platforms to get a more objective assessment of their linguistic abilities.
Keep these potential benefits in mind and step out of your comfort zone to improve your public speaking skills.