Public Speaking: A Key Management Skill

I happened to be having a coffee with a friend and his wife when their daughter came to the living room and started to talk about the world of ancient Rome. 

I understood she was practicing for her public speaking competition at school. 

She had to speak for 2 minutes about the Roman Empire or a related subject. She had chosen Julius Caesar. What an interesting topic! I remember reading about Julius Caesar when I was young: "I came, I saw, I conquered". 

I remember Sulla, his enemy and how he conquered Gaul defeating more than 300 different tribes. His adventures are still very present today. You still hear people talking about "crossing the Rubicon River", the boundary between Gaul and Italy, evoking what Julius Caesar did when he was heading to Rome to fight Pompey. His trip to Egypt, Cleopatra... The story that struck me most was his murder. How could it happen? He was the most powerful man on earth. Can you imagine Brutus and a crowd surrounding him? 23 stab wounds in his body! I found it unbelievable.

While she was practicing her public speaking in front of us, these classic stories came to my mind. She was doing great, so I asked her how she had learnt so much. She answered she had a really interesting book called "Julius Caesar - The boy who conquered an empire" by Ellen Galford (Marshall Editions)

I had a look at the book (64 pages with lots of images) and I found it is an excellent book for children. As I read through, I discovered a paragraph that is the origin of this post. 

Julius Caesar was born in a aristocratic and wealthy family His ancestors owned the land that became Rome and had lived in the city since it was founded. Young boys from these wealthy families attended primary schools run by a single teacher. Caesar´s teacher, Gnipho, was a gifted educator and with his help, Caesar grew up to become an impressive public speaker.

Public speaking was important for Caesar and it is still a key management skill today. It is important to develop this competency since an early age. Schools that encourage public speaking are creating a competitive advantage for their pupils. I still find professionals that fear speaking in public. Giving a speech in English (if it is not your mother tongue) is still a challenge for many senior professionals. Excelling in this public speaking gives you influence and confidence to negotiate and lead.

As we were speaking about this topic, I had the impression the girl was realizing public speaking was more important than she had realized. Julius Caesar conquered an empire and he was a tremendous warrior, but she had never thought about public speaking as being a relevant characteristic of his success. 

I would not neglect the importance of this skill in your management career.