I’ve come to see public speaking as a vital part of a thriving life, but not for the reason you think.
Most people, if they do public speaking at all, give talks about their field. In my field, everyone is talking about how to attack and defend computer systems. And there’s nothing bad about that. Your own field is the best place to start, of course, since it’s content you know.
But I think public speaking is—or at least should be—more than just a career advancement tool.
Public speaking is, above anything else, about thought. It’s about ideas. It’s about having a concept, an opinion, or a perspective about something, and then putting it into a form that can be consumed by others.
Public speaking is one of the top tiers of this skill, along with writing a book. It means that you’ve not only created the argument, but you’re now ready to execute on it, leveraging the timeless skills of rhetoric and performance.
But we should be doing this outside of work as well.
This is a tweet from John Adams, a fellow infosec professional. But notice the topic he’s speaking about: The Secrets of Polynesian Navigation. Yes. Phenomenal.
More of us need to be doing this. I plan on doing some speaking on free will and existentialism, and on some political ideology stuff as well, and I think it will only improve the speaking I do at work.
So I call upon all those out there who do speaking as part of their job, to stop seeing it as a career thing, and start seeing as more of a life thing.