The 3 essential skills for entrepreneurial success (and what it takes to master them)
After the first few years of running my business, I realized that there were three main skills in professional life. They apply to all industries, fields and areas of expertise. Master one of them and you will see your social status and financial gains increase. Take advantage of all three and you’ll feel like the doors open automatically and your rewards in life are so great it’s like finding a magic lamp with a wish-granting genie.
The three main skills are speaking, writing and public speaking.
Unfortunately, many people fail to cultivate these skills because they mistakenly believe that they are not as important compared to other skills. It’s a trap that leads many of the best and brightest minds in any given field to become the least financially successful. It was a trap I had fallen prey to until I had an epiphany after a former sales manager told me, “To lead people, they have to want to be you in a way. one way or another”.
Talking is quite simple. It’s the ability to talk to people individually and communicate your ideas in a way the other person can understand. By being able to connect, sympathize, empathize, and explain a concept to someone else, you build strong trust. People don’t trust someone as an expert or able to handle their situation when they can’t understand the explanation because it’s too technical.
That said, writing and public speaking are a bit special because both are intimidating to people. Many people avoid writing at all costs. Public speaking is one of the most common shared fears among people. Just about everyone freaks out about how they could screw something up or how intimidating it is to speak in front of their peers or a whole litany of other irrationalities that make your palms sweat and your knees lock.
Master skills have one thing in common: the communication of ideas.
Mastering these three skills takes diligent practice and time, but the good news is that you can use them anywhere and in any field. They may scare you like most people, but the lifetime payback they bring you in terms of expert status, respectability, and profitability is immeasurable.
The fastest way to improve is to speak on as many stages as possible. Grab every opportunity that comes your way and don’t worry about stage size. Workshops, chamber of commerce events, local gatherings, or simple presentations at networking meetings are all valuable and meaningful ways to improve your public speaking skills.
Having the opportunity to speak at small events can be as simple as volunteering or asking an event coordinator if you can contribute. After your speech, you have a golden opportunity to ask people for feedback privately. Just find a few audience members and ask them, “What were your main takeaways?”
Asking people about their takeaways rather than a generic “if they liked it” (which people always say “it was good”) leads them to respond with just that: the lesson they learned from your speech. If this is what you wanted, you’re doing fine. More generally, people take away something very different from our intended message and understanding this is extremely powerful in improving your communication skills.
Testing your communication with public speaking makes writing a whole lot easier, as they use similar storytelling and messaging skills. Getting feedback by speaking is easier than writing because you usually don’t see a reader’s real reaction or get feedback like you do on stage. Practicing them together greatly increases the effectiveness of your sales pitch and your impact.
Why do these skills have such an impact? Because they all help you communicate ideas to other people. The more effectively you communicate with people, the more impact you will have, because basically everything in society is about people interacting with others.
The success or failure of any of your businesses is determined almost exclusively by your ability to get other people to “buy in” to you and your vision. For that, you have to communicate well.