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When it comes to success in life, a career or a business, some traits are essential. So how do you develop the essential skills needed to achieve? The good news is that when it comes to developing skills some activities are better than others, and there is one activity that can help you develop all the essential skills you need - that's speech craft, or public speaking.

Writing and delivering a speech in front of people is more than just speaking; it helps you to develop and perfect five core skills essential to boosting your career, business and life.

1. Confidence

Speech craft will help you develop confidence. For some, getting up and giving a speech fills them with fear, however just standing up to say a few words is all that's needed to get you started. Do it again and you'll be a little more comfortable then before, and with that your confidence will grow and continue to grow.

2. Objectivity

In order to be an effective problem solver and thinker you have to be objective. Speech craft can help you develop objectivity. The purpose of a speech is to convey a message to someone else, to do this you have to view your thoughts from the perspective of others, which forces you to think about your material from a variety of angles.

Furthermore the simple act of writing a speech promotes objectivity, because when you write down your thoughts it promotes the creation of a narrative helping you view them in a more systematic way.

3. Communication

Business is about connecting with others, and to do this you have to be able to communicate effectively. Only a small percentage of a message is the actual words used, mostly others pick up the meaning of a person’s message from their body language and how they are speaking.

Delivering speeches will teach you these subtleties of communication. When you are up in front of a group of people you immediately become self-aware, and over time you will learn how to move with purpose, and to change the rate and volume of your voice to suit the particulars of your message.

4. Educating Yourself

If you don't continually educate yourself you will get left behind, especially in today's quick moving markets.

Needless to say, when you are up in front of people giving a talk you need to know what you’re talking about. To give an effective speech you need to know your source material. You will have to draw your knowledge from multiple sources, to check your facts and research your topic thoroughly. This will help you develop the ability to educate yourself, and when you can educate yourself there is nothing you can't learn.

5. Empathy

To be in business, or be an effective leader in any career, empathy is one of the most important traits you need.

Through speech craft you develop empathy because you cannot write a good speech without it. A great speech speaks to the head and the heart. You have to understand your audience, not just intellectually but emotionally as well. As you develop this skill it will help you become a more effective communicator and better leader.

Writing and delivering speeches is more than just speaking; it’s an activity that will grow your confidence so that you will have the drive to act on opportunities that come your way, teach you to be objective so that you can tackle your problems systematically and methodically, teach you the subtleties of communication so that you can communicate with purpose, develop your ability to continually educate yourself so that there is nothing you can't learn, and help you to be a more effective leader by growing your empathy for others.

By Aaron Hanway, Toastmasters International