In the first group are the outstanding speakers but terrible leaders. They are absolutely riveting and motivating on stage. In person, however, it’s a completely different story. They have no charm, no finesse, and are not able to engage successfully in or see the value of “small talk.â€

A woman is singing into a microphoneIn contrast, many other clients have been wonderful one-on-one. They are terrific and congenial conversationalists. When they have to speak to a group however, they appear to transform into souls who are boring, rambling, and lacking confidence.

Why can’t we all do it all?  Why can’t every one of us be a compelling speaker, an outstanding leader and socially at-ease no matter where we are? Is it nature or nurture?  Are some folks really born with the gift of gab and others are not blessed with that particular gene? Are some people naturals at interacting with others?

I believe it’s not a question of introvert versus extravert. Or people-focused versus task-focused. I’ve found the difference between being able to deliver a good speech or presentation, and being able to carry on a worthwhile conversation lies in how well you use words. And what also matters is how carefully you listen with your ears, observe with your eyes and respond to what’s happening.

As a speaker, you are creating a one-sided conversation that needs to feel as though it’s two-sided. A good presentation has a structure and a purpose that are interwoven, not obvious, and make us want to listen. Two people are talking with letters coming out of their ears.

As a social person, your goal is to create a conversation that is mutually satisfying for you and the person with whom you’re talking. That’s true even when you’re really trying to direct the conversation in a particular way, such as in sales or in leadership.

Both sets of skills can be developed and honed, if you’re willing to put in the energy, time and practice.

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