Public speaking as an aid to becoming a better engineer

Today’s software engineers can no longer afford to conform to outdated stereotypes; social awkwardness and poor communication skills no longer cut it in the advancing world of tech. Learn more about how giving presentations can help you stand out as an engineer.

Given how fast everything is evolving today, the amount of learning software engineers must do just to stay in the game can be overwhelming. Communication is one of the most important skills an engineer needs to develop to continually improve.

An average engineer might get away with only creating code, and rely on a manager (or similar) to be the buffer between him/her and the stakeholders, but to be a great or even outstanding engineer, excellent communication skills are a must.

Does an engineer really need to be able to communicate?

I would argue that great communication skills are required only of engineers in a leadership position; but that argument is valid only if we assume that not everyone can be a leader.

We don’t need to have an official title to be a leader and influencer. As Robin Sharma puts it in his book “The leader who had no title”, anyone can be a leader by adopting a leadership mindset. A junior engineer who is involved and willing to share their knowledge and experience can be a greater leader and influencer than a more senior engineer who is less engaged.

At Simply Business, we are hired not only for being excellent developers, but for having the potential to do more than just enough to get by.

One idea that I use to guide my professional goals is that, for me, this is not just a paycheck, it’s a career. From my experience so far, I’m confident that most of us at Simply Business share the same mentality, otherwise we wouldn’t have technical collaboration initiatives such as Tech Council (discussed below).

How can public speaking improve your communication skills?

  • Speaking in front of others and getting live feedback helps improve your delivery and how you engage with an audience
  • Improves your self confidence in handling questions and alternative views
  • Challenges you to learn more about the subject you’re presenting
  • Helps you to become more comfortable in doing things you are not comfortable with
  • Sharing knowledge with your peers, that will translate into a better learning experience for colleagues, and at a more personal level, getting approval and acceptance
  • Improves your social connections

Simply Business opportunity case study: Tech Council

At Simply Business, the Tech team runs a regular communications forum - Tech Council, through which anyone can present ideas, share opinions and knowledge with our peers and colleagues. A positive side effect of this is that it also provides an opportunity for us to develop our skills in presenting and sharing our opinions clearly.

The forum provides a friendly and safe environment for communicating ideas across our global teams, with people dialling in remotely as well as attending in person. Anyone can request a slot to present on a topic, lasting anything from 5 to 40 minutes; in that time, you can share your ideas with the participants, and answer any questions.

We have multiple opportunities like this at Simply Business, but I chose to focus on what we do at Tech Council to give more context. Many companies provide opportunities such as these, but if yours doesn’t, why not set up an opportunity like that yourself?

An excellent idea I read in the past is “The Brown Bag Presentation” which is a take on brown bag meeting for presentations.

If you are willing to get out of your comfort zone, giving presentation is a great tool in your soft-skills toolset.

Why not give public speaking a try?

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