Public Speaking Skills in the life of an Architect

Importance of Public Speaking in Architecture

The life of an Architect is centered around giving presentations…loads and loads of presentations. It starts as an architecture student presenting design concepts in the university to the real life design concepts to the individual clients to massive organisations. All of this takes effective communication. If you all the design skill in the world but are a poor communicator of your ideas, it will still not work. Having excellent ideas is great but not being able to communicate them to your audience effectively is bad. I have realized that ideas need not have to be great or super awesome but your delivery has to be. Even a simple idea maybe not even an original one if delivered effectively with confidence can seem like a great idea to the audience. Speech has power and magic in it!

When I was in architecture school, I had batch mates that were really excellent with design but terrible at presentations. They literally shivered when they went on to present to the class or to the jurors. Their designs were amazing but they lack proper delivery. Shivering on stage is the worst thing that could happen to you when you are presenting on stage. This is only because of lack of confidence and practice.

Look at Steve Jobs speak. This is the kind of confidence you need in order to succeed. He is an extraordinarily amazing speaker!

For all of you wanting to become an Architect, it should be borne in mind that Architects have to be essentially very good speakers. Being able to communicate to the audiences of different types and sizes is always a challenge. Everytime I have discussions with my clients, it feels like I am presenting. It is a one to one presentation. Presentations are an important and indispensable part of an Architect’s life.

Let me tell you a story. In architecture school, we had a module called “Urban Design”. The coursework of the module involved redesigning a commercial hub. We were a class of 40 students and were split into groups of 8. All of us began researching and conducting live casestudies for redesigning the commercial hubs of the city. Each group was given a specific area to redesign.

There are different kinds of students. Some of them are hard-working but would never ever speak; some of them talked too much; some of them would do nothing and brag about themselves. Some did a lot of hard-work but messed up big time during presentations because of they lacked speaking skills. I was really fascinated by a girl in one of the groups who never did any work but could talk about her design concept for hours without even having any papers to read from. The professors always got carried away when she spoke and their group always got through without much effort. Her skills came handy during presentations and were very much useful. But of course you always need hard evidence to shine. It is important to realize that speaking skills should never be underestimated. You need to learn to be able to speak your mind. If you keep everything in your head and never ever speak up, you will go nowhere even if you are extraordinarily talented. Being able to present appropriately what you are thinking is a skill that we Architects need to develop. Without these skills, it will be incredibly difficult to stand out.

Most of us are scared of criticism and people judging us when we speak in public. This prevents us from spreading our ideas and coming out as confident and smart. Practice is all we need. Being able to speak is one of the top qualities of a successful Architect. If you wish to be one of those, develop the art of speaking in public. So you need to start practicing today, start practicing right away!

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