Is Elon Musk bad at public speaking? How so?'


As a founder-CEO … I think he’s amazing.

As a polished, rent-a-CEO, 4th or 40th CEO of F500 company type … he’s weak.

Elon Musk is an awkward, sometimes even uncomfortable-seeming, public speaker. But his attention to detail and passion for what he is doing is so authentic. And he has a wry (if very quirky) sense of humor and keeps things fairly concise. Together, that’s a very effective package.

He makes us want to believe. That’s a public speaking super power.

And in fact, almost all founders with even a small brand behind them have this super power if they hone it. It’s OK to be a bit unpolished, a bit pie-in-the sky. As a founder, you can make up for it with an powerfully unique understanding of the journey the company is on. And if you can share the passion behind that journey succinctly (without being a commercial) — you’ll get people to follow you. If not the whole world in the beginning, then at least your employees, customers, partners, and prospects in your niche.

And in your own way, become a very effective public speaker. A great communicator, even if the “speaking” part is still rather rough around the edges.

Get on stage and talk 100 times about what you are truly passionate about. Add a few years of hard knocks, and millions of hard-won customer revenue (and later, billions). Share that passion — and after a few stumbles and warm-ups, you’ll find that’s always a winner.

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Published on February 23, 2018

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