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Speak Up to Lead: Why Public Speaking is Essential for Product Owners

June 17, 2024

Product Ownership is crucial. As navigators in the ocean of complexity, Product Owners seek ways to optimize value, making their accountability critical. While a variety of skills are needed to become a successful Product Owner—analytical skills, leadership qualities, creativity, problem-solving skills, strategic thinking, adaptability, and resilience—one key skill that is often overlooked is public speaking. This article explores why public speaking is vital for Product Owners, Product Managers, and Product Leaders, and how it can be leveraged to achieve better outcomes.

Public Speaking and Product Ownership

When thinking about public speaking, what do you picture in your head? A big stage, microphone, and a large audience? Indeed, this is often the environment where public speaking takes place. However, if you think deeper, you will discover that public speaking is not limited to stage performances but permeates every aspect of professional life—especially the professional life of a Product Owner.

Imagine a Product Owner in a boardroom pitching a product, articulating their vision, strategies, and plans to their team and various stakeholders, including coders, designers, executives, and customers. Picture a Sprint Review where a Product Owner presents new learnings and market opportunities. It doesn't matter if the room is small and there is no real mic in their hand; clear and persuasive communication is essential. Public speaking helps when conveying messages like, “No, we will not deliver this feature,” or “No, not this time.” This broad application of public speaking skills underscores its importance in daily interactions and professional settings.


Enhancing Communication and Collaboration

When the direction is unclear, each team member may choose a different path, leading to confusion and ineffectiveness. Through public speaking, Product Owners learn to articulate their thoughts clearly and persuasively, making it easier to convey ideas and concepts effectively. This clarity reduces misunderstandings and fosters a shared understanding among team members, which is crucial for collaboration. Additionally, persuasive communication is invaluable when engaging with various stakeholders, ensuring alignment and support for the product vision.

Building Trust and Relationships

Trust and building relationships are crucial in product development. Product Owners often need to gain buy-in from stakeholders, secure funding, and negotiate various aspects. Public speaking skills are essential for presenting ideas confidently and convincingly. Authenticity is equally important. Product development is not a theatrical performance where the Product Owner plays a scripted role. Instead, it is a business relationship that, when built correctly, helps connect with the team and stakeholders. This genuine connection makes it easier to build trust and foster strong relationships.

Motivating and Leading Teams

Being a leader for the product involves more than technical or domain knowledge; it requires the ability to inspire and motivate team members. Public speaking skills enable Product Owners to communicate the product vision compellingly, align the team's efforts, and drive collective action towards common goals. Work environments that prioritize human connections and communication tend to thrive. Beyond just getting the job done, creating a culture where team members feel valued and connected is essential. This sense of belonging and motivation can significantly impact productivity and job satisfaction. Public speaking skills are key to achieving this.

Navigating Challenging Situations

Public speaking equips Product Owners with essential tools to navigate challenging situations gracefully. Whether it's addressing setbacks, negotiating the order of conflicting work items, or managing stakeholder expectations, effective communication is key. Even the best experts face challenges that sometimes seem like a dead end; this is the beauty and curse of complex problems. However, one can navigate them successfully with the right skills and mindset.

Public speaking helps maintain composure under pressure, resolve conflicts through active listening and thoughtful responses, and communicate effectively. This confidence in decision-making and ability to engage stakeholders is crucial for gaining support and leading teams through uncertainty. Additionally, the adaptability and quick thinking developed through public speaking enable Product Owners to handle the unpredictable nature of complex problems with agility and resilience.


Public speaking is an invaluable skill for Product Owners. It enhances communication and collaboration, builds trust and relationships, motivates and leads teams, and helps navigate challenging situations. By investing in public speaking skills, Product Owners can significantly improve their effectiveness and drive better outcomes for their products and organizations. Mastering public speaking is a journey that can transform how Product Owners and Product Managers engage with their teams and stakeholders, ultimately contributing to their success.


If you are interested about the topic, take a look at the interview with Cyril Junior Dim, World Champion of Public Speaking who currently works as Agile Project Manager. Cyril shares his story and some pieces of advice on how to improve your public speaking skills.




Hello! I'm Joanna. I work as a trainer, consultant, mentor, and coach in Action Learning. I'm passionate about helping individuals, teams, and organizations tackle complex challenges. Enjoying my content? Want to learn more? You're warmly invited to get in touch with me: :)





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