Mark Zuckerberg Can Get Away With Being An Average Public Speaker, But You Can’t

When you’re as smart and successful as Mark Zuckerberg, do you really need to become a super-polished speaker, too? Probably not. The rest of us, however, can’t afford to be average, and here’s why.


I recently watched Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speak about the upcoming changes to Facebook. 

As I was watching, I was thinking, “Eh. He’s ok, nothing special. Voice is sort of expressive. No facial expression. He doesn’t command the stage. He turns his back to the audience. His technique is really lacking, he doesn’t look like he wants to be there, necessarily.” And, as I always think in these types of situations–and maybe it’s the height of hubris–“He should call me!”

But maybe I’m wrong. I know this may sound like heresy coming from me, but I think of someone like Zuckerberg more in the realm of Einstein than of mere mortals like the rest of us. And that brings us to an interesting question: When you’re that smart and that successful, do you really need to become a super-polished speaker, too?

And I have to honestly say, probably not. At this level of brilliance and accomplishment, it really doesn’t matter. He’s not awful at it. He’s just average.

The rest of us, however, can’t afford to be average and here’s why: Becoming a brilliant speaker–and I mean brilliant, not just good enough–is a monster of a differentiator. Think about your own experiences. When you see a great speaker, you want to meet the person, have a one-on-one, build a relationship, hopefully do business, you want to be in their sphere, get accepted into their network.

So if you knew that you could acquire a skill that would differentiate you in a very major way, that is so persuasive and has such appeal, and that almost all of your competitors don’t have, would you?


Because although you may be smart, you’re probably not nearly as smart as Mark Zuckerberg.

Ruth Sherman Associates LLC /High-Stakes Presentation Skills Coaching, Consulting & Media Training for CEOs, Celebrities, Politicians, & Entrepreneurs / Greenwich & Los Angeles. Connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin & YouTube

[Image: Flickr user Mathieu Thouvenin]

About the author

Ruth Sherman, M.A., is a strategic communications consultant focusing on preparing business leaders, politicians, celebrities, and small business entrepreneurs to leverage critical public communications including keynote speeches, webcasts, investor presentations, road shows, awards presentations, political campaigns and media contact. Her clients hail from the A-list of international business including General Electric, JP Morgan (NY, London, Frankfurt), Timex Group, Deloitte and Dubai World.