Public speaking skills should be the focus for professional development, as 65 percent of UK workers lack confidence in this area according to a new study commissioned by QHotels.

The study confirms that confidence improves with practice, with 78 percent of respondents who were required to give presentations as part of their job reporting more confidence in their public speaking skills.

Claire Rowland, Director of Marketing at QHotels, said:

“Our research has brought to light the need for businesses to help boost their employees’ public speaking and presentation skills. These softer skills are often overlooked in the workplace, but are actually vital in career development.

“Not only does having more confidence in speaking help get your message across more effectively, it allows you to demonstrate your knowledge in a subject area and improve leadership skills.”

Countering the assumption that confidence always increases with age, Full-time students were found to be much more confident than full-time workers, with 63 percent of students having faith in their public speaking skills contrasted with just 48 percent of people who work full time.

This difference suggests that younger people are having more exposure to public speaking and presentations, particularly in university, which could give them an advantage when it comes to their future careers.

Armed with these findings, the AA Hotel Group of the Year 2014-2015 commissioned former Tony Blair speechwriter Phil Collins to offer advice about how people can improve their presentation skills.

Mr Collins suggests that there are four main areas to the perfect speech: memorable phrases and images, a strong core argument, confident delivery and a sense of personality.