If you’re at all unsure about your effectiveness at public speaking, the best thing you can do is get yourself some coaching. Even one session can transform how you approach public speaking – and therefore how successful you are at it.
All the training I do is bespoke; I don’t run open courses. If you have several – or even a lot of – people in your organisation who would benefit from some public-speaking coaching, we can discuss the best way of doing it. Depending partly on how much and what kind of experience of public speaking the participants have had (as well as on their temperament), it may be that a few hours of group training will be enough to give them what they need. Sometimes the most useful approach is to do an introductory group session and then some one-to-one time.
Particularly in cases where the participants are new to public speaking and/or very nervous about it, one-to-one coaching is by far the most effective and efficient way to learn the techniques and to address any fears.
What Does Public Speaking Coaching Involve?
The following relates to individual coaching. Group coaching contains the same elements but is adapted according to the number of participants.
1. Lots of practical advice and opportunity for you to practise
Before the session, you prepare a short piece of material for us to work with, so we can concentrate first on polishing up your delivery.
You stand up and present what you’ve brought and I give you feedback as we go along. We’ll go through your piece again and again, working through the techniques and giving you the opportunity to practise until you’re delivering smoothly and effectively. For example, if you’re speaking too fast, you can try slowing right down and I’ll be able to tell you whether you’re exaggerating or whether (as is almost always the case) what seems to you ridiculously slow is actually, from the audience’s point of view, just about right. Once you’ve nailed speed, if you’re also moving about in a fidgety and distracting way, we’ll focus on getting you to stay still as well as speaking slowly. And so on, to cover all the techniques you’ll need, which are mainly:
- how to make best use of your voice – speed, volume, pitch, tone and pausing
- how to stand and move so as to appear natural and confident
- how to connect and build a rapport with the audience.
Interspersed with this, I’ll offer advice about how to prepare and practise a speech or presentation, including:
- how to compose and structure your talk so it’s easy to deliver and has maximum impact
- how to design and use PowerPoint slides so they support rather than undermine you
- how to use notes discreetly but effectively
- how to rehearse your talk
- how to guard against pitfalls.
2. Advice and recommendations for how to overcome nerves and approach public speaking with confidence
If you’re afraid of public speaking, you’ll benefit from going through the practical work first – and, in fact, you may find this is all you need. The majority of my clients find that once they master the techniques and learn how to prepare properly, their nerves all but disappear. But we can also discuss the psychological side of preparing for success and there are strategies I can recommend to help you think about public speaking in a different and more positive way.
The shape of the session will depend on which aspects of the process you find most challenging: the great thing about one-to-one coaching is that it can be tailored to suit you and we can be flexible with how we spend the time.
For more detailed information about public-speaking coaching, please see my dedicated website, Public Speaking Skills.
How to Arrange Public Speaking Coaching
Public Speaking eBook
If you’re not in a position to get coaching at the moment – or to give yourself an instant head start – you might like to download my pdf ebook Loving the Limelight. For £5.50, you get all the information you need to excel at and enjoy public speaking – and you can be reading it approximately three minutes from now. Find out more on the Public Speaking eBook page.