Have you ever heard of Glossophobia? It’s the medical term for the very common fear of public speaking.
Public Speaking is an art. It involves the finesse of structuring a speech, proficiency in reading the room and giving the audience what they want, and most importantly, embracing your vulnerability and integrating that to the emotional side of your speech– qualities that cannot be ‘learnt’ by merely skimming through written/ printed material.
A speech coach possesses an upper hand when it comes to this learning experience. While other resources may be available, they fall short in providing a real-time, one-to-one experience, which makes learning enjoyable.
The need for one-on-one public speaking coaching gives you the individual attention you need to hone your public speaking skills, overcome fears, identify errors, and gain experience. Public speaking coaching is all about narrowing down every aspect of your speech to the minutest of intricacies, thereby recognising and refining them, in order to improve.
Of course, generic material and information are available on every conceivable subject under the sun, however, akin to the champion athlete having his/her personal trainer, the master public speaker would benefit immensely from a focused one-on-one training module. The need for personalised public speaking coaching is an inescapable requirement for that individual whose profession demands it.
What Public Speaking Coaching Entails: The Overall Experience
Public speaking coaching is all about grooming you to become a better speaker. No matter what your experience is–novice, intermediate, or expert; a coach structures your training to suit your needs.
Here are a few aspects that a public speaking coach can help hone:
- Overcoming stage fright, anxiety
- Speech topic ideation
- Laying emphasis on the ’emotional’ aspect of speech
- Structuring/ drafting your speech
- Voice modulation, body language
- Audience interaction
- Real-world simulation
Public speaking coaching is holistic and integrative in nature. Learners can progress at their own pace under the guidance of a public speaking coach. There are no timeframes, rigid rules, and syllabi that are to be followed as such.
Every individual is structured differently. Having a personalised coach makes the learning curve of transitioning into a master public speaker less steep and smoother. The experience and skills honed by the advantage of having a one-on-one coach lends the mentee a marked advantage over a peer who stumbles through numerous embarrassments/ gaffes in his journey of gaining public speaking experience.
The experience of having a public speaking coach/mentor, will in all likelihood, lead to the following experience:
1. Initial Interaction
An initial interaction will be used by the mentor to analyse and study the requirements, environment, proposed audience, and individual traits of the mentee.
2. The Addresal
The mentor would thereafter, start addressing the individual’s weaknesses in the public speaking arena and would suggest improvements in the visual aspects of the presentation, the presenter’s diction, modulation of voice, eye contact, body language & gesticulations, stance, and would go over many a mock drill to hone the presenter’s skills in these areas.
3. Dress to Connect
The mentee can also expect to be coached on the finer nuances of dressing appropriately for various occasions that would be expected to deliver in.
For instance, a political rally or speech with a rural populace as its audience would demand that the presenter be dressed in keeping with the traditional getup of the locals.
On the contrary, a presentation to a group of industry leaders/ business heads would find the presenter better dressed for the occasion in formal Western attire.
4. Master Guidance
Personalized coaches would also school the presenter on the importance of sticking to the allotted time slots, and make the individual learn the difficult art of engaging the audience and thinking on their feet.
For instance, a simple method that many coaches utilise is to have the presenters draw a reference from a presentation or talk which immediately preceded theirs, in order to make their own presentations seem impromptu and unrehearsed.
This simple trick makes the audience believe that they were dealing with an astute presenter who had a complete grasp and mastery of his subject.
In summation, the experience of having a personal public speaking coach would be akin to the process of making and maturing grapes into fine wine. A good coach makes this journey enjoyable, educative, and empowering.
The skills learnt during this process would help the individual not only in his public speaking engagements but also would transform him into a confident and impressive personality— a skill set which would ensure successful people-to-people interactions.
How You Can Assess Your Needs
In today’s digitized world, one can acquire information on developing a skill set easily, via the Internet. There is no limit to the resources and material that one can now find online.
Yet, nothing beats the efficacy of an individual, exclusive, and one-to-one guidance of a personal coach.
In the end, it boils down to choice after assessing your needs:
1. Your Aim
Before going ahead with the choice of opting for an individual coach, you must keep in mind what your aim is.
It could be better enunciation, body language, voice modulation, style, or getting over nerves– having a goal will help you make this decision.
2. Your Gain
Exclusive sessions with a coach are intensive in nature, and are relatively expensive. Since a lot of time and money is being spent on these, the returns on these investments should be high too.
You must assess and foresee the returns in the long-run, and decide if you would actually be able to reap the benefits of a mentor.
The Pros & Cons of a Public Speaking Coach: Is It For Me?
1. Attention to Detail
Every individual has flaws which are unique to him/her. A public speaking coach who is an expert in the field, will be able to analyse the individual’s requirements and shortcomings, and formulate a course best suited for the individual.
2. Your Start
The best part of having a coach is the fact that it doesn’t matter where you start from. You could be an absolute beginner, and take baby steps in overcoming your fear of public speaking.
Every course is personalised. There isn’t any prerequisite knowledge required. You wouldn’t have to compare yourself to others in the same group, as compared to a Toastmasters session.
3. The Performance of Public Speaking
Public Speaking is a performance– it isn’t merely restricted to facts being spoken on stage. It’s the complete package– body language, eye contact, voice modulation, etc. are game-changers.
These have to be inculcated to your performance, so as to wow audiences. For this, one needs a coach to recognise and highlight these intricacies, as well as essentially target practice sessions to hone these features.
4. Idea = Speech
Your idea maybe great, but there’s a high chance you may falter with its execution without expert advice.
To translate your idea into a memorable speech, you need someone experienced by your side–someone who has drafted several speeches, spoken in front of various audiences, and understands the complexities of what public speaking entails.
5. A Neutral Stance
To practice, a lot of speakers record themselves on camera. While this may be a good practice, you still may not be able to pinpoint errors, due to the presence of your own bias due to familiarity with your own material.
Thus, your speaking coach can give you an impartial and neutral perspective and correctly point errors. This will help you grow immensely as a speaker.
6. Tailoring for Your Audience
The right mentor for you would be someone who has had ample experience in the field of oration and public speaking. Thus, their experience through the years would consist of diverse audiences and different reactions.
Every audience is different, and knowing who they are, and gauging how they would react to your speech, helps you structure it accordingly.
Your coach will help you structure and draft your speech on the basis of their experience, which will prove to be beneficial for you.
1. No Group Setup
Public Speaking in itself, is a group activity–where atleast one speaker presents/performs in front of a group of people.
The reason behind most people’s glossophobia stems from the fact that some form of judgement may arise from the multiple people watching them.
So, with an individual coach, while you may be able to draft your speech well, you may still find yourself struggling with major nerves on stage. This is because you are still not used a group setup (eg- Toastmasters), and may have merely gotten accustomed to speaking in front of one person, instead.
2. Money Matters
Today, all the resources we need, are available with the click of a button. This material is inexpensive, easy to understand, and can be studied any time, at the comfort of our homes.
Hiring a personal coach is definitely expensive in nature, and could lead to a hole in your wallet, especially if you look at public speaking as a hobby/ secondary activity.
Thus, with other affordable resources available, a public speaking coach may seem to be less reasonable a choice.
Choosing the Right Coach: What Should You Keep in Mind?
Choosing the right coach is an important and difficult decision. It would help to have a professional who has been in a similar field for many years and has a depth of experience to share with.
It would also help if the mentor and mentee shared a good rapport and worked well together for an effective transfer of skill set.
Of course, budgetary restrictions are always a deciding factor thus, the ideal coach for you would be someone who checked most of the boxes, and comes under budget.
Again, it comes down to what your aim is. If you wish to improve in one specific, specialised field (eg- diction & accent) ,then the proper coach would have to be found through research, going through their work, and assessing if they would meet your requirements.
You Have Found a Good Coach When
- Mistakes are instantly corrected with personalised/ customised feedback.
- Your rapport and synergy are strong.
- There is no barrier to communication.
- There exists a supportive and encouraging environment.
- Criticism is constructive.
- A routine/ schedule is followed.
- Your coach’s experience speaks for himself/herself.
- Your coach has many satisfied clients and good reviews.
- You feel a difference/ are making progress with every class.
In-Person vs Virtual: Which Should You Choose?
A well-known fact is that ironically, most of human communication is non-verbal in nature– gestures, body language, eye contact, attitude, and facial expressions. These subtle, yet highly effective points are best learnt in person and are largely lost in a more impersonal virtual environment. Thence lies the unique superiority of the real-world coach, over his virtual counterpart.
However, the advantages of negating the cons of distance, time, and expense work hugely in favour of the virtual environment. Additionally, learning the nuances of public speaking from the comfort of one’s home, is a highly attractive option to many.
Making a choice is highly individualistic based on the factors enumerated above. If time and distance are feasible, having a ‘real-life’ personal coach experience is unparalleled.
Of course, one needs to have clarity of thought in assessing needs, objectives, and goals while exercising this choice. The real-world and virtual experience needn’t be mutually exclusive and would work best to one’s advantage if a dynamic choice was to be made between the two based on one’s situation so as to maximise the benefits of both worlds.
Resources For You
1. Mindful Presenter
Mindful Presenter’s online one-to-one coaching helps you boost your presentation and public speaking skills via video conferences, at the comfort of your homes.
Check this out here.
2. Karen Donaldson’s One-On-One Coaching
Karen Donaldson is an International Speaker, Confidence Coach, and Executive Public Speaking Coach.
She offers three types of coaching programmes for different speakers:
- Naturally Confident Speaker Coaching Program (90 days)
- Intensive Presentation and Public Speaking Coaching Programs for Senior Leaders (3 days)
- Mastering Confident Body Language Training Program (90 days)
You can find this here.
3. Institute of Public Speaking
The Institute of Public Speaking offers a variety of virtual public speaking & leadership training options. They offer both regularly scheduled training and customized training to suit your needs. Some of their training options include:
- 1 – 5 Day Corporate Public Speaking Training
- Week Long Corporate Public Speaking Training
- 10 Week Long Corporate Public Speaking Training
- Corporate Presentation Training
- Custom Corporate Public Speaking Training
Cost: $999 per 10-hour increments.
Check out details for this course here.
4. Virtual Speech Coach
Virtual Speech Coach, Diane Windingland offers virtual one-on-one training via Zoom, FaceTime, Phone, Email, and Skype. The goal is to elevate experts’ presentation skills.
Coaching option #1. Do it Now! Polishing Your Presentation, 1-hour
Coaching option #2. Building a Better Presentation, 2.5-hour package
Coaching option #3. Creating a High-Stakes Presentation, 4-hour package
Coaching option #4. Developing Your Skills, 4-hour package
Coaching option #5. High-Stakes Communication, up to 8 hours/month
Coaching option #6. Unlimited Confident Speaking Laser Coaching
Costs: (Option #5)
- 1-month: $849
- 3-months: $2449
- 6-months: $4449
- 12-months: $7449
Find this here.
5. Frantically Speaking
Frantically Speaking offers a free 20-minute expert consultation to get more comfortable with the stage, learn the nuances of public speaking, and deliver high impact speeches.
Click here to book your free consultation.
Additionally. here’s a list of some other public speaking coaches you can check out!
How Much Should You Expect to Spend
A coach, on an average, takes about $249 to $499 per hour. Of course, this figure varies based on the level of experience and market prices.
As per your requirement, and the hours you would like to invest, the amount would vary.
So far, we’ve assessed whether public speaking coaching is meant for your needs or not. It’s important to know you aim, to hone your gain.
Then again, if you feel like coaching may be too expensive for you to take on, but still wish to learn public speaking, we’ve still got you covered. Here are a few alternatives:
1. Toastmasters International
Toastmasters International focuses on learning through experience— it is hands-on, interactive, and integrative, where you can learn alongside a group of people, and learn how to shed your inhibitions with every session.
It is relatively inexpensive, and most classes have a ‘trial’ period where you can attend a few classes before you commit.
2. Courses and Workshops
Many websites offer virtual courses and workshops for the betterment of your skills. Here are a few:
- London Speech Workshop
- Lyna/LinkedIn Learning
These online courses are free/ require a small one-time payment, for a few hours a week, to be completed as per your convenience.
Most of these courses come with a digital certificate of recognition from affiliated institutions of repute, and can be used for CV building, as well.
3. TED Talks
Ted Talks (Technology, Education, Design) are looked at as a teacher you’ve never had–videos that can change your perspective on life.
Successful people in every walk of life have embedded their life lessons through their brilliant storytelling, which inspires one and all.
- Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences by Nancy Duarte
- TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking by Chris Anderson
- The Art of Public Speaking by Stephen E. Lucas
- The Storyteller’s Secret: From TED Speakers to Business Legends, Why Some Ideas Catch On and Others Don’t by Carmine Gallo
- Stage Fight: How to Punch Your Fears of Public Speaking in the Face! by Cody Smith
- How to Develop Self-Confidence, Improve Public Speaking by Dale Carnegie
- An Essential Guide to Public Speaking: Serving Your Audience with Faith, Skill, and Virtue by Quentin Schultze
- Confessions of a Public Speaker by Scott Berkun
- The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking by Dale Carnegie
- Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln: 21 Powerful Secrets of History’s Greatest Speakers by James C. Humes
The public speaking athlete needs regular training which is structured, scientific and objective in nature. To obtain a successful finish, the modern professional would benefit immensely from choosing a personalised public speaking trainer who would help him/her climb the ladder of success in his chosen field.
Whether your requirement is medium or long-term, if your profession or lifestyle demands frequent public speaking appearances, getting a professional and personal public speaking coach is a great idea. Success and love for one’s profession are symbiotic in fuelling each other. A coach aids this process.