In this article, I will talk about the importance of working with a coach to learn how to speak in public.
The fear of public speaking is high on the list of personal fears. In fact, in first place for a lot of people. At the thought of having to make a presentation, give our opinion in front of an audience, go to a job interview, many of us have cold sweats and shaky legs.
The “it’s going to be fine” or “you can do it” from our friends and family do not seem to help, despite all their good intentions.
This is because often there is a much deeper fear and apprehension. It is the fear of being judged, of giving a bad impression of oneself, of letting people think that we are not up to the task, that we do not know what we are talking about.
This can lead to missing on a promotion, not getting that job we really want, not convincing potential clients, not having the recognition of colleagues or bosses for example.
To really learn to speak in public, there is a lot of deep and often long work that must be done. But it is possible. Anyone can learn to speak in public comfortably. Hiring a public speaking coach will bring long-lasting results faster.
What can a coach do to teach you how to speak in public? Here I present 5 main reasons why having a public speaking coach is a good idea.
1 – Managing your emotions
This is the most important part. It is our emotions and their management that prevent us from giving our best performance.
It’s completely normal to be nervous before a presentation. It shows that we are taking the event seriously. But when this nervousness and all our negative thoughts block us too much, we cannot speak with ease in public.
A coach can help you understand where negative thoughts and emotions are coming from, build appropriate and useful reactions rather than the blockage you feel. There are also techniques and exercises that a coach can work on with you, such as visualization, breathing techniques and many more. A coach will be able to appreciate what will be useful for your personal case.
2 – Physical preparation
Your audience will decide their first impression of you in the first few seconds, before you say anything. So it is very important to understand the impression you are giving and to work on the impression you want to give.
It can range from the clothes you wear and your background in an online meeting to the way you hold yourself, the position of your body. Things like making sure your face has the right expression from the start of your performance.
What are you going to do right before the presentation? A coach can help you have the best activity in the minutes leading up to it. How to organise if you have notes or want to take notes? What to drink and where to place the cup / bottle?
The physical preparation, of yourself and your environment is something that is often forgotten. Even if you do not have control over where the public performance will be held, there is always a preparation that a coach will help with, to make you feel more comfortable even if it is in an unfamiliar location.
3 – Reframing the way content is delivered
We all have our own way of thinking. It’s a combination of our culture and also our personality. For example, if we are quite direct or if we are more indirect is cultural. The level of formality that we use too. Other examples are if our frame of reference is internal or external or if we focus more on differences or similarities.
All of these aspects will influence the words you use and how you convey that information during your presentation.
Depending on your audience, this may not be the best way to communicate. This could make you sound too pessimistic or too positive, too individualistic for example.
A coach can help you understand the way you communicate and the impact it has on others and the way you present things.
4 – Working on nonverbal communication
The words you say actually count for very little in what you communicate (see my blog: http://international-coaching-solutions.com/communication/non-verbal-communication-the-importance-of-body-language/).
Your body and facial expression are what people see first. Long before you spoke.
It is therefore important to understand the message you want to send and the one you are sending with your nonverbal communication. Are they the same? How do you want to appear? Professional, relaxed, confident, like an expert? Is this the way you appear?
A coach can help you understand the nonverbal messages you are sending and tailor them to the impression you want to give. Because public speaking is a lot more than just speaking.
5 – Challenging you in a positive and supportive way
Finally, a public speaking coach will help and push you in the right direction, in a way that friends or colleagues cannot.
Your colleagues will certainly focus on the content of the performance. Unfortunately, it can happen that some colleagues have their own agenda and would not be disappointed if your performance was not going well. Many colleagues are going to be benevolent of course, but from their experience, they can only remain superficial in their feedback most of the time. On the other hand, they are going to have an internal knowledge which it can be very important to have and to understand.
Our friends are often a little too nice. They encourage us and support us for sure. But often they don’t dare push us beyond our comfort zone.
A coach, on the contrary, will always present the situation in a factual way, without judgment but without hesitation to ask you for more. You will be able to work on all aspects in a coherent way. You will be able to understand how all facets ofcommunication interact and then put this into practice each time you have to speak in public.