The What and How of Public Speaking

Forty-thousand people signed up for a free online public speaking class offered by the University of Washington. Now, you might think that as a public speaking coach that this has me quaking in my boots. If people can get the information for free, why would they ever hire me for coaching.

Public speaking is a hot skill

The What and How of Public Speaking image iStock 000013078634XSmall 300x199Honestly, I think this is the most awesome thing ever. Forty-thousand people around the world taking an online public speaking course. They are really going to understand the what behind speaking, and that’s all kinds of amazing. It also means that presentations are a hot topic. People need to master the art of speaking for their business. It’s a must to be successful, and 40,000 people know that to be true.

This validates my mission that communication changes the world and that your ability to speak up and get your story out to the world is a huge part of the change.

Doesn’t this undercut my profession though? No, not really. A good speech coach focuses on the how and not the what of speaking. I focus on co-creating with you a great experience for your audience.

Focus on the what of speaking

When I taught public speaking for 3 different universities, we limited the size to 25 students. Why? Public speaking is about getting experience in presenting. It was about my students and I, crafting great speeches, experimenting with content and growing their skills. When you have 40,000 people in one class, they are not going to get the hands on “how” of speaking in front of a group. They get the what – they get the theory. Not the experience. Although the UW prof believes some students will submit video’d speeches for peer review, it does not replace the value of getting up in front of a live audience.

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The relationship between the speaker and audience is where the magic happens.

Implementing theory is the tricky part

Have you ever taken a course online? Understanding the content is easy, but applying the content is the tricky part. I read a book with templates on how to write a compelling bio. I struggled, so I hired Nancy Juetten (the bio queen) to coach me through the process. The bio I created with her was a GAZILLION times better than the one I created by myself.

When I’m working with a client on crafting a speech, we typically spend one session working out their big idea statement. I’ve detailed the process of writing your big idea in the blog post, and the process I use with clients is identical. It should be easy-peasy, right? Except it’s not. Putting theory into practice is tough stuff especially when it will make or break your presentation. You need an expert to help guide and create with you.

Coaching supports you through the how-process

The What and How of Public Speaking image img9282 300x202After you give the big speech and it’s a roaring success, there is a speaker’s high. It’s the “Nailed it!” or “YES!” or “woo-hoo!” emotion. Think scoring the touch down at the big game, spiking the ball and break dancing in the inzone feeling. Yes, successful presentations give you that type of exhiliaration.

You’ll never get that speaker’s high from just knowing the “what” of speaking, you’ve got to be able to implement that what like a master. My goal is to get you to that “What a feeling” stage of presentation success. Working with me, your presentation will be 1o times better than what you can great on your own.

Have a big speech coming up? Check out how you and I can work together here and drop me a line!

photo by: Monica’s Dad

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