Improving your performance as a speaker is about continually advancing your skills. Simply put, if you’re not getting better, you’re likely getting worse. Choosing to work with an executive speech coach is a great way to gain new insights and approaches to developing and delivering more effective speeches and presentations. Here are a few tips on how to make the most of this experience.
The Role of the Coach
Every coach has a single purpose: to help you get from where you are to where you want to be. In fact, the word “coach” comes from the town in Hungary called, Kocsi, which was where the first horse-drawn carriages were created in the 15th Century. It was later adopted as slang by students at Oxford University in the 1830s as reference to a tutor who helped “carry” other students through their exams. Today, my role as a speech coach is to provide the knowledge, skills and direction needed to help you improve your performance and achieve your public speaking goals.
A Winning Strategy
To be successful, you and your speech coach must be working from the same game plan. An experienced coach will be engaged throughout your speech development process to ensure you craft a meaningful experience that takes into account the mindset of your audience, the greater context surrounding your speech, and the physical limitations and opportunities in the space itself. A coach helps you smoothly integrate these factors in a way that supports your primary messages.
You can’t move forward until you release the past. This is a difficult step for many of my speech coaching clients because it’s easy to default to what we know, even if our current process or old habits inhibit us from reaching our highest potential. A speech coach helps you remain fluid enough to allow new information to amend or replace past beliefs and expectations. In doing so, you will attain a new level of thinking, leading to even stronger audience connections.
Trust the Process
Trust your coach as you push your boundaries and try new things, even if it feels slightly uncomfortable at first. From scripting tips to helping you work with a teleprompter, a speech coach will break down the process into manageable pieces and help carry you through to completion.
An outside perspective boosts your self-awareness and helps you uncover habits that keep you from achieving your maximum level of effectiveness.
Keep Your Focus
A speech coach helps you find the focus you need to adopt a winning mindset before you take the stage. It all flows back to your purpose and your responsibility to your audience. I often give my speech coaching clients a three-word mantra to remember as they deliver their speech to help them stay “present” and in the moment.
Professional athletes work with trainers and coaches to constantly advance their performance. The same applies to the skill of public speaking. If you look at a speech as an investment in your brand, reputation, and credibility, then you suddenly see how much is riding on your continued advancement. By working with a professional, you can ensure that your skills continue to get better over time.
Some additional tips for working with a speech coach:
- Be willing to change your perspective. A coach will expand and evolve your perspective of your own potential for public speaking.
- Be open to feedback. Your speech coach is there to help you win. The speech coaching clients who see the most progress are the ones who are willing to undertake the training process because they know it will lead to improved performance.
- Have confidence in your coach. The process might look messy or feel a little uncomfortable at first, but through continued work and refinement your final result will be a memorable speech that has a lasting impact on your audience.
As a speech coach, I find that the greatest successes come from speakers who actively seek to improve. They choose to work with a speech coach because they understand the importance of the opportunity that arises every time they are asked to deliver a speech. They know that it’s their responsibility to deliver a presentation that the audience cares about and actively seek to craft an engaging experience that the audience will remember.
What are some of your suggestions about how to work with a speech coach? Please share them below.