Posts Tagged ‘public speaking coach’

Difficult public speaking task successful

Hats off to the Duchess of Cambridge. She took on a difficult public speaking task recently and came through with shining colours.

She was a little nervous

“Kate”, as she’s known to most of us, delivered her first official speech at the East Anglian Children’s Hospice this week and, like most new speakers, she was a little nervous. Like most speakers, she struggled at the beginning, even though she undoubtedly worked with highly skilled presentation trainers and public speaking coaches. But she got through it fine and, overall, she did quite well.

She looked down at her notes

If I wanted to be hyper-critical, I could talk about how she looked down at her notes as much as she looked at her audience but for me, that was a small issue. She’s not accustomed to speaking in public. She is the future Queen of England and is therefore required to stick to her script to the letter and, as such, she knew that every word she spoke would be recorded, transmitted to millions of people, evaluated, assessed and criticized. Not your run-of-the-mill after-dinner address, even if she did have presentation training from top public speaking trainers.

A formidable group

She had plenty at stake and she knew it. Given that kind of pressure she did quite well, particularly given of the nature of the group she was speaking to. She was facing child residents of a hospice and their parents, knowing that those children would never mature, that those parents faced a future without their child; that this “precious time” as Kate referred to it, was short. What a formidable group to address as her first audience.

She stayed focused

Kate was very controlled. Partly because it’s her job to appear steadfast and strong. But I’ll bet that there was more than royal protocol running through her head as she prepared for and finally faced that audience. It’s an open secret that she and William hope to have their own child in the near future but, regardless of what private thoughts may have been on her mind, she stayed focused on the need to keep the audience’s attention on her royal visit rather than her unseen royal emotions.

She didn’t flinch

She could have so easily drifted into maudlin sentimentality or revealed her emotions, but she didn’t. It’s not easy for a woman who obviously loves kids to speak to terminally ill children and their parents as though they are any other group of parents and children. But she did it. Yes, she looked a little uncomfortable but she didn’t flinch.

Focus on her audience

Of course Kate has had plenty of public speaking training and we can expect that her presentation was heavily rehearsed. And I suspect that her presentation trainer helped her to contain her emotions. Her presentation trainer probably told her to focus on her audience, not on herself; and that what they felt would be more important than how she felt as she spoke.

Emotions can be difficult

We all have a duty to our audiences. After all, they are – or should be – the reason we’re up there in the first place. Emotions can be difficult to control. But sometimes they have to be squarely placed in the back seat while we navigate through what our audience needs to hear.

Stay focused

While it’s important in most instances to let our passion speak for us, as speakers, we have to recognize when it’s more important to stay focused on the message and to stick to it, regardless of how it makes us feel. You can see how Kate handled her challenge here.

Need a guest speaker?

If your group needs a skilled guest speaker or workshop leader, I’d like to help you. I provide a range of communications key note presentations and workshops. Please visit the presentations and workshops pages of this website and contact me to discuss how I can help you.

Need a presentation trainer?

Would you like help dealing with public speaking training and other communications issues? If so, please contact me to discuss my public speaking training programs. I provide one-on-one presentation training and group public speaking training sessions that provide tools to develop your public speaking skills. Contact me today

About Thomas Moss

Thomas Moss is a speaker, writer and coach who provides business communications services, primarily in the Greater Toronto Area, including Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Markham, Richmond Hill, Newmarket, Vaughan, Brampton and Mississauga. Service is also available outside of the GTA.

Does that make sense?

As a public speaking coach, I was intrigued by a discussion on the Harvard Business Review Blog about whether a speaker should use the phrase “Does that makes sense?” while doing a presentation or training session.

Are you serious?

My first response was, “Are you serious? Do you really think this is an issue?” But apparently some people – particularly people who need something to write about – think it is. Well, it’s not an issue for me; it’s just a fact of life.

It’s my duty

In addition to my one-on-one presentation coaching sessions I facilitate a lot of corporate workshops and public workshops, where I’m presenting concepts that are very familiar to me which may be brand new to the people I’m speaking to. It’s my duty – and it’s the duty of every facilitator – to check in with the audience from time to time. If you don’t, you can’t be sure you’ve really communicated.

Communication is slippery

One thing I’ve learned from hard experience as a writer and speaker is that communication is a slippery thing. I don’t think you really appreciate how slippery it is until you’re writing material that’s published to tens of thousands of people or when you’re publishing to a small but very critical audience. It’s amazing what people can read into what you’ve said, how they can misinterpret, misunderstand and generally just not “get” what you’re trying to convey. And often it’s nobody’s fault; it’s just the fragility of the communications process.

I always check in

I always check in with my audience to make sure I’ve said what I think I’ve said. And I look for nods. If I don’t see them I follow up with something like, “Hmmm . . . I’m not seeing any recognition out there . . . Have I communicated?. . . Is this clear for everyone before I move on?” That usually brings a few nods even from a reluctant audience and I’m able to move forward.

I ask

I only speak in public for one reason: to provide value. And I don’t know if I’ve provided value if people don’t tell me. And most times – at least during a presentation or training – they don’t tell me unless I ask. So I ask. And I get responses.

It’s crucial

If you’re doing presentations or training, I suggest you check in with your audience from time to time. I’ll admit that when you’re doing a formal speech it’s less necessary but in my opinion it’s absolutely crucial in the training process.

Need a guest speaker?

If your group needs a skilled guest speaker or workshop leader, I’d like to help you. I provide a range of communications key note presentations and workshops. Please visit the presentations and workshops pages of this website and contact me to discuss how I can help you.

Need a presentation trainer?

Would you like help dealing with public speaking training and other communications issues? If so, please contact me to discuss my public speaking training programs. I provide one-on-one presentation training and group public speaking training sessions that provide tools to develop your public speaking skills. Contact me today

About Thomas Moss

Thomas Moss is a speaker, writer and coach who provides business communications services, primarily in the Greater Toronto Area, including Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Markham, Richmond Hill, Newmarket, Vaughan, Brampton and Mississauga. Service is also available outside of the GTA.