“We convince by our presence.”
— Walt Whitman
Creating and delivering speeches you enjoy that the audience values begins with a simple shift of mindset. Speech Coaching guides you in making that shift. You move beyond the pressure on you to deliver … to identifying what’s valuable to your audience to know.
You move from picturing the audience as a blur in front of your podium to seeing ways to connect with them. Even if the talk needs to be heavy on data or research, creating the feel of a conversational tone can increase engagement.
The process starts with an initial conversation where I learn about the speech you’re writing: whether, for example, you’ll use humor, stories or data in making your points; what you know about the audience; the expectations of the organization/group/business unit etc. inviting you to speak; your experience and support you need; and the timing. If we work together, we’ll agree on a speech coaching plan agreement that clarifies our roles, timetable, schedule and mix of meetings — in-person (when possible if in Boston area), Skype/Zoom and telephone.
As a TEDx speech coach, Distinguished Toastmaster, former communications executive and professional speaker, my techniques and suggestions support your success. They will vary depending on your topic, audience, speech goals, value you deliver, your “why” behind doing it and other variables.
I serve as a sounding board, provide feedback on your speech and suggest edits if relevant. Once the speech is ready, we talk about the characteristics of presence. In several rehearsals, we focus on your verbal delivery as well as your nonverbal communication –body language, gestures, movement, facial expressions and presence.
In Speech Coaching particularly, presence maximizes our impact when it matters most.
Nonverbal communication is very powerful but, often, we don’t consider how to use it because we get so wrapped up in our content or being self-conscious. Nervousness can torpedo presence, so we address that early on.
Presence isn’t a permanent state. We can’t authentically manufacture it. However, an abundance of research by Tasha Eurich, Amy Cuddy, Alison Wood Brooks and others, support ways of re-engaging ourselves to show up authentically. In addition there are tips gained from mindfulness and Improv that can apply. What is beneficial will depend on what turns out to be most relevant to you and your presence.
I had the great fortune of working with Gael O’Brien as I prepared to give a Ted Talk…. Her positive reinforcement, combined with gentle redirection, allowed me to bring forth a story that even I didn’t know I could tell. The lessons she taught me ….will be carried into my career for many years to come. Importantly, Gael was committed to taking the journey with me to ensure that I put forth my very best self.