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Coaching Platform Skills: Helping Presenters Step Up to the Plate & Hit a Home Run
By Marjorie Brody   Printer Friendly Version

Most professional athletes and actors receive coaching. Why should it be any different for speakers? Knowing a subject is only the beginning. A coach can help a presenter organize and develop the presentation as well improve overall delivery technique.

A coach can achieve many specific objectives. They can help the presenter(s):

  • think specifically about the audience, logistics and the purpose of his or her presentation
  • determine the key points which are necessary to achieve results.
  • clarify ideas and define the jargon
  • take a more unbiased, objective look at what's working, and what's not
  • by videotaping and critiquing the presenter's delivery
  • by critiquing the visual aids used during a presentation (often graphics are too busy and unreadable, unless the presenter is knowledgeable with colors, font size, etc.)
  • handle questions that may be asked

Then, the coach can make recommendations for improvement. Suggestions about vocal variety, eye contact, body language are also part of the coaching session.

How It Works

Exactly what is a speech coach? The idea is the same as a sports coach -- where a coach works on the player's specific issues or problems. The sports coach listens, observes the player's game and attitudes, and strives to eliminate ineffective behaviors.

I talk to the person about his or her perceived strengths and areas for improvement. Sometimes the person is working on general skills, other times it is a specific presentation. If the focus is on general skills, I have the coaching participant come prepared with a short presentation. I videotape this, play it back and then critique. At that point, we then discuss specific techniques and ways to practice. The same speech is then repeated and coaching occurs as the person speaks.

If the person is working on a specific presentation, the coach discusses the expected outcome, looks over the materials and how they are developed. Together, the participant and coach work on the actual presentation, then follow a similar experience with the videotaping.

Coaching is a molding process, where strategies are refined and goals defined. It helps people solve presentation problem areas, and find their own new ways to succeed and grow. The person being coached ultimately succeeds - delivering more effective presentations, which results in greater confidence in one's abilities. This has an indirect effect on the bottom line -- enabling their respective companies to also share the success. Everybody wins with coaching.

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