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What You Need to Know About Hiring a Public Speaking Coach

No matter what your purpose, there’s a lot to be gained from finding a great public speaking coach. Perhaps you’re looking for a better way to give a presentation at work. Or maybe you’re getting up at a conference and communicating something unique to what you do. Perhaps you’re toasting at a wedding, and you want to seal this moment in time with a memorable speech.

Finding the right person to learn public speaking from can be a long process. It’s important to find the right fit. Ultimately, you want to train from a public speaking coach that both nurtures your inner speaking power and also challenges you to take energizing risks. Also valuable is a coach that’s not too rigid in their technique of getting up to deliver a speech. This is because when the time comes, it will be you and not them demonstrating these skills. So having a coach that also encourages you to practice what works for you is key.

What Does a Public Speaking Coach Do?

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A public speaking coach has the best interests of you, the student, and your future audiences in mind. This person will give you the tools you need to create a space where a lasting informational exchange will occur. There are several factors that can contribute or detract from this goal, however. And it will be a combination of your willingness as a student, and the public speaking coach’s sensitivity that will determine how successful you are. The following are areas that your coach will most likely focus on.

Diction and Intelligible Speaking

This area can be explored as much or as little as is needed, depending on the aptitude of the student. It can be most useful when the student has a thick regionalism or natural dialect that could be altered with speech exercises. The accent of origin need not be done away with completely (as has been the case in past techniques), and a good public speaking coach knows this. These days, having a flavor of where you come from in your speaking voice adds personality and character to a presentation.

However, the point at which your native accent makes your communication difficult to understand, or unintelligible, is the point at which you begin working on your diction. There are many ways a public speaking coach will attack these areas of speech from. One way is through teaching the sounds of the International Phonetic Alphabet. This way, you can more methodically identify which vowels or consonants are difficult for you.

Another simple way to accomplish this is through learning sets of tongue twisters. This improves your physical speaking instrument and the mental gymnastics it takes to speak with agility.

A Confident Physical Body

It’s an old maxim that many people overlook. Supposedly, when engaged in public speaking, 70 percent of what people react to is how you look, 20 percent is how you sound, and 10 percent is what you actually say. While this may be a bit of an exaggeration, what’s not is the importance of how you carry yourself when addressing a large group of people.

A great public speaking coach will empower you to put your best self behind what you say. Even if you haven’t thought about what that means, your coach will instinctually sense the persuasive person within you. This person moves with purpose, stands up straight without being rigid, and physically communicates ideas just as effortlessly as those ideas are composed. If you feel locked in your personal carriage, then it may be worthwhile to take up a physically intensive hobby to help you move your body in ways that push you out of your comfort zone. This way, a public speaking coach can help you more.

Storytelling and the Mission behind Your Words

This is probably the hardest skill to teach because it requires you to establish a connection to language at a very core level. With a good public speaking coach, you can learn to tap into your inner storyteller. It’s something people have done since ancient times. Members of a tribe would tell cultural stories around bonfires. While these stories were told for their entertainment value, they also had an underlying mission of instruction. Now, as it was then, you as the storyteller are meant to move or empower the crowd you find yourself before.

Your coach will help you achieve this effect by asking the right questions. Some of these questions deal with how your ideas are arranged chronologically in your speech. Some of them deal with the emphasis you put on the ideas and examples themselves, and how much they mean to you. Your instructor will also be comfortable intuitively ‘side-coaching’ you during your actual delivery to bring out the key points of the speech and make them shine. Again, how comfortable you are with your coach will determine how much you can learn and embody in this area.

Choosing Your Coach


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The way you find your coach is just as important as how much effort you put into the actual lessons themselves. There are too many instances of individuals investing precious resources in the wrong kind of instruction or with a coach that’s not a good fit. In finding a quality coach the right way, you have several options at your disposal.

One way is to see who’s available locally. Toastmasters may be a good way to start if public speaking is completely foreign to you. There are also online courses and coaches you could use to this effect. Though, if you’re looking to take your public speaking to the highest level, then you’ll want to check out VASTA, also known as the Voice and Speech Trainers Association. They have a convenient regional directory available to you here. 

Also, there may be colleges or universities near you that offer stand-alone classes in public speaking. Most of these courses are listed under a school’s ‘continuing education’ department, and they can be relatively easy to access if you’re looking to improve your skills in a more collegiate setting. It could also serve as a more intensive way to learn public speaking via group classes if one-on-one training is not for you.

What Does a Public Speaking Coach Cost?


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So how much should you pay to take the journey to more skillful public speaking? Well, it will vary from person to person. A lot of it depends on where you’re starting from and your current experience level. Also, your personal learning objectives should be considered. How much mastery are you looking to achieve? Would you like a basic set of tools? Or would you like to leave the course with the confidence to address the United Nations, if the opportunity arose?

Other key factors to consider when deciding how much to pay for a coach involve the experience level of the coach. Where did they get their training from? If they came from a renowned school or training program themselves, then their services may cost more. Or perhaps they are certified in a particular method of public speaking instruction. In these cases, a public speaking coach will probably charge rates that are more in line with others from this background or style of teaching.

The Cost of the Right Approach

If you are interested in a particular method, the good news is that many of these techniques have websites with databases of certified coaches. The coaches listed still actively practice that particular technique of public speaking. Sometimes you can even receive this instruction via a video chatting service if that kind of lesson structure works for you. With any luck, the hourly rates for these coaches will appear next to a link to book with them.

However, it’s important to be wary of so-called ‘overnight expertise’ services. Some complete courses are advertised as low as $70 or less for a full package. If you go with these options, just know that you may get what you pay for. However, we acknowledge that everyone’s needs are different. If you’re looking for a basic understanding of public speaking and some rudimentary tools, then this path may be the way to go. In any case, it is always good to be skeptical of wild claims.



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We hope that through digesting the information we’ve laid out, you have a clearer vision of what you can do to become a more competent public speaker. Again, the importance of finding a high-quality public speaking coach cannot be understated. The right coach will guide you in achieving your speaking objectives long after you cease your lessons. And, besides being able to address and influence crowds with confidence and ease, you’ll also have a heightened perspective when taking in other people engaged in public speaking.

Always remember that your own experience can also be an excellent teacher. So get out there and learn how to tell the stories that matter. Seek a top-notch public speaking coach and commit to the process. You’ll be glad you did.

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