- Myth # 1: It takes years to become an effective public speaker.
- Myth # 2: Nobody else seems nervous when they make a presentation.
- Myth # 3: Most good speakers are born with the “gift of gab.”
- Myth # 4: Being forced to stand up in front of others in a public speaking class will make you a better speaker.
These myths along with many others seemed fixed in most people’s minds but they’re not valid.
Consider this scenario: You have to make a company presentation in two weeks. You’ve written your material and organized your slides. But when you stand up to rehearse, it doesn’t come out the way you imagine. Panic sets in! Is it too late?
Working with an experienced speech coach doesn’t have to be a long, arduous process. Sometimes I need to help a client reshape a presentation by editing material to focus on key points. At other times the material and slide presentations have been developed to suit the audience and time frame, so our work concentrates on presentation skills. While it usually takes several sessions to prep for an individual presentation, you should have some concrete tools to use after the first session.
In some cases a speech coach helps a client deal with nervousness and fear of making a presentation. It’s normal to have some anticipation before speaking in public; indeed, the spurt of adrenaline that occurs when we engage in a difficult task can be channeled to infuse your speaking with enthusiasm and energy. But for those individuals who find themselves tongue-tied or hesitant because of nerves, the process of understanding the important features of effective speaking can be liberating.
Does a public speaking class where you take your turn making presentations reduce nervousness and improve speaking skills? I have worked with many individuals who have tried peer-based courses or cookie cutter approaches without any gains. For most people an individualized program with an experienced speech coach makes the critical difference.
Developing a plan based on your individual needs, learning the skills that apply to you, practicing your presentation and receiving pointed feedback from a professional can change your thinking about the myths that hold back many people from seeking out speaking opportunities. In our competitive professional world, lacking the skills to speak effectively in a public forum limits your opportunities.
Even last minute coaching can make all the difference in your public speaking skills and professional advancement.
Check back soon for more articles on effective speaking, writing skills, speech pathology and executive function skills.