As a speech coach, I readily admit that it is hard for me to remain unbiased about the question above. ALL of us, speech coaches included, should be on a never-ending quest to improve our public speaking, presentation skills, and ability to connect with listeners virtually and in person.
That is a utopian view, I know. Based in our Kerala, India office, I do see a disturbing trend about the support and development of speakers and presenters. Simply put, some companies seem to be pushing employees to accept conference speaking opportunities but don’t seem to be willing to foot the bill for their coaching and professional development.
In the last year, many potential candidates have said something similar to these statements: “I’m just getting started with conference speaking, and it’s all a bit fuzzy to me…I really could use some help organizing my thoughts, using visuals, and connecting with people.” Others have said: “I’ve been speaking for a while, but it’s getting more uphill. I don’t know how to keep it fresh for me or the audience.” And this: “Conference speaking is a big part of my job, and I’d like to learn how do things others do…be better at storytelling, for example.”
Or, this long-standing comment, ” I get so nervous about speaking in front of people.”
Sadly, only a few clients have been able to secure coaching services paid by their companies. Many receive a variety of comments such as:
“Not this year.”
“It’s just not a good time.”
“We’d like to support this, but there isn’t a budget.”
“Use the internal coaches.”
As adults, we understand the answer can’t always be yes. However, the companies saying no to speech coaching often push speakers out the door to either speak live at conferences (we’re seeing a little bit of this coming back) or speak virtually.
I will repeat that as a speech coach, I have a biased view on who should get coaching, and that is just about everyone. However, it seems fair to say that if corporations and organizations want to build their brand, sending the best prepared and coached speakers is a way to do that. Many times, speakers are simply just saying: “Help me get better at what you’re asking me to do.” Coaching may not be as costly as is sometimes thought and many coaching organizations, TSIC included, are eager to be helpful to speakers of all kinds. Our reach is global. So, please be kind and supportive of your speakers and give them the training/coaching to strengthen their (your) message.