Remarkable speaking coach
Fear was preventing my client from getting a promotion. When he spoke, his nerves rattled him so much that he mumbled his words and colleagues dismissed him. After four sessions, he not only transformed into a confident speaker, he got the promotion.
I am not immune. I loved performing and one night on stage in a college production, I blanked and stood there frozen in silence under the spotlights. My own fear kept me behind the scenes as a costume designer and I found myself using clothing as a tool for storytelling to connect the characters with the audience.
For years I succumbed to my anxiety and applied my skills to marketing until that one event when the keynote missed her flight. I wrote her script so naturally I was the one nominated to speak in her place. The pressure in that moment was immense and did not give me time to think. To my amazement, my presentation was met with kudos and applause.
It is my belief that you prepare for the audience you expect, but listen to the audience you have.
What happened? How did I achieve confidence and clarity on the spot? Honestly, I had no idea but I desperately wanted to replicate that experience. This is when I started my speaking journey.
I read a few books and joined a speaking club. Those things helped some, but I wasn’t feeling confident despite having hosted dozens of webinars and presented at conferences since 2008.
In April of 2020, I was invited to join an online beta for speaking games. The games did something incredible: they gave me something fun to do when the world went on lockdown and gave me the tools to replicate the confidence and clarity that I experienced during that impromptu keynote I gave 20 years ago!
As a speaking coach, using the games and core principles of improv became a game-changer in coaching hundreds of clients in over 35 countries to articulate their story in ways they never thought of. Like a well-defined character, I use games and improv as tools to help people like you, become confident and captivating speakers.
Confident speakers with an honest voice are engaging and have a lasting presence.
What’s holding you back from telling your story?
REMARKABLE SPEAKING COACH
I’m reading on my iPad.
The book is called Ultralearning.
I’m amazed at some of the stories of how quickly people are learning and the level of commitment it takes to do that.
Then my eyes drink in the story of a guy who in 7 months went from novice public speaker to the finals of the world championship of public speaking.
I see he has a company coaching public speaking and I search them out.
Fortunately, I might even say it was destiny… they are running a free speaking workshop in a few minutes.
I sign up.
My gut is full of butterflies as I sign on to the Zoom session. Anxiety!
Soon I’m playing speaking games.
I suck at this!
(But inside somewhere a voice states, “But I could get good at this!”)
Here’s the thing.
I’ve had many opportunities and situations where I did public speaking.
It was ALWAYS an anxiety ridden, uncomfortable experience.
See, I was an only kid, growing up with alcoholic parents.
I never knew how anything I said would be responded to!
One time praise, the next derision, and shaming; the next - laughing along, the next - seemingly hate filled put downs.
I grew up being less and less willing or able to share my true self.
I hid. I didn’t want to be seen.
I remember walking across the sports field to my Junior High School each morning, filled with incessant internal dialog and doubts.
“Will this be a good day or a bad day? Who will bully me today? How bad will I blush?”
Anytime I felt like the limelight was turned on me; simply a girl saying, “Hi”, or a question from a teacher, etc… I would turn bright, hot red.
Blushing constantly, uncomfortably, uncontrollably.
Speaking in front of the class was brutal. I avoided it.
As I grew older I knew that public speaking was a necessary part of being a successful business person.
It still sucked and I still blushed every time. And my self consciousness not only made it bad for me, it made my speaking stilted, and shaky.
I developed a strategy of over preparing; of trying my best if I had a presentation to give or meeting to chair, that I had practiced over and over what to say.
This meant days prior of preparation. Anxiety ridden the whole time.
What if I forgot my plan? What if I missed something?
Again self-torture, my old friend.
Bottom line, public speaking was my nemesis.
I knew it would make a massive difference in my work life, in all of my life but I was stuck, limited by the mental feels prison I had constructed for myself.
I did Toastmasters.
I did numerous other public speaking seminars and courses. I read the books!
(You cannot learn how to speak from a book!)
I still was not confident in my ability to speak and present well.
I kept avoiding public speaking as much as I could.
This was different. It was a revelation!
I remember feeling exhilarated after the speaking coaching session; I actually had fun!
Speaking in front of other people! Wow!
I kept going. With consistent practice and good coaching, I started to get better.
More willing to be seen.
More assured and able to deal with pressure.
To deal with the inevitable energy increase that comes along with doing anything I care about.
I recall when I was invited to become a coach!
That was a surreal moment. Me? Really??
I trained to become a coach; a public speaking coach.
Fast forward 2 years... I’ve coached hundreds of folks now. From 35 countries and counting.
Somewhere along the path, I’ve become a confident, better public speaker.
All it took was practice, coaching and experience.
I can speak pretty much anywhere, anytime about anything.
With NO preparation.
I can lose myself in a speech. I really enjoy speaking!
What I know from experience now is that becoming a better, more confident speaker is do-able.
It can actually be fun!
Especially if it’s done through play.
What’s generally taught for public speaking, in my opinion and experience - focuses on the symptoms.
Be expressive! Take pauses! Move around! See the audience in their underwear! Clench your butt cheeks!
Some of these things are the unplanned result of confident speaking.
Some are just not effective.
Good speaking is not about being an actor.
It’s really about being yourself, fully and completely.