How to Tell When You Need a Public Speaking Coach

Coaches can be a great help when you’re looking to boost your professional skills and stand out from other people in your field. We can all benefit from a little coaching, and need to remember that it’s important to learn as much as we can, as often as we can. The day that we stop learning is the day we get left behind.

So, being simplistic, the general way to tell whether you need a public speaking coach is to ask yourself if you ever plan to do any public speaking. If the answer to that is yes, you should consider whether you would benefit from having a coach.

When considering this, there are specific signs you can look for, and that’s what we’re going to cover today. So without further ado, let’s jump in and take a little look at a few of the indicators that it’s time for you to find a public speaking coach.

You struggle to plan an effective presentation

Planning is key to any good presentation, and if you’re struggling to plan effectively, then you’re setting yourself up for failure before you ever take to the stage. A good public speaking coach will help you get the basics right so that you’re better placed to plan in the future, and that will become a positive habit that will stand you in good stead throughout the rest of your career.

You’ve noticed audience members not paying attention

As a public speaker, nothing is more distracting than when you look up and see that some audience members are messing around on their phones or talking to each other instead of listening to what you have to say. Nine times out of ten, this happens because your talk isn’t engaging them, which is therefore the area where you should seek help from a coach. They’ll provide you with some tips that you can use to make your talks more engaging so that people will sit up and listen.

You’re finding it difficult to secure public speaking engagements

While the most obvious way that a coach can help you is when it comes to the way you actually deliver your presentations, some coaches will also be able to help you with the business side of things, including your personal branding and securing more speaking engagements. They may even have event organizer contacts that they’ll be willing to share with you.

You’ve stopped improving with practice

There’s a lot of truth in the saying that practice makes perfect, but it needs focus. If you reach a point at which it seems that you’re no longer getting better, that’s a sure-fire sign that it’s worth looking into coaching. A coach will be able to spot areas for improvement and suggest exercises that you can do, and they’ll also give you honest feedback on what is working well and what you should do more of.

You don’t know any of the theory

Understanding the theory behind public speaking is a great way to ensure that you’re putting proven techniques to work and delivering presentations that are as effective as possible. The challenge for a lot of public speakers is that they’re self-taught and they’ve never learned the theory, which is where a public speaking coach comes in. They’ll be able to teach you the theory and show you practical examples of how you can put it to work.

Q&As are the bane of your existence

Some public speakers thrive on Q&As, while others can’t stand them. If you fall into the latter category, it’s a sign that you’re over-relying on planning and practice and that you find yourself in trouble when your talks are thrown over to the audience and there’s no script to rely on. The best public speakers have a lot in common with improv comedians in that they’re able to think on their feet and respond to unexpected stimuli from their audience. A public speaking coach can help you to get better at improvising.

You’ve found a good coach

Given that the majority of public speakers can benefit from coaching, if you find a decent coach who has the availability to help you, you’d be crazy to pass it up. Many of the best public speaking coaches have waiting lists of months or even years, so it’s always worth booking a consultation and training session with a coach that you come across. Even if they’re not quite right for you, it’s better to know than to always wonder.

An event organizer suggests it

If an event organizer or attendee suggests taking some coaching, you can take that as a piece of constructive criticism to learn from. It can be easy to have an artificially high opinion of our own abilities, so if somebody takes you aside and suggests that you could benefit from coaching, consider it seriously.

Conclusion

Now that you know how to tell when and if you need a public speaking coach, you’re in the perfect place to make an educated decision. Ultimately, only you can know whether or not you need a coach, and if your gut tells you that you do, it’s probably telling you the truth.

If you do need a coach, the next step is for you to find a coach who can help you. The good news is that there’s no shortage of public speaking experts out there who’ll be more than happy to provide you with some mentorship, especially if you’re willing to compensate them for their time.

And remember that while coaching can be a great help, practice makes perfect. No amount of training can make up for putting in the hours in practice and also out there in the real world. Good luck.

This was originally posted on SpeakerHub Skillcamp.

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