Certain public speaking problems can be solved in a solitary fashion. If you are unhappy with your powerpoint design, pick up Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds. If you occasionally stumble over words, watch this blog post, and use a metronome to slow down your speech. If you feel scattered while presenting, write out a set of short bullet points, and stick to them! But there are certain public speaking problems they may require a collaborative approach. Here are some public speaking problems that require coaching:
- Panic – if your employee is badly stumbling over their words, or unable to get through their presentations, that is a surefire sign that they need coaching. A coach can teach them to breathe properly and to prepare themselves mentally before they present.
- Very Low Volume – if you are asking your employee to speak up on a regular basis, it may be that they need voice coaching. A coach can help them breathe from their diaphragm, and utilize chest and face resonance to enhance their voice.
- Very Thick Accent – If your employee is unable to pronounce core business words, well, yea you guessed it…they definitely need coaching! A coach can help them articulate vowel and consonant sounds, and rehearse the words they are using at work.
A good coach usually starts with a thorough evaluation and then draws up a personalized, practical lesson plan. Be sure the coach you work with is assigning homework, and accessing progress as well.
Madonna is getting slammed on the internet for her recent VMA appearance, a “tribute” to Aretha Franklin. Here’s a snippet:
People are upset about Madonna’s Aretha Franklin tribute at the VMA’s ‘cos it was basically all about her and not Aretha. Whatchu think? Here’s a snippet
— Kenzy Vinco (@KenzyVinco) August 21, 2018
The obvious problem is she spends a lot of time talking about herself, and not a lot about Aretha Franklin. She has tried to clarify recently, saying that MTV asked her to “share an anecdote” about Aretha, not “give a tribute” but that hasn’t quelled the backlash. Here’s my take; if you think that your speech has the possibility of being misconstrued, ask the organizers for a clarification! When you take on a speaking event, it’s important to think very carefully about your material and your audience, and this is doubly true for solemn events like tributes, funerals and the like. Madonna would have done well to ask directly if her speech was meant to be a tribute beforehand, and then tailor her speech accordingly.
What do you think about her speech?
If you’ve ever watched the tv show Chopped, you’ve probably noticed that some of the chefs excel at handling pressure, while others bomb. Why is that? Check out my #protip above for my answer. #speechcoach #newyork #newjersey #publicspeakingtips
Majora Carter gives an impassioned, brilliant speech in the video above, taken from TED in 2006. There’s a number of things she does very, very right from a public speaking perspective. What’s most impressive is the way she uses personal stories to illustrate larger social problems; her family’s migration story became a basis for stats and facts about redlining and economic injustice in the South Bronx, the story of her childhood neighbourhood’s tragic downfall and her brother’s death is used to contrast her experience with her largely white audience, and to point out economic inequality.
But, alas, Mrs Carter falls prey to the same problem that bedevils many TED talkers; she speaks much, much too fast. Facts and figures rush by the audience in a blur. I would guess that is because she is trying to cram a 45-minute speech into her 20-minute time allotment. She would benefit greatly from pairing her speech down and breathing at the end of each thought. A recent study found that pausing 5x in a one-minute speech makes your material more memorable. So take your time! If you are a quick talker, try using a metronome to control the rate at which you speak.