How Managers Can Assess an Employee’s Need for Speech Coaching

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Five Presenting Tips Scientifically Proven To Enhance Your Speech

blogOne of my presentation training clients in New York City recently asked me why some TED talks gather millions of views, while others with similar content languish?  I did some research.  It turns out a human behavior consultancy called “Science of People” set out to answer this question.  They asked volunteers to rate hundreds of hours of TED talks, and here are the conclusions they came to:


  1. The volunteers rated speakers comparably whether the sound was on or not! What does this mean?  It means your non-verbal communication matters…. a lot!  How you gesture, and the tone of your voice can make or break your speech.
  2. SOP also found that there is a direct correlation between the number of times a speaker gestures and the number of views the talk gets.  This is why Italians make such great speakers! Remember to use bold gestures.
  3. Keep it loose!  People who ad-libbed in their speeches rated higher than those who stayed on script.  In addition, vocal variety boosted ratings on charisma and credibility.
  4. Did you know smiling makes you look smarter?  The more TED talkers smiled, the higher their perceived intelligence.
  5. As we all know, first impressions matter a lot.  SOP found that people largely formed their opinion about a speaker based on the first several seconds.  So come out blazing!

Five Common Public Speaking Tips You Should Ignore



If you’re an avid public speaker, you’ve probably gotten many tips. Here are five tips I think you can avoid:

  1. “Just Try To Relax”A recent Harvard study proved that “trying to relax” before you speak doesn’t work so well. It’s a better idea to try to re-frame your pre-speech anxiety as excitement. Try telling yourself “I’m excited to give this presentation” just before you speak.
  2. “You Have To Have PowerPoint to Present Well” – Nope. The most important part of any presentation is a strong, unconventional premise, and a good story.   PowerPoint visuals are a nice aid, but there are many presenters who forgo PowerPoint and still give a great presentation.
  3. “You Have Too Much Data” – Data is not your enemy. Well-placed statistics can build your argument. The danger is misplaced data.  Make sure each statistic builds your argument logically, and don’t add data you don’t need.
  4. “Speak Quickly To Meet Your Time Limit” – I see this one get many speakers into trouble. You never want to rush when you present. If you feel that your presentation is too long, cut it down, but don’t speed up.
  5. “It’s Important To Gesture” – It is good to gesture, but the most powerful speaking tool is your voice. Stillness helps the audience pay attention to your words, and your ideas. Too much movement can distract from your speech.