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3 Reasons Why You Need a Speaking Coach



by Natalie Gallagher

In the last few years, TED and TEDx Talks have rapidly become the gold standard of public speaking: the presentations are informative, witty, innovative, and demonstrate the best of what presenting can do. But did you ever wonder how they manage to maintain that level of consistency and quality in every Talk? Are all of these subject matter experts also naturally brilliant orators as well?

The truth is much more ordinary, and much more attainable: the secret is that every single speaker is required to have, and paired up with, a speaking coach.

I was recently granted some behind-the-curtain access to the process when I signed up to be a speaking coach for TEDx Peachtree. The goal of the speaking coach is to work one-on-one with the speaker to help make their ideas shine. Here are a few reasons why TEDx speakers need speaking coaches, and why you need one too!

  1. You probably know too much. Remember that old adage, “Those who can’t do, teach?” As a former teacher, this used to drive me nuts! The implication was that teachers were somehow inept in their subject area. But what happens much more often is this: “Those who can do, can’t teach.” As in, they know so much about their subject area, they are incapable of communicating it clearly and simply to a lay audience. Experts can easily get caught up in industry jargon, lengthy explanations and tangents, and trying to manage too much information because all of it seems vitally important. A great speaking coach helps experts sort through, organize, and translate info to be accessible to a broad audience.
  1. The Emperor wasn’t wearing any clothes…and neither are you. We often turn to our friends and loved ones for feedback about various aspects of our lives, including upcoming important presentations. But the role our loved ones usually occupy is that of cheerleader. Our loved ones want to make us feel great! And receiving feedback can feel not-that-great. So they tend to not be as honest with us as they could. A speaking coach is a neutral third party who is specifically looking to coach you to greatness, and it means they’re going to be honest (though still gentle and constructive) in order to help you get there.
  1. Everyone needs a Mickey in their corner. Rocky couldn’t have accomplished anything without the fierce, persistent Mickey in his corner of the ring. And that’s what a great speaking coach can do for you: instill confidence, train you to achieve greatness, and be there for you afterwards to celebrate your successes, and evaluate your opportunities to improve. Just knowing there is someone there to fill that role can help alleviate some of the natural nerves that come with presenting publicly.

Still not convinced? Check out what Kelly has to say about hiring a coach right here.

Natalie Gallagher is a skilled storyteller who works closely with clients to help them express their unique personalities through written and spoken content.  Contact Natalie through email at ngallagher@sociallinus.com.