What To Look For In A Public Speaker Course – One Word: Coaching

What To Look For In A Public Speaker Course - One Word: Coaching

The most effective public speaker training has to include coaching. Coaching goes beyond just listening to someone share with you their thoughts concerning what you should and shouldn’t do as a speaker. That’s important of course, but coaching goes further by actually doing it, and receiving useful feedback for your effort.

One-on-One Or Groups

Coaching is effective as a one-on-one or in groups. There are pros and cons to both. One-on-one of course tends to be more expensive and is often used by executives. While group classes are less costly, but are sometimes more effective because there are more eyes on the speaker.

Speaker & Other Attendees Benefit

Attendees giving presentations and the instructor/coach, as well as the fellow attendees providing constructive feedback is the best way to do it. Attendees providing feedback can lead to them learning as much as the one being critiqued. The feedback, both positive and negative, can be very beneficial for everyone.

There Must Be Positive & Negative Feedback

It is important for the attendee and coach giving the feedback to be careful that we don’t tear down or crush the speaker. There has to be positive as well as negative feedback. It won’t be helpful to only provide positive feedback because then the speaker won’t know what to improve on. I had a recent attendee at one of my coaching sessions complain about the one time he went to a toastmasters meeting he never got any negative feedback and that’s really what he was looking for. Giving only positive feedback just tells us what we’re doing right and misses what we’re doing wrong. If we only give the negative feedback they might have their confidence crushed and think they’ll never be a good speaker.

Coach A Buddy

If you are attending an event where you and a friend or colleague are both speaking, arrange prior for you each to provide feedback to the other. Setup some ground rules first. Make it clear that the goal is to help each other. You can also do this anytime you are speaking at a company event. Designate a coworker you trust to critique what you are doing.

Distance Coaching

Distance coaching can provide you with feedback without you leaving the office. Simply provide an audio recording, or preferably a video, of a recent presentation you would like some feedback on. A full report can be provided and followup videos sent to see if there has been improvement. This method is very fast and convenient.

Self Coaching

Though this should never be the only coaching you get, it should be part of the mix. Record, listen, improve and repeat. After more than 25 years of speaking, I still do this.


Coaching will give you a much needed eye from someone who is only interested in helping you improve as a public speaker. Please try one of the above methods and see if I’m right. The public speaking tips are invaluable.