Coaching Presentation

How to Effectively Coach a Public Speaker: try the “ONE” thing…

You can read a ton of books and blogs that offer advice on how to become an effective public speaker. However, you don’t have the capacity to implement all the advice at once.

Instead, let’s look at the core of the word “presentation”. It’s the word “present”.

I know I’m at my best when I’m truly present for my audience. I’m mindful.

When I’m present, I’m not worrying about what I’m doing with my hands. I’m not wondering whether the look on my face is serious enough or if that bit of mouth noise was too distracting…

Instead, I’m in the moment. I’m present for my presentation.

That’s why, as a coach, I like to focus on only one technique for a student or client to work on for every speech or presentation. A singular focus helps with presence.

When I’m coaching someone — especially someone who’s a novice presenter and very nervous — I’m not going to destroy their confidence. I won’t work on every single aspect of their public speaking performance!

If presenters work on too many things at once, they’re not fully present… and it shows. A speaker who’s trying to work on everything will look distracted. They may come across as overly self-conscious and unnatural.

As far as I know, no one on the face of the planet has ever delivered a perfect presentation. Thank goodness!

You’re supposed to be human. Humans make mistakes. And ironically, making mistakes can often help you to better connect emotionally with your audience.

If you’re coaching people on their presentations, please keep this in mind. Don’t try to fix everything, all at once. You’ll end up destroying the very essence of their presentation — their confidence and their ability to be fully present for the audience.

Instead, try this coaching approach. I call it “The One Thing.”

Find one thing you appreciated about the presentation. What worked?

You’re going to let the speaker know what that one core strength is. And you’re going to work with them to build their presentation around that strength.

Next, find one thing they can improve. Sure, you may have found 20 things they can do better.

But here’s the mark of a good coach: prioritization.

Find only one thing they can work on for each presentation. Don’t aim for complete mastery in one session.

Layer in new techniques and skills over time. Time and practice and coaching and feedback – that’s how you build mastery.

And here’s the magic of only working on “the one thing”. By focusing on only the most important issue, you may find that you’ve radically improved 5 other issues — without even trying! As a novice speaker gains more experience with public speaking, they can keep working on new areas.

Even seasoned speakers never stop learning. We keep looking for ways to better connect with our audiences. Technology changes — and we need to adapt our style.

Or we can sometimes get too comfortable in front of an audience — and we start to get sloppy and lose technique. There’s always at least “one thing” to work on in every presentation!

So please — continue to devour all the public speaking tips you can! But when it comes to your next presentation, try working on only one of those insights.

When you learn and grow from a place of confidence, you’re on a continuing path to becoming a more mindful, present, and effective public speaker.

Laura Bergells writes, teaches, coaches, and speaks. Check out her online courses at LinkedIn Learning.  You can also find Laura on Twitter and at YouTube.

Signup for LinkedIn Learning

Coaching fun public speaking

End hiccups instantly with this amazing mind trick

I haven’t suffered from a case of the hiccups in over 40 years. And I have helped dozens of people end bouts of hiccuping instantly — without props, goofiness, or drama.

All you need is the power of your own mind.

Here is what you do if you ever get a hiccup: talk to yourself, mentally.

Tell yourself,

“OK, for my next hiccup, I will concentrate on making it the LOUDEST hiccup ever!”

Concentrate on making it really loud.

Then wait.

You will not hiccup loudly.

In fact, you will not hiccup again!

The mere act of concentrating on making a LOUD hiccup lets you regain control! It’s that simple.

Try this phenomenal trick, and you may never endure a case of the hiccups again. You may hiccup once, but once you deploy the mind trick — you’ll never have another “case” of the hiccups.

Ah, the irony! Every now and then, I’ll run into someone with seemingly unstoppable hiccups. I’ll tell them to concentrate on making their next hiccup super loud. If they comply, their hiccups end. Many will say, “Oh, wait, my hiccups went away… I never had a chance to try your trick and make a loud hiccup!”  The funny part is that they think the hiccups went away without using the trick — when in fact, it was the mind trick that made the hiccups end!

Alternately, I’ll run into a neurotic hiccup-er who says, “Absolutely not! I will NOT make my next hiccup loud. I don’t want to make a fool out of myself…” And so, they will hop up and down, hold their breath, drink water, plug their ears and noses with their hands, twirl around in circles, or beg their friends to find a way to scare them.

And yet, they say they don’t want to appear foolish. Irony at work, again!

If you’re serious about ending hiccups instantly, permanently, and without drama — try my little mind trick. I doubt you’ll ever have a case of the hiccups again.