|Articles To help Project Leaders
How to choose and benefit from a Presentations CoachDo you wonder how you can improve your presentation? What is holding you back from
delivering spell-binding speeches and powerful presentations? Perhaps you have
distracting gestures or word choices. You are probably not even aware of these, although
each member of your audience winces every time you do it. Even if you think you have
identified areas for improvement, how do you effect an improvement in those areas? In
many cases, the fastest way to improve is by engaging a presentations coach.
Let's say that you observe a behavior in your speech or presentation that you consider a
distraction. How do you know if it is a distraction or not? The only way to get
constructive feedback is to ask your coach. Then allow your coach to make suggestions
for alternative behaviors that you can use to replace the distracting behavior. Your coach
should have a variety of alternatives for you to try and consider. I run far away when I get
feedback which is given as an absolute. Any advice such as "Always open your speech
with a joke", or "never use body language" is a sure sign that you need to find a more
The keys to working with a coach are to firstly find a coach who demonstrates the skills
you wish to acquire. Secondly you need to be coach-able and consider the coach's advice.
Open your ears to use proven strategies. Don't reject techniques that have worked for
other successful presenters.
Last week I evaluated a speech and included a suggestion that the speaker purchase an
audio recorder and record every speech. The speech under evaluation had moments of
magic which can only be recreated on demand if the speaker goes back to the recording
and determines what caused the magic in the audience. This speaker has great potential to build on.
Wouldn't you know it - No sooner had I advised the purchase an inexpensive audio
recorder when I heard "No need to waste money on a recorder. I rehearse in front of a
mirror". This comment ended my willingness to coach under these circumstances.
I cannot completely evaluate my presentations without feedback. In addition to the many
challenges facing presenters in his or her home language, I sometimes use South African
phrases and grammar in front of my predominantly American audiences. I need feedback
from American listeners to suggest areas for improvement to my audiences.
You also cannot completely evaluate your presentations without feedback and recording
your presentations. Go ahead and be coach-able. Start off by recording the audio of every
presentation that you give. Purchase a digital audio recorder if you don't already have
one. Then record your presentations with a video recorder when ever you have the
***Improve your communication skills when using PowerPoint® through resources
available on www.waynebotha.com. Wayne Botha grew up in South Africa, and now
lives in Connecticut, USA. Wayne is a speaker and author. Wayne is a Faculty member at
District 53 Toastmasters Leadership Institute and has earned the District 53 Toastmasters
Triple Crown Award multiple times. Friends and audiences frequently tease Wayne about
his funny accent.
Published June 2008.