Services Instructor Development And Public Speaking Skills

Common Challenges Best Practices Services

Whatever the specifc application - instructing, public speaking, presenting, etc. - this services section is all about delivery skills. We will use the terms inter-changeably, although we will primarily use the terms 'public speaker' and public speaking,' Public speaking takes many forms in the workplace. A small sampling includes:

  • Presenting business information to internal or external audiences via any of a variety of means (e.g., person, webinar, video recording, etc.)

  • Conducting product demos

  • Educating customers and others on how to operate and use products

  • Running meetings

  • Contributing to team discussions

There are certainly some differences between the applications of public speaking skills; but those diffeences are predominately tactical. Stratgically, every public speaker has the same general challenges:

  1. No matter what the application, public speaking is notable for a perpetually high placement (usually #1 or #2) on the list of activities that people fear the most. That fear alone can be debilitating and is one of the key challenges to any public speaker.

  2. Clearly defining objectives for the session - be it educate, persuade, inspire, entertain or some combination of those

  3. Another key challenge is tailoring both your content'level of detail to align with the audience. It is a common misconcenption that everyone else is excited about and by the same things that we are. That is often reinforced by a couple of different internal dialogues that go something along the lines of: "of course they want to hear this or they would not have asked me to speak - this is what I am an expert in" or "they have to know all of this detail or they will never understand my point."

  4. Developing a delivery style that is both comfortable for the speaker, aligns with the audience, and supports the learning objectives

  5. Speaking with voice quality and mechanics that are articulate and comprehensible

  6. Not allowing non-verbal behavior to distract the audience, detract from the delivery style, or undermine the learning objectives

  7. Engaging he audience

  8. Effectively managing the session to keep it on track and on time

Our services can help people at all experience levels overcome those challenges and improve their public speaking skills.

There are many best practices when it comes to public speaking. Some are universal, and others relate to specific situations. In this discussion, the focus is on those that are universal. Good public speakers:

  1. Have learned how to manage the anxiety that virtually all speakers experience, and the best channel that anxiety into motivation

  2. Know their content

  3. Know their audience - whether through research ahead of time or activities during the session, they know the interests, motivations, and expertise of the people who will be in attendance

  4. Know the room and the presentation aids, such as the laptops, microphones, projectors, participant handouts, flip charts, etc.

  5. Are organized, although the specifics of that organization can vary, and have a clear agenda that is shared with the audience - unless the speach is conducted in a pure discovery format in which the agenda unfolds as throughout the session

  6. Limit their content to only 1-2 main takeaway points per half hour, using details to support those points

  7. Have a delivery style that may be flexible but is still consistent with who they are - not everything about them, but enough that they are comfortable with it and it conveys sincerity

  8. Integrate all components of public speaking (e.g., content, voice, non-verbal communications, setting, etc.) to support their message

  9. Effectively facilitates discussions with the audience by having both a questioning strategy and purpose, and by formulating questions ahead of time

  10. Manage time and the dynamics with the audience

  11. Are patient, with the audience, themselves, and the process

If you would like to discuss any of these universal best practices or those that apply to a specific session you are conducting, feel free to contact us.

Despite its essential nature and ubiquity, few organizations offer formal training or other professional development resources to help staff improve their public speaking or instructor skills. And for a myriad of reasons, too few people seek out training in public speaking. And therein lies the common reasons for poor public speaking skills; most people learned how to do it on their own - by hit and miss, and by observing others.

In most of those instances, the self-developed speaker has received little formalized feedback about their skills and how to improve, beyond whatever standard particiapant evaluation and feedback mechanisms are conducted. And the information gathered from the vast majority of standard speaker evaluation systems provides only limited useful feedback for imprving performance. As a result, speakers have developed habits  good or bad - based on their own beliefs about what to do and what they have observed.

We provide comprehensive programs that can to help you progress from being a neophyte to a polished speaker. We can also assist you with specific challenges or topics, such as how to better engage participants or reducing non-verbal distractors in your delivery style. As with all our services, we take a developmental approach. By that we mean that we work with you to establish clear goals and assess the current situation. Then we design and implement a performance improvement plan that will methodically and incrementally move you toward those goals - always with the strategy of laying a solid foundation that can be built on and that you can use on your own to progress further. Our services to develop your instructor and public speaking skills include:

  • Presentation walk through (in personal or remotely)

  • Analysis of the interests, motivations, and expertise of the audience; and tailor your content and delivery to align with them

  • Clearly defining the session goals - educate, persuade, inspire, entertain or some combination - and develop delivery stragies and tactics to reinforce them

  • Undertsanding how the body speaks and the message being conveyed by your non-verbal communications

  • Making certain all delivery components (e.g., content, voice, non-verbal communications, visual aids, technology, etc.) align to support the message

  • Developing techniques (e.g., questions, activities, rhetorical techniques, etc.) to enagage the audience, promote participation, and facilitate discussions that are consistent with your style, the session goals, and the audience

  • Reviewing and practicing how to effectively facilitate activities and exercises

  • Developing management strategies and techniques to keep the session on track and on time

  • Identification of potential pitfalls, and recommendations for prevention and resolution

  • Identification of self-defeating internal dialogues, and developing methods of overcoming or managing them

If it is not already listed above, contact us to discuss your questions or challenges related to public speaking. We'll let you know how we can help or assist you in finding someone who can.

We offer a full range of services to help instructors and public speakers in a variety of settings improve their skills and be more effective. Our services include:

  • Presentation walk through (in personal or remotely)

  • Reviewing and practicing how to effectively facilitate activities and exercises

  • Identification of potential pitfalls and recommendations for prevention and resolution

  • Analysis of your audience type and development of communication strategies to align with them

  • Identification of self-defeating internal dialogues and developing methods of overcoming them



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