Public Speaking Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s Reframe “Public Speaking”
Every time you have a conversation with anyone other than yourself, you are, “public speaking.” It’s not reserved for “formal” occasions – most people do it every day without thinking about it. It occurs at the dinner table, on the telephone and yes, in front of 5,000 people. If you change your internal definition of “public speaking” to “it’s just a series of one-on-one conversations”, your beliefs, behaviours and even fears about “public speaking” will also change and likely for the better.
Yes. Fear and anxiety manifest as physiological responses within the body. I help clients identify their habitual unconscious responses and change them using physiological awareness and practise. In a systematic and gentle way, clients change their behaviour to learn how to communicate with natural ease and authenticity. For many, it’s a paradigm shift that takes them by surprise. I teach most clients the Inner Calm Exercise to help manage speaking nerves and clear the mind. The process is as effective over the phone as it is face to face. If a client is experiencing social anxiety phobia or extreme fear, I refer them to a qualified therapist. Take a closer look at what we can cover in our 1:1 Coaching Programs.
Yes; client confidentiality is respected at all times. Some clients do not wish others to know they are struggling with public speaking. Embarrassment, career expectations, sensitive commercial in confidence issues or, a public profile are cited as reasons for privacy. Clients concerned with these issues often travel some distance to work with me or work over the phone or skype video in a confidential coaching program on overcoming speaking nerves, presentation skills or searching for meaning and purpose. And just to keep a balanced perspective, many clients are not in the least concerned about working with a public speaking coach. Confidentiality is still assured for them too.
All new clients begin with the Initial Consult. This 75 minute session either resolves your communication issue(s) or reveals if more guidance is needed. It also makes clear which of the 3 programs will be best fit for you and whether Geraldine is the best person to help you get there.
The 4 case studies below are amalgams of genuine clients and their stories. I use them to help explain who undertakes coaching with me and their outcomes.
Case Study 1: Meg, Manager
Meg, a regular but reluctant speaker, needed help with her confidence to MC a large event in front of her peers. She was surprised to find the Initial Consult (1 x 75 minutes) was enough. Her event was a success and her confidence massively increased. The door is open for more sessions should she need.
Case Study 2: Julia, Small Business Owner
Julia graded herself a 2/10 in speaking confidence – very nervous – when it came to speaking in front of groups. All those eyes! All those judgements! After the Initial Consult soothed her worries about finally dealing with this long term fear, she decided to undertake the Feel Fear Speak Anyway program (5 x 60 minutes). Julia learned how to shift her fear reaction to a relaxation response and hold her ground without fading away. She practised on her small team at work without falling apart. She found herself more willing to attend personal and professional events… which was better for her business and social life. Julia never intends to give presentations, so Feel Fear Speak Anyway was enough for her. However, should she change her mind…
Case Study 3, Lee, Psychotherapist
Lee wanted to reduce her labour intensive one-on-one case load and reach more people by running workshops and speaking at events. She decided to invest in creating a speaking toolbox for herself, (a low cost form of marketing) and learn how to genuinely connect with large groups and overcome her fear in doing so. Plus achieve her goal of generating more money for less hours. After the Initial Consult, Lee decided she needed to go back to basics and begin with Feel Fear Speak Anyway (5 x 60 minutes). She discovered that her everyday interactions and moments became about quality not quantity, the perfect place to be in to undertake the next coaching program of Presenting… You! (10 x 60 minutes). Lee began by identifying what made her different and unique, developed compelling self introductions, a Speaker Biography that did not make cringe, two short presentations and the outline for a series of 3 workshops. She also learned to face her fear about difficult audiences and how to inspire more people to take up her recommendations. The following year, Lee followed up twice with the Tweak Before You Speak program (2 x 90 minutes) to have a sounding board with Geraldine for her new presentations and to trouble shoot some challenges which made her head briefly spin.
Case Study 4: Cynthia, Coach, Author, Trainer
Cynthia had many years of experience and feared mediocrity had crept into her style. She needed a boost and deep reconnection to her purpose, her message and her presence. Cynthia pops back to work with Geraldine on a regular basis using Tweak Before You Speak (2 x 90 minutes) to stay on track, stay fresh and not get caught being a legend in her own mind.
Yes, I can help you craft and deliver a short pitch but I won’t write it for you. Authenticity is the key to building trust and relationships and that must come from you. I talk to you about purpose, context and audience and then provide you with exercises to draw out information. Together, we craft a message that “hits the spot” without hard sell. This topic falls under our Everything Presentations & Workshops coaching. You can take as many or as few sessions as you need.
Goddess of Public Speaking has been operating as a specialised coaching and training business since 2002. I’m different to most public speaking coaches in that I am also a professionally trained life coach and trainer, not just a public speaker and I’m a Meditation Teacher (very handy for very nervous speakers.) I completed training as a professional coach and I’m a current member of Professional Speakers Australia. You can find out more in my About Page.
Yes! I show clients how to read a speech AND remain connected with their audience. It can be a compelling and intimate experience rather than a one-way download or a memorised robotic performance. Although I generally advocate NOT reading your speech, there are times when it’s necessary – even if it’s just ensuring you share a quote or facts and figures accurately. There’s no reason why you can’t dip in and out of your notes is there? Is there a competition saying “This is a memorisation test and you will fail if you don’t remember every one of your 8,362 words.” I don’t think so! You can learn about how to connect and deliver in my training and coaching programs.
Yes! I used to say that 90% of my clients are women and 10% are their husbands but that’s no longer true! It’s more of an 80:20 split for coaching and a 60:40 split for workshops. All clients regardless of gender need to be prepared to do some inner work to get the outer work benefits – that’s what makes a great communicator – it comes from within.
Confidence is a transferable skill and a rather old-fashioned one in that it does take some time to build. Imagine if you could buy it online, “Buy Now! 2 For One Confidence Packs!” Confidence in public speaking requires building self belief in that area and for that you need a series of new positive learning experiences (and no, that doesn’t mean you have to give a major speech every week.) Depending upon where you are at in your life and where you are going, you will find the 1:1 coaching programs will show you how to reconnect deeply with your inner core of wisdom and confidence. It’s there… you just have to know how to find it again.
Good question. The main reason clients choose to work with me is to overcome / handle / transform stage fright and public speaking nerves. Usually these clients have tried many other programs and may have been struggling with it or skillfully covering it up for years. Most clients are far more capable than they give themselves credit for and their fear gets the better of them, colouring their experience and beliefs about themselves. I find that inviting clients to have a new experience of “speaking” opens their eyes to new possibilities. Rather than focus on “getting rid” of fear (which can make it stronger) my clients focus on their strengths and expand from that place. Confidence grows when they realise that change is possible and the veil is much much thinner than the brick wall they previously constructed. I kind of give them “a leg up” as it were! Knowing how to simply be authentically themselves dispels smoke and mirrors. If you’d like to know more about our program, read Find My Authentic Voice coaching.
Yes and your question is a very common one. Occasionally I do have clients whoose fears operate in reverse – they like being in groups but loathe the intimacy of one-on-one. I love helping clients design workshops and develop the art of presentation, working skillfully with people and managing all the variables. Working with groups and audiences is kind of like dancing while you juggle – there are many balls in the air and they need to be constantly moving in relation to one another. Learning to become present and sensitive interpersonal communication skills are a major part of being at ease and fabulously facilitating workshops and audiences. I offer some basic presentation skill training in my second e-book, some corporate training courses and the Everything Presentations & Workshops coaching program.
Yes I can help you learn to speak professionally and give you some insight into the industry. It’s best to start with an assessment of your current skill level and identify gaps and strengths and take some priavate coaching sessions. You next need to be able to clearly articulate your central purpose, message and needs of your audience. For more insight, you may find it useful to read how I present myself as a Professional Speaker on this website.
Big surpise perhaps – but no, it’s not necessary to be giving professional speeches whilst working with me. Although if you do have presentations coming up or you can create the opportunity, all the better because then we have something real and imminent on which to focus – nothing like reality coming up fast to galvanise you into action! Some clients have no intention of ever giving a “professional speech”. They simply wish to get over their fear and communicate with ease and authenticity in all situations. So if you don’t have imminent speeches coming up – I have a myriad of fun and surprising exerises (which don’t look anything like “public speaking”) which will help you learn just as effectively.
I think a few people are born knowing their life is about “saving an endangered species” or becoming a brain surgeon. The rest of us collect experiences painful and affirming, which shape who we are and what we stand for. Is it the movement of the ocean against the rock wall, the shape of the rocks worn and left behind or both of these actions which define who we are? In the same way this question cannot be simply answered is also why discovering your purpose and message can take time to unfold. After working with many clients, I have found that the “shortcut” as it were, is to learn how to access your core and get out of your own way. By creating space and fresh perspectives, meaning and purpose reveal themselves. My private 1:1 coaching programs are designed to help you do this.