Speaking coaches are professionals who train others in the art of public speaking. Coaches of this type provide instruction related to speaking and interacting with both small groups and large gatherings. In order to make sure a client is equipped for speaking in public settings, the speaking coach will usually focus on several key areas.
One of the first issues that a speaking coach will address is the diction and clarity of the student’s voice. The ability to effectively articulate ideas to small and large audiences requires that the speaker enunciate properly, and have a working command of the language that is used for the presentation. A coach will often function as a voice coach, helping the individual minimize speech patterns and habits that interfere with the communication process, while also helping the student to become more proficient in choosing the right words to convey the ideas.
A competent speaking coach will also pay close attention to the inflection and volume used during a presentation. The coach will seek to moderate the volume so that it is loud enough for all listeners to hear properly, but not so loud that the speaker is annoying to those who are standing or sitting closer. The coach will also help the student learn how to put the right amount of emotion into each word of the presentation, a skill that can help the driest of presentations have some amount of interest to the listeners.
Along with voice issues, speaking coach will also look closely at the general deportment of the student. The idea is to help the speaker learn how to stand, sit, and move about with an air of confidence. Among the tools used to help enhance the physical aspect of the speaker’s efforts, the coach will often provide guidelines on the use of facial expressions, gestures, and eye contact to increase the interest in the presentation.
In order to assist the client in preparing for the speaking engagement, the speaking coach often has the student identify specific goals for the event. Those goals are used to help tailor the delivery of the subject matter, drawing on both what the speaker wants to accomplish and what attributes he or she brings to the task. It is not unusual for a speaking coach to actually sit through the planned presentation, and offer advice on how to use the voice, gestures, and other tools to call attention to key points that the speaker wishes the audience to remember.
A speaking coach may work one on one with individual clients, or conduct workshops that teach general approaches to the act of public speaking. While a private coach can be somewhat expensive, this strategy is often a great idea if the speaking engagement is one that is especially significant to the future well being of the student. The investment not only equips the speaker for the upcoming task, but also teaches skills that will serve the student well in the years to come.