Coaching speakers for conferences

The actor Michael Caine was once asked by Michael Parkinson who has been some of the toughest competitors he has faced throughout his career? His answer was:Photo Coaching1

"You don’t compete with your peers, you only compete with yourself. You have to ask yourself did I do it better than last time.”

Nothing could be truer in the world of corporate speaking.

Earlier this week Melony and I completed our speaker coaching program for the Microsoft tech Ed speakers. 

Webinar to kick off the coaching

The program kicked off a few weeks ago with a short sharp webinar for the speakers. This helped the speakers get a better understanding of how we can best assist them.

The webinar included content on:

  • Structuring a presentation
  • Handling questions
  • Telling effective stories
  • Maintaining audience engagement
  • Personal delivery skills
  • Building effective slides

As the coaches Mel and I needed to ensure that we allowed each individual to really fulfill their potential. Remove any roadblocks that may be restricting them as speakers.

What we asked the speakers to focus on:

There were a few key take away messages from the speaker coaching program this year. We really put the onus on the speakers to work hard at:

  • Using real stories from their own experiences to highlight their messages
  • Providing evidence or proof that their ideas will have traction
  • Inspiring their audiences to take the next step and find out more
  • Looking out for props to use to illustrate their points
  • Engaging their audience with a powerful hook and some compelling reasons to tune in
  • Thinking about the types of questions they could receive and preparing appropriate answers
  • Letting their natural style flow through their presentation
  • Packaging their content in an engaging and free flowing fashion
  • Having a clear and well thought out call to action or next steps
  • Using humour at appropriate times

Some of my thoughts on coaching

The more I coach experienced speakers the more I realise a lot of your success is about getting out of the way of the speaker.

Asking them a range of questions can help them to identify for themselves what would work best for them.

There is no right way or wrong way to deliver a presentation. You just have to ask yourself are you really giving it your best shot.

An effective coach will help a speaker to consider other options and provide effective and timely feedback to them.

One of the key skills in coaching speakers is in adapting your coaching style according to whom you are coaching.

The GROW coaching model

I like to use the GROW model in coaching sessions. In fact I love it.

This is a way of asking the coachee a series of questions.

G= Goal – What are you hoping to get out of this session?

R= Reality – Where are you placed at the moment? How much work have you already done?

O= Options – What are some options we should consider?

W = What next – What are the next steps between now and your presentation?

One tip for better coaching

To become better at coaching you need to coach, a lot.

If there is one tip I could give to most coaches, it would be this.

"Ask more questions and listen more effectively".

As Michael Caine suggests the real battle for speakers is more with themselves than it is with their peers.


Posted in Presenting; Tagged Presenting, Coaching; Posted by Steve Herzberg

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