In the modern world, public speaking skills are a valuable commodity and public speaking coaching is one of the greatest investments you can make in your personal, as well as professional, development. Fairly or unfairly, there’s a natural tendency to judge people’s general competence by their proficiency at public speaking – which is reason enough in itself for us all to polish up our presentation and speech-making skills!
If you’re nervous of addressing an audience, overcoming that fear will empower you. Even if you’re not especially nervous but you don’t know how to approach public speaking, you may be surprised what you can achieve once you’ve learnt the techniques.
Choosing a Public Speaking Course
As discussed elsewhere on this website, there are a lot of public speaking courses out there for you to choose from. I don’t run open courses but I do provide public speaking coaching to corporate and private clients, individuals and groups, up and down the UK.
Manchester-Based Public Speaking Coach
My name is Georgina Kirk and I have been teaching public speaking skills to clients of all ages and aptitudes, from all sorts of walks of life, for about twenty-five years.
I’ve worked with a range of national and multinational organisations, including Brother, Shell, Lidl, Kellogg’s, Mercedes Benz, ITV, the Co-op Bank, Premier Inn and Fujitsu, as well as many smaller companies, hospitals, universities, colleges and schools, churches and charities.
I’ve also worked with countless individuals preparing to speak at weddings, conferences, political meetings, parties, receptions, networking events and a myriad other gatherings.
Because I live in south Manchester (UK), most of my clients are in Greater Manchester, Stockport, Salford, Tameside, Warrington, Chester, Liverpool, Sheffield and other parts of Lancashire, Cheshire, Merseyside and Yorkshire, though I work a lot in London too and in other places, such as Nottingham, Oxford, Aberdeen and Belfast.
(For more about me, my background and qualifications, please see the About page.)
Public speaking coaching is not just a job for me, it’s more of a crusade. I’m passionate about empowering my clients to find their voices and become strong, confident public speakers.
Public Speaking Coaching for Groups
Group training is an efficient way to give an introduction to public speaking to several/many people at the same time; one-to-one coaching gives far more benefit to the individual participant.
If you have a number of people in your organisation who would benefit from public speaking coaching, please contact me and let’s talk about the best way to do it. Depending on the specific objectives and who the participants are, it may be that a group workshop would give everyone what they need to achieve their goals. But it may actually be much better value for your company if each participant has his/her own session. Many corporate clients like to have a mixture, with an introductory workshop for the whole group together, after which I work with the individuals in one-to-one sessions. As I say, let’s see what would meet your organisation’s needs best.
Personalised Public Speaking Coaching
For public speaking coaching to be effective, it needs to cover both the practical and the psychological sides. One to one, we can focus on the areas you personally find particularly difficult and find solutions that suit your own style. You will have plenty of opportunity to practise and we can address any issues of nerves on a personal and confidential basis.
Within groups, too, I always personalise public speaking coaching as much as possible. Everyone is different and I will encourage you to develop your own style, giving each participant as much practice as time allows. The psychological side we’ll need to address in a more generalised way but if there’s anything you want to discuss with me privately, we can find time for that during a break.
Public Speaking Coaching – How I Work
Most of the public speaking coaching I do is one to one, so that’s what I’ll describe here. For group courses, the content will be broadly the same, adapted for the group setting.
Course Content: What Public Speaking Coaching Involves
Before your session, I’ll ask you to prepare a short piece of material, so you’ve got something to say as we work on your delivery. You’ll get much more benefit from the training if you know what you want to say, rather than having to think of something on the spot.
After a brief discussion, we’ll get straight down to the practical work. The main areas we’ll cover are:
- Voice – speed, pitch, tone, clarity, variety, pauses, emphasis
- Posture – how to stand during the presentation, how to move around, use of gestures
- Eye contact – how to use eye contact to connect with the audience
- Preparing your talk – how to compose and structure your speech or presentation for ease of delivery and maximum impact
- Use of notes – how to prepare the right notes to support you and how to refer to them during your talk
- Troubleshooting – what to do if something goes wrong.
As required, we can also look at:
- Visual aids – how to make best use of slides, handouts and other props and aids
- Handling questions during or after your speech or presentation
… and any other issues you may wish to discuss.
Interspersed with the practical work, we’ll talk about:
- Psychological preparation – how to reduce nerves and set the scene for success. Getting oneself into the right frame of mind before making a speech or presentation is useful for everyone and I can give you a few suggestions for how to achieve this. Nervous clients almost always feel much more confident once they’ve learnt the techniques of successful public speaking, so it isn’t always necessary to spend much time focusing on how to cope with nerves. However, if you would benefit, we can also look more deeply at psychological strategies for overcoming fear of public speaking.
As you present your prepared piece again and again, we’ll work on the different elements of effective public speaking. I’ll demonstrate as necessary and give you constructive feedback and suggestions, and (the plan is) your performance will improve each time.
For those new to public speaking, there is quite a lot to think about and at first it can be difficult to get everything right at the same time. If you tend to speak too fast, fidget and always look down, for example, we’ll begin by working on slowing it down. When you are consistently delivering the talk at a good public speaking speed, we’ll start working on getting you to stand still and to move in deliberate ways, rather than fidgeting. Once you have mastered both of those, we’ll introduce looking at the audience as well. We’ll go on until all the techniques become, as much as possible in the time available, second nature.
Public Speaking Coaching – Administration and Practicalities
These questions – and others – are answered fully on the FAQ page but here are the essentials of arranging one-to-one public speaking coaching.
How Long Does a Session Last?
Usually, a session lasts an hour and a half. In my experience, this is long enough for the client to learn a great deal but not so long as to tire him/her out. If you’re up against a deadline, it may be a good idea to book a double session but if you’re not, you’ll almost certainly get more benefit from two 90-minute sessions with a week or so in between.
Where Does This Public Speaking Coaching Take Place?
I usually meet my clients at their workplaces (or homes, if they feel comfortable with that), if there is a suitable room we can use. We need somewhere you can speak out without being overheard and that is big enough to allow us to visualise the sort of size audience you will be addressing in real life – otherwise, it doesn’t matter what kind of space it is. If you haven’t got anywhere suitable, or you’d prefer to meet elsewhere, we can hire a meeting room somewhere convenient for you to get to.
Fees and Expenses
My fee for one-to-one coaching is £165 per hour-and-a-half session. This includes travel time and expenses for reasonable distances from where I’m based in south Manchester, so that’s roughly within the M60 Manchester ring road. Beyond that, I’ll need to add a bit for petrol/fares and for travel time. Once I know where we’re meeting, I can let you know the exact figure.
My fee does not include any room-hire costs but, depending where we go, this needn’t be a big expense: church halls, for example, can be excellent places to practise public speaking and can be hired from as little as ten or fifteen pounds.
How Many Public Speaking Coaching Sessions You Can Expect to Need
The vast majority of my clients find one or two sessions enough to get them to where they want to be. If you’re open to learning, there is an enormous amount we can do in an hour and a half to give you the tools you need to be a successful public speaker. You don’t have to feel you’re making a huge commitment: book one session and see what you can achieve in that time – you may be surprised how much progress you make!
How to Book Your (First) Public Speaking Coaching Session
It’s very easy! Just contact me, letting me know where you are, whether you’ve got a room we can use and what sort of days/times would be good for you. It’s useful if you can also tell me a bit about your situation, your particular concerns and objectives. Then we’ll make a plan to suit you.