Public speaking organizations are a waste of time because they are not run by trained public speakers, so save your time and your money. If you want to improve in anything, you want to seek out someone who is experienced in that field and who knows how to train you to become better; otherwise, what is the point? When it comes to public speaking, working one-on-one with a public speaking coach in St. Charles, Illinois is a much more practical and efficient way to improve your skills.
Before you think I’m going to use some reverse psychology, let me assure you that I really do believe public speaking organizations are a waste of time. I’ve participated in a number of them because someone thought it’d be a good idea for me to know what the competition offered. Turns out, they just wanted my money. Upon visiting these groups, I was completely underwhelmed by what they offered, if not a little ticked off. First, they ask for some type of huge time commitment and significant membership dues. Neither of those things is a bad thing, except when there is no perceived value, that’s when I call B.S. I found this all troubling because public speaking is very near and dear to me. I have been speaking in front of crowds since I was 15 years old. I was on my High School Speech Team and performed on stage both in dance and theatre. Even back in those days, I coached my peers; it’s what my coach trained us to do. As I moved into college, I would continue not only my theatrical pursuits, but returned to my hometown to periodically coach and judge those who were younger. This is why it strikes a nerve when I see people taking advantage of people and passing around bad advice, because there are some of us who actually do help, and we can do it without all the membership dues and ridiculous commitments.
In the cases of the groups I visited near St. Charles, Illinois, none of them were run by trained professional speakers. One public speaking group; operated like a Multi Level Marketing (MLM) company where someone at the top made bank, while those left to do the recruiting sacrificed a lot of time and tried to scrape together recruits. They would hold their weekly gatherings where everyone got to speak and the person in charge gave no corrective advice, other than “Go bigger”, “Be Louder” and actually encouraged overly staged, fake mannerisms. The other well-known public speaking organization I experienced was a free-for-all set up like a Chamber of Commerce where the tips shared were solely based on whatever willy-nilly thoughts of that particular organizer, again not a professional public speaker but rather whose mantra was something like, “We all learn together.” Umm, no. That is not how you become a better public speaker.
Aside from being a colossal waste of time, I realized why people who participated in these organized groups never got any better. Public speaking organizations allow for practice speaking but they lack experienced public speaking professionals to guide those seeking help. They didn’t correct, on the contrary, I witnessed them reinforce bad habits! In addition, those ‘coaches’ I met, had paid to become a ‘certified coach’ and they weren’t good speakers themselves, they simply had paid for the title. They had no experience other than speaking in front of these practice groups, and paying to say they could call themselves a public speaking coach. Yikes!
Become a Better Public Speaker
If you really want to become a better public speaker there’s no point in listening to people who don’t know anything about public speaking. And, the last thing you want to do is to practice the act of public speaking, just to say you’re doing it because by practicing the wrong things over and over, you’ll only get better at being worse! If you want to become better, there is a right way and a wrong way to practice. Hire a public speaking coach for one-on-one training.
Now, I attended these organizations to prove to myself I wasn’t being judgmental and those suspicions I had going in, well, they were confirmed. What I experienced was a bastardization of the word “coaching” and both groups did more harm than good, when it came to public speaking. I reached my absolute limit of patience when a young man took the stage. His assignment was to edify the next speaker and what he said was so disingenuous that it was only topped by that speaker’s colossal inability to deliver a decent message. All I could do the entire time, was to think, ‘Give me just 2 hours with this person!” Because, it wasn’t that these people were beyond help, but they weren’t in an environment of learning and they didn’t have anyone to actually help them. They were put in the spotlight and told to perform. Performing and public speaking are two very different things. No wonder so many people struggle with public speaking – there’s very little actual help out there.
Would You Like to be a Better Public Speaker?
Learn the things you need to improve, not what everyone else needs to improve on. Work with someone who knows how to adapt to any type of situation. Hire a public speaking coach who won’t strip you of your personality but who will work with you to enhance the essence of who you are. Work with someone who knows how to draw out of you the very best version of you. Learn how to present yourself in a way that commands the attention you deserve while presenting the image you need to convey in your unique environment.
If you live near St. Charles Illinois, I can help. Although, typically sessions are in person, depending on your needs, and pending a preliminary audit of your skill set, virtual sessions may be possible. Reach out to me at Leah@visionforcemarketing.com to start the conversation about public speaking coaching.