Finding The Right Speaking Skills Workshop

In Attracting New Clients, Business Networking Groups, Credibility, Delivery, Evaluation, Increased sales, Public Speaking on December 29, 2010 at 4:26 PM

Finding a speaking skills workshop is easy. Finding one that helps you become a better speaker is a bit harder.

Have you attended a workshop where you sit in a room full of people, spent most of the time listening, received a binder of information, and are then encouraged to buy more books? If you are like most people, you walked out with your head swimming. The next day you place the binder on your desk with the intention of reading it. Now that binder is on your shelf, unopened, and you are doing things in pretty much the same way today as you did before the workshop.

It does not have to be that way.

A good workshop or speaking coach treats you as an individual. Your thinking is stimulated; you have time to discuss new ideas, and are allowed to practice the new techniques. Instead of overloading you with information, you are feed digestible chunks. You leave feeling empowered to use your new skills. The end result is a change in your behavior that leads to more effective performance. If you are willing to invest time and money to improve your skills, choose your workshop carefully.

A good workshop or Performance Speaking Coach:

  • Places emphasis on YOUR skills, talents, and personality rather than those of the instructor.
  • Involves one-on-one coaching or small group interaction
  • Utilizes professional coaching or a mix of professional and peer coaching (not peer coaching alone)
  • Takes a flexible approach to focus on your situation, needs, and interests
  • Involves multiple short sessions that allow you to think about what you have learned, apply it, then come back and discuss the results
  • Provides honest feedback in a non-judgmental manner
  • Feels comfortable
  • Offers meaningful interaction with the instructor and other participants
  • Pushes you in a safe environment

Be wary of trainings that incorporate:

  • Peer-to-peer coaching as the sole method of learning
  • Trainers with a “large personality” who want you to emulate their style
  • Large hotel conference rooms packed full of participants
  • Agendas where you spend more than 50% of the time listening
  • Training companies that encourage trainers to sell product
  • “Pollyanna” trainers that tell you positive things that feel good without providing critical review of your work.

If you are going to invest time and money into your professional development, make sure to invest wisely so you gain skills and improve as a speaker.

© 2010  iSpeakEASY. All rights reserved – We help people profit from their words. 

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  1. Hi,
    Thanks for sharing this. I do have a quick question though. How important do you consider videotaping? Or do all good workshops utilize video?

    • Hi Wendy:

      Short answer – video taping is a very valuble tool when used correctly. Use of video in a workshop does not neccessarily mean it is “good” just as lack of video taping does not mean the workshop is “poor”.

      Longer answer – Video is an incredibly valuable tool and I encourage any one interested in improving their skills to be video-taped. More importantly though, you must WATCH the tape to get its full value (I know this sounds stupid, but some people will allow themselves to be taped but never watch it. It is hard to see yourself on tape).

      Like all tools, video is not appropriate for all situations or workshops. Lack of video recording does not necessarily mean the workshop is not a “good” one just as use of video does not mean the workshop is “good”. It is the overall content, approach, and instructor that will determine the quality of the workshop. Video taping is just one of many techniques or tools that can be used.

      I use video in extended workshops (2 or more sessions) where the learner is given new skills and the opportunity to practice and deliver them in a supportive environment. If it is a short workshop where the learned does not have adequate time to prepare, the usefulness of video is diminished.

      Most learners prefer to watch the video alone. With some clients, we will watch it together to discuss movements, gestures, and body language.

      Determine what it is you want to gain from a workshop – then find the workshop that fits your desires. Most people do not want to see themselves on tape and will shy away from any workshop that includes this. This is too bad as they are missing out on a valuable opportunity.

      As an aside – There is a workshop I teach where we video tape each student twice. Included in the taping is the section where my co-instructor and I provide oral feedback to the speaker. I am video-taped 16 times in two days. It is a shock to me to see myself on these tapes. I learn quite a bit about my speaking skills, mannerisms, dress and more by watching these tapes. It often feels uncomfortable to me as well.

      Just out of curiosity – why do you ask the question?

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