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.
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