As a Speech Coach, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to thousands of executives about what they perceive the challenges to be when speaking to their audiences, and what they expect from Executive Speech Coaching.
Again and again, what comes up is how important it is to feel confident and comfortable while speaking, trusting that the right content will come. And over the years, my focus has been on eliminating the “noise” so they can do just that.
But the “noise” deserves a closer listen. The feedback “the audience” gives Executives that leads them to coaching is often not about how confident or comfortable they are. In reality, the observers couldn’t possibly know that, and many Executives are masters at covering up their insecurities. Our feedback is often about how they affect us, “the audience”. If the messaging feels “off” or if they don’t connect with us, we mention it. If they don’t inspire us or paint a clear picture of the vision, we notice. If they are too simplistic or overly detailed, we find them hard to follow or confusing. If they move their arms around too much, we tell them. And that’s the feedback they get… relevant, honest, sincere… our efforts to tell them what they didn’t do right. And often they don’t even get that; so when they do, Coaches commonly advise them to listen.
The Gap Between Feedback and Reality in Executive Speech Coaching
It’s the gap between the feedback and the reality that bears noticing. What leads a person to disconnect from the audience, lose the messaging, or not paint the big picture clearly may not be lack of skill to do those specific acts. Over and over, I find that clients can message impeccably when in a coaching session, painting the picture clearly and giving an award-winning performance, but they’ll comment, “I can do this now, but I may not be able to do it in front of my audience.”
The reason? The feeling of confidence and comfort changes. So the question becomes: how can we instill confidence and comfort into the overall environment so that our key Executives can naturally connect and convey their visions with the necessary details and deep knowledge of the content that their audiences expect and desire? Do we really need to help them “practice” doing the things the “noise” is telling them they need to work on, or do we need to “dig deeper” and work on what’s causing Executives to lose confidence and experience discomfort when speaking?
I find in my practice that working with the underlying patterns involving self-talk, breath, movement, posture, articulation, voice projection, voice quality, overall body energy, and clear speech, along with a myriad of other related concepts, empowers clients to feel confident and comfortable in any situation. At that point, Executives can speak from the heart without fear of losing the audience, and the content will naturally flow with little effort. That’s the goal of Executive Speech Coaching. It’s less about the acts themselves and more about the underlying patterns that are impacting those acts. Once you free the entrenched habits/patterns of the past, speaking with comfort and confidence become a breeze!
If you would like to work on your Executive Speech, you may need to hire a Speech & Accent Coach! You never know when you will get your “big break” to speak up in the public arena, and it might be a good idea to get prepared for that day early on!