My opinion as a coach

As I’m a speaking confidence coach, you might be surprised that I share a lot about public speaking clubs on my socials. In this blog I share my experiences and thoughts on what to expect and whether a club or coach is the right fit for you.

I first encountered a public speaking club back in 2008. My main goal then wasn’t to become a speaker but to have something other than work and kids in my life. I liked the idea of seeing other people speak, and maybe getting a little more confident myself. At my first meeting I found the most positive and accepting group of people I’d ever been in a room with up to that point, so I stayed. The way I felt about public speaking could be summed by admitting that I was petrified to say my name, out loud, in a room of 15 people. Becoming a speaker and speaking coach wasn’t on the cards but it happened over time. These clubs work, but they are not the same as having coaching and here’s why.

Pros and cons of a speakers club

There are several organisations but the best known, and mine, is Toastmasters International. The basic principle is that you learn by doing and getting feedback. It should also be fun. There is an assumption of lifelong learning, a belief that there is always potential to improve.

The key advantages to joining a speaking club are

Yet there are drawbacks to speaking clubs

Why engage a speaking coach

As with any coaching, speaking coaches come with a variety of approaches and target clients. Some focus on public speaking in general, others will have a specific focus where they have experience, such as political speaking or women in corporate roles. When you work with a coach your relationship matters, if you personalities clash it’s rarely a happy outcome. A coach will focus on your goals and needs but that does come at a cost as unlike clubs, which are generally non-profit, they are running a business.

Why a speaking coach may be better for you

Why coaching might not be right for you

Clubs, coaching or both?

In conclusion there are great advantages to developing your speaking either via clubs or coaching, but a generic club won’t always be able to help with specialist situations.  There’s also an advantage to using both, which is why I know many club members who also choose to have a coach. Getting the personal and intense development through coaching then testing that out in safe environment with an actual audience can be priceless.  

What I advise my clients

My decision to work with women in business to develop speaking confidence came from my realisation that too many women had something special to offer but were not being heard. Many were held back by a lack of confidence in their worth which broke my heart. I’d not only become a more confident and skilled speaker, but through the people I’d met I’d discovered ways to deal with anxiety, develop underlying confidence and self belief. 

For me it’s important not just to help people say what they intend to with more confidence but also to work with them to uncover what they don’t yet have the confidence to say. As women we are often taught not to brag, not to be too much, to be less ambitious  and to think that our ventures are less important than our partners. None of this sets us up for speaking powerfully about our business in a way that connects. 

So my approach is to look at all these aspects; confidence, self esteem, vocal variety, and the structure of a talk all matter, and more. We’ll identify and work on what you need and I’ll point you to a specific expert where appropriate.  The one thing I can’t be is more than one person.  That’s where speaking clubs come in, real people you can speak to, react with and practise with.  Both really does give you the best of both worlds.

If you decide that coaching is for you, I offer both one-off sessions and long term coaching, you can read more here. If you’d like to discuss more about either of these options then contact me directly, you can find me on Facebook or message me via my website.