Are you afraid of public speaking because you are worried you might forget what you intended to say, your brain will freeze up and you will come across as incompetent and lacking credibility?
Let me assure you, I am not perfect in public speaking and I guarantee you most people are not. The key to great speaking isn’t avoiding the brain freezes, as we will all experience them at some point, it’s learning methods to recover from them.
Here are my five methods to get you back on track when you feel lost and things are spinning out of control.
1. Keep moving forward. If you stumble on your text or what you intended to say, just correct yourself. If you make a mistake, just fix it and move on. If you literally trip on stage, make a comment and move on. Don’t let it phase you. Don’t think, oh my gosh, I messed up! Just move on.
2. Be transparent and show the real you. Don’t hide yourself from your audience or you will constantly feel like you are putting on an act and this will be even more stressful. Allow the real you to shine through and the audience will be more likely to connect with you, trust you and like you.
3. Be in the moment. Notice your audience and connect with them. If you are constantly worrying about what you are going to say and what will come next, you will be more likely to make a mistake than if you stay present in the moment, noticing your audience reactions and responding to them. If you make an error, you will be more likely to recover when you are present in the moment.
4. Think of your presentation or speech as a communication. Don’t try to be perfect, worrying about what people will think of you and how good you are going to be. Instead, focus on getting your message across. These opportunities come to you because you have the knowledge and exertise that others can gain from. Stay true to yourself and true to your own skills and beliefs. If you make a mistake this will just become a part of your act.
5. Learn techniques to stay calm in the first place. Once you lose your calm it can be very tough to regain your composure, so why lose it in the first place? There are techniques you can learn to keep your self calm, stay grounded, control your speech, your thoughts and your anxiety. It all starts with breathing. Then keep a steady pace, don’t be afraid of silence and use your body language to stay grounded. This way you will look and sound like a skilled professional speaker.
You’ve thought about online coaching, but you are wondering if it is really effective. In this modern age where almost everything can be found online and you almost never even need to leave your home for anything, some questions need to be raised. Will the online voice lessons be as effective as in studio sessions or will you be missing out on some important details by training online? What requirements do you need to make the online sessions more effective? What should you watch out for before deciding if this is a good fit for you?
What is online voice coaching?
Online voice coaching is just like the familiar face to face voice coaching except the student and the teacher are not in the same room together. You can chose to have coaching with any coach you choose regardless of location and have the sessions whilst connected to the internet.
Requirements are a strong internet connection, a webcam, microphone and access to Skype, Zoom, Facetime or some other VOIP program.
What are the Advantages of Online Voice coaching?
If you are unsure about voice coaching from a distance here are some of the positive features for online sessions.
BETTER CHOICE OF COACHES
One of the greatest benefits of coaching online is that you are not restricted to your geographical area when searching for a coach. If you want to have sessions with a coach in the UAE, and you are in the US or Australia, (something I do often with my overseas clients), you now can!
Being able to expand your choice of coaches gives you a greater chance of finding someone who you connect with, understands your challenges and goals and shares your passions.
SAVES TIME ENERGY AND MONEY
We live in a fast-paced society. Time is precious. By taking the sessions online you save driving time, potential time being stuck in traffic, the cost of your time getting to and from the sessions, your petrol expenses and the additional stress involved in all of this in our already stress-filled lives.
NO MORE EXCUSES
If you travel a lot for your job or you are away on vacation, you can continue your coaching whilst on your travels from anywhere in the world.
RECORDING THE SESSIONS
Most VOIP programs allow the possibility to record the sessions. This has the advantage that you can monitor and chart your progress, review the sessions as many times as you wish thereafter to listen to the comments and advice from your coach. This is a highly beneficial feature. Most coaches allow their clients and students to record their sessions, when meeting face to face, but not many do or go the extra mile of using the recording thereafter. With this feature is it extremely easy.
What are the disadvantages of online voice coaching?
While online voice coaching does offer many positives, there are some negatives.
YOUR COMFORT ZONE
Voice coaching means using your voice to make sounds which may be outside your comfort zone initially. If you are just starting out in training your voice, regardless of whether you are coaching for speaking or singing improvement, you may feel self-conscious that people nearby will hear you. Many people live in apartments or share accommodation. Some executives may be planning their coaching during their office time. Feelings of self-awareness can hinder your performance and ability to improve. In this case you may be more productive meeting with your voice coach in their private setting.
THE FULL PICTURE
Although working with someone from afar is remarkable, it is never as effective as working with a person face to face. The coach cannot see or hear the details as clearly as in person. Also, when it comes to performance coaching, coaching for movement and working to an audience, this becomes much more difficult over camera.
If you are coaching in your voice coach’s studio you can be confident that there will be no distractions. In your office or home environment however, it can be difficult to monitor external factors. Colleagues, phones, family members, pets, TV.
Your online sessions are very dependent on your equipment working well, your internet speed working with you and there can be times when this does not all go to plan which can be frustrating, especially when you are paying for the lessons. If you live in a region where Skype, Zoom, Facetime etc. are blocked you will have additional technology challenges. You may need to download the local accepted software which will work for both parties. E.g. Botim for the Middle East customers. However most overseas coaches will not be prepared to download an additional software program just to work with you. You could also consider using a VPN iif you are facing connection problems and it is permitted.
What to consider BEFORE choosing online Voice Coaching
Before you decide to book in for online sessions, there are a few basic things you need to take into consideration when planning the sessions.
Internet: Make sure you have a fast internet connection. I recommend minimum 30mbps, but nowdays you can get speeds on your home and business networks much faster. If you are working on 3G or 4G, the connection should work if you have a strong signal but remember this will also consume your data plan if you have a limited plan.
Microphone: A good microphone is essential for your voice coach to hear all aspects of the session. If you don’t have a good built in mic, you should invest in an external microphone for your computer or device.
Camera: Most modern laptops have built-in cameras. Tablets and smart phones are also excellent cameras for use in online sessions. The problem however with a smart phone is you may find the picture is too small when the coach is giving you guidance.
Headphones: Headphones can be helpful to hear the coach clearly and minimize the coaches voice coming back through your microphone. It may be worth investing in a good quality headset with microphone incorporated.
Find a space in your home or in a board room, if in the office, when you can take the session undisturbed. Turn off your mobile phone, or make sure it is on silent, so you are also not distracted by calls or text messages which may come in during your session.
What is the cost of voice coaching online?
With so much information available on the web, do you really need to pay for online sessions? Can’t I just watch a few YouTube videos? Sure the internet is overloaded with tips and tricks on how to improve the sound of your voice, but how do you know what is good and then how do you know if you are implementing what you have found correctly?
Good vocal technique is much more than a few tips or exercises you can get online. Ideally you should have a program tailored specifically for you, your needs and your goals.
Your most valuable asset is your voice. Be careful who you chose and what advice you follow. Don’t waste your time on wrong information which could negatively impact you or your voice. Remember, you get what you pay for.
How do I find a good vocal coach online?
Do your research. The same rules apply when looking for an online coach as when looking for a coach to work with face to face. The big difference is you will have far more choices as you are not restricted by location.
Read reviews, ask questions, compare services and offerings. Decide what it is that you personally need in a coach and short list a coach or program which fits you best.
In this new digital age, there is no reason why you shouldn’t give online coaching a try. Think about the reasons why online coaching could be a good fit for you. Whether it be distance, travel, convenience, selection. If you don’t feel comfortable with online coaching, you can always go back to conventional face to face sessions.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lisa Hugo is passionate about helping people unlock the full potential of their voices. She works with singers and speakers in her Dubai studio, in organisations and online around the world. Read more
Hi, I'm Lisa Hugo. I am passionate about helping singers and speakers understand, discover and develop their instrument within. Their Voice.