Whether you give speeches for a living and want safe, yet unbiased feedback to continue to grow and improve, or you've got an important speech or presentation coming up, we can help you to hone your message and the way you convey it. If your job requires you to persuade people in any
manner or medium, then you are the perfect client for an
executive speech coach. I'm Cameron Powell, and speech and presentation coaching is one of my specialties.
Working via phone, email, and IM, and sometimes in person, I listen and watch. I critique prose text, tone, style, pace, rhythm, visuals, logic, persuasiveness, and much more.
Visual versus Oral Presentation. One of the most common mistakes presenters make is not knowing that their oral narration must be quite different from their visual presentation -- the PowerPoint text, etc. There should be only modest overlap. Otherwise, why bother showing up in person at all? Your job is to compound the power of your message by reaching people twice, aurally and visually. Don't blow the opportunity by reiterating visual information orally.
Show, Don't Tell. The cardinal maxim of good writing, of cinema, of all good art is to show, or dramatize, with concrete and convincing detail, with imagery, with metaphor or analogies that speedily convey a message viscerally. A "story," as venture capitalists like to call it, or "high concept storyline" as they say in Hollywood, is all the better. If you imagine you can give speeches or present PowerPoints that are exempt from the laws of rhetoric and drama, guess again!
Avoiding Cliche. Business jargon, legalese, and other cliche are the deadeners of all speech. Cliche fails to penetrate the brain in a visceral, concrete way. Do you practice the lessons in persuasion of George Orwell?
Role-Playing and Practice Runs. Practice makes perfect. Do you have someone to listen to you who's not too close to the subject matter? Who understands the audience? Is your value proposition clear? Have you anticipated objections?
Fundraising -- Learn how to avoid common mistakes in raising angel or venture capital or raising funds for non-profits. Understand the mind of the investor and how you need to reach it.
Sales Presentations -- Whatever you're pitching, the content of your message, the critical visual display of it, and the way you narrate that visual content are critical, and require a third party to help you evaluate how you're doing.
Rhythm and Timing. Does each part of your presentation segue smoothly into the next? Or do you wait to see what's on the PowerPoint slide before you start talking again?
Use of Humor. Very powerful. Easy to botch. Tread carefully and use good judgment. Two heads are better than one, and five (here is a good place for colleagues and friends to weigh in), even better.
My background? I've given presentations to all imaginable audiences, from a high school valedictory address oh-so-long ago and trial lawyer skills and a similar commencement address at Harvard Law School to over 120 speeches to senior executives and management committees on best business practices and dozens of pitches to venture capitalists and angel investors. I've made sales presentations and pitches, and sat on seminar panels. (I've even acted). And I've coached people on presentations for well over a decade.