Arthur is an accounting specialist in his organization with over 15 years of experience. Because of recent changes in tax law, the organization will have to adjust how it reports and calculates certain expenses. Arthur has been assigned to give an office-wide training session to about 50 people. He has indicated that he has very little public speaking experience, and isn't that comfortable being the center of attention.

As we assess him, it quickly becomes obvious that Arthur knows his stuff. But his presentation is a little on the boring side. Even Arthur thinks it's boring! His words are clear, but his tone is monotonous. Also, he has arranged the presentation as a series of unconnected pieces of information.

Arthur needs a little help in structuring his material. He also needs some help coming out of his shell, so that when he speaks to the audience, it's more like he's telling his friends a story than presenting on tax law changes. Let's make a plan for five sessions. Click here to see Arthur's path to success in public speaking. 

Veronica is an experienced screenwriter working on a pitch about a zombie thriller she wants to target to agents and executives. She has a great project she's excited about, but no one has bitten yet.

In the assessment, Veronica reveals that she loves talking about her project, so much so that she doesn't finish every sentence. She also has a tendency to leave the audience behind with her references to other shows and dramatic devices.

Veronica needs help paring her ideas down into small sentences that pop with imagery, and both start and end strongly. Because this is a pitch to executives she needs a 30-second “elevator” speech, along with a longer 2-to-3-minute version. Veronica needs to be able to pitch this in a very personal “one on one” style and also be able to do it in a bigger room with a larger audience. We can probably get Veronica up to speed in three sessions. Click here to see her plan of action. 

Samantha has agreed to speak at her cousin's wedding reception as the maid of honor. She is a bit nervous. She has no problem being the life of the party at family gatherings – she's known as a bawdy cut-up. But speaking in front of strangers feels different, more scary. Also, she's not sure that her sense of humor is sophisticated enough for a fancy wedding. And she needs a little help organizing her thoughts.

In the assessment, it becomes immediately clear that Samantha has a lot to say, and a lot of love for her cousin. She does have a natural gift for gab. We notice, however, that when she “speaks” her speech, she immediately gets more wooden and less interesting than when she was just “speaking” to the instructor.

What Samantha needs is confidence. We are going to use our safe space to have Samantha feel what it's like to take that fun-loving joker she's used to being around her family and making it big enough for a group of 200 friends and relatives. Click here to see Samantha's personalized lesson plan. 

Barbara is an experienced manager in her company. She has recently been promoted. One of her new responsibilities includes making a quarterly progress report to her division of 100 employees. Barbara indicated in the answers to her questionnaire that this is the biggest meeting she's ever led and the stakes are high. She also indicated that she is very nervous speaking in front of people.

During the assessment, Barbara performs her speech. We notice that Barbara has a tendency to look at the floor, avoiding eye contact with the audience, and trailing off at the ends of her sentences. She sounds apologetic, even though the report is largely good news. She also has far too many slides in her deck and far too much information on each slide. And, while she is providing a lot of information, it's not clear what the big takeaways are supposed to be.

Barbara needs help with both her delivery and her content. Her over-reliance on overloaded slides is probably a defense mechanism, as if to say, “the more information I can cram onto each slide, the better I will look.” (Quite the opposite is true, actually.) Click here to see Barbara's plan of action.