Be Your Own Coach Session

Record or video yourself rehearsing your presentation and then use these coaching questions to critique your own performance. Or better still, rehearse in front of a friend or colleague and then ask them for feedback based on these questions.

1. Did you establish your presence at the beginning of your presentation?

It lets the audience know that you are ready and willing to be the centre of attention. The audience can then relax knowing they are in good hands.

What to do?
Walk purposefully to the area where you will be delivering your presentation and then take a few moments to establish yourself as the centre of attention – make silent eye-contact with the people in the audience.

The benefits?
You will appear authoritative and credible and in control. And what you say will have more impact.

2. Did your talk start smoothly and confidently?

At the start of your talk, the people in your audience are making judgements about you – forming their first impressions. All the subsequent thoughts they have about you will be based on these first impressions. Unfortunately, the start of your talk is also likely to be when you’re most nervous.

What to do?
Start your talk with something you’re familiar with. Perhaps a story you know well or a personal anecdote. If its clear in your mind you’ll be able to focus on the audience instead of worrying about what you’re going to say.

If you can’t find something you’re familiar with for the beginning of your presentation, rehearse it out loud a few times. You’ll remember your words better and that will give you more confidence when you need it most.

The benefits?
If the beginning of your talk is smooth, your audience will immediately perceive you to be competent. They’ll trust you and they’ll relax. That makes it easier for you to relax and successfully deliver the rest of your message.

3. Were your hands free to gesture during your talk?

Natural gesturing makes us seem more enthusiastic and passionate.

What to do?
If you find that you clasp your hands together, unclasp them and just let them hang at the end of your wrists. You don’t need to give any more thought to your gestures unless you know you have a habitual movement that is distracting (such as touching your nose or bouncing on your heels).

The benefits?
You’ll look more relaxed and it will allow you to naturally gesture as you get more animated during your talk.

4. Did you connect with each person in the audience?

The most effective and impactful presenters connect with people in the audience as if they were talking to each person one-on-one.

What to do?
Focus on each person in your audience and speak with them as if they are the only person in the room – then move on and give the same attention to someone else.

The benefits?
You’ll take in everyone in the room and you’ll be speaking in a warm, genuine manner. Your talk will have the feeling of a conversation – and you’ll be more natural and engaging.

5. Was their time for the audience to process what you were saying?

If you speak fast without any gaps, it can be difficult for the audience to process what you’re saying. As a result they’re unlikely to understand and remember what you’re saying.

What to do?
Speaking too fast isn’t the problem. It’s not having any gaps which is the problem. Speak in short sentences or chunks of words and leave gaps between the chunks of words. Tony Blair speaks like this. The audience will be able to process what you’re saying in the gaps.

Don’t talk slower. That can get boring and besides you won’t be able to by yourself. And audiences like the energy that comes from speaking fast. just leave some gaps.

The benefits?
The audience will understand you and remember your message.

6. Did you pause?

The people in your audience need time to take in and reflect on the information you are giving them.

What to do?
If you’re using notes – pause when you look at them, then look up, reestablish your connection with the audience and start speaking again.

If you’re supporting your presentation with Powerpoint slides – pause after you put up each slide to allow time for your audience to read the information on the slide.

If you’ve just made a key point – pause to allow the audience to fully absorb what you’ve said.

If you lose your place – pause. Silence is OK – the audience can see you thinking or moving to your next task so there’s no need to fill gaps with “ums” or “ahs”.

The benefits?
You’ll appear in control and confident. Your audience will remember more of your message.

7. Did your presentation end with a sense of completion?

A presentation is like taking the people in your audience on a journey – they need to know that they have reached the destination.

What to do?
Signal that you’re about to end your talk. You can do this in different ways:

The benefits?
You will reinforce in the audience’s mind that you are in control and confident and you will leave your most important messages ringing in their minds.

Now find out how to design an interesting and memorable presentation.

Dialogue box…

Do you have any comments on these coaching questions?

May we be in touch to see how we could add more value to your presentations?




Phone number:

For speaking tips and articles by email subscribe to our free newsletter

Is time for you to become a more confident and engaging communicator?

The Effective Speaker is your opportunity to receive expert training, feedback and practice.

Includes individualised coaching and lifetime access to our online presentation design program.

Find out more