Frequently Asked Questions

Why hire a speech coach

Ask yourself candidly, "Would I be eager to hear myself speak?" More importantly, ask yourself, "Would the audience be eager to hear me speak?" Just as you would hire a personal exercise trainer to keep you in tip-top condition, a speech coach gives you personalized feedback to improve and refine your communication skills. Developing a personal communications plan and periodically upgrading your skills is a smart business strategy. Coaching can increase your confidence and ability to interact with your audiences so you get the response you want regardless of the situation. Coaching can help you secure a job or a contract, demonstrate your expertise as you take on additional job responsibilities or move into managerial duties, conduct meetings, or represent your company to the media. If you have a high-stakes presentation in your future or want to increase your leadership skills, personal coaching will help you achieve your purpose with less time and effort.


I get nervous talking in front of people; can you help me?

Yes! One of the best reasons to hire a speech coach is to help you reduce and manage fears and anxieties. There is no need to weaken the impact of excellent information and personal insights because your audience senses you are uncomfortable. I take pride in having successfully worked with many "hard-core" fearful speakers who are now effective presenters. Although there is no one cause for "stage fright," I've found that if my clients have acquired new job responsibilities that demand highly visible communications, fears suddenly surface. There is no one "cure" that fits everyone. I will help you identify exactly what you fear and then develop a strategy with you to manage that fear. We don't want to get rid of all fear because a little nervousness can spur you on to be your very best. I've also found ways to dilute the power of the paralyzing "impostor complex" which kicks in when a speaker feels he or she may not have earned the right to speak on a topic. It's my goal to help my clients enjoy expressing their ideas.


I've taken speech courses beofre; how is your coaching different?

My extensive entertainment background contributes a unique perspective to my coaching. I approach every presentation as a dramatic production, taking into consideration elements of environment, sound, lighting, props, wardrobe, visuals, and script. I become your director and choreograph the entire presentation so that you can concentrate on engaging the minds of the listeners and getting the response you want. I can help you develop analogies, stories, and appropriate humor to clarify your message, as well as coach you with acting techniques that will contribute to a successful and memorable delivery. I'll give you appropriate exercises if you need to learn how to use your voice more expressively.

I can help you master the latest technology tools of communication and advance to a new level of expertise and confidence to meet current audience expectations. For example, I can sharpen your delivery skills for an webcast or podcast that requires a different presentation style, or help you deal with linguistic or cultural issues if you're speaking to an international audience. I'm very comfortable with complex medical, scientific, legal, or engineering information and can help you develop content targeted to your specific audience.


Can "ah's" & "um's"?

Using filler words are habits. I use my extensive experience and exercises from the theatre to help my clients overcome these common bad habits and develop an expressive, compelling voice and delivery.


Do you give private lessons?

Yes, you can progress much faster and I can zero in your particular needs. We can focus in on a specific presentation, analyze the audience, situation, and tailor the content. I'll try to simulate or visit the physical site, videotape you giving a mock presentation, give you feedback, and even try to attend the presentation, if it's local. Employees who want to polish communication skills before moving into a new position may choose private instead of group training with their peers.
Executives in the local area can receive coaching early mornings, late evenings or even weekends. I also can travel to your offices anywhere in the U.S. for intensive coaching. Training is always confidential. Individual sessions also make sense for anyone who wants to privately explore ways to minimize fears and nervousness.


What are your fees?

Fees vary depending upon your or your company's goals and how much time it will take to accomplish those goals. For example, if you're interested in personal development, there will be a different timeline than working on a specific presentation. Many of my clients retain my services over months or even years. Please contact me for a free fifteen minute consultation and we can discuss what would be the best approach for you and a cost-effective fee structure.


I don't think that I can afford a personal speech coach. What do you suggest?

Please call to discuss your situation. I usually have ideas to help you get the coaching you require. I do recommend purchasing Technically Speaking: A Guide for Communicating Complex Information, my book that describes my approach to speaking. It will help you update your presentation skills. Show it to your training supervisor and ask if they could hire me for small group training. I always try to include private sessions within the training time. If you're an entrepreneur,
perhaps you could find one or two other individuals to share the training and cost


Can you give me lessons over the internet?

Yes. Although there are some limitations in regard to body language, Skype consultations can be an efficient way to improve your public speaking skills. Audience analysis, building confidence, development of content and rehearsals can all be done successfully over the internet with meeting software.


Do you work with teams?

Yes, many of my clients are asked to speak on panels as technical experts. I work with a moderator and the speakers on the team to determine overall objectives, make smooth and seamless transitions, summarize, and use their time effectively. If they require additional delivery skills, I videotape and make suggestions.


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Jan D'Arcy & Associates
330 2nd Ave South #12 Kirkland, WA 98033     |    (206)-683-2982
   |   jan@jdarcy.com