Updated: Aug 29
We’ve all suffered through them—the dreaded long, boring, technical presentations full of dense slides. As you sit there checking your watch and trying not to doze off, you vow to never subject your own audience to such a fate. But how exactly can you avoid this presentation pitfall and ensure you engage your listeners? The answer lies in working with the right presentation skills coach. With the help of an experienced trainer, you can hone your public speaking abilities and deliver memorable and impactful talks. But not all coaches are created equal. This article will explore what to look for when seeking out the perfect presentation skills coach in Manchester. Get ready to captivate your audiences!
The Importance of Presentation Coaching
Before diving into the coach selection process, let’s step back and look at why coaching is so critical in the first place. Being a skilled presenter is about way more than just developing nice looking slides. It requires mastering verbal delivery, body language, storytelling techniques, audience engagement strategies, and more. Throw in different contexts like large conferences versus small meetings or online versus in-person events and it gets extremely complex. Investing in a top-notch coach saves you time and gives you access to specialized expertise. Think of it like fitness training for your presentation muscles. With an experienced coach guiding you, you’ll progress much more rapidly.
Criteria for Evaluating Coaches
Once you’ve decided to hire a presentation coach, how do you pick the perfect one? There are a few key criteria to evaluate potential coaches on:
First, look for someone who has extensive experience specifically coaching business professionals. They should have a strong track record with clients similar to you rather than just being a generic public speaking trainer. Ask how long they’ve been working in the industry and dig into the types of clients they’ve worked with. You want to see that they have successfully helped other professionals from your field improve.
Make sure the coach takes the time to understand your specific goals, audience, industry, and presentation style needs. The training will be much more valuable if it is tailored to you rather than just a generic one-size-fits-all public speaking course. Look for a coach who asks thoughtful questions upfront about your business, voice, objectives, and talk format (is it a speech, sales presentation, conference address, etc).
Coaching styles can range from cheerleader-type encouragement to blunt, critical direction. Think about which approach would motivate you the most and be sure to communicate this upfront. There are warm, fuzzy coaches who focus on bringing out your strengths. There are also drill sergeant types who give highly-critical feedback to quickly fix issues. And some fall in between these extremes. Make sure you and your coach have compatible personalities.
Practical considerations like where sessions take place and the coach’s availability also matter. Look for flexibility in locations for in-person coaching. Can the coach come to your office for maximum convenience during a busy workday? For remote sessions, investigate the video chat platform they use and make sure you are comfortable with it. Also ask about their schedule and ability to fit your availability.
Key Coaching Skills to Seek Out
Beyond the basics like experience and logistics, you also want a presentation coach who possesses more nuanced key skills that will lead to presentation mastery. Here are some of the top abilities to look for:
One of the chief roles of a coach is noticing issues you don’t see yourself, like distracting verbal fillers (“umm”, “you know”) or nervous tics. Keen observation skills picking up on subtle verbal and nonverbal habits are crucial. Pay attention to how well the coach observes your behaviors and highlights areas needing improvement in their feedback.
Speaking of feedback, the way a coach delivers it also matters hugely. Quality presentation coaches give feedback that is specific, clear, and focused on moving you forward. Beware coaches who only give vague, generic praise without pointing out precise improvements needed. The best guidance zeroes in on a few high-impact areas to work on at a time.
Does the coach emphasize training you based on your particular audience and event goals? The whole point of presentation coaching is to help you engage specific listeners. Make sure yours spends time understanding your target audience demographic, interests, pain points and event objectives to build the training around this.
Beyond audience insights, the coach should also help you skillfully develop your central message. Look for support crafting narratives, identifying key points, structuring your flow, and more. The content and delivery are equally important, so seek out message shaping guidance.
Practice & Rehearsals
Lastly, investigate how much hands-on practice and rehearsal is involved. Coaching goes way beyond classroom lectures—you need repeated rehearsals and drill-focused training. Ask about recording practice sessions, running through Q&A scenarios, repetition exercises, and more. Real-life rehearsal is vital to commit the techniques to memory.
Where to Find Coaches in Manchester
Now that you know what presentation skills to target in a coach, where should you look to find one in Manchester? These are some of the top places to seek out coaches locally:
Well-established training organizations like Dale Carnegie, Lumina Learning, and Pragmatic Thinking & Learning have branches in Manchester. Companies like these have extensive experience and training methodologies. The downside can be less customization to you as an individual.
Nearby academic institutions like Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Salford, and University of Manchester often offer professional coaching services and adult education classes focused on public speaking skills. These can provide an affordable option.
Groups like Toastmasters International or the Professional Speaking Association have chapters across Manchester. Members include professional coaches along with enthusiastic amateurs that also provide mentoring. The level of experience may vary more.
Don’t forget good old Google! Search for terms like “Manchester presentation skills coach” or “Manchester public speaking coach”. This can help you find local independent, freelance coaches. Vet them based on client reviews and the criteria above.
Bring Your Presentations to Life
Finding the time to improve your presentation skills amidst the demands of your career is tough. But investing in a coach to master public speaking can pay off exponentially by increasing your impact and authority. Be choosy in your selection process and find a coach in Manchester who offers hands-on rehearsals, highly-customized training, and actionable feedback. Soon you’ll be captivating audiences and avoiding the dreaded snooze-fest presentation. With the right coaching, your talks will educate, motivate and inspire your listeners. Just imagine presenting with full confidence, skillfully engaging the room, and receiving rave reviews about how you commanded the stage. Your dream of presentation excellence can become reality. The spotlight is waiting—it’s your time to shine!