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Nikki Richardson and her partners provide customized communications training and strategic public relations counsel to businesses, organizations and agencies worldwide.

Platform Speaking

Personalized Coaching for Powerful Results
What to Expect from Personalized Coaching

Winston Churchill once said, "The three most difficult things for a man to do are climb a wall that's leaning toward him … kiss a woman who's leaning away from him, and deliver a good speech."

He was painfully shy and stuttered as a child. But through preparation, mastery of technique and practice, Winston Churchill became one the greatest orators of our time. Not everyone can reach the level of a Winston Churchill, but everyone can build on current speaking strengths through preparation, technique and practice.

We take great pains to customize every session to build on the skills and meet the specific needs of the participant -- indeed, we have never conducted two training sessions exactly alike, even though we have trained more than 3,500 people. This is how we would conduct your session.


Personalized coaching for platform speaking teaches participants to:

1. Master fundamental delivery skills.

2. Project their unique communications style

3. Control the speaking environment.

Critical Success Factors

Experience has taught us that these are the critical success factors for effective coaching:

1. Participants must be willing to prepare. Preparation includes having a final draft speech with approved key messages.

2. Coaching sessions must take place in a proper setting:

    a. A conference room, broadcast studio or auditorium of sufficient size to reasonably simulate the speaking environment

    b. Video recording and playback equipment (we supply them)

    c. Isolation from interruptions and distractions


Working directly with you by telephone and e-mail, we gather:

Relevant background on the participant, especially on personal style and speaking experience and a definition of the key communications challenge to be addressed by the speaking opportunity.

Working either directly with the venue's speakers' liaison or through your public relations support staff, we gather:

Information about the venue, the stage set, audio visual equipment and audio visual technical support staff, event registrants and other planned speakers.

All of this information will help provide the knowledge needed to control the speaking environment

Needs Assessment

At the beginning of the workshop, we ask the participant to describe his or her platform speaking experience, and to provide a personal assessment of strengths and weaknesses and specific personal goals for the coaching session. In addition, we ask the participant to express any top-of-mind questions or concerns he or she may have about platform speaking.

Even though we have most of this information already, we want the participant to state it out loud and to "own it." We don't rush this process because it opens the participant's mind and prepares him or her to learn.

Speech Preparation

Working with the participant, we evaluate scripting options to choose one that best fits his or her personal style, provides the highest level of comfort, and takes the best advantage of speech organization and persuasion techniques. Then we script the speech for delivery.

Practice Sessions

While the speech is being scripted, we discuss techniques that lend power to platform speaking.

Those principles include: coping with stage fright; connecting with the audience, using visual aids, mastering the Teleprompter, maximizing voice and body language, prevailing in Q&As and defusing adversary confrontations.

We then conduct a number of realistic rehearsals of the speech. We videotape and play back every take. After each run through, we comment on strengths and weaknesses, and restate the principles involved.

Each participant leaves with a personal videotape that chronicles his or her progress during the coaching session. These videotapes are essential for the participant's later self-analysis and practice.

Session Wrap-Up

At the end of the coaching session, we summarize our key advice. In addition, we carefully answer any questions still in the mind of the participant, or expand answers already given.

Venue Support

If requested, we will provide on-site support at the speech venue. This includes coordination with the venue speakers' support team and coaching for final rehearsals.


In cases where we provide on-site support, we send an analysis of the delivery with any recommendations for future presentations. In addition, we offer one-on-one consulting and advice by telephone, free of charge, for twelve months following the speech presentation.

Phone 978.256.1651-- Fax 978.256.0751