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How public speaking training can remove the fear and fuel a highflying career

By 14th March 2023October 23rd, 2023Blog
Woman flying over London

Don’t those presenting and collecting their Oscars make speaking in public look easy?

When you look beyond the glitz and glamour of those gracing this year’s ‘beige’ carpet, what you have is a collection of people expected to speak eloquently to an audience of millions.

Yes, many are actors used to speaking on film, but not so many are used to addressing a packed auditorium while being broadcast live to audiences across the globe.

No doubt hidden among the hopeful recipients in the auditorium each year is a heady mix of nerves and anticipation. In that respect, the Oscars aren’t so different to how many business professionals feel when invited to present at events and conferences, big or small, the world over.

“Glossophobia = the fear of public speaking”

And, if the research is to be believed, be you an A-list star in a blockbuster or Ali in Accounts, the fear of public speaking, for some, is greater than death. Indeed, one study suggests that as many as 75% of us suffer with Glossophobia – the official term for the fear of public speaking.

Yet public speaking is integral to innovation, leadership, and business success. It’s also critical to your own personal and professional performance and progression.

So, if you or those in your team avoid public speaking like Keanu Reeves dodges bullets, then maybe it’s time to remove the fear and fuel a highflying career by getting some public speaking training.

Why is public speaking important for leaders?

How does a leader inspire if they can’t speak publicly? Be it communicating a company vision to colleagues, bidding for budget to the board, or pitching innovations to investors, speaking in front of others is part and parcel of good leadership.

“I see speaking in public as a part of being a leader. We have an important role in inspiring others, particularly future generations. It’s a core part of leadership – engaging and inspiring people is just what we should be doing,” says senior technology and services leader, Paula Donoghue, who partnered Axiom to brush up her public speaking skills before delivering a keynote at London’s Excel to an audience of around two thousand.

We’ve been helping executives like Paula to speak with confidence for approaching three decades.

The power of a good public speaker

Great public speakers have changed the world. Yet you needn’t go too far back in history to feel the impact of a strong public speaker. Just think about these five standout speeches given in the last decade…

  • “Nothing left in the tank.” – Jacinda Ardern says farewell as New Zealand’s Prime Minister.
  • “I may be the first woman to hold this office. But I won’t be the last.” – Kamala Harris accepting her role as the first female Vice President.
  • “We will meet again.” – Queen Elizabeth II’s address to the United Kingdom during COVID.
  • “No one is too small to make a difference.” – Greta Thunberg addresses the UN on climate change.
  • “One child, one teacher, one pen, and one book can change the world.” –
    Malala Yousafzai’s speech to the UN Youth Assembly.

Public speaking is powerful. And it’s critical to business success. Not only does it inspire hope, help people learn, and transform performance and profits, but it can also catapult your career.

You’ll never project your expertise, or promote your personal brand to more people, than when you master the communications skills and find the confidence to step into the spotlight and speak.

And while you don’t need to start big, you should start. Because getting into the cadence of speaking publicly will help you feel more comfortable when it comes to that inevitable time when, to be effective, you need to address a larger audience.

The most effective business professionals are those who can speak to move others to act – whether it’s by selling a new service, painting a big picture vision of the future, sharing strategy, or communicating change.

So how does Axiom’s public speaking training remove the fear?

As highly experienced practitioners, we only share practical skills proven to work in the real world. We know they work because we’ve been in the spotlight ourselves and used them to great effect. We’ve also been sharing them with global business leaders for near-on three decades, and their talks too are consistently highly rated – just as Paula Donoghue’s keynote was after she delivered it to that enormous external audience at London’s Excel.

What makes our coaching and training different to others is that we are confident the tips, tools, and techniques we share will be immediately implementable. You’ll feel the benefits of applying them straight away. This helps prepare you and gives you the confidence to publicly and powerfully present.

Public speaking courses and coaching from Axiom

Whether you are a total newbie to public speaking and looking for an introduction to presentation skills, or a seasoned professional who needs a hand polishing their performance, our virtual and face-to-face public speaking courses, communication skills workshops, and leadership coaching programmes will give you the skills you seek to publicly speak with confidence.

1. When you want to grasp the basics: How to present brilliantly online and The power of storytelling eLearning course.

Want to understand the basics of presenting brilliantly online and harnessing the power of storytelling at work? Then our eLearning courses are for you.

In just over half an hour and for £75, these online workshops offer everything you need to start presenting with impact – and the resources are there for you to dip in and out of for a year.

“I’ve taken Axiom’s how to present brilliantly online workshop and highly recommend it. It will help you keep your audience engaged.” – Business Analyst, AstraZeneca

2. When you want your people to deliver clear, credible, and compelling presentations: A live group workshop.

This day-long communication skills workshop for up to 10 participants gives your people the skills to design truly effective presentations and the confidence to deliver them in an engaging way.

A truly interactive learning experience, we can tailor this workshop’s content for participants at entry or advanced levels and we can also incorporate one of the most powerful public speaking techniques… storytelling.

“I’ve been on a lot of presentation skills workshops and thought I knew everything there was to know. So I was surprised and delighted to pick up some new, powerful, and practical techniques.” – Vice President, Medical Sales

3. When you’re delivering a keynote: Leadership coaching

Winston Churchill famously said:

“If you want me to speak for two minutes, it will take me three weeks of preparation.
If you want me to speak for thirty minutes, it will take me a week to prepare.
If you want me to speak for an hour, I am ready now.”

At Axiom we appreciate a leader’s biggest challenge is time. In a world where there’s always more work than time, where does one find the headspace to prepare well to deliver an effective keynote?

That’s where our bespoke leadership coaching offer for busy senior executives is valuable. Over four coaching sessions, each lasting a couple of hours, we help you:

  • Get your key message clear.
  • Develop the compelling content you need to communicate it.
  • Rehearse your keynote so it fits your allocated time slot, and
  • Polish your performance to get the results you want.

“Axiom really helped me distil the key message I wanted my audience to take away, to ensure everything was on message and tweak my slides to simplify them. We also did a proper walk through… It was super useful to have someone impartial, who has the experience of knowing what good looks like and can coach you.” – Paula Donoghue, senior technology and services leader

Having publicly spoken for the first time or perhaps returned to give a talk after an extended break, what all our training has in common is that it gives you the confidence to powerfully present.

And, after all your effort, the most difficult part will be over – you’ll have publicly presented. That’s an amazing achievement. Having done it once, next time you start from an even stronger place. You start with the knowledge that ‘you can do it’.

We can’t promise you’ll ever expel all your nerves, but we can help you get those butterflies flying in formation, and as you get into the habit of public speaking and see your impact grow, we do promise you’ll also feel excitement. And, as your fear begins to disappear, you can harness public speaking to catapult your career.

Want to find out more about our public speaking products or services? We’d love to connect and tell you more about how we’ve helped others just like you. Contact us today!

And you may also be interested to read: In celebration of women who take the leap to publicly speak.