What to look for in a public speaking coach (according to a speech coach)

December 4, 2022

2 min read

What to look for in a public speaking coach

So, you’ve decided that it’s time to get a speech coach. Because you have an upcoming keynote. Or you want to reduce your filler words during everyday conversations. Or your manager has told you that your public speaking is hurting your promotion chances. Whatever the reason, this article is for you.

I’m Varun, a speech coach and the founder of Yoodli – we’ve helped thousands of university students, corporate professionals, and non native English speakers improve their public speaking without the pressure of an audience.

What to look for in a public speaking coach
Carissa Karner is one of the world’s best coaches. She is a Yoodli certified coach advisor and uses artificial intelligence to provide clients quantitative data on their speaking styles.

5 things to know when looking for a speech coach

  1. Budget: Most companies will reimburse the cost of a speech coach (Google pays two-thirds the cost). Once you know your budget, start looking. A typical coach charges anywhere from $150–350 per hour, usually in a bundle of 3 of 5 sessions. If your company or university will cover part of cost, don’t miss out!
  2. Free trial: Finding a speech coach is like choosing your therapist. They will ask you deep questions about your experience with speaking in public. Make sure you do a free thirty minute consultation so you’re completely certain that this is the person you’d like to work with! It’s industry standard to start with a free trial!
  3. Certifications: Ensure your coach comes referred. The International Coaching Federation, Toastmasters, National Speakers Association are good starting points. You can also look for Yoodli coach certification badge on their website (image below).
  4. Feedback style: Some coaches can be very blunt with their critique. Others are way too gentle. Make sure you communicate your preferred feedback style and understand their philosophy ahead of time. At the start of the session, ask them how they typically give feedback and ensure it’s aligned with the way you want to learn.
  5. AI speech coaching augmentation: If you don’t have the time for a speech coach or want to start at your own pace, you might consider an AI speech coach as an entry point before working with a human expert. You can practice on Yoodli and get free AI analytics on your speaking as a quick diagnostic. You can also track your progress on your use of filler words, pacing, eye contact, and more. When you’re ready, send your coach a speech for asynchronous feedback before finally signing up for the live sessions!

Sources

Stanford Executive Coaching Survey: Stanford Graduate School of Business

The Next Web: Education Reimbursement (includes public speaking)