Upping my speaking game

Warning: this content is older than 365 days. It may be out of date and no longer relevant.

_1__Tamsen_Snyder_WebsterPhoto Credit: MarketingProfs

Over the last two days, I had the opportunity to attend a training for public speakers with a coaching firm, Oratium, led in part by my friend Tamsen Webster. One of the things I’ve always struggled with as a public speaker is coming up with a winning architecture for my presentations. I can do the delivery, the performance, just fine, but I’ve always felt that something was missing, something wasn’t quite right, something wasn’t as good as it could be.

What the last two days showed me were the missing pieces, the few tweaks and adjustments I need to make in order to take a presentation from good to great, from ordinary to extraordinary. I don’t view myself as a bad speaker, but the training was beneficial for me to understand what could be better, and what will be better in future talks I give. What I enjoyed most about the Oratium training was that it presented a complex, complete framework of how presentations work, and from there I could assess what I did right already and where I am deficient. Instead of trying to “just be better” or “just do more”, I could clearly see what it was that I wasn’t doing right.

What’s one of the biggest points where I have not done as good a job as a speaker? Giving the conclusions outright to the audience. This is a deficiency that comes largely from my martial arts training, where we learn to draw our own conclusions in real-time (and face bone-jarring consequences if our conclusions are incorrect), which is an efficient way to learn for the martial arts, but not an efficient way to learn or teach from the stage. Because of the limitations of how we learn in real-time (relatively poorly if we’re not trained to do so), it’s simply better for a speaker to hand a conclusion or insight to the audience rather than make them work for it and possibly come to a completely wrong conclusion.

I’ve got a lot of work to do in order to revamp and rework my speaking, but in the coming months and years, I hope that the training pays off for you (should you choose to see me speak) as much as it already has for me. If you’re ever in the speaking role, I would strongly encourage you to take an Oratium master class as well.

Disclosure: I was not compensated by Oratium for this post, nor do I receive any financial benefit, directly or indirectly, from it. I did receive a substantial discount to take the class, but there was no expectation or requirement for me to write about it.

You might also enjoy:

Want to read more like this from Christopher Penn? Get updates here:

subscribe to my newsletter here

AI for Marketers Book
Take my Generative AI for Marketers course!

Analytics for Marketers Discussion Group
Join my Analytics for Marketers Slack Group!


9 responses to “Upping my speaking game”

  1. Bravo, Christopher. Just yesterday, I was just looking at the list of speaking opportunities I’ve had (the latest was almost 18 months ago) and thinking of how I could get back into it. An Oratium session would be a great way to get me into “speaking shape”.

  2. rodburkert Avatar

    And so how do you get enrolled? Seriously, it seems like Oratorium could benefit from a Chris Penn website review.

    1. Hey Rod, I’d just ask Tamsen 🙂

      1. Sent Oratorium an email via their contact page yesterday. Have not yet heard back,

        1. FWIW, Oratorium never contacted me … never responded to my email. On the upside, I like your blog and am not an RSS subscriber 🙂

  3. This is very helpful. I’m always trying to be better too. I know my time studying improv at Second City has helped me greatly.

    Have you tried improv training?

    1. I have not – my deficiencies are first in design!

      1. Check out Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds. He has great resources on his blog too.

  4. Sounds like a great event. Tamsen is an awesome public speaker. Now that I’m back in Boston, I might have to check out this training.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This