The Art Of Confident Public Speaking | An Interview With Amy
Even the most confident people can get intimidated by speaking to a crowd of strangers, or feel the pressure of captivating a room full of listeners. The fear of failure can throw off even the best-prepared speech, and a fumble on the microphone can sink the listener's confidence immediately.
Amy Russo, a thriving public speaking coach, highlights how everyone has a stage in their life, be it presenting a pitch deck at work, appearing for an interview, or just talking with friends, everyone can embrace their stage. Mastering impromptu speaking is an art, and Amy has been helping numerous clients improve their craft! Speaking confidently without preparation allows Amy to turn even the smallest interactions into impactful exchanges.
"I spent half a decade teaching high school. I was an excellent educator yet found it difficult to reach my full potential due to a lack of public speaking confidence outside of the classroom. That’s when I decided to intentionally practice and improve my public speaking skills. The results changed my life.”
We recently caught up with her and recollected various experiences from her journey. Here's how it went!
1) As you mentioned, every person needs to 'face the stage' and overcome their fear of public speaking. When was the time you realized the importance of public speaking?
Throughout my life, I felt I was unworthy to speak up and contribute my thoughts outside of friends and family. Like many, I learned at an early age to stay quiet and keep my ideas to myself. I still remember so viscerally being laughed at in classes. It wasn’t until I found myself in an environment where speaking up was valued, and proactive listening was encouraged, that I understood public speaking meant more than just preparing speeches. Public speaking is confidently communicating your ideas to others, and making an impact on your audience. This is the mindset I encourage everyone to have when it comes to public speaking.
2) What inspired you to become a public speaking coach?
Being able to speak confidently without preparation allowed me to turn even small interactions in my life into meaningful opportunities. My speaking has led me to present at dozens of conferences, take on senior leadership roles, and become President of a non-profit. While I have found success with public speaking, many professionals are still held back by their fear of public speaking. However, public speaking is a skill that can be learned. With intentional practice, useful feedback, and a welcoming environment, I am confident anyone can learn to enjoy public speaking. I am inspired to help professionals change their lives by overcoming their fear of public speaking.
3) What does a typical session look like with you?
Every week, I help my clients explore new areas of public speaking. My clients practice and polish their speeches, and I give them asynchronous feedback throughout the week and live feedback during our one-on-one sessions. We also watch and analyze skilled speakers to observe speaking techniques in action. With each session, we learn strategies, hone techniques, and build confidence, leading my clients to conquer their fear of public speaking.
4) Public speaking involves a well-rounded approach. Tell us about your focus on other factors apart from honing your clients' speaking skills.
Every time you speak, there are three layers: the message layer, the verbal layer, the physical layer. Each layer of your speech should enhance the other layers. Some people have a great message, but their vocal variety and body language aren’t engaging. Others may have great stage presence, but their speech is lackluster and disorganized. I help my clients develop all three layers of their performance so they are ready to deliver a great speech every time.
5) What's your one piece of advice for the people who are unaware of the benefits of hiring a public speaking coach?
Public speaking is a learnable skill, not an innate talent. But in order to improve your public speaking, you need to actually practice speaking. Of course, not everyone has a full auditorium to practice with. A public speaking coach provides you with a safe, judgement-free space to learn and practice speaking and build your confidence. From crafting your message, to mastering delivery, to inspiring your audience, you will get helpful, timely, and direct feedback along the way from me as your public speaking coach.