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Speech coaches and trainers often perpetuate myths and misconceptions about presentations and public speaking.

I begin with the assumption that giving a speech is both an art and a skill.

Public speaking an art in that it requires a certain amount of creativity.

You have to come up with (i.e. create) a good idea to begin with. You have to put it together in a logical and persuasive structure. You have to use words and phrases and, sometimes, stories in a clear and evocative manner. And you have to deliver your speech with at least a modicum of drama.

Public speaking, like any art, is also a skill.

It has its own somewhat complex, somewhat variable set of requirements, rules, guidelines, and principles to learn, practice, and master. To give a speech — a good one, at least — you have to be able to plan and create one, explain your idea clearly in a limited amount of time, connect with an audience, begin and end a speech, overcome fear and project confidence in front of an audience, answer questions, and think on your feet.

Public speaking isn’t as complex or demanding a skill as, say, performing brain surgery or rocket science. But then again it’s not as simple or easy as riding a bike.

Beginning with that assumption — public speaking is both an art and a skill — I’ve developed my list of…

5 Things Speech Coaches and Trainers Won’t Tell You about Public Speaking

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speech coachingGiving a speech is both a craft and an art.

As with any craft, giving a speech or a presentation follows certain rules, guidelines, and principles. They’re not absolute laws, never to be violated, mind you. Some are more important than others. But you need to learn them, even if you choose to break them from time to time.

And as with any craft, the more you practice in the right manner, the better you’ll get. (Practicing in the right manner is important, because you don’t want to reinforce bad habits.)

As with any art, there’s an element of creativity, inspiration, and — for lack of a better word — artistry that can’t be mastered simply by hard work and will power. Almost everyone — with study, practice, and guidance — can become a better speaker. But that’s not to say that everyone can become a great speaker.

Coaching can help. But not all coaching is created equal. And bad coaching — like bad psychotherapy or bad teaching or doctoring — can make things worse.

Here are Three Mistakes Speech Coaches Most Commonly Make

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