Ilise pointed me to this terrific article in last week’s NY Times (free registration may be required to read, but it gets you access to 99% of the wonderfulness that is the NY Times online).
It’s about the importance of public speaking—communications skills, really—even for people who don’t consider themselves public speakers, and why many people are hiring coaches to help them learn to pitch, deal with customers or just get out what it is that they do (remember that elevator speech we talked about?) without stumbling all over themselves.
Coaching and classes can cost you big bucks, but considering what you stand to gain with good skills (or lose, for lack thereof), it could be a terrific investment in yourself and your business.
Of course, as the article points out, if you want to do it on the cheap, Toastmasters can be a great alternative. And I can attest to that: in just under five months, I’ve made huge strides in my speaking skills from weekly practice at it and great feedback.
"Um, Uh, Like Call in the Speech Coach," by Hillary Chura, NY Times, January 11, 2007