As a sporting coach there may be the occasions arise where you are required to give a talk, speak publicly or even just communicate collectively with the parents of the players you may be coaching.
As a sporting coach there may be the occasions arise where you are required to give a talk, speak publicly or even just communicate collectively with the parents of the players you may be coaching. For many people this can be a very daunting request, as even the most seasoned coaches who believe their communication skills are good get very nervous about having to speak in public to an audience they have never met. Whenever the situation calls for you as the coach to represent your club at a speaking engagement always prepare yourself to ensure that you understand what you are in for. Whether it be a classroom full of children, a local charity group, or a community fundraiser, treat them all with equal importance, as you are a role model who people will expect a lot from.
Be prepared to ask questions prior to the event like how many people are you expecting? What is the age group of the audience? What topics would you like me to cover? How long do you want me to talk to the audience for? What time am I required on stage or the microphone? Will there be questions and answers at the end of my speech? Do you want the talk to deliver any specific messages to the audience? Is the talk to be light-hearted or serious? These are some of the questions that you should ask of the person who has invited you to speak. By getting the answers to these questions you then can prepare a positive speech, knowing roughly the audience profile and what the expectations may be. Always do your homework prior to having to present yourself in public. I remember the first time that I was required to speak in public to approximately 60 level 1 sports coaches seeking accreditation. I prepared myself by reading my notes for two days prior to the course and then spending the hour before the audience arrived, practising my delivery to a room full of empty chairs. Luckily the course went well and I gained a lot of confidence from the experience.
Have confidence in the fact that you have prepared well. If you get nervous as we all do, try to relax and concentrate on other things rather than on the fact that you have to speak publicly. When talking, if you need, read notes that you have prepared or use key words or titles as prompts to help keep your speech on the right track. Try not to focus directly on individuals in the audience; try looking just above the sea of heads to ensure that you don't get distracted by an individual. If you feel anxious, speak slowly, do the talk on your terms. If you make a mistake, are distracted or lose your train of thought, don't panic. A good way to break the ice when talking to an audience is to start with a light-hearted joke. This will help the audience relax and that will give you confidence to continue knowing you have their attention. Speak clearly and be confident that you have done the preparation, and then it is just a matter of following the notes or prompts until the speech is finished. If you are not sure how much time you have left, nominate a person to sit in a position at the back of the room who can give you a signal accordingly. Enjoy the experience and remember that the more you do this type of thing in your local community, the better at it you will become.