I have been an official coach for Dale Carnegie for only two months now. I have been working towards being a coach for almost two and a half years. But I became official in January. This has lead to me being in the middle of my first session as a coach right this moment. This has also lead to me having a problem.
Every time that I have been coaching, the coaches that have been watching me have given me the same feedback: you are too professorial. (The ones who are comfortable to mess with me have been kind enough to tell me that I look so intense that I look like a serial killer.) I am 100% bought into Dale Carnegie and what we can do for businesses and individuals. Unfortunately, that seems to mean that I try REALLY HARD to make sure that I am conveying that passion to my audience. Too hard.
It makes me come off as incredibly intense and like I am preaching or lecturing. This is not a good thing. So for two months, my main feedback from a whole bunch of people who do not know each other has been that I look professorial. This is a problem because it pushes people away and makes them less likely to seek my assistance in what they are doing.
This week I had my first experience in another Dale Carnegie training: High Impact Presentations (HIP). HIP is a two day intensive coaching session on how to present more effectively. That could be presenting better in front of one person or one thousand. What really blew me away was that there were no hard and fast rules for how to present “correctly”. Our coaches in the program instead worked to draw out the truest self in each participant. So I was not coached in diction, pacing, stance or volume. I was coached to be more me. Each participant in the training was coached in the same way.
The best part about the training for me was that we do several presentations throughout the two days, and each one is recorded. For two months I had understood that I was too professorial, but now I finally got to see it. I walked in to the review room from my very first presentation where I was coached and I actually got to see the difference between the professor and Ryan. This helped me immeasurably.
For all the rest of my presentations, I was actually able to get closer and closer to me. Until my final presentation in which I finally killed off the professor. In two days of coaching, I was able to dramatically change my speaking style. Not only did I change my style, but so did every other participant in the HIP.
You can now count me as 110% bought in to Dale Carnegie.