On July 15, 2018 there was an article by Mr. Coen Tan at the Asia Professional Speakers Singapore web site titled Is public speaking training a waste of time and money? (His answer is no). He wrote it in response to an article at Forbes that he did not fully identify or link to, but was by Kristi Hedges back on April 19, 2012. It was titled Confessions of a former public speaking trainer: don’t waste your money. I blogged about it back on April 23, 2012 in a post titled Does the cost for public speaking training outweigh the benefits?
Mr. Tan’s article has five sections titled:
1] Starting out in public speaking
2] Invest in sharpening your speaking skills
3] Body language is over-rated
4] Develop your authentic style
5] Drop the show!
In the first section he said that: “If you want to get started and overcome your fear of public speaking, join a platform like Toastmasters.” But Mr. Tan did a lot more than join – he stayed until he received the highest award, Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM).
In the second section Mr. Tan said he invested tens of thousands of dollars to learn from top speakers, kept what worked, and discarded what didn’t. (A Singapore dollar is 0.73 of a U.S. dollar, so that’s still a lot of money). He also said he learned NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), of which I am very skeptical, and mentioned Andy Harrington, who I thought gave silly advice on eye contact.
Do the benefits of public speaking training outweigh their costs? My answer is sometimes. There are different types of training, and costs involve both money and time. Before you buy you need to obey the railway warning sign shown above – to stop, look, and listen.
Toastmasters costs relatively little money, but calls for lots of time. Conversely coaching by a professional takes relatively little time, but calls for lots of money. If you need help to give an important speech in less than a month, Toastmasters wouldn’t be a good idea and coaching would be. But what Jane Genova did was to try Toastmasters, as I blogged about in a June 19, 2016 post titled Running away from Toastmasters.
The railway warning sign came from Darren Glanville at Wikimedia Commons.