2018 Public Speaking Report – Chapter 5
EDUCATION AND RESEARCH
As a rule of thumb, public speakers are passionate about knowledge. Spreading their own knowledge, but also learning new things themselves. So asking our respondents how they handle lifelong learning as public speakers was the logical next set of questions. Where do they learn? Who do they learn from? What do they want to learn?
We’ll start with what seemed to be logical first question: who is teaching the public speakers of this world? There are no public speaking schools where you learn all about presentation skills as well as all kinds of interesting topics to speak about. What does exist is the internet. So first up, do public speakers attend online courses regarding public speaking? And have they ever created any?
Figure 21.Have you ever taken or created an online course?
Figure 21 shows that public speaking online courses are not extremely popular, with just 31% of speakers having ever taken one. On the other hand, 41% of speakers have created their own online course. However, it must be said that we did not specify a “public speaking course” when we asked them if they had ever created one. So all kinds of online courses are included in this question.
So while we did not ask the respondents to specify which courses the respondents are creating, we can learn that there is a demand for online courses. Interestingly enough, these courses are often the result of teachers and public speakers feeling like they cannot reach their desired audience through more traditional means.
Yet while online courses are rather popular, it is the public speaking courses that do not score great. Surprising, considering how many new and starting public speakers register on Speakersbase every day. But while public speakers might still be hesitant to learn through online coaches, this does not mean there is no need for continuous professional development. And the respondents agree! They relentlessly chase knowledge and learning through a whole range of media.
LEARNING THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA
The preferred media through which to learn are social media and word of mouth, each with 21.5%. It appears like most respondents like learning from their peers best. As close to face to face and with as little editing as possible. As even whitepapers and eBooks are often issued by individuals rather than big institutions in the public speaking industry, this seems to be the case. Besides the trend reports, whitepapers, and eBooks, the trend to go to another public speaker for information is obvious. As stated before, word of mouth is one of the main ways to gain new knowledge.
Figure 22. Where do you go for your professional development?
If the case is not that public speakers prefer to learn from other speakers, it could be that the public speaking industry is still too scattered. There are very few large institutions launching research, scientific papers and trend reports. Though an increase in these type of publications can be noted over the past few years, as well as the Speakersbase efforts with this report!
In their pursuit of knowledge, public speakers do like to get their information from multiple sources, with an average of three different sources per respondent. Not accepting what a single source saysis generally accepted to be the most sure way to find correct information. In fact, many consider it it be a sign of critical thinking and a desire to be as informed as possible. Seeing this trend in a group of people that pride themselves in sharing knowledge is heartening.
PUBLIC SPEAKING COACHES
What about public speaking skills? Are speakers willing to work on these specific skills? Stage presence, slide creation, storytelling, incorporating humour,.. what are the attitudes of our respondents towards skills coaches?
Figure 23. Have you ever hired a public speaking coach?
Not too bad, it seems! 49% of all public speakers have ever hired someone to work on their own skill set. Coaches are an excellent way to improve yourself, especially when it comes to something that might be challenging to pinpoint. Like public speaking skills! Coaches offer one-on-one comments and attention in a way that can be confronting. However, when you hire a good coach, you can expect good feedback to work with. Concrete advice that allow you to make quick changes for the better.
Speakersbase finds it admirable and commendable that speakers do not assume they are the best they can be, even if they are (fairly) experienced. Continuous personal development is important in the improving of professional skills, and becoming the best possible public speaker you can be. One of the ways to improve as a public speaker is taking some courses on the Speakersbase Academy, so definitely take a look!