The "A Team" in charge

This is an excerpt from my book "On-The-Job Speech Training".

This is jut one of the many exciting experiences I have had as a speech coach. I welcome your comments. Ray Franklin

A few years ago, a corporate client called with an interesting challenge to my 8-minute training technique. I had coached all of their executives for more than a dozen years.

This company holds quarterly meetings in their headquarters building, with 350 employees in attendance. Typically these meetings are addressed by company executives.

The challenge they gave me? Turn the presentations at one meeting over to the Administrative Team (A Team): the people who support the executives.

These “admins” schedule their bosses, maintain their very busy calendars, and coordinate the business lives of very successful executives. They often know everything that’s going on within their department. I've always counted on them to grant me access when I needed it.

In my first meeting with them as a group, these busy people were frightened about the task before them. None of them had ever spoken to a group larger than 10, and then only for a few minutes. This was a great opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of the company.

Each admin was given the charge to host a 10-minute portion of the meeting with an opening message supported by PowerPoint, and then introduce the next speaker or moderate a panel of other supporting staff members.

I explained all the tools covered in this book. We then went through the “what do I do with these?” exercise with hands and other basics.

I told them how to develop their message and how to practice. Two days later, I met again with six excited people. They had crafted their message and their graphics, and they had followed my instructions on the need to practice.

Now, for the first time, they rehearsed with their graphics and microphone in the empty auditorium. They practiced their transitions to each other as I reinforced the training.

You know the result, of course. These admins – who came to me with virtually no experience or confidence as public speakers – were amazed at how successful they had been. An appreciative audience gave them a standing ovation, and the accolades kept coming for weeks afterward.

One enthusiastic woman explained she had rehearsed in front of a bathroom mirror (just as I have advised you to do). Then she assembled her husband, 2-year-old and 13-year-old in the living room and rehearsed her presentation to that audience the night before.

In fact, her 13-year-old daughter had a chance to be in the audience during this woman’s presentation at work; she was so proud to see her mom do so well and receive a standing ovation. The two of them had such big grins, I will never forget that moment.

Needless to say, these women of power within the organization were now regarded with additional respect by everyone who attended that meeting.

Empower staff with skills to speak successfully in staff, department or company wide meetings.

Start with "On-The-Job Speech Training" available at 

Find out more about speech coach Ray Franklin.