The Urgent Need to Up-Skill in Public Speaking for Professional Growth

The Leadership Speaking School, public speaking training course, Switzerland, Geneva, Zurich, presentation skills training

As a professional speaker coach, I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to work with leaders from so many different fields: Business executives, scientists, entrepreneurs, academics, bankers, politicians…you name it! These professionals are doing all sorts of interesting work in the world and I get a front-row seat to find out about it. It’s such a privilege.

The insights I get from my clients deeply nourish my curiosity and make me aware of trends that are going on out there. For instance, a big trend that is taking the world of public speaking by storm right now is that more and more leaders are feeling the pressure to up-skill their speaking abilities for leadership and career advancement.

Just a few weeks ago, for instance, a business leader reached out stating that he urgently needed my support to help him to up-skill in order win a promotion at his company. He had recently been passed over for advancement because he failed to deliver his high stakes presentation with confidence. He was given three months to improve or he will lose his position. Intense right?

Our work together is transforming him from a speaker who “shrinks” when he speaks, to one who can speak with authenticity and “oomph”. I am empowering him with a bespoke toolbox of speaking skills, which will help him to nail that upcoming promotion.

In another example, two months ago, I was contacted by a leader from the corporate sector who had been promoted into a position where she was expected to deliver regular company updates on camera. Due to the pressure of knowing that her company of thousands of employees would be tuning-in to evaluate and judge her performances regularly, she wanted to up-skill her knowledge of speaking on camera so that she could show up as the best version of herself on screen.

This executive, while a natural and charismatic speaker, knew nothing about how to “have a conversation” with the camera lens or how to move and appear relaxed in a crammed studio with hot lights and high pressure. Nor did she know how to rehearse her camera work beforehand so that she would be “camera ready”, saving both her and the production crew valuable time and effort.

Learning these skills, and many others related to camera work, was essential in order for her to feel good and to show up with confidence and “savoir-faire” in the studio. I can report that after our immersive work together she is now speaking on camera, like a boss!

As a final example, earlier this year, a leader from the conservation community, whom I supported with his first TEDx talk, owned the stage the night of his talk. Without the up-skilling of his public speaking repertoire, he would have delivered a terse academic PowerPoint presentation, with too many slides, missing the mark and not making his life-changing message matter. In our time together, he learned how to create content that had a heartbeat and that connected to his audience. He learned how to use his voice so that people would want to listen to what he had to say and he learned how to move with purpose, seamlessly “dancing” his movements, taking his message where it needed to go on stage (see his beautiful talk HERE).

Overall, I find that leaders like the ones I just mentioned, are struggling to keep up with the high bar that has been set for today’s speaking skills. Many have never received formal training in the speaking arts and they just “wing” it when asked to speak. This leaves them feeling frustrated and powerless.

It is apparent that we are living in a time of great disruption related to public speaking. The old-world norm of static, soul-less speeches behind podiums is being replaced by the new-world norm of TED-like talks, where speakers glow with confidence and are vibrant and fully engaged with their audiences.

This new-world norm challenges leaders to significantly step-up their game in how they speak in public. Added to this, are growing demands for 21st century speaking skills like speaking on camera and interviewing on podcasts. It has never been harder or more wonderful to be a speaker. Harder, because the expectations for excellence are higher; more wonderful, because there has never been a time when there were so many different outlets and opportunities for public speaking. We are living in the golden age People [and I am so thrilled and humbled to be smack dab in the middle of it!]

So where does that leave all the other leaders out there who are struggling to catch up to this tidal wave of high expectations for public speaking? How do they get the essential skills that they need to advance in their leadership and in their careers? Unfortunately, the choices are severely limited. They can look online for D.I.Y solutions , or Google “public speaking training” and find a few 1 to 2 day workshops in their local area or they can join Toastmasters to practice. Great! but not good enough Folks. These options don’t deliver the depth of knowledge that is needed to properly up-skill into the realm of advanced public speaking. Nor do these options provide professional support over time. No one-stop-solution exists…until now.

[…Take a long pause here for dramatic suspense…]

I am so inspired and profoundly rewarded by the work I do to help leaders up-skill their speaking abilities that I have decided to build a new program.  I call it Leadership Speaking Core (LSC). It is a highly selective, “high-touch” communication game-changer for leaders who are hungry for the speaking skills they need to take their leadership and their careers to the highest levels.

Over a period of one intensive week I am going to roll-up my shirt-sleeves with a small, hand-picked cohort of exceptional leaders who are ready to do real work related to vastly improving themselves as speakers.

Not for the faint-hearted or for those who want a “quick-fix” for their public speaking needs, LSC is designed for leaders who are looking for an elevated and much more in-depth experience, which empowers, nourishes and transforms.

Meeting at The Leadership Speaking School campus in Gland, Switzerland, the cohort will develop a bespoke repertory of high performance speaking skills which will make them into speakers who are fluent in the language of “leadership speaking”. They will be able to:

  • Enjoy speaking in front of audiences and show up as the best version of themselves every time they speak
  • Confidently create and deliver talks that rock
  • Effortlessly use their toolbox of core speaking skills anytime they are called to speak
  • Handle 21st century speaking skills (speaking on camera, interviewing on podcasts) with grace and ease
  • Manage the stress and anxiety that comes with every speaking performance

…and so much more!

As far as I know, nothing like this exists on the planet. It is completely unique and fully bespoke to serve you leaders out there who are awake to the fact that you need this type of training in order to thrive and to rise to your full potential both in your leadership and in your career.

Before reading on, I invite you take a moment to reflect on the internal conversation that is going on in your body right now. Simply stop and pay attention to what your body is telling you. Are you breathing differently? Is your heart beating faster? Is there a tingling sensation in your gut? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then you are being called.

I invite those of you who have this reaction (and who are self-aware enough to feel this) to take action, immediately.

I am currently enrolling the March 23-27, May 25-29 and June 8-12 cohorts and I want you to apply.

The process for admission is simple. Fill out an application HERE, it takes 5 minutes. This application is my way of finding out if LSC is a good fit for your needs and frankly, if you are a good fit for LSC. I am looking for leaders who have experience speaking, but who know, with their deepest instincts, that they are capable of so much more. I want leaders who are hungry for the extraordinary skills that they will be learning through LSC and who will have opportunities to implement them on a regular basis. Finally, I want leaders who don’t have to be convinced that they need this training, but who know on a cellular level that this is right for them.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Dr. Laura Penn trains global leaders from the world’s most recognized companies, academic institutions, and not-for-profit organizations how to speak in public. As the Founder of The Leadership Speaking School, world-class speaker coach and three-time TEDx speaker, featured on, she supports leaders who are hungry for the skills that they need to vastly improve themselves as speakers. Based in Switzerland, she is disrupting the status quo for how we speak in front of audiences both in-person and online.