Speaking Coach: Eileen Sinett begins a workout regimen for public speakers on February 6.

As most performers know, whether their venue is the athletic field or the arts stage, their skill is a “muscle,” and it needs to be exercised to get stronger. The same is true for public speaking, says speech and communication specialist Eileen Sinett. “It is well known that individuals initially hired for their technical skills, get promoted because of their ability to communicate and present well,” says Sinett. Strong presentations create a career advantage, and practice helps them build their communication confidence and performance muscles.”

The challenge is to find a practice facility for a public speaking workout. At home in front of a mirror is a first step, but a more rewarding practice session is one done in front of a group. “There are few opportunities to practice before groups,” says Sinett, “be it Toastmasters, Dale Carnegie, adult education, or some other corporate training and development companies.”

Sinett’s group, the Plainsboro-based Speaking that Connects, now offers a speech practice group called Rehearsals, which runs on the first and third Wednesdays of the month from 7 to 8:45 p.m., beginning February 6 at the Speaking that Connects Studio at 610 Plainsboro Road. The cost is $30 for a single session or $50 for both in one month. Call 609-799-1400 or visit www.speakingthatconnects.com/programs to register.

Rehearsals, says Sinett, “gives speakers an opportunity to practice a presentation before a group of peers and receive their constructive feedback,” as well as the guidance of Sinett herself, who first became interested in helping people with physical disabilities after watching a Jerry Lewis telethon in high school. “I’m probably one of the few people who can list Jerry Lewis as a career influence,” she says. A counselor suggested speech pathology, and she enrolled at Emerson College in Boston, receiving a bachelors degree in 1971. She earned a master’s in speech correction from Kean University in 2002.

Sinett also offers a three-part training focused on helping speakers drastically reduce or eliminate the “uhs, ums, duhs,” and other fillers that can punctuate our public speaking. “All listeners are not the same,” says Sinett. “Some will focus on your message despite fillers; others will be distracted and count these hesitations as you speak. If you have been told you ‘uh’ and ‘um’ too much, help is here to reduce or eliminate these vocal fillers.”

It consists of three weekly group sessions and one private coaching session. The group is limited to eight participants and runs Thursdays, February 21, February 28, and March 7 from 7 to 8:45 p.m. at the Speaking that Connects Studio, 610 Plainsboro Road. The cost is $250 for all four sessions.

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