Last month I asked you to chip in enough money to hire a professional coach for every first-time PyGotham speaker. We raised $1340, which was enough not only for all the first-time speakers but for one additional speaker who wanted coaching.

These eleven people had sessions with opera singer Melissa Collom. She clarified their explanations, streamlined their stories, taught them vocal techniques and postures that improved their performances on stage, and ensured they began their speaking careers with confidence.

Here’s what PyGotham speakers said about their coaching sessions:

“Melissa helped me with content and organization, but most importantly with my presentation style.”

“Melissa gave me honest feedback. My colleagues usually pat me on the back and say ‘Good job,’ so I rarely receive constructive criticism.”

“The coaching session was everything I needed! It alerted me to the unconscious actions I wasn’t aware of.”

“I really enjoyed working with Melissa. I appreciated how she drew attention to areas that I could improve on and strategies for doing so.”

“I look forward to seeing her for a tune-up before future speaking engagements.”

“The only way to improve the sessions would be to have more of them.”

“Thanks so much to PyGotham for offering a training like this. I feel much more confident in my ability to speak in front of audiences in future presentations, and I feel more likely to do so as a result.”

“Melissa was a wonderful gift to me, and I hope that many future PyGothamists will have the opportunity to work with her.”

“Thanks Melissa!! And thank you to the people who made Melissa available to me—I know that her expertise made my talk more engaging and made me a more confident presenter.”

Image (c) A. Jesse Jiryu Davis