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Lulu Lumbiwe (in red t-shirt) and some of her speakers celebrate after a successful rehearsal.

Before TEDxLusaka Speakers deliver amazing talks, there are months of coaching that happen to prepare for that moment. Every single speaker comes with a unique story to tell, and while their ideas are carefully selected to deliver the best content possible, there is still need for the talk to be crafted into the final product. 

After the speaker has been selected through the application process, they are assigned to a Speaker Coach. Speaker Coaches are typically seasoned public speakers; many in the TEDxLusaka Team are Toastmasters and have been members of Toastmasters International for a number of years. This enables them to work with their speakers in a constructive manner, providing feedback that improves the speakers’ content, delivery and their ability to use the stage.

To begin, the speaker shares their idea, which is then crafted into a script capturing the content and a message with the biggest impact. Together, the speaker and their coach work on any areas needing improvement and whatever support they’ll require on the day of the event. 

The coaching process can be grueling. Speakers are available at various times throughout the day — as early as 6 a.m., or late at night. Both the speaker and their respective coach must work around these busy schedules to develop and rehearse the talk. As the coaching process continues, the speaker’s audience grows – speakers rehearse in front of the TEDxLusaka team and fellow speakers also preparing their presentations. The purpose is to sharpen the speech and to get the speaker comfortable with delivering the speech to ease some of the nerves before they step onto the red circle. The Speaker Coaches want their speakers to deliver the best talk possible.

Lulu Lumbiwe, who has been a Speaker Coach for ten years, summarised it aptly: “Even though this might seem taxing, it is quite a rewarding experience. As a coach I get to meet and support amazing people and share in their journey to communicate some exciting ideas through their talks. As I always say “When the speaker shines, we all shine!”

Nchimunya Munyama during a rehearsal for the 2021 Event.

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