Teaching & Public Speaking
Helping Others Understand and Engage
My ability to communicate clearly about complex topics, in conjunction with my understanding of how people learn, makes me an effective speaker for workshops, lectures, seminars, etc. If your church, group, organization or business has topics related to life, relationships or individual wellbeing which you would like help understanding, I would be delighted to explore those with you. I list example topics elsewhere (Counseling and Coaching-Focused Counseling), but I am open to considering many others. My interests, and the areas which I can helpfully speak to, extend far beyond regular counseling topics (such as: business, management, organizational structure, technology, theology, spirituality, philosophy). Read on to learn more about my teaching style.
Making the Complex Understandable
Humans can be very confusing. We are similar to one another, and yet can be so different. And even within one person complexity abounds. We all can struggle at times to understand ourselves, as well as each other. I am skilled at translating the complexities of life and relationships into everyday language. I have an ability to discern the core elements of a topic or question which enables me to then speak to the most important parts, setting aside related (but potentially distracting) details so that the audience can better focus on the topic at hand.
I also understand the inherently emotive and symbolic nature of memory, and I often make use of metaphors, stories and (when possible) videos to help listeners connect on a “gut” level, thus increasing the likelihood of remembering and applying what they are hearing. For example, when I describe various aspects of growth and healing I often use a “muscle building” analogy. Even though the brain processes involved in healing are incredibly complex, most everyone can understand the metaphor of “building emotional muscles.” And since I enjoy movies and books, I also like to reference examples from well-known stories and play clips from movies, all as ways of helping the audience to go beyond just passively listening to actually connecting viscerally with what is being taught.
Inviting the Listeners to Speak
A one-sided conversation, no matter how interesting the topic, is never as impactful as a two-way dialog. My teaching style is interactive and conversational—I prefer to structure my talks such that “Question & Answer” times are interspersed throughout, instead of relegated to the end. I find that providing frequent opportunities for listeners to ask questions increases their engagement and learning—in essence, it makes the content more personally relevant.
Additionally, these conversations with the audience give me opportunity to further customize and personalize what I am teaching in the moment. When audience members bring up aspects of the teaching topic which I might not have been planning to speak on, but which turn out to be important to that audience, the whole audience can benefit as I incorporate that material on-the-fly (primarily in the context of Q&A). It is impossible to anticipate every aspect of a topic which will be important to a given audience, so I find that teaching with Q&A dialog interspersed makes for a richer, more relevant learning experience.
Examples of My Speaking Style
You can get an initial sense of my communication style from the below sampling of videos (you can find more on the Blog).
- Forgiveness Is the Foundation for Reconciliation
- Why Do We Fight About the Little Things?
- Knowing When You Need to Address an Issue with Your Spouse
- Advice for Newlyweds: Don’t Forget Who You Are
- Compassion & Hope: Unpacking My Christian Perspective
- Facing the Unfaceable: Reflections on Challenging Work
What Others Are Saying
Quotes About Sean: “I really enjoyed Sean’s real-life examples and ability to use my students’ own questions to help them reflect on their own experiences.”
Hear what others have to say about me, my counseling and my teaching and speaking effectiveness.
Every speaking engagement is unique, thus there is no “set fee.” Similar to the sliding-scale I provide for my counseling services I do take into account the size of the organization. And when possible I am glad to offer discounts (including teaching for free), especially to faith-based organizations (such as churches and campus ministries).
Other Pages in this Section
- Counseling Services & Approach: Learn about my counseling approach and how I help others make lasting changes.
- Counseling Topics: Explore a list of common counseling topics.
- Distance Counseling: Learn how technology facilitates the counseling experience even if you are not able to travel to my office.
- Counseling for Counselors: Everyone needs help sometimes, even therapists.
- Associates of Transitions: Meet my colleagues who also provide services here in the Transitions office.
Learn more about me and my counseling approach, and view some of my blog posts and videos.