Public Speaking Refinement

“Sheila Dugan successfully helped me identify areas of improvement and provided detailed imagery and exercises that I could apply immediately. She was laser focused and dedicated in pursuit of these improvements. Sheila has an intuitive sense of what your voice needs.”

Daniel Estrin
International Correspondent, National Public Radio (NPR)

“I was referred to Sheila Dugan by another Executive Development Coach. When I told my wife that I had been referred to a voice coach, she informed me that Sheila Dugan is who she worked with concerning her singing voice a couple years back. Those two positive referrals gave me terrific confidence in Sheila’s abilities, but great reviews also set one up for high expectations. Well, my expectations were exceeded. I love that Sheila listens, asks pertinent questions, and then provides no-nonsense advice. I absolutely appreciate that attitude. We had four sessions and I will probably reach back out for a refresher in a month or so. She is fast, efficient, and an expert consultant that is task focused to get her clients where they need to be. I am an experienced, hard working professional that is difficult to impress. I love having a high quality resource like Sheila Dugan in my toolbelt. Thank you Sheila!”

William Frost

“Sheila Dugan provided extraordinary assistance in helping me to refine my accent and articulation. My native language is Spanish, but I have lived all over the world and acquired an unusual accent. Previous attempts to improve my articulation failed when the instructors were unable to discern the origin of my accent. Sheila’s method is highly personalized, so my unusual accent was not a problem for her. From the instant we met, she used her approach to help me clarify my goals and what I needed to do to achieve them. I was very impressed by the depth of her knowledge and her ability to communicate exactly what was needed. In addition to the personal coaching, she provided written materials that were very helpful. I teach at a university and my students noticed the changes in my articulation immediately. I had given up on clarifying my accent until I met Sheila. She is an amazing professional and I give her my highest recommendation.”

Lorenzo F. Gonzalez
Author, To Return to Cuba

“Sheila Dugan is the most skilled voice teacher with whom I have ever worked. During my thirty-plus years as a reporter and producer for two major broadcast networks, associate professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and director of communication training for several global public relations firms, I have had the opportunity to work with and train hundreds of reporters and business executives. I have also worked with numerous voice coaches, but none as proficient as Sheila Dugan. I retained Sheila to help me hone my voice skills for work in commercial announcing. Within ten minutes of my first session with her I knew I had made the right decision in choosing her as my voice coach. I was amazed how quickly she pinpointed my speech patterns and constructed a program specifically tailored to my needs. She even honed in on aspects of my personal and professional characteristics just by listening to my voice. Sheila has both gravitas and a congeniality that immediately put me at ease. She has taught me how to properly breathe, to speak with greater control and clarity and to read scripts much more conversationally. Following each session with Sheila, I walked away with greater command of my voice, as well as a greater sense of how to shape words to relay appropriate moods – whether happy or sad, jovial or somber, excited or disheartened. It is my distinct pleasure to work with Sheila and I look forward to our future sessions. Her professional instruction has absolutely augmented my voice skills and allowed me to successfully capitalize on more career and business opportunities.

If you’re looking to groom your voice to exhibit all types of characters – Sheila Dugan is the coach to see!”

Derwin Johnson

“In just a handful of sessions, Sheila Dugan taught me more about my voice and presentation skills that I could have hoped for. I felt confident going into an important workshop presentation in Los Angeles, and lost my fear! Sheila teaches how to deliver an authentic talk that truly connects with the audience. Her level of experience, combined with her intuition about what works and what does not – is unparalleled. If you need to overcome nervousness around public speaking and wish to hone your skills, Sheila will guide you through her exceptional process!”

Gretchen Schisla,
Founder and Principle
Enrich Creative

“My sessions with Sheila gave me exactly what I was looking for: a true assessment of my vocal quality and how to use my voice more effectively. From anatomy lessons to breathing exercises to one on one training, Sheila proved her expertise at what she does.

Just like most of us, I use my voice to connect and convince, entertain and education on a g regular basis.  Sheila’s training helped me understand how I may be perceived through the sound of my voice, and how to product the best vocal quality I have within me.  And she worked with my personality, not against it.  Sheila is a fabulous coach and I recommend her training for anyone.”

Juila Milner
Creative Director

“In the last 10 years, I have had the good fortune of playing an executive role working for great brand companies like Coca Cola, PepsiCo and Anheuser Busch. Being one who is constantly trying to improve my skills, I reached out to Sheila to help me with my voice production and public speaking skills. That is probably the best decision I have taken to really improve.

“Sheila takes a very personal, intuitive and hands-on approach to training on voice and public speaking. Within the first few minutes of our meeting, Sheila was able to pinpoint the challenges I had with my speaking abilities and put together a customized program geared for addressing these issues. Sheila not only focuses on the “how,” but also on the “what and why” of the process, so that the student has a complete understanding about how they are to progress. She takes a very scientific approach to addressing each issue.

“I would highly recommend Sheila to anyone who wants to improve their voice and public speaking skills.”

Shekar Natarajan

“Sheila Dugan took the time to carefully prepare for the public speaking training she gave our participants so that she could really individualize her coaching to be as effective as possible. Her one-on-one coaching was extremely insightful and very powerful. Sheila pushed our participants to be their best and didn’t settle for less. Everyone said they received very useful advice that they will carry on with them for all their future public speaking engagements. We will definitely have her back. I would recommend Sheila to anyone wanting to hone their skills. We were lucky to find her!”

Cici Tompkins
Community Outreach Manager
Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri

“Dear Sheila,
At CEAM’s August board meeting earlier this week I gave a report on our parent training that included a glowing section on you, your training and how you connected to our parents. In a nutshell, I told them how amazing you are. I must have really sold you because one of my board members, has asked for your contact information. This man is a great guy who has served on the CEAM board the whole six years I’ve been employed here. So our board member is copied on this email and I hope you will both consider yourselves introduced.”

Peter A. Franzen – Associate Executive Director
CEAM – Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri

One-hour lessons are offered in Public Speaking Refinement. Skill development is provided in the areas of:

  • Voice quality and production
  • Articulation skills
  • Presentation skills


The first session is spent evaluating which areas the client needs to improve. If time permits during the first hour, I will begin working on the agenda I have created for personalized change and skill-building.

In the area of Voice, we work on improved voice quality, pitch, eliminating nasality, correcting shortness of breath, and other breath related issues, increasing volume, improving or changing a monotonous quality, and we can deal with issues concerning the care of the voice.

In the area of Articulation, we work on pronunciation, succinct articulation of ideas, and organization of content. I have helped many public speakers, and their speech writers to improve the content and shape of their speeches.

In the area of Presentation, we work on performance anxiety management, poise, deportment (physical presentation skills), public and professional presentation skills, and expressiveness of delivery.


Speech Refinement

In this area, we work on:

  • Clarifying foreign accents
  • Modifying regional and cultural accents
  • Changing the effects of speech impediments (only those that can be changed)
  • Improving volume for all voices, including the aging voice


Voice Over Training

I also offer assistance with students interested in Voice Over work. This training teaches the client to become more versatile in the areas of pitch, vocal quality and color, and additionally builds reading and acting skills.


A Word to Employers about Working with Businesses and Firms

I am often called by various businesses and firms to work with multiple individuals to improve their presentation skills. It is my opinion that sending employees to hear speeches about how to improve their presentation skills does nothing to improve those skills. I have attended those types of presentations myself, and telling someone to “speak from the diaphragm” and “speak with more confidence” is just a waste of everyone’s time and money.

Every individual on your team has or conversely, is lacking a particular set of skills which they need to influence or help your customer or client. Every individual learns differently and most can learn, through identifying and changing their particular issues, to become a greater contributor to the success of your business. Private, one on one training is the most effective way to bring your employees up to the level of effectiveness you desire for your company or firm.

I will be happy to train three or more employees at your location. If you only have one or two individuals who need training, I will do the training at my studio. I will work a maximum of three hours (that is three clients), once a week, until everyone has had a series of at least two to four sessions (depending on what they actually need) at the very minimum. The first session is an evaluation in order to create an agenda for the training necessary for each employee. Once the evaluation is complete and if there is time left in the first hour, I will begin the training immediately using the remaining time of that first hour slot. During the evaluation I determine how many sessions the employee needs.

I work very closely with the people to whom the employee reports (bosses, managers, supervisors, or senior partners). I always ask the people in charge to give me a report about what they see as the chief communication/public speaking challenges of the employee, so that every perceived issue is addressed. I want to be as effective as possible for every client who works with me.

Please feel free to contact me at 314-434-9217 or by email to discuss working with groups of your employees to build their presentation skill sets.


Partial Client List…

The following is a partial list of the corporations, firms, organizations, businesses, hospitals, and schools from which my clients have come for Public Speaking Training…
Dale Carnegie
Toastmasters International
Southwestern Bell
KETC TV (public television)
KSDK TV (NBC affiliate)
KTVI TV (former ABC affiliate)
Major League Baseball
St. Louis Rams
Newberger & Vossmeyer Attorneys at Law
Summers Compton Wells PC, Attorneys at Law, St. Louis, Missouri
Schlichter, Bogard & Denton LLP Attorneys at Law
Franklin Square Capital Partners
Washington University in St. Louis
St. Louis University School of Law
Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville (various departments)
Clark Oil
Ralston Purina
Anderson Consulting
Clarkson Eye Care
BJC Health Care
ORBIS (Flying Medical Hospital)
St. John’s Mercy Medical Center (Unity Health Care)
Congregation Shaare Zedek
MultiImage, San Diego, CA
Partners, The Teradata User Group, headquartered in Miamisburg, Ohio.
Rollo Construction
Mosby Building Arts
Ralston Purina
Congregation Shaare Zedek
Rockwood School District
Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri
Edward Jones
Enrich Creative