ABOUT GARY PLAAG

“What drives me is guiding others to discover how to tell their stories and be successful.”

  • Communication skills teacher and coach – 22+ years
  • Corporate IT Management – 18+ years
  • MA Communication, George Mason University
  • Adjunct Communication Instructor,
    Raymond A. Mason School of Business, William & Mary
  • Adjunct Instructor, Department of Communication, George Mason University
  • Served over 10 civic organizations
  • Mentor for entrepreneurs and small businesses
  • Loves life, personal and professional development, travel, meeting people, helping people see their potential
Read Gary’s CV

Our Approach

With so many resources available to help people improve their presentation and communication skills, what makes Couragio stand out?

Our Workshops and Coaching Sessions are a combination of instruction and practical application, and are designed to quickly improve identified challenges and opportunities.

During our 22+ years of communication consulting, we’ve fine-tuned our approach to focus on helping clients develop the
three areas that matter most to effective communication:

Discover Your Authentic Style

While helping you adopt public speaking ‘best practices’, we’ll also be fostering your individual style. Your delivery will be authentic, unique and believable.

  • Reduce distracting behaviors in your communication, such as speaking too fast, unnecessary gestures and movements, verbal fillers, non-committal language, lack of eye contact and monotone delivery.
  • Discover and fine-tune your own style of presenting based on your strengths and personality.
Deliver With Confidence

Reframing your mindset, using calming techniques, focused practice and our supportive guidance will have you feeling more confident in your communication skills. Your audience will see, hear and feel the difference.

  • Change your mindset about public speaking, presentations, and overall communication
  • Learn techniques to reduce stress and anxiety
  • Receive honest feedback and expert tips
  • Practice in a safe and supportive setting that fosters self-confidence
  • Prepare to handle tough questions and interruptions
  • Manage your performance environment to prevent or handle technical or other problems/changes
  • Learn how to be flexible and adaptable
Connect With & Engage Audience

Great speakers not only deliver their message, but they also connect to the audience. Through learned techniques and practice with our Coach, you’ll experience powerful audience engagement in your own delivery.

  • Adapt your message and delivery to different audiences
  • Learn techniques for opening a presentation
  • Learn how to effectively emphasize your point
  • Learn tips on how to be engaging and memorable
  • Learn how to use visual aids and slides that enhance your message
  • Learn how to read audience reactions

How We Work

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Individual Coaching

In-Person
Video Conference

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Group Coaching

6-8 Person Workshops
Custom Group Sessions

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Speaking Engagements

Keynote Addresses
Convention Break-out Sessions
Convention Master-of-Ceremonies

Our Coaching Services

Public speaking coaching

RFP Oral Bid coaching

Business presentation coaching

Start Up Pitches

Executive coaching

Interpersonal communication coaching

Networking

Job interview coaching

Our Testimonials

Jeanne Fiocca

Want to learn great communication skills from someone who knows his stuff? Want to be encouraged to follow your passion? Need insight on how to achieve your goals? Yes? Then Gary Plaag with Couragio is the absolute answer. Engaging and full of knowledge, Gary is a master at his craft. He teaches the communication skills to be able to ‘close the deal’ while simultaneously instilling confidence. I highly recommend his services.

Jeanne Fiocca, Entrepreneur
Rick Poeppelmeier

I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time you did last night and providing world class training on “Finding Your Networking Mojo”.
You really did a wonderful job. Thank you for caring so much. Eddie and I really do appreciate all you do for us and for all those micro-businesses out there.

Rick Poeppelmeier, President, Peninsula Logistics Inc.
Steve Scott

My time with Gary was one of the most powerful learning experiences in my life. I was prepared to resist any and all instruction from Gary, having assumed that I already knew how to present and engage with audiences. I figured he’d give me a few tips and encouragement and then I’d be on my way 15 minutes later. I quickly learned, however, about the power of genuine communication and the immense impact I can have if I remove the self-imposed barriers between me and my audience. I can’t give a higher recommendation.

Steve Scott, Music Educator
Kalen Bauman

Over the course of a day-long presentation skills seminar demonstrable improvement was produced amongst myself and peers in our ability to deliver impromptu oration, harness and engage the audience, and tailor specific speech rhetoric, as appropriate. Gary is very approachable, has a professional presence, and has a refreshing humor. His style of teaching is infectious and his passion for public speaking is obvious. His ability to draw on experiences, coupled with his music background, make him uniquely qualified for the subject matter.

Kalen Bauman, Consultant Government Contracting Industry
Richard Bridges

Gary is a “must-hire” for professionals who have daily interactions with clients. He will teach you to be confident in yourself and your business and give you the tools to successfully portray yourself in the highest possible light. The self presentation skills can be applied to individuals ranging from applicants for employment positions to top level executives who need to train and inspire employees and colleagues. I would highly recommend at minimum a consultation with Gary to find out where you can personally improve.

Richard Bridges, Managing Broker, Real Estate Industry
Bob Sutton

Gary Plaag is a remarkable guide to the challenges of public communication. I’ve watched him expertly show presenters in the most arcane specialties how to manage both the communication of the message and the control of the audience and environment, to manage conflict by understanding motivation. And Gary’s skills apply to virtually any industry — I would strongly advise any organization to look carefully into what he can provide you.

Bob Sutton, Government Contracting Executive and Consultant
Brian Paulhamus

Gary has helped me overcome substantial anxiety issues that have affected my public performances for years. He helped me to get outside of my comfort zone and break down the walls keeping me from moving past those limitations. I highly recommend his services!

Brian Paulhamus, IT Professional

Gary, at Couragio Consulting, showed me the best part of addressing an audience while improving my eye contact skills. I can honestly say I practice those skills daily to make myself better in front of a large or small audience. The techniques Gary uses will help one forget about outside pressures and focus on the internal mental functionality to deliver a smooth, concise presentation.

Tim Bates, Construction Safety Manager

Gary’s seminar was unlike any experience I have ever been through. Gary helped to improve my confidence, and more importantly, provided concepts to become a better communicator as I grow in my career. His seminar taught me how to think “outside the box” in regards to public speaking, casual conversation, and audience perception.

Joshua Young, Senior Manager - Content Configuration Specialists, Health Care Industry
Nathan Faison

When you look at Gary’s endorsements you can begin to determine he does a little more than just teach his clients how to present themselves or their products and ideas. Gary helps you discover, or rediscover, your true self and true calling. Through different professional sessions, encounters, and even personal meetings over lunch or coffee; Gary has truly helped me rediscover my passion and continues to point me in the right direction when I run a little off course. When you meet with Gary I have no doubt that your experience will be just as rewarding as mine was…if you let it.

Nathan Faison, Small Business Owner

I’ve known and worked with Gary at Couragio Consulting for many years. I have used his services and been witness to some very profound, positive transformations as a result of Gary’s work.

Gary has an array of very unique tools at his disposal to bring people out of their shells and develop a sense of comfort when presenting. He cuts through the walls and barriers that prevent people’s development and helps them overcome their inner fears in order to perform at their peak. I first asked for Gary’s help with my presentation skills, but by the time I was through, I had a greater appreciation of, and higher capacity for, performance in more than just presentation skills.

If you are a business owner or executive – you owe it to yourself and your employees to allow Gary at Couragio Consulting to bring out your best. You will not be disappointed.

Chris Susalka, Business Owner, Consultant

Gary gave me the insight to realize that I have the skill level to become a good public speaker. I have doubted my ability to communicate effectively with my colleagues, but thanks to Gary, I now have the confidence to stand in front of my colleagues, present effectively, and reach everyone. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be coached by Gary. He has the ability to help you get out of your own way and see your potential. Thanks so much for helping me see that my potential is endless!

Latoya Hargrove, Construction Estimating Assistant
Mark Kendrick

As an aspiring business professional about to graduate from college, I knew how important presenting as a skill would be to my career. I sought counsel from Gary in the spring of 2015, and after just two sessions I already felt the impact of Gary’s teaching. Gary’s coaching inspired confidence, enthusiasm, and an enjoyment for presenting that I had trouble finding before working with Gary. He truly allowed me to find my presenting style and voice, and I look forward to continuing to learn from him!

Mark Kendrick, Private Equity Fund Management Analyst

Gary’s training has boosted my confidence and has enhanced my communication skills just as advertised. What started out as training to give better presentations has resulted in a trusted mentor relationship and friendship that has brought benefits to every aspect of my life.

Chris Bayne, Corporate Energy Manager, Global Mining/Manufacturing Industry

Thank you so much for your presentation seminar. It was not like any other presentation course. I am now looking at presentation in a different way and engaging my audience from the beginning! The feedback and watching the videos was especially helpful!

Karen Rosen, RN, BSN, MBA - Client Service Regional Manager, Health Care Industry
Tim Burgess

Gary is an excellent public speaking and communications coach. His thoughtful and professional approach is specifically tailored to your needs and schedule. His proven and reliable methods build confidence and invaluable skills that strengthen your relationships and your public speaking abilities.

Gary’s enthusiasm, personality, and approach make him the reliable choice for your coaching needs. I can’t thank him enough for his assistance both to myself and my colleagues.

Tim Burgess, Law Enforcement Officer; Small Business Owner
Joey Constantine

Gary sees the potential of individuals and accelerates their images from the ground to the sky with ease. His knowledge of presentation and interpersonal skills is truly second to none and has produced immediate results. If giving presentations is any part of your practice, you cannot afford to be without the skills that Gary teaches. He is a true innovator in his field!

Joey Constantine, Marketing/Support Specialist
Sarah Forrest

I have always considered myself a good public speaker. With Gary’s help I have been able to focus on areas where I can improve my presentation skills in order to effectively deliver my message without unconsciously distracting my audience.

I have seen several of my employees significantly improve their public speaking skills after working with Gary. He is able to build confidence and provide constructive feedback in a way that resonated with everyone in the class. After watching one of Gary’s former students present on an industry panel, I was blown away by how much her presentation skills had improved in a short time. One of my clients even commented on her presentation and how she was the best speaker of the day!

I highly recommend Gary – he has made a huge difference for me and for my employees!

Sarah Forrest, Chief Estimator, Construction Industry

Imagine you’re standing in front of a room, about to present to that major new account, the business opportunity, the RFP, and everything you had planned to say suddenly starts to fade from your mind as your nerves take over. You leave knowing you could have done better. We’ve all been there before. The difference between this scenario and feeling confident that you’ve given your best to win is Gary at Couragio Consulting.

Gary takes the time to get to know you and understand your goals. From there, he works with you to build a skill development plan to help you present at your best. (He even helped me rehearse my vows on my wedding day!) By working with Gary my confidence has increased. I’m able to control my nerves, which has translated into positive results in my business. I am truly grateful that I took the opportunity to work with Gary. I encourage you to work with Gary at Couragio Consulting; you will see a difference, and the results will speak for themselves.

Brandon Moore, Investment Advisor/Financial Planner

Gary’s coaching really helped me “break out of my shell” more than any previous coach could. He challenged me to not just think outside of the box, but to essentially live outside of the box. Of course, he made me uncomfortable, but once accepting and embracing his techniques and practices, great things started happening both with my stage performance and my personal life. He opened up the walls that were in place and introduced me to heartfelt vulnerability and allowing my true self to be seen. In the end, I’ve been able to accomplish two of my ultimate goals of winning a world championship and becoming a school administrator; all thanks to Gary’s guidance.

Aaron Hughes, Baritone, Forefront Quartet, 2016 International Barbershop Quartet Champion
Dylan Roty
Couragio Consulting has helped me learn to execute when I need to. Communication is so much more than what you say, and Gary Plaag helped me perfect those little details I used to overlook. After going to Gary before a major presentation, I always find my performance is more engaging and powerful. Using Couragio Consulting to help enhance my presentation skills is something I will continue to do!
Dylan Roty, Healthcare Industry

As an international public speaker, I have been blessed to speak at numerous universities, corporate events, social issue forums, and Guantanamo Bay Cuba. I even started a televised talk show. None of these things would have been possible without what I learned from Mr. G. He took my speaking to the next level. I highly recommend Mr. G if you want to take your speaking to the next level. Go to Mr. G if you want to be on TV!

D'Shawn Wright, Business Owner, Wellness Industry

Our Clients

Business Services
Government
Law Enforcement

Construction
Non-profit
Executives

Information Technology
Healthcare
Manufacturing

Higher Education
Religious Community
Vocal Performance