Standing in front of a crowd with sweaty palms and a shaky voice is a memory many have, so why not take public speaking courses to improve your techniques?
Through public speaking, you can learn to effectively share ideas with large groups of people. The science behind it explains that using your voice and body language, you share the neuron connections within your mind with the minds of those who are listening to you.
It sounds simple, but this skill is daunting for most people. If you are interested in discovering the strategies used by public speakers or taking an online public speaking course, read on so we can help shine a light on the concept of public speaking.
Why Is Public Speaking Important?
Public speaking is a great skill for many careers and for personal development or teaching. Public speaking is not simply standing in front of a crowd of people to present an idea. By speaking to groups, you have the power to change how a person views the world around them.
Below are some quick tips to improve your public speaking skills and some of the topics you will explore in-depth while taking public speaking courses.
Transform Nervousness into Excitement
When you begin to feel anxiety before speaking, try instead to feel as if you are excited to share something with your audience. Take a few large, deep breaths before your presentation and remember to talk slowly.
The audience can tell if you are rushing through your presentation, so take a moment to collect your thoughts and remind yourself that you are excited to impart your knowledge to these people.
Write and Practice
Studies have shown that writing out your speech can help you better formulate your thoughts. Once you have done this, you will need to practice your presentation. You can do this in front of friends, family, or your peers, and then ask them for feedback.
Work to make your address clear, concise, and emotionally engaging. If you notice that your friends are beginning to yawn or lose focus, you should rewrite the passage that they did not find engaging.
Most importantly, you should have the majority of your speech memorized and only use small cue cards with keywords to jog your memory. There is nothing worse for the audience than watching someone read their whole speech from a piece of paper.
Use Body Language
When speaking in public, be mindful of your body language and the messages it subconsciously sends to your audience. If you are hunched over and seemingly hiding, the audience will interpret this as nervousness. Stand tall, don’t be afraid to move your hands, and look directly at audience members as if you are talking to them one-on-one.
If you feel your fear of public speaking rising, focus on gratitude. Be grateful that you have the opportunity to practice your communication and presentation skills. Showing appreciation to your listeners for coming to your presentation will also show them that you are humble, which will make them more likely to enjoy your speech.
Best Online Public Speaking Courses
Alt-Text: a man standing on a stage surrounded by people and large screen presentations
Caption: Build your confidence by taking public speaking courses.
Does writing moving speeches and learning effective public speaking strategies sound exciting to you? Online public speaking courses are a great way to earn a certificate that will boost your CV.
If you are ready to sign up for public speaking training, below are some recommended courses.
Rochester Institute of Technology
Course: Public Speaking
Price: Free/Verified Certificate for $199.48
Time: 3 weeks
This three-week EdX online course is aimed at beginners who want to learn the basics of public speaking. Students will study the speech communication process, methods for dealing with speaking anxiety, impactful speech writing, analysis of other communicators, and more.
University of Washington
Time: 12 hours
This course by Coursera teaches all of the foundations of public speaking. It comprises 12 hours of tips on how to organize a speech clearly, write memorably, and deliver it with confidence.
Students will learn how to overcome their public speaking fear, write and deliver compelling ideas, and use presentation support. The University of Washington also offers a dynamic public speaking course and more for those looking for more specialized courses.
Introduction to Public Speaking is taught by the renowned Dr. Matt McGarrity. McGarrity has published several academic articles on public speaking and has won multiple awards for his research and teaching.
Price: $23-$32 each/One-month free trial
Linkedin Learning has an extensive range of short-term online courses for public speaking, many of which are available in the one-month free trial the company offers. These certificates are great CV boosters and offer great content for free.
Time: 16 hours
This online course by Udemy shows students how to create presentations for 25 different types of speeches. This course is taught by Chris Haroun, an award-winning professor, TEDx Talk speaker, entrepreneur, and author.
Price: $10 a month
Time: 1 hour
This online course from Skillshare is only one hour long, and will teach you to open and close your public speaking presentations “like a boss.” The class is for students who already have some basic public speaking experience and want to hone their speech opening and closing skills.
Should I Take a Public Speaking Course?
No matter what career path you choose, there is no doubt that public speaking is a valuable skill. Whether you need to present an idea in a meeting, give an inspirational speech in the vein of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream,” or just want to become a more confident communicator, signing up for a public speaking course will be beneficial.
We at Career Karma have a dream that you will fulfill your public speaking goals, and we hope this list of the best online courses will guide you on your journey.