The importance of Public Speaking in our society cannot be gainsaid. Thus, it is important that we build our public speaking skills to have a successful career. Most people sign up for public speaking classes in order to gain these necessary skills. But, are they worth it?
Public speaking classes enable you to overcome fear and anxiety and equip you with the skills to speak in public. On average, the cost of such classes can range from $100 to $2000 dollars. Since these courses enable skills that stay with you for life, taking public speaking classes is worth it.
Becoming an excellent communicator comes with many benefits. It can raise your profile and improve your fortunes. Besides, it improves the way you communicate and interacts with your colleagues at your place of work.
Here are some of the things you must know about public speaking classes.
Do Public Speaking Classes Really Work?
Other than honing up your communication skills, public speaking courses will greatly help to improve your ability to communicate. Attending such courses will enable you to become a better negotiator, leader an interviewee, and interviewer.
Indeed, people who have attended public speaking courses have managed to conquer fear and anxiety and become polished speakers even when in front of a multitude of people.
Notice that most public speaking courses are designed to help learners overcome the apprehensions they might have when they speak in front of people.
Public Speaking Courses work as a guide. They provide you with the necessary motivation to overcome your fear, and skills to speak with confidence. However, for public speaking classes to be most effective, your desire to be a good speaker and willingness to practice even beyond the course sessions play a huge role!
The courses teach students how to deal with their nerves and acquire the skills that can help them become more entertaining while communicating.
The other aspect that a public speaking course will impart in students is developing leadership skills. It helps learners command attention and respect. They learn to persuade others and how to become important contributors in conversation.
Also, public speaking courses help learners to project their voices with confidence. It enables them to feel relaxed when speaking to other people. Learners get an opportunity to develop confidence and exude authority.
When such students speak they will be seen as individuals in a position of authority. It helps them achieve a range of goals professionally.
What Happens in a Public Speaking Class?
A variety of things happen in a public speaking class, some of them make the course look torturers but they are necessary for anyone looking forward to embracing public speaking.
Here are some of the most important aspects that students learn during a public speaking class.
1. Voice Projection and Body Language
It refers to developing a strong physical presence that one must maintain while speaking. It entails maintaining a good posture, eye contact, bumping up the speaking volume, and vocal variety.
2. Speech Structure
The message delivered must be structured accordingly. For instance, a chronological approach should be used when delivering a historical speech. For debates, emotional appeals and hominem should be avoided. Instead, the speech should be structured around unbiased evidence and personal charisma.
The structure also comes in handy when delivering a presentation as this ensures that your audiences actively engaged and aware on what is being presented in what can be an otherwise boring presentation.
3. Persuasive Speech Delivery
You will be taught persuasive communication so that you can inspire change and influence others.
Moreover, being able to deliver a persuasive speech can greatly influence negotiations positively especially in a political or a business setting.
4. Group Practice
Once in a while, students are grouped so that they can practice public speaking.
It helps them overcome the initial hurdles they are likely to encounter so that they become excellent speakers. In some cases, developing these skills is fun and motivating, while other types of activities can feel mundane and boring. However, each activity usually aims to target at least one skill.
What is the Need to Learn Public Speaking?
There are a variety of reasons why one should learn public speaking. Some of them are as follows –
1. To Inform the Public (about Research Outcomes and other Revolutionary Ideas)
The amount of knowledge in the world continues to grow each day. Such content needs to be shared out so that it can be of use.
Public speaking is one of the methods through which such knowledge could be shared. It is where the speaker that is knowledgeable in a certain area chooses to share the knowledge and trends in their respective area of specialization or expertise.
2. To Persuade and Inspire Others
It is where one uses the persuasive speaking to persuade and convince others. It may be used to make them take action or persuade them to change their beliefs. It is popular in marketers who must inspire and convince buyers. It could also be used to inspire others to take action.
3. For Business Success
Communicating with clarity is one of the skills that the business world requires most. It can be an important tool that can help you secure your dream job. The ability to convince others and articulate issues can help you grow professionally.
4. For Brand Building
Acquiring public speaking skills comes in handy during functions like weddings, delivering eulogies, and even when you want to entertain others through comedy.
Other than these reasons, attending a public speaking course helps one develop critical thinking skills and be able to solve problems. Besides, it enhances one’s ability to conduct research and analyze the results to help provide credible evidence to their audiences.
What is the Best Public Speaking Course?
Learning how to communicate logically and effectively without fear are the main reasons why one would want to spend some time attending a public speaking course.
By the end of the training, the learner should be able to sit in front of a large audience and articulate issues convincingly. It should eliminate Glossophobia – the fear of speaking in public.
Therefore, the best public speaking course should help one gain confidence and acquire the skill to talk in public.
Here are some of the types of courses one may consider attending to acquire the skill.
- A Storytelling Course – that can help one to communicate with impact
- Introduction to Public Speaking – such type of course will touch upon several aspects of public speaking (recommended for Public Speaking in general).
- Presentation Course – targetted usually at creating, designing and delivering a presentation effectively.
- Course on Elocution
- Certification Courses that combine Speech Writing and Speech Giving– it combines and teaches both speech delivery and speech writing aspects. The course teaches both storytelling and speech writing. It also covers the presentation of information on slides and many more.
Where can you Learn Public Speaking Online?
There are a number of well-known websites where you can acquire the much sought after skills of Public speaking
The costs of digital courses are usually lower than their physical counterparts. There are a few downsides to it though, such as lack of access to a group of people which is often critical to overcoming the fear of public speaking. Nevertheless, online classes do provide easy access to gaining skills at a much lower cost.
Here are some of the sites where you can learn public speaking skills online –
Udemy is well-known globally for its online courses. Udemy also provides some of the best courses on Public Speaking.
If you like Udemy, my recommendation would be to go with this Public Speaking course. This course is not just incredibly thorough and comprehensive, but also provides you with full lifetime access to the course with downloadable resources!
There are several FREE courses also available on the platform. I would recommend you to review some of the most popular FREE public speaking courses on Udemy.
2. University of Washington
The university offers a 10 weeks course that helps the attendees to acquire skills to enable them to communicate and express their thoughts verbally.
It also teaches how to design and prepare a speech. Students are also exposed to various approaches they can use to deliver speeches in a more effective way.
The best part is that this course is completely FREE!
Here’s a link providing the details of the course on the University website.
The course is hosted on Coursera. Here’s a link to the Course on Coursera’s website.
3. 6-weeks Course in Public Speaking by Sarah Lloyd
It is one of the courses that teach students how to be good public speakers in just six weeks. The lessons are delivered through the mail and will include speeches delivered by top world speakers.
They do have ton of FREE resources on their website. Here’s a link to the course – Public Speaking Course by Sarah Lloyd
4. Art of Public Speaking by Dale Carnegie
This course provides downloadable audios that describe how to gesture and use voice to emphasize important points. Dale teaches how one can convey messages and persuade people to take a certain course of action.
You can check out their FREE course by clicking on the Art of Public Speaking Course by Dale Carnegie University link.
Other public speaking courses you can benefit from including the University of Houston’s fundamentals of public speaking, public speaking courses by Saylor academy, and many more.
How to Get Over the Fear of Public Speaking
Getting over the fear of delivering an inspiring speech to a multitude of people is something that we all dream of. Then again, most people yearn for the day when they will be able to unleash jokes that can break the ice while captivating the audience. They look forward to telling stories that are not just captivating but compelling as well.
Further, people look forward to handling and responding to questions in public and receive cheers and applause. But this is not possible because of the fear of speaking in public.
We wrote a detailed blog post on how to overcome the fear of public speaking and giving presentations. The tips that we provide will definitely help you a bit. Do check it out!
If that doesn’t work, you can simply attend a public speaking course. It will help reduce the fear and learn how to prepare your material in advance before you present them. It will help you feel relaxed and deliver your speech without fear. You will learn to be real which will greatly help to reduce the fear.
How to Practice Public Speaking?
Practicing for Public Speaking actually deserves a whole new article in itself, and we will get to that soon! But, for now, here are some of the things that you can do –
1. Write Down Your Speeches
One easy way to practice is by writing your own speeches. It is a known fact that visual aids play a powerful role in learning.
This means, our brain is able to assimilate more when it is able to see. Thus, writing our speeches can help us to remember our speech better. This can help deliver the speech more confidently as you don’t have to keep looking at your notes.
2. Practice in Front of a Mirror
A great way to practice for public speaking is to practice in front of a mirror.
This allows you to see yourself the way your audience would see you when giving a presentation or a speech. It also gives you the opportunity to identify any mistakes in your posture or expression and correct yourself before speaking in public.
3. Record yourself on a Camera
An alternative to practicing yourself in the mirror is recording yourself on a camera.
I usually recommend doing both – practicing in front of a mirror and recording a video. In my experience, they both serve a different purpose.
While practicing in front of a mirror allows you to course correct immediately, practicing by recording yourself on a camera gives a more real-world feel in the sense that you can’t see your body posture, expressions and tone.
Once you’ve done the recording, review the video and see how you fared. In most cases, you may notice that your voice and enthusiasm levels feel much lower and you may need to correct these.
4. Practice with your Family or Friends
Another great way to practice public speaking is by rehearsing for your speech with your trusted friends and family members. It allows you to rehearse and gives you the room to make mistakes.
Practicing how to get softer or louder is something you should be able to correct before getting on to the stage. Learn about words that need to be spoken softly and those that should be spoken loudly.
At this point, we can confidently conclude that public speaking classes are definitely worth investing it. They help learners overcome the fear of addressing crowds and acquire the skills they need to articulate issues flawlessly.
My recommendation would be to start with the FREE online courses. If you feel that you still need further support, opting for the paid courses either physical or digital would be a good idea. Regardless of what public speaking classes you take, ensure that you practice what you learn in order to truly overcome the fear!