Introduction to Public Speaking
Learning How to Speak Publicly
Learning How to Speak PubliclyThere are a variety of traditional and nontraditional avenues available for you to learn about public speaking.
Learning ObjectivesFind ways to improve your public speaking skills.
- You can learn about public speaking through organized learning opportunities, such as classes and organizations like Toastmasters International.
- If you prefer to learn at your own pace, you can read books about public speaking. Many are available at little or no cost.
- If you prefer one-on-one guided learning, consider hiring a public speaking coach.
- For an even more nontraditional approach, the Internet is rife with free materials, guides and videos to help you learn more about speaking in public.
- Toastmasters International: Toastmasters International (TI) is a nonprofit educational organization with clubs worldwide. They help members improve their communication, public speaking, and leadership skills. Through its thousands of member clubs, TI offers a program of communication and leadership projects designed to help people learn the arts of speaking, listening, and thinking.
If you're using this online textbook to support material you're learning in a class, you're already engaged in one of the basic ways of learning to speak in public. Classroom learning is one of the most common ways for students to learn about communications and public speaking. With guidance from a dedicated teacher, along with accompanying texts, supporting materials, and in-class practice, your basic public speaking course will prepare you to make your first big speech.
Take a ClassIf you're not taking a class, you might find structured learning opportunities through clubs and nonprofit organizations such as Toastmasters International. Toastmasters focuses on the art of public speaking, communication, and leadership skills. They offer a variety of programs, competitions, and conferences to help people like you become better public speakers.
Hit the BooksIf you don't have time for a class and would like to learn more about public speaking at your own pace, consider visiting your local library to find print or digital books on public speaking. Many are tailored to specific types of public speaking (such as political or business) and are often available at little or no cost.
Learning Outside the BoxIf reading a book or attending a class still seems too formal, there are plenty of other ways to learn about speaking in public. You might benefit most from personalized, one-on-one attention and directed learning. In this case, consider hiring a public-speaking coach. These individuals are often certified to give personal training and attention to individual clients. Conduct research to learn about their experience and training, and ask to speak with some of their other clients. You can also "hire" a virtual coach by looking for public speaking skill-training videos online, using sites such as YouTube or eHow. Videos about public speaking can give you all the benefits of personalized coaching but from the comfort of your own living room. When looking for videos on public speaking, try to learn what you can about the people producing these videos: What experience and credentials do they have? Are they created by a single person, or the work of a professional company or educational institution?
The benefit of all these ways of learning about public speaking is they all complement one another. If you're feeling deficient in one skill set after using a certain learning method, turn to another method to bolster your knowledge. Keep in mind, practice is the best way to improve your public speaking ability. Take every opportunity you can to speak in front of an audience to boost your confidence, as well as your skill.
Regardless of the method you choose to learn about public speaking, go in with an open mind and an eagerness to learn. This will allow you to get the most from your curriculum, no matter how it's constructed or delivered.
Best Practices in Public SpeakingYour public speaking can be improved through various practices both before and during the speech.
Learning ObjectivesDiscuss the high-level best practices for giving a speech
- Construct a well-organized speech with an engaging
topic and a clear theme in order to hold your audience 's attention.
- Build confidence beforehand through rehearsal, and
use techniques such as meditation to reduce anxiety.
- When delivering the speech, keep in mind how your
vocal delivery and visual appearance can enhance your message.
- Consider the background of the audience before the
speech, and the reactions of the audience during the speech.
- audience: One or more people within hearing range of some message; for example, a group of people listening to a performance, speech etc.; the crowd attending a stage performance.
- topic: Subject; theme; a category or general area of interest