Course Outline for Public Speaking Essentials

Week 1

Lesson 1- You Can Do It!

We’re going to jump right in with this first lesson and begin by discussing the most basic and common barrier to successful public speaking: fear. We’ll explore why fear is a natural response in some situations, and we’ll review several tactics for managing the symptoms of fear. I’ll also share some practical tips for discovering your unique speaking voice and building your self-confidence. You’ll soon discover that by trusting in yourself, your natural abilities, and the ideas you have to contribute, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a confident speaker!

Lesson 2- Understanding How Communication Works

People communicate with one another every day, all day long. How do people communicate? And why do some people communicate more effectively than others? This is what we’ll discuss in today’s lesson. As a public speaker, it’s important to understand the communication process and how it works. This is a process that happens again and again—and the better you understand it, the better prepared you are to speak effectively in public. In this lesson, we’ll explore the basic components of communication, such as senders and receivers, verbal and nonverbal communication, and noise and feedback.

Week 2

Lesson 3- Taking the Fear out of Fear

Everyone has experienced fear at one time or another in a speaking situation. Whether you’re speaking in front of a crowd or just a small group of friends or colleagues, fear is a common reaction. The good news is that there are skills you can develop to control your fear, and with a little understanding and practice, you can even harness your fear and use it to your advantage. In this lesson, we’ll explore why public speaking fear happens, the common symptoms of fear, and how to control these symptoms.

Lesson 4- Developing a Confident Voice

Your voice has a major impact on how well you communicate. Have you ever noticed your voice shaking or cracking when you speak? You’re not alone! In this lesson, you’ll learn how to develop a confident speaking voice for both formal and informal speaking situations. The first step is to understand a few basic concepts about voice and vocal delivery, and the second step is to practice. We’ll discuss concepts such as pitch, volume, rate, and vocal quality in today’s lesson, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to work on developing vocal confidence and effective vocal delivery.

Week 3

Lesson 5- Harnessing the Power of Nonverbal Communication

We tend to think of public speaking as a skill using our voices. Yet, studies show time and time again that most communication occurs nonverbally. Nonverbal communication has everything to do with a speaker’s success. In this lesson, you’ll learn how to harness the power of nonverbal communication so that you communicate effectively. You’ll find out how to use eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, posture, and even spatial communication to get across the meaning of your message.

Lesson 6- Speaking Well in Social Settings

As you surely know by now, public speaking involves much more than just standing behind a podium and giving a speech. We all speak daily in social settings. And even though this is an everyday occurrence, most of us can still use some guidance when it comes to communicating effectively and delivering the messages we intend to deliver. Whether you could use practice speaking well in social settings such as dinner parties, children's birthday parties, or casual after-work happy hours, this lesson will give you the tools and practice you need to hone your social speaking skills!

Week 4

Lesson 7- Acing Interviews

Most people dread job interviews. These public speaking situations are known to be stressful. But as a public speaker in the making, you can put your skills to work to increase your confidence and ace that next interview. At its most basic level, an interview is really about answering questions effectively. And there are specific tactics you can use to ensure that you communicate well, enabling you to demonstrate who you are and why you're perfect for the position. In this lesson, we'll explore both the verbal and nonverbal communication that occurs during an interview, and you'll discover how to master both.

Lesson 8- Impromptu Speaking

Do you ever find yourself blushing and stammering when you're called on to talk in a meeting? If so, you're not alone. Most people find this type of impromptu speaking nerve-wracking. With impromptu speaking, you don't have a chance to prepare your talk in advance, which means that you have to organize your thoughts on the spot—as you speak! But fear not. There are some simple tricks to impromptu speaking, and that's what we'll discuss in today's lesson. We'll also talk about a few things to avoid during an impromptu speech, as well as ways that you can support your fellow speakers.

Week 5

Lesson 9- Preparing and Delivering Short Talks

As a public speaker, one type of speech you'll give time and time again is the "short talk."  A short talk is a short speech, often under ten minutes that you give at a meeting of some kind or even at special occasions.  The short talk is often enough to terrorize the speaker, but in this lesson, you'll find out how to easily and quickly write, develop, and present a short talk.  You'll see plenty of examples along the way that will make learning easy.

Lesson 10- Managing Questions, Conversations, and Conflict

The odds are good that at some point in your life, you'll end up leading a committee or team meeting of some sort. If you've led a meeting before, you know how difficult it can sometimes be—especially when half the job is in managing the various personalities of the committee members. In this lesson, we'll focus on managing questions, conversations, and conflict in a typical meeting environment. You'll learn how to master these skills and how to make your next meeting a success!

Week 6

Lesson 11- Mastering the Long Speech

When we think of public speaking, we often imagine someone standing in front of an audience, delivering a "speech."  And this notion of preparing and delivering a long speech is generally the most intimidating of all forms of public speaking. But fear not! The long speech appears more daunting and difficult than it really is. In this lesson, you'll see how simple it is to effectively prepare a long speech. We'll break down the process of outlining and developing the introduction, body, and conclusion of your next long speech.

Lesson 12- Managing Equipment and Media

In a technologically advanced world, virtually every aspect of life is impacted with media and various forms of technology. Public speaking is no exception. As a public speaker, you may need to manage a number of different kinds of equipment and media during your speech. In our final lesson, you'll learn how to use technology to support your speech, and how to weave your media presentation seamlessly into your speech.

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