Introduction to Public Speaking

Coursera Introduction to Public Speaking

University of Washington
3-5 hours a week
5 weeks
Paid Certificate Available
Part of
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This course gives you a reliable model for preparing and delivering effective presentations.

In business, in school, and in public life, we are often called upon to “make a few comments.” Often, people tasked with such speeches become flummoxed. They might not know what to talk about, or ramble without making a point, or simply be confusing to listen to. This course is designed to help you shine where others falter.

We’ll learn how organize talks clearly, write them memorably, and deliver them confidently. By the end of the course, you should be able to significantly reduce your fear of public speaking, use rehearsal techniques to develop a strong, vibrant speaking voice, and perform speeches with dynamic movement and gestures. The speech model that we’ll practice is useful for briefings, elevator talks, interviews, and even as a structure for hour-long presentations.

If you’re a beginner, this course will help you quickly master the fundamentals of speaking. If you’re a seasoned speaker, this course will help you better understand public speaking and push you to the next level.

Week 1: Understanding speech

Thank you for joining Introduction to Public Speaking! I am thrilled at the prospect of a global discussion about good speech. Let's get started! In this module, we’ll focus on the basics of the course and how rhetorical canons will help us structure our time. Then we’ll turn to the important ways that speaking and writing differ. By the end of this week, you should have some tools for evaluating your speech writing. If you want some feedback, you’ll be able to upload an introductory speech for peer review.

Week 2: Making ideas compelling and memorable
Now that we have the course foundation out of the way, we can work on our basic speech model: the key point speech. I love this format. It's the Swiss army knife of speeches. This basic model works in interviews, short presentations, elevator talks, and can even structure an hour long presentation. After overviewing the assignment, we’ll talk about how to plan out your speeches. By the end of the week, you should have some tools for quickly putting together short presentations. You can practice this by analyzing some speeches.

Week 3: Illustrating and delivering your ideas
This week, we’ll talk about support and arrangement. The lessons here will immediately help all of your other presentations. Why? Because we need to think about how audiences hear our ideas in real time. There are things we should be doing to help listeners instantly organize and process the information we’re presenting to them. By the end of the week, you should be able to discuss evidence clearly and highlight your speech's organization. If you want some feedback, you’ll be able to upload a practice elevator speech for peer review.

Week 4: Overcoming your fear of public speaking and developing great delivery
This week, we'll discuss speech apprehension and delivery. I know the fear of public speaking is a pressing topic for many. Why didn’t we start the course with this? Because I think many delivery concerns go away if the invention and arrangement are good. However, invention and arrangement are just part of the equation - now we can supercharge our delivery. By the end of this week, you’ll have some techniques for combating those butterflies and speaking confidently. If you want some feedback, you’ll be able to upload a practice key point speech for peer review.

Week 5: Course conclusion and your final speech
Thank you for time in this course. I hope the material has proven helpful in some way. We concluded our discussion of the speech last week. I would like to spend a bit of time
reflecting on the course and talking a bit about the other courses in this specialization. We will end this week with your final key point speech.

Taught by
Matt McGarrity
First release
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