Public Speaking Classes

Public Speaking

Public Speaking Classes

Speaking in public is a skill that doesn’t come easy for everyone. However, it’s a skill that many need to present at school, lead a conference at work, or speak in front of large groups of people in another setting. One way you can grow your speaking skills is by taking a class. Speaking classes can help you overcome anxiety associated with talking to large crowds and focus on other problem areas you’re looking to improve.

What Are Public Speaking Classes?

Public speaking classes are courses that teach you how to organize information and present it in front of others. They go over techniques and tricks for capturing your audience’s attention, keeping them engaged, and talking in a way that’s clear, concise, and appealing. They will teach you not only how to present and perform during your talk, but also how to plan and prepare for a calm and confident approach.

Oftentimes, public speaking classes will also give you opportunities to practice the skills you’ve learned. For example, after learning a certain set of tools, you may be asked to step in front of the class and put those tools to practice. This gives you a chance to start small with others who are in the same situation as you and receive feedback from your classmates or instructors to further improve the craft.

Types of Public Speaking Classes

There are many different classes on speaking you can take both in-person and online. In-person classes can give you hands-on, face-to-face experience. However, online classes can also set you up for success, especially if most of your presenting and talking takes place virtually.

These classes will all vary based on the instructor, the length of the class, what specific techniques you’ll learn, and the overall style of the class. However, they’ll often be broken up based on the type of speaking. Keep reading for four examples of speaking courses you may pursue when signing up for a class.

1. Ceremonial Public Speaking

One main type of public speaking is ceremonial speaking. As the name implies, this is when you have to talk at ceremonies. It could be as large as a graduation ceremony or as small as an intimate work holiday party. There are some key characteristics of ceremonial speaking that will help guide the class, including:

  • Forming a personal or emotional connection with your listeners, such as with a wedding speech that elicits feelings of fondness and love for the happy couple
  • Focusing on the occasion, such as talking about the future when speaking at a college graduation
  • Communicating value such as emphasizing all that a business has to offer during a work speech after hitting a large milestone

In sum, ceremonial or “commemorative” speaking should incorporate personal touches, focus tightly on the occasion, and speak to the values of the event, school, company, or other institution. It can be formal or casual, so ceremonial speaking classes will likely give you the tools to be flexible according to your setting.

2. Demonstrative Public Speaking

Another type of class you may encounter is demonstrative speaking. Demonstrative talks are where a speaker demonstrates their knowledge or understanding around a specific topic. This could be for a certain class, after the completion of a certain training, or after concluding a research project. Key focus areas of this class may be:

  • Learning how to present complicated research and information in a way that’s easy for the audience to understand
  • Understanding how the potential limitations of your audience can shape what you share, what you don’t share, and how you share it
  • Practicing ways to keep long speeches clear and concise so you don’t lose your audience when talking about concepts they don’t understand

Demonstrative speaking classes will provide you with an array of technical skills to set you up for success.

3. Informative Public Speaking

Informative speaking is similar to demonstrative. But informative talks are mainly focused on transferring information to a larger group in a succinct, easily understood manner. Examples of an informative speech may be a financing recap, a seminar on a new business model, or communication of a company’s new core values. These classes can hone in on:

  • Keeping the talk interesting by engaging the audience
  • Staying clear and concise so listeners walk away with a full or improved understanding of the topic at hand
  • Maintaining accuracy, especially when talking about data and facts that are likely to be new to the audience
  • Building trust and credibility to spark important conversations or changes in thought

Some instructors classify informative speeches under the demonstrative category, so be sure to think about what you’re most interested in mastering and ensure it’s covered in the class.

4. Persuasive Public Speaking

Persuasive speaking is another class to consider, especially if you want to work on your persuasion skills. Examples of when you might give a persuasive speech are when you want to encourage people to vote, when you’re running for an organizational election, or when you’re trying to make sales. Skills a persuasive-focused class may include:

  • Mastering your tone of voice to be as riveting as possible
  • Incorporating body language like facial expressions, hand gestures, and posture to solidify key components of your speech
  • Learning how to meet the audience halfway to show you understand their current position but see value in them following your persuasion

Persuasive speaking courses will likely teach you how to address a wide range of topics, such as convincing your family where you should go for dinner or pushing an entire business to sign on with your company’s product offering.

5. Other Public Speaking Classes

As you browse public speaking classes, especially online, you will see an array of specialized options. For example, you may find courses specific to work such as a class on corporate communications, presenting and speaking to colleagues, or speaking to develop your leadership skills.

Or, there may be classes on different speaking techniques such as a course on a tactful approach, an artful approach, or a storytelling approach. If you’ve taken a speaking class before, you could do a “master’s” class composed of students ready to take their presenting skills to the next level.

There are also many general speaking classes that will cover the basics and give you the chance to apply new skills in all aspects of your life. Find the specialty class that makes the most sense for your lifestyle and personal goals, and check out what former students have to say so you have an idea of how you may feel upon completing the class.

Benefits of Taking a Public Speaking Class

When you think of the benefits of a presentation or speaking class, you may just think of the obvious: it helps you learn how to speak in front of people. This is a big advantage, but there are many others to consider.

Benefits of speaking classes include:

  • Helping you overcome anxiety about speaking in front of large groups of people
  • Refining your critical thinking skills
  • Encouraging you to develop both verbal and non-verbal communication skills
  • Broadening your leadership skills
  • Positioning you as a thought leader, respected by others who have heard you speak
  • Allowing you to form new or stronger social connections
  • Opening you up to the opportunity to expand your work network
  • Giving you personal satisfaction

What you get from a presentation or speaking class will depend not just on the instructor and class, but on your engagement. The more you participate and take in what the class has to offer, the more benefits you’ll walk away with.

Should You Sign Up for a Public Speaking Class?

If you’re thinking about taking a speaking class, begin by reviewing the different types and considering which one would best suit you. Make a list of what speaking skills you want to build and make sure the class will adequately address them. Gather as much information as you can from the class description, former student testimonials, and a look at the instructor’s background.

Then, go through all of the potential advantages of a public speaking class. You may realize that you will gain tools to support you at home, in the workplace, at school, and with friends. Even if the idea of a speaking course sounds intimidating, genuinely think through the advantages because stepping out of your comfort zone could set you up for a confident and successful future.

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