15 best public speaking courses online to become an influential speaker
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, public speaking is the art of effective oral communication with an audience. However, this art seems to be a tricky one to learn and master for many of us. While there are many proven methods to deliver great speeches, it is often stage fear or the fear to speak in front of an audience that will hold us back.
But, as long as human beings need to interact with each other to accomplish anything worthwhile, communication skills are essential. The good news is that everyone can learn the art of public speaking. In this post, I'll give you a tour of 15 of the best public speaking courses online that can help you prepare for success in your career and your life.
Public Speaking Courses Online – Overview
Good communication is often the key to success, to reach an agreement or present an idea or vision to a wider audience. The more relevant the accomplishments are to the success of individuals, communities, nations, or businesses, the more critical it is that we execute effective oral communication to convey ideas and inspire action.
The best public speaking courses online will teach you the following core concepts:
1. Preparation: This includes research, outlining, slide creation, rehearsal and appearance. Building confidence and overcoming anxiety also come in handy here.
2. Execution: Here, you will use the skills of body language, pitching, persuading, rhetoric, and storytelling to deliver your message and get your results.
Best Public Speaking Courses Online – Top Picks
|Give a 5-min Talk||Intro Public Speaking||Power of Storytelling||Intro Public Speaking|
|from $15/month||from $11.99/course||from $15/month||from $26.99/month|
|Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website|
*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Read the full disclosure at the end of this post.
Note: This review curates some of the best public speaking courses online but cannot cover all the presentation classes available. It is a guide to help you find the best class.
1. Dynamic Public Speaking Specialization – Coursera, University of Washington
If you need to increase confidence and presence, learn how to prepare effective speeches and develop your body language-based delivery techniques to engage your audience, then this online public speaking course (visit website) is for you.
As you progress through this course, you will have the opportunity to master techniques such as storytelling, topic framing and discussing evidence. Like many other best public speaking courses, they also teach slide creation.
The instructor is Dr. Matt McGarity, founder and director of the University of Washington Speaking Center who has won awards from Toastmasters and the National Speakers Association for his work.
Kinesthetic learners will enjoy the applied learning project that concludes this four-course specialization. In it, you create and record an actual presentation and submit it for feedback. Thus, you would also get to see and critique other students' work.
Instructor: Coursera | Instructor: Dr. Matt McGarity | Level: Beginners
Type: Specialization | Public Speaking Courses: 4 | Rating: ★★★★★
Price: View course. Free audit. Get a certificate with Coursera Plus. Visit website.
2. Speak and Inspire – Lisa Nichols, Mindvalley
Speak and Inspire (visit website) is an online public speaking course on Mindvalley. It is suitable for individuals who wish to drive massive change through the sheer power of speaking and communication. Whether it’s an entrepreneurial venture, a board meeting, or a motivational speech, everyone can learn to use the power of words in this program.
Spanning over 30 days, the class will take participants on a transformative journey of channeling their inner energy to inspire and persuade people. As a student, you will have to invest only 10 minutes daily to discover a nuance of masterful speaking every time.
Lisa’s effective guidance will take you through a total of four modules starting with a look inwards, harnessing your inner unique gifts, and owning your own voice. Next, you will explore the intricacies of connecting with your listeners. Learn how to connect with your audience on a heart level before beginning to plant seeds of inspiration.
In the third module, you will come across a wide range of Lisa’s techniques for exuding power and charisma before learning to harmonize these and becoming an ace speaker. This is one of the best public speaking courses online and combines well with the personal development programs on Mindvalley, that are included in each membership.
3. LeVar Burton Teaches the Power of Storytelling, MasterClass
LeVar Burton, the actor from Roots and Star-Trek and a 23-year long host of Reading Rainbow, has developed his MasterClass (visit website) around the power of storytelling. The Emmy and Grammy winner is now sharing his secrets to leave an indelible mark on your surrounding through the stories you can tell.
Mastering the art of storytelling will enable learners to better connect with their audience and inspire curiosity in them. His class focuses on finding intention, using your voice, and mining your experience in a way that makes your stories dynamic and invigorating.
In this popular public speaking course, you will learn how to tell stories without losing the interest of your audience and use them to make meaningful connections. LeVar Bruton will also help you find out your personal story. In addition, students will learn to grope the subtle nuances when it comes to storytelling for children, adults, and public speaking.
By the end, you will have understood how fear or nervousness is only suppressed excitement and how the latter is easier dealt with intellectually than those fears. This is one of the best public speaking courses online for those ready to finetune their speaking skills.
4. The Complete Presentation and Public Speaking Course – Udemy
Chris Haroun (visit website) brings his 25 years of experience, including keynote and TEDx speaking, and lecturing at universities such as Stanford and McGill to one of Udemy's best public speaking courses. Improve your skills in a multitude of speaking scenarios.
In 12 “acts”, he shows you content creation, preparation, techniques for successful Q&A sessions, delivery, slide creation, appearance secrets, post-presentation work and how to meet the goals of your speech – everything “from page to stage”.
He offers students many downloadable presentation templates and presentation skills guides (each covering a different type of speech) which will appeal to kinesthetic learners.
Some students were impressed and inspired by his enthusiasm and said that he helped them overcome their fear of public speaking. Others were less impressed, writing that he could have been more concise, that he covered too much material but none of it in depth, and that he digressed and reiterated often.
Thus, if you want a great overview of the many types of speaking engagements there are and practical tips for each, this class is among the best public speaking courses online.
Nick Armstrong, “Geek-in-Chief” of WTF Marketing and experienced TEDx speaker, offers this great course (view class) for entrepreneurs, especially kinesthetic learners who could use a slide deck and some practical help creating an upcoming speech or pitch meeting.
Armstrong will prepare you to deliver in “20 highly visual slides” and convey your idea with the “simplicity of 20 tweets”. Armstrong boasts a step-by-step recipe, with deliverables including helping you identify and eliminate verbal and physical tics, how to source free images for your slides, and how to look, act and sound like a pro.
He teaches some other courses on Skillshare, including one on storytelling and “Onboarding Clients Like a Boss”. Reviews say that the instructor is engaging, gives helpful and practical examples and that his lessons are well organized.
This is among the best public speaking courses online if you have plans for a speech but have no idea how to prepare for success. Armstrong will get you there.
6. Robin Roberts Teaches Effective and Authentic Communication, MasterClass
Robin Roberts, the Emmy-winning “Good Morning America” co-anchor, shares her secrets to create unforgettable moments with her listeners in her popular public speaking class (visit website). Learn how to communicate confidently and effectively, whether you are talking to your workmates, a live audience, a potential employer, or just a group of people.
Upon enrolling in the class, you’ll begin mastering the art of making your “mess your message”. This ultimately requires you to share and express your vulnerabilities with sincerity, making an authentic connection and communicating your values at work.
Robin is also sharing her failproof secrets to nailing your job interview and communicating for live TV. She’ll be taking you behind the scenes of “Good Morning America” and give you some concrete advice on interviewing people efficiently.
Her final class is on inculcating resilience and optimism in your persona and how to let it shine through your speech, one of the most effective strategies in communication. This is one of the best public speaking courses to learn presentation skills for everyday use.
7. Public Speaking Foundations – LinkedIn Learning
This course (visit website) is a great step-by-step education in preparing for, then opening, delivering, and closing your speech. Lecturer Laura Bergells includes a session on “anticipating tech mishaps”. We all know technology can fail you at the worst moments!
Bergells, a graduate of Michigan University with a BA in Telecommunications and Sociology and a Master’s degree from Grand Valley State University, is a corporate trainer, writer and educator with 14 years of experience as a professional public speaker.
Her years of experience leap out of the screen to make students – especially visual and auditory learners – feel secure that they are getting a solid foundation with this course.
This public speaking course helps students develop vocabulary and gives you strategies for establishing your credibility with your audience in the opening of your speech. You will also learn some storytelling skills, how to outline your speech and Q&A practices.
Some of the professionals who have taken her course work in customer service, sales, and as professors. This is among the best public speaking courses for beginners and those who have never given a speech before and need a good introduction to the craft.
8. Usher Teaches the Art of Performance, MasterClass
This class (visit website) is a gem to further advance your skills in a rather unusual way. Household pop music sensation and winner of 8 Grammy Awards Usher has opened up his masterclass to let students in on the breakthrough secrets in performative arts. The same secrets that have been responsible for his own sustained career of 25 years.
His 16 lectures walk you through the most important categories within performative arts: acting, singing, and dancing. He will also focus on getting inspiration for your performances and putting up a live show. You will learn about mental toughness, methods of captivating your audience, and creating your own personal brand in this niche.
Rather than a simple dance class, Usher is offering the depths of being an entertainer. Coming out of the class, you will have understood how there may not be a new idea, but new perspectives that you can apply to your passions and stand out from the crowd. It is one of the best public speaking courses online suitable to complete your skillset.
9. Professional Certificate in Communication, Public Speaking – edX, RIT
A meticulous public speaker spends more time preparing than delivering. If you wish to become better at giving and preparing memorable speeches and presentations, you may want to consider the Communication Skills certification by RIT on edX (visit website).
Apart from learning how to tell stories, craft powerful narratives, and create compelling visualizations, this path also contains some of the best public speaking courses online. It is taught by Keith Jenkins, Vice President and Associate Provost for Diversity at the esteemed Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).
In his class, he shares the insight that public speaking should extend from critical thinking, well-organized narrative, reasoning, research, and preparation. Students learn how to control the various stages of public speaking to reduce anxiety and build confidence.
The emphasis is on evidence, language, and ethics, and teaches many other skills that are common in other best public speaking courses online. You will also get some insight on identifying main and supporting ideas. The public speaking course can be audited for free, but a small fee allows you to score a verified certificate with the RIT logo on it.
Provider: edX | University: RIT | Level: Beginner
Length: 3 Weeks | Efforts: 4-6 hours/week | Review: ★★★★★
Info: View course page. $597 with professional certification and support.
10. Communicating With Confidence – LinkedIn Learning
If you have given some speeches already and struggled without being clear as to why Jeff Ansell has the right course (visit website) for you. In addition to communication tools, strategies and tips, he teaches techniques to help overcome anxiety, breathe properly as you speak, and come across more confidently using body language and hand gestures.
His course features a detailed lecture on the “power of the pause”, a fundamental, extremely effective strategy that other public speaking courses gloss over. He demonstrates excellent public speaking techniques effectively in his lectures so you can experience firsthand what he wants you to take away from his teaching.
There are also two valuable coaching exercises at the end of this popular online public speaking course – one for hand gesturing and one for slowing down.
Ansell has a management consulting and communications training firm that has worked with the CEOs of such corporate giants as Walmart, Proctor and Gamble, PepsiCo and Ford. He can prepare you for the big time!
Reading tip: There are other classes that could go along well with one of the public speaking courses mentioned here. These include motivation classes, body language courses, speed reading classes, or language courses in general.
11. Jodi Glickman on Pitching Yourself – LinkedIn Learning
This is a free 15-minute course (visit website) that you should take if you want to have something handy in your pocket for impromptu (or scheduled) conversations that could possibly open up new career opportunities you are pursuing.
Jodi Glickman’s quick 3 step formula is simple. It helps you respond to a potential employer or power connection when they say “so, tell me about yourself”.
Glickman is an experienced keynote speaker, founder and CEO of TED Talk, and a Communication and career expert. She is an author who has written for the Harvard Business Review and spoken on the TEDx stage.
She demonstrates her pitching and storytelling skills from the very first minute of the class and continues to over-deliver in a relatively small portion of time. The fact that you are taking this public speaking course means you are probably the kind of person who will benefit from Glickman’s short pitching class. Go take it today!
12. Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking – edX, Harvard University
If you haven’t been there, here’s your chance to touch the venerated campus of Harvard University without having to go to Massachusetts! Professor James Engell, Gurney Professor of English and Professor of Comparative Literature, brings you this public speaking course that is built around his actual on-campus Elements of Rhetoric class.
For those considering a career in public service, this class will equip you with relevant public speaking skills for going toe to toe with heavyweights on economic and political issues. Engell teaches students how to compose an effective argument and how to analyze others’ arguments to identify logical fallacies.
In his class, you will dissect historical speeches by such American luminaries as the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and President John F. Kennedy to extract timeless embedded wisdom on how to employ rhetorical devices.
Here’s your chance at a Harvard education – you can get a certificate emblazoned with the school’s name and crest – and a solid foundation for giving a world-changing, history-making speech when your name gets called.
13. Storytelling and Influencing: Communicate with Impact – Coursera, Macquarie University
If you have some speaking experience and want to level up for greater impact, you might love this learning and career path (visit website). The lecturers are Associate Professor Lawrence Ang and Arabella MacPherson.
MacPherson is a former actress and Director of Resonate Communications where she has coached CEOs in corporate communications for 10 years. Professor Ang is Program Director of Bachelor of Marketing and Media at Macquarie. They co-present this 6-week online course to hone the ancient skill of storytelling.
This class can be taken as a stand-alone certification. It will teach you story structures and provide a wealth of presentation skills for a wide range of business applications.
Ang and MacPherson explore some of the science behind how the brain takes in, stores, and processes stories. You will learn some of the Milton Model (a set of NLP persuasion techniques that heads of state frequently use), building rapport, meeting planning and execution skills, and how to prepare for and answer objections.
Lots of diagrams and easy-to-remember acronyms will especially appeal to visual learners. This course will take your speaking to the next level. One of the best public speaking courses online for those who wish to take their skills to the next level.
14. Speakers Clubs: Toastmasters International, Meetups, NSA
If being in a club is your thing, then Toastmasters presents the perfect opportunity to network and hone your leadership and public speaking skills in a supportive setting.
Toastmasters – They are currently holding online meetings, but under normal circumstances, they hold regular in-person meetings at chapters in more than 130 countries where you can form new friendships and practice in a small group environment designed to put you at ease.
Headquartered in Colorado, USA, they have been helping people become more confident public speakers since 1924 for a small membership fee of less than US$110.00 a year payable in your currency at your local chapter.
Meetups – You will notice that some online public speaking course instructors boast some form of Toastmasters connection. Membership benefits they boast include:
- Build self-confidence and self-awareness
- Gain a competitive advantage in your workplace
- Practice speech writing and presenting in a group setting
- Boost leadership, presentation and communication skills
On their website, you can also access a wide range of e-learning resources in areas like conflict resolution, project management and online meeting management. Public speaking courses are offered in 8 different languages.
The Meetups for public speaking are pretty much dominated by Toastmasters clubs worldwide. Participating in club meetings can provide a wonderful way to gain real-life, practical public speaking training and experience.
Those meetups can either substitute for taking a course or provide a venue to apply some of what you have learned from the public speaking classes you took.
The National Speakers Association (NSA) is another organization that is worthwhile. Members are in auspicious company with the likes of Les Brown and the late Zig Ziglar. This organization could open up opportunities for paid speaking engagements if you wanted to make it a career.
15. BitDegree Public Speaking Courses
BitDegree predominantly provides online education to teach IT, business, technology, and design skills but also offers several public speaking courses online. Lasting from 15 minutes to 2.5 hours, classes often target specific use cases in the business world.
Whether you need to pitch an idea, make people listen to you, overcome fears, or negotiate a new deal, engaging presentation skills are not only helpful but also essential. Everyone can enroll in the classes and there is no previous knowledge required.
Level: Beginners to Intermediates | Duration: 0.5-2 hours
Ratings: 4.0-4.9 ★★★★☆ | Pricing: from $9.99 per class.
Choosing the Best Public Speaking Courses Online
Glossophobia or fear of public speaking is a common phobia, affecting 75% of the world’s population. But let's not worry. It is normal and ok. Our round-up review of the best public speaking courses online curates some of the best classes to help overcome this fear. As you look through course descriptions, here are some other questions to ask yourself:
- How much or little public speaking experience do I have?
- Do I need a certificate in public speaking or just presentation skills?
- Am I an entrepreneur or on a career path as an employee?
- What industry am I in?
- Do I want to change career paths?
- Do I have an upcoming event to prepare for?
Additionally, briefly look at the main type of speeches being covered such as persuasive speeches, informative speeches, demonstrative and entertaining speeches. Many students also prefer to have access to downloadable resources, assignments, discussion forums or material sharing helpful tips to overcome stage fear or speech anxiety.
The great news is that cost does not have to be a deterrent. Even the fee-based are inexpensive (many less than $50). Some platforms come with a subscription and offer multiple public speaking courses online but also other skills to learn. Might be worth it.
Additional best public speaking classes worth mentioning
- Chris Anderson, Guide on Public Speaking, Head of TED
- Matt McGarrity, Intro to Public Speaking, University of Washington's, Coursera
- Sarah Lloyd-Hughes, Public Speaking Class
- Dale Carnegie, The Art of Public Speaking, Download
- Brian Tracy, Public Speaking Expert, Business, Leadership, Management Training
Best Public Speaking Courses Online 2022 – Verdict
Wrapping up our tour of the best public speaking courses online. Public speaking is an important skill for every student and professional to have under their belt. Possible speaking opportunities can include an impromptu opportunity that relies upon your verbal skills, an interview, a boardroom presentation to persuade investors to take a chance on you, or a speech that makes history.
I recommend investing in building this skill as part of your preparation to make a positive impact in your sphere of influence.
There’s no telling when, but people with decades of life experience and success in their fields would probably all agree that the small upfront investment in educating yourself in this craft will yield you big dividends. One day, you too may need to speak for the trees.
Best Public Speaking Courses Online 2022
- Dynamic Public Speaking Specialization – University of Washington
- Speak and Inspire, Lisa Nichols, Mindvalley
- Levar Burton Teaches the Power of Storytelling, MasterClass
- The Complete Presentation and Public Speech Course – Udemy
- Intro to Public Speaking – Give a 5-Minute Talk Without Dying – SkillShare
- Robin Roberts Teaches Effective Communication, MasterClass
- Public Speaking Foundations – LinkedIn Learning
- Usher Teaches the Art of Performance, MasterClass
- Public Speaking Course – edX, RIT
- Communicating With Confidence – LinkedIn Learning
- Jodi Glickman on Pitching Yourself – LinkedIn Learning
- The Art of Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking – edX, Harvard
- Storytelling: Communicate with Impact – Macquarie University
- Speakers Clubs: Toastmasters International, Meetups and NSA
What are the best In-Person Public Speaking Classes?
In our round-up review, we covered the best public speaking courses online as well as training resources to become an engaging presenter and create compelling presentations. If your goal is to be confident in a job interview or speak up in meetings, a virtual class or book is a great start.
If you plan to speak in front of a large audience regularly, booking a public speaking coach in your city or a recognized in-person class could be a more effective option. Cities like New York NYC, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Houston, Phoenix, Toronto, London, Sydney or Singapore have many great coaches ready to help you reach your goals.
Have you completed any of the classes above? What are the best public speaking courses online in 2022 to become a better, funnier and more professional public speaker?
What are the best online classes to improve presentation skills?
We would like to hear from you.
Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links to some providers of public speaking courses online. courselounge may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. It does not add any extra costs. All reviews, opinions, descriptions and comparisons expressed here are our own.