Become an Excellent Public Speaker
|University:||University of Washington|
|Structure||4 Courses, Projects|
Become an Excellent Public Speaker – Overview
By now you must know one of the biggest fears plaguing most people is the fear of public speaking. Technology has only made this fear more prevalent, as the practice of human interaction regresses to email, texts, and emojis.
Benefits – However, public speaking still exists as one of the necessary tools of top-tier professionals, executives, anyone seeking to move up in their organization or anyone who has ever wanted to persuade anyone of anything. Knowing how to speak effectively in a public setting offers a greater competitive advantage to professionals now more than ever before.
The University of Washington has created a Coursera specialization consisting of 4 courses designed to create confident public speakers in almost any setting. Instructor Dr. Matt McGarrity will teach students how to deliver engaging presentations, how to communicate effectively in public, and thus how to thrive in leadership positions. The courses draw from the fields of communication, linguistics, and debate creating a comprehensive curriculum.
Course 1 – Introduction to Public Speaking
Introducing a model for preparing and delivering effective presentations.
The first portion of this specialization is a 5 week introduction to the fundamentals of public speaking. This course introduces a model for public speaking proven to tame the anxiety it usually causes people. It will also teach you how to map presentations cohesively, write them effectively and convey them unflustered and self-assured.
By the end of the course, students should understand what makes an engaging and persuasive orator, and how to apply these concepts to briefings, elevator conversations, meetings, and even lengthy presentations.
Course 2 – Speaking to Inform
Discussing complex ideas with clear explanations and dynamic slides.
In the second part of the specialization, students will dive into the art of informative speaking. Informative speaking encompasses all public speaking that involves conveying a particular piece of information, or educating an audience on a specific topic.
Informative speaking is a hallmark of professional meetings, conferences, presentations and conventions; knowing how to effectively deliver information with a purpose has an outlet in almost any career imaginable. Speaking to inform requires strategy; this module aims to introduce students to the objectives of informative speaking, and how to approach them.
What should you be looking for from the audience? How much do they already know? Do they have any biases? How should you emphasize certain points? How much time do you have to accomplish this? This module unlocks the strategic thinking that precedes great public speaking.
Course 3 – Speaking to Persuade
Motivating Audiences with Solid Arguments and Moving Language.
The next step towards becoming an excellent public speaker requires knowing how to sway people’s opinions. Many dealings in the professional world, especially involving business, require making arguments without actually arguing. This module will teach you how to be clear enough to deliver target points effectively, compelling enough to keep your audience’s undivided attention, and convincing enough so your audience trusts you.
Again, this module focuses on the strategy: What is the issue and how do you move your audience towards its solution? Delivering information with the goal to motivate action involves a specific approach, and a particular attention to style and presence. Persuasion takes poise and strategy. This third portion of the specialization teaches learners how to prepare to move audiences towards a particular goal.
Course 4 – Speaking to Entertain
Telling Compelling Stories in a Vibrant Voice.
The last part of the specialization teaches you to find your voice and how to get comfortable with using it. Speaking to entertain involves a great deal of practice as well as a great deal of confidence. Students will learn how to engage their audience in a meaningful way and appear self-possessed and unabashed. The mechanics of speech also step into the spotlight in this module. Students learn how their voice works and how to manipulate it.
Storytelling is a focused portion of the course as well. Students learn how to animate their voice and get help developing a performance style. By the end of the course, students would have received plenty of practice performing pieces by their favorite influencers, and also have had plenty of practice designing and performing original pieces. Confidence is key during the Speaking to Entertain course.
Dynamic Public Speaking – University of Washington: Should you try it?
If your schedule isn’t too flexible and you want to make some major changes in your personal and professional life, this course is for you. The course requires about a 2 hour structured time commitment per week, but does require a lot of independent practice and preparation.
Anyone can take this course, and even the most novice of public speakers would benefit, as this course guides students through the very fundamentals of public speaking. The course takes about 4-6 months to complete, and although it does not come with any college credit, financial aid is available.
Public speaking is simply one of those things you can’t escape. The ugly truth is, you need to be able to deliver information across a wide range of audiences to accomplish almost anything. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be unnerving or scary, and can actually become fun. This course teaches you how to prepare, and thus feel ready to dominate these occasions.
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