A List of 6 Options for Public Speaking Classes
Public speaking classes are one way to overcome a public speaking fear.
If you’ve been hanging around this site at all, you’ll know that I once had a public speaking phobia that I had to work to overcome. I did that with the help of something called behavior therapy which pairs relaxation with exposing yourself to the situation that you fear.
If you have anxiety about speaking in public, I recommend that you take action instead of letting it fester! This is actually a relatively straightforward fear to work on and there are lots of things you can do.
Of course, I don’t recommend you go out and start giving speeches at your local Toastmaster’s group if doing so would send you into a panic attack. Assess where you’re at and what will help you the most. That might mean talking to a therapist first about your anxiety and then later building up confidence through actual public speaking.
However, I thought I’d do a run down of some public speaking classes that I’m aware of as you might find them helpful in your journey to overcome fear and become a better speaker.
I have a post all about Toastmasters on this site, so I won’t go into a whole lot of detail here. Suffice it to say that Toastmasters is a group that is all about practicing your public speaking and getting feedback from other members.
While it may be helpful for overcoming your fear, I’d suggest that it might not be the best first step if you have a public speaking phobia. That being said, I’ve never actually been to a Toastmasters meeting! If you’ve ever gone, I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments.
Who was Dale Carnegie, you might be asking? I was fascinated to learn more about this public speaking mogul from the early part of the 1900s. He got started teaching public speaking classes kind of by accident, but his courses became so popular that they turned into a phenomenon.
He’s also of course known for his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, among other popular books that he wrote. To this day, you can take Dale Carnegie courses on public speaking, although they are mostly geared toward the corporate world.
Getting Over Stage Fright
The Getting Over Stage Fright workshop is run by Marla Genova and was started by Janet Esposito, who herself worked to overcome a public speaking phobia. This course is held in Connecticut several times a year and is solely focused on helping you to master your nerves while speaking in public.
So—this is the course for you if you get in a panic while speaking in public and aren’t really looking for tips on how to be a better public speaker. I know back when I was struggling, I would have settled for just being calm, cool, and collected rather than the best speaker in the room.
(Looking for some quick public speaking tips you can use right away? Check out the video below)
It might seem a bit counterintuitive, but there are actually online courses that you can take to improve your public speaking! You can easily find courses on sites such as Udemy or any of the MOOCs (massive online open courses). Some of these courses are even part of larger certificates in communications from recognized universities.
Would I ever take an online course on public speaking? Honestly, I’d rather do one in person if at all possible. Yes, you might benefit from learning new strategies and tips, but unless you force yourself to put it into practice in real life, it’s not going to help.
I think that’s where local classes come in. I suggest google “public speaking classes” along with the name of your city or town to see what comes up. You’d be surprised at the number of options that might pop up.
Public speaking anxiety is such a widespread fear, that many people are out there offering ways to help. If you don’t find any formal classes, you could also try Meetup to see what they offer.
This one probably only applies if you are a student in high school, college, or university; however, you could check out whether your school offers public speaking classes.
By this I mean a class that is specifically dedicated to public speaking rather than a course on another topic that requires you to give presentations. Even if you are not a student, it’s possible that your local university has a continuing education department that offers this type of class.
The important thing to remember when choosing public speaking classes is to first evaluate where you are at in your public speaking. If you’re still stuck in a phobic reaction to speaking in public, it’s best to find a course to address that first. Then, after your fear has subsided, you can take public speaking classes devoted to building your skills.
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