You'll learn how to:
What you'll get
- 7 hours of audio lessons
Start speaking more confidently in just a few hours.
When listening isn’t an option, dig into this text-based PDF.
- Speech-writing guides
Guidelines you can use to become a better writer.
- Speaking self-assessment
Measure your own improvement as an effective communicator.
- Lesson summaries
Be reminded of the key things you’ve learned.
- Curated resources
Save time searching. We’ve collected the best resources for you.
- Glossary of terms
Get up to speed on speaking terminoogy.
- Live event checklist
Ensure your next in-person presentation goes off without a hitch.
- Virtual presentation tips
Best practices to impress any digital audience.
Experts in this course
- Celeste HeadleeCeleste Headlee is a journalist, speaker, and writer who has hosted programs on Georgia Public Radio and NPR. Her TEDx talk, “10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation,” has been viewed by more than 20 million people, and she has given speeches at companies like Twitter, United Airlines, Apple, Ford, and Google.
- Dr. Aziz GazipuraDr. Aziz Gazipura is the founder of the Center For Social Confidence, where he teaches people how to master conversations, accelerate their careers, and create deeply fulfilling relationships. He is the author of three best-selling books, including Not Nice.
- Julian TreasureJulian Treasure is a highly-rated international public speaker on business sound and personal communication skills. His five TED talks have been viewed over 80 million times, and his latest is in the top 10 TED talks of all time. He is the author of the books Sound Business and How To Be Heard.
- Juliana SchroederJuliana Schroeder is a professor in the Management of Organizations group at the Haas School of Business. Juliana’s research examines how people make social judgments and decisions. Her research has been published in a wide range of academic journals and featured by popular media outlets.
- Aaron BeverlyAaron Beverly is the 2019 Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking. Through his public speaking career, he has engaged audiences at Fortune 100 companies, notable universities, and numerous countries around the world.
- Vera CarothersVera Carothers is a writer, audio producer, and teaching artist for The Moth. Previously, she traveled the country as a bilingual facilitator with the StoryCorps Mobile Tour. Her audio work has been featured on NPR, WNYC, WAMU, and Panoply.
- Amy LandinoAmy Landino is a bestselling author and award-winning host of AmyTV. With over 20 million views of her successful YouTube series, Amy is a leading authority on getting digital attention.
- LeRon BartonLeRon Barton is a writer, speaker, and author of two books. His TEDx talk on how he overcame his fear of stuttering has reached over 100,000 views. LeRon and his work have appeared in numerous publications, including Al Jazeera, Salon, and Your Tango.
- Marilyn PittmanMarilyn Pittman worked as a talent and voice coach for NPR stations for more than three decades. She is also an award-winning narrator, solo performer, and comic.
- Susan HughesSusan Hughes is a professor of psychology at Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania and the director of the Evolutionary Studies program at the college. Most of her research is in the field of evolutionary psychology, with an emphasis on the study of the human voice, and it has been featured in many popular media sources.
- Josephine LeeJosephine Lee is an industry-leading entrepreneur and international award winning speaker. In 2016, she won third place in the World Championship of Public Speaking, becoming the first Korean American woman to place on the final stage. Since then, she has given keynote addresses around the world.
- Pellegrino RiccardiPellegrino Riccardi is a cross-cultural expert, motivational speaker, speaker trainer, and communications consultant. For over 30 years, Pellegrino has engaged audiences all over the world with a style of public speaking that presents complex ideas in a simple and accessible way.
- Michelle Tillis LedermanMichelle Tillis Lederman is one of Forbes Top 25 Networking Experts and the author of four books, including the internationally acclaimed The 11 Laws of Likability, and her latest, The Connector’s Advantage. Michelle is a connection creator and CEO of Executive Essentials, which provides customized communications and leadership programs for Fortune 500, non-profit, university, and government clients.
- David LittDavid Litt writes speeches, op-eds, and jokes for Fortune 100 CEOs, professional athletes, leading philanthropists, and prominent political figures. He was a senior presidential speechwriter and special assistant to President Barack Obama and also served as the lead joke-writer for several White House Correspondents’ Dinner monologues.
- Brian MitchellBrian Mitchell is a former Washington Redskins running back and return specialist. After 14 years in the NFL, he began a successful radio and TV career as the co-host of the midday show on Team 980, an Urban One radio station. Brian is also a motivational speaker who addresses audiences across the United States.
- 01IntroductionMeet your host, award-winning journalist, author, and public speaker Celeste Headlee, and preview the lessons you’ll learn from our experts.This introduction teaches you that great speakers aren’t just born—anyone can learn to speak confidently. While breaking down the upcoming course lessons, our host discusses the potential benefits of improving your communication skills:
- Well-spoken people earn more money
- Great speakers are seen as natural leaders
- Good conversations build happiness and strengthen relationships
- Confident speakers are perceived as competent, intelligent, and likable
- 02Find your confidenceHow to push past the fear of raising your voice.This lesson explains how the fear of public speaking is rooted in social anxiety and provides you with practical ways to overcome it. A clinical psychologist will teach you exercises you can practice daily to become a more confident speaker, including:
1 practice exercise and 4 additional reading resources
- The “five-pound weight” tactic
- Tips for first dates and job interviews
- Tips for first dates and job interviews What you can learn by speaking to strangers
- Embarrassment inoculation
- 03Know your strengths and weaknessesDetermine how you can improve as a communicator.This lesson teaches you a few basic guidelines for improving your communication skills and delivery. A long-time TV and radio host explains why hard work, repetition, and feedback are critical to building confidence. You’ll also listen as a professional speaker and communications consultant critiques real-life students of this course and gives practical tips to tackle nervousness.Speaking self-assessment
- 04Discover the power of your voiceUnderstand why your voice is your most valuable asset—and how to modify it to sound more confident.This lesson explains how you can use the powerful variations of your voice to become a more effective speaker. Two experts will explain the roots of the human voice and how you can modify yours to sound more attractive to yourself and others. You’ll learn how to vary the speed, volume, and other aspects of your voice while avoiding some common speaking mistakes. This lesson also explains why our voices are still the best form of communication we humans have.2 practice exercises
- 05Hone your voiceLearn vocal techniques that will improve your delivery.This lesson familiarizes you with the many ways you can improve your voice. An expert vocal coach will teach you how to:
3 practice exercises, in-app resources for improving your voice
- Calm your nerves
- Rehearse effectively
- Avoid filler words
- Place emphasis with purpose
- Breathe correctly while speaking
- Prepare your voice for a presentation or speech
- 06Overcome speech impedimentsLearn how to speak up if you have a stutter and how to support those who do.In this lesson, you’ll learn that many famous people have overcome speech impediments. One successful public speaker describes his proven strategies for speaking more confidently with a stutter and learning to embrace it. You’ll also learn what to do (and not do) when speaking with people who have speech impediments.2 practice exercises
- 07Prepare what you’ll sayUnderstand the elements of a great speech.In this lesson, you’ll learn from award-winning public speakers and one of President Barack Obama’s speechwriters how to put pen to paper and connect with your audience. They’ll cover techniques and advice for writing a great speech from scratch, including:
Speech writing checklist
- How to start writing with a “Shitty First Draft”
- Why a central message is key
- How to edit
- How to consider your audience as you prepare
- How to ask for feedback and refine your speech
- When to tell a joke (or not)
- When you should shorten your speech
- 08Create a story arcLearn why stories captivate our brains and how to tell a good one.This lesson will teach you how to create a great story and then transform it into a great speech. An expert storyteller will discuss tips for creating your story arc and presenting it before a live audience, including how to:
1 practice exercise, 5 links for further study, and 4 reading suggestions
- Break your story into scenes
- Create stakes to get your audience invested
- Tell the story in your own voice
- Avoid common storytelling mistakes
- 09Rehearse intentionallyDetermine your personal memorization and rehearsal strategy.This lesson familiarizes you with the most important part of becoming a confident speaker: practice. You’ll learn the best rehearsal techniques from professional public speakers, including how to:
3 practice exercises, 4 sources for further study, and 3 rehearsal tools
- Know if you should memorize (or not)
- Perfect your voice through audio recording
- Approximate your speaking environment
- Practice in front of a live audience
- Determine how much rehearsal time you’ll need
- 10Adopt a comfortable physical presenceLearn how to use your body during a presentation.In this lesson, public speaking experts will teach you how to feel more comfortable and confident on stage—or wherever you’re giving your presentation or speech. You’ll learn how to:
3 practice exercises, and 4 sources for further study
- Decide what to wear
- Utilize eye contact while speaking
- Practice using facial expressions to enhance your message
- Use your hands on stage
- Move around (or use a podium)
- 11Perfect your deliveryConnect with your audience and ensure your speech runs smoothly.In this lesson, you’ll learn to take care of the technicalities of speaking in order to perfect your delivery. Figuring out the details in advance will help you relax and feel prepared. Our experts will teach you how to:
Presentation checklist included
- Make a checklist for your speaking venue
- Use vocal techniques to engage your audience
- Recover from a mistake
- Use slides to enhance your speech
- Find an accountability partner
- 12Digital presentationsDiscover what changes when you present through a screen.In this lesson, you’ll learn from a professional vlogger how to look and speak confidently in an online meeting, video, or any digital presentation. You’ll learn to:
Digital presentation checklist included
- Perfect your posture
- Create the ideal lighting and camera angle
- Eliminate distractions
- Connect with your audience as if they were in the room
- Receive and incorporate feedback from others
- 13Better conversationsUnderstand what makes a great conversation—and what can kill it.This lesson explains how having conversations can make you a more confident public speaker. Several professional speakers will teach you how to become a better conversationalist using active listening skills. You’ll learn tips for creating powerful connections, including how to:
1 practice exercise and 5 sources for further study
- Give someone your full attention
- Practice active listening
- Ask open-ended questions
- Get used to saying “I don’t know”
- Maintain a well-balanced conversation
- 14Conquer difficult conversationsHow to handle tough talks.This lesson teaches you tactics for turning difficult conversations into great conversations. A communication expert will give you step-by-step guidelines for having productive discussions rather than arguments. You’ll learn how to keep practicing active listening, remain curious instead of confrontational, and stick it out when things get frustrating.2 practice exercises and 5 sources for further study
- 15Business conversationsLearn how to master your next job interview or networking event.This lesson focuses on improving your communication skills in business settings. A top networking expert and connection creator will teach you the exact steps for successfully navigating your next job interview. You’ll also learn tactics for handling networking events like a pro, including how to start (and exit) a conversation, how to make a lasting impression, and how to follow up afterward.1 practice exercise and 3 sources for further study
- 16Communicate across culturesDiscover which communication skills are universal and which can get lost in translation.This lesson will familiarize you with the basics of cross-cultural communication, including how to listen and learn about a new culture, how to let go of your assumptions, and how to handle mistakes. You’ll also learn how to:1 practice exercise and 4 sources for further study
- 17Improve your skillsHow to progress once you’ve got the basics down.In this final lesson, you’ll recap the most important things you learned in this course so you can continue practicing, improving, and growing more confident in your speaking abilities. Our host will remind you why, scientifically speaking, there’s less of a reason to fear public speaking than you think!2 practice exercises and 1 source for further study