Public speaking inspires nervousness, cold sweats, and even shaking in many people, ranking among the most common and most pervasive fears people have around the world. Yet there's no real reason that public speaking has to be so unnerving. Some people may be naturally good at speaking in front of groups, but anyone can learn to improve their public speaking skills and gain the confidence needed to successfully deliver a speech or presentation. Even better, you can learn and practice many of the essential public speaking skills on your own, with the help of some really great web tools. We've listed just a few here that can help you to get you started on your path to being a better, less nervous public speaker.
Blogs and Websites
Use these sites to learn some fundamentals of public speaking, find tools to improve, and get great advice.
- Six Minutes:Get some amazing advice on building your speech and presentation skills from Six Minutes. Visitors to the site will find tips on everything from delivery techniques to building the perfect PowerPoint presentation.
- Speak Schmeak:Blogger Lisa Braithewaite is a public speaking coach and through her blog she shares some tips and advice that just about anyone can use to improve their public speaking abilities.
- Presentation Zen:Are presentations the bane of your existence? Take a look at this blog by Garr Reynolds to learn how to design a better, more impactful presentation.
- Professionally Speaking:Here you'll find Ian Griffin, a technology speechwriter, as he offers tips and tools for writing, delivering, and nailing all kinds of speeches.
- The Accidental Communicator:From adding humor to watching your body language, Dr. Jim Anderson explains how to become a better public speaker on this blog.
- SpeechYou:Want some free speech training? Then sign up for this site, which offers you the chance to upload a speech (audio or video) and get reviews from others interested in public speaking.
- Toastmasters International:One of the best ways to improve your public speaking is to join Toastmasters, which you can learn more about through their website here.
These tools can be an essential part of building your public speaking skills.
- Prezi:You'll feel more confident about public speaking when you have an amazing visual backdrop to go with what you're saying, which you can build through free online presentation tool Prezi.
- Empressr:If Prezi isn't cutting it for you, you can also try Empressr, which makes it simple to embed all kinds of rich media into a presentation, from music to video to photos.
- Presentation Skills Self-Evaluation:This evaluation tool from Psychology Today will help you take a critical look at your public speaking and pinpoint ways in which you can improve.
- Vocaroo:Vocaroo is a basic online voice recording application, perfect for listening to your own speaking skills so you can take notes and improve.
- Google Docs:Constantly worried you'll lose your notes for a presentation en route? With Google Docs, you'll have them anywhere you can get Wi-Fi or a 3G connection.
- MindMeister:MindMeister makes it simple to track your ideas. Brainstorm as you build an amazing mindmap, helping you generate lots of new ideas for a speech.
- thinklinkr:Through thinklinkr, you can develop an outline for a speech or presentation, and share it with others to get helpful feedback and input.
- Myna:Myna is another online voice recorder, but a bit more fully featured than Vocaroo, allowing you to edit or add effects to your recordings.
- Skype:Need an audience for your speech before you stand in front of your real audience? Skype may be one of your best options, allowing you to transmit video and audio to friends, family, and coworkers who can help you build a better speech.
- Virtual Speech Timer:Those who need to fit a speech into a given time slot should check out this online speech timer. It will help you trim down or bulk up your speech to a given time limit.
- YouTube:YouTube is a valuable resource for a number of reasons. It is an excellent place to find educational videos on public speaking, classes, or inspirational speeches. It's also a great place to post your own videos for feedback.
Get inspired by these speakers and learn more about what goes into a good speech or presentation.
- American Rhetoric:Read and hear speeches from some of the greatest speakers the world has ever known when you visit this site and peruse its amazing collection. You're sure to find something that inspires you.
- TED:If you're looking for a more cutting-edge example of a good speech, then try out TED. Through it, you'll get access to an amazing assortment of high-quality talks that are funny, inspiring, informative, or all of the above.
- Rate Speeches:Through Rate Speeches, you can find some great speeches, rate them, or find the tools to evaluate your own.
These resources offer classes, books, and tutorials all about public speaking.
- 101 YouTube Videos to Teach You the Art of Public Speaking:This collection of videos offers numerous ways to fine tune your public speaking skills.
- Learn Out Loud Public Speaking Books:Here you'll find a great assortment of audio books, some free, some not, all related to the art of public speaking.
- Communication for Managers:When you think about it, we're all managing something, so learning communication skills related to management is essential. This course at MIT will help to teach you just that, improving your ability to work with others, mediate, and project confidence.
- iTunes U:There are dozens of classes on iTunes U related to public speaking and communications from leading universities and organizations. It's the perfect place to build skills without shelling out for formal classes.