As a small business owner, at some point in your career, you’re going to have to get up in front of a significant group of people and give a speech or presentation. Things like team meetings, webinars, and community events still require you to conquer that all too common fear of public speaking.
According to the National Social Anxiety Center, 73% of the population suffer from public speaking anxiety and the fear of “judgment or negative evaluation by others.”
Aren’t you glad to know you’re not the only one? The good news is that you don’t have to navigate public speaking on your own. There are tons of resources, many of which are free, to help you improve your public speaking skills.
University of Washington’s Introduction to Public Speaking
This introductory course was designed with nervous beginners in mind and helps students transform into confident public speakers. Taught by Dr. Matt McGarrity from the University of Washington’s Department of Communication, this popular course covers understanding speech, illustrating and delivering your ideas, overcoming your fear of public speaking, making ideas compelling and memorable, and developing great delivery. The course is made up of five 2-hour lectures and is offered on Coursera for $79. You can opt to audit the course for free, but you get no course materials or certificate.
Talk the Talk
FutureLearn hosts a free 6-week course that utilizes resources like TED Talk videos to show students what effective public speaking looks like. The online course is interactive and you will be expected to participate with other learners. At the end of the course, you will walk away with a “powerful presentation you have created and can be proud of, which you can take away with you and present with confidence in your academic, professional or personal life.”
The “Six Minutes” website, created by Andrew Dlugan, is a wealth of knowledge for those looking to refine their public speaking skills. The website has an abundance of articles from speaking coaches, university professors, and professional speakers that cover an array of topics including:
- delivery techniques
- effective presentation
- speaking habits
- and audience engagement
The Accidental Communicator
Dr. Jim Anderson’s Blog “The Accidental Communicator” is an excellent free resource for improving your public speaking skills. Dr. Anderson graciously shares 25 years worth of career experience working with speakers and audiences. Sign up for his newsletter and browse his articles for tips and inspiration.
Toastmasters International is an organization that operates worldwide with the sole purpose of helping people become better public speakers. With over 16,400 clubs spanning 141 countries, finding a local branch shouldn’t be too difficult. If you can’t find the time or a club located near you, their website has a number of informative and helpful articles that you can access for free.
AI is changing the game all over the board and public speaking is no exception. Orai is a mobile app that acts as your personal AI speech coach. Use the app before any speech or presentation to get instant feedback. The prize-winning app was created with input from over 100 speaking coaches and offers encouragement and insight which makes practicing fun and rewarding. The app listens for pauses and filler words like “um” and “uh,” analyzes speech clarity, lets you know if you’re talking too fast or too slow, and measures the energy level of your voice. The app is free and is one tool you can’t afford not to take advantage of.
Whether you’re looking to present at a large conference or a in front of a small conference room, visuals help. Once your speaking skills are up to snuff, it’s time to make sure your slides are helping your presentation, rather than hurting it. Simply said, PowerPoint is out and Beautful.AI is in. Beautiful.AI can help you take your presentation to the next level, fast. Instead of using the same old PowerPoint template, you can use slides that look professionally designed. The best part? you can sign up for free, it’s fast, beautiful and even easy to use. No brainer, right?