Learning how to be a better public speaker might just change your life. And there’s no better way to improve your skills than with an online course.
But with so many options, where should you start? This article is here to help.
Everyone’s familiar with that nervous feeling which can stop you performing at your best. But understanding how to connect with your audience, speak in a concise and engaging way, and present the best side of yourself are all things that can be learned and mastered. Basically, you can learn how to talk so that people listen.
Delivering the right message in the right way is important in loads of different settings, like weddings, work events, or big presentations. So Whether you’re an experienced public speaker looking to add the finishing touches to your delivery, or a complete beginner in need of advice for your first presentation, I’ve got you covered.
I’ve done my research, and discovered the best Public Speaking courses available, taking into consideration their structure, delivery, duration and content. This list will answer all your questions.
Read on for my top recommendations.
What is the best public speaking course?
Here are my top picks, in order:
- The Complete Presentation and Public Speaking Training Course (Udemy)
- Speak Like a Pro: Public Speaking for Professionals (Udemy)
- Professional Certificate in Communication Skills, RIT (edX)
- Communicating with Confidence (Linkedin Learning)
- Robin Roberts Teaches Effective and Authentic Communication (MasterClass)
- Introduction to Public Speaking (Coursera)
- Become a Better Presenter: Improve your Public Speaking Skills (Future Learn)
- Public Speaking: A Crash Course on Elocution and Confident Speech (Skillshare)
- Talk the Talk (OpenLearn)
- Public Speaking (Alison)
Why these courses?
I loved number 1, The Complete Presentation and Public Speaking Training Course, because it’s so varied and comprehensive and teaches both fundamental theory and practical skills.
Chris Haroun, the instructor, is highly qualified with a wealth of experience. He’s founded multiple businesses, created an online MBA Degree Course, written books and delivered more speeches than I can mention here. The course is well-structured, with a ton of other resources for you to study with alongside the engaging video material.
Coming in a close second is Speak Like a Pro, also on Udemy. The content is similarly engaging, relevant, and practical. But a key difference here is that the teacher, Jennifer Hennings, will lead you through top tips and tricks in less than 2 hours. She promises to take you from being a nervous introvert to a charismatic speaker. If you have less time to commit, or simply want to learn some quick, essential skills, this might be the course for you.
Can’t decide between these two top choices? The great thing about a platform like Udemy is that you don’t have to. With the membership option, you get access to a whole range of courses – including both of those mentioned above. The learning is nearly unlimited, the price competitive, and the content highly accessible.
Another in-depth course is RIT’s Professional Certificate in Communication Skills. This is a 3-part class led by a team of professors that will give you detailed insight into every type of communication.
Whereas Linkedin Learning offers you a short, free course which provides a great introduction to speaking in public with practical advice – and a certificate to add directly to your CV on the networking platform.
Or, if you want to know how one of the best presenters in the world got to where they are, Robin Roberts MasterClass on Effective and Authentic Communication might be for you.
Each of these courses offer something unique, so read on to get my thoughts on their pros, cons, and everything in between.
Best free public speaking courses
Keen to learn but short on cash? The best free public speaking courses are as follows:
- Communicating with Confidence (Linkedin Learning)
- Talk the Talk (Open Learn)
- Public Speaking: A Crash Course on Elocution and Confident Speech (SkillShare)
Linkedin Learning offers free courses on a range of subjects, from professionals.
Talk the Talk on Open Learn is a free course that will guide you in writing your speech and give great tips on preparation and delivery.
Finally, SkillShare offers a 30 free trial subscription to the platform using our links. This will get you access to more than just this public speaking course. Choose from thousands of classes on hundreds of topics to get your learning started, all for free.
Best public speaking course reviews
Platform: Udemy | Teacher: Chris Haroun | Course Length: 12 videos (called ‘Acts’) which total 16 hours
Chris Haroun describes this course as ‘THE most thorough public speaking/speech/presentation course available ANYWHERE on the market’, and I would have to agree. Chris is a world-renowned entrepreneur, teacher, writer, and businessman, having founded several companies, crafted online learning courses, written ‘the most popular book of 2016’ according to Business Insider, and created his own online MBA Degree Program.
His work experience is varied and impressive, and proves his commitment to sharing knowledge. Basing his teaching methods on practice rather than theory, you’re sure to benefit from his expertise.
What you’ll learn:
- How to appeal to your target audience, with a focus on your purpose
- The best way to craft your speech, from content, delivery, and structure, including the use of props like slides
- The importance of how you appear, including your look, confidence, and body language
- Ways to prepare and overcome those public speaking nerves
- Wide-ranging course, which covers every aspect of public speaking
- Incredible total of 337 resources included, such as presentation templates; speech-writing guides; and information on different software applications for creating presentations
- 12 well-structured ‘acts’ (or chapters) divided into specific ‘scenes’, offering a comprehensive course to teach you everything you need to know
- Flexibility – you can take the entire course in order, or skip ahead/take the topics you are most interested in
- 15,000 individual user-reviews, averaging 4.6/5 stars – the consensus is that this course is worth your money
- An experienced teacher contactable anytime throughout the course, or on his Weekly Webcast
- Certificate of completion
- One of the longer courses in this list. However, it’s possible to skip lessons
- Quite in-depth teaching on the technological side of putting together a presentation, which might not be what everyone’s looking for
Who it’s for: The incredible breadth of this course makes it a perfect overview for pretty much anyone who wants to improve their public speaking skills, get over that stage fright, or just learn how to deliver speeches with confidence and control. Resources are provided for almost every setting – from weddings to business meetings, toasts to events. I think this would be a fantastic course which is genuinely relevant to anyone who’s interested.
Overall: A top-end course with content that covers absolutely everything you want to learn about public speaking, taught by an expert at the top of his field. The quantity and quality of resources provided make this course well worth your money. Completing this course will get you more than just a certificate – it will give you the confidence to speak in public like a pro.
Platform: Udemy | Teacher: Jennifer Hennings | Course Length: 29 lectures split into 8 sections totalling 1 hr 13 minutes
Jennifer Hennings is an executive presentation coach who has worked with thousands of people to become great public speakers, including providing training to leading organizations like Google, Apple, and Facebook. Jennifer not only has the teaching experience, but she too started from square one with presenting, as she describes herself as ‘an introvert who used to be terrified of public speaking’. Her experience in overcoming these nerves and becoming a great public speaker proves that her course can help you too.
You’ll learn to:
- Understand the fundamental theory of effective public speaking
- Recognize and adapt to your audience
- Prepare effectively, structure your content and storytelling, and overcome nerves
- Deliver excellent speeches through changes in your body language and articulation, sounding natural and conversational while being well-prepared
- Fantastic, experienced teacher, who is passionate about helping you excel at (and enjoy) presenting
- Applicable lessons for all workplace settings, whether it’s speeches, one-on-one speaking, leading meetings, or making calls
- Concrete strategies provided to help with overcoming nerves and delivering effectively
- A NASBA CPE accredited course, with the opportunity to earn 2.2 NASBA CPE credits
- Extremely well reviewed by more than 8,000 students
- Specifically designed for people presenting in professional setting, which may not be applicable to some – although the lessons are certainly relevant for other contexts
- A more expensive course compared with some others in this list. But for the expertise of your teacher and the lessons
Who it’s for: Professionals, leaders, or aspiring presenters who want to improve their confidence and skills in public speaking in a range of workplace settings, or anyone who wants to overcome their speech anxiety. A massively adaptable course with tips that would help anyone become a better speaker.
Overall: A fantastic opportunity to receive training from a highly experienced teacher, and benefit from her advice and knowledge. Although intended for people who need to speak at work, the program offers universally helpful lessons, applicable to range of circumstances.
Platform: edX | Teachers: Keith B. Jenkins, Lori Marra, Andrea Hickerson, Kari Cameron, and Thomas Dooley | Course length: 4 – 6 hours per week, over 2 months
‘Everyone tells stories – that’s how we build community and share ideas.’ The Rochester Institute of Technology offers this fantastic, comprehensive course on the important skill of communicating, taught by an experienced group of professors and lectures at the institute. You can benefit from their diverse, but consistently high-quality lessons, all in one place, in this three part course.
What you’ll learn:
- The importance of crafting your message and telling stories
- How to identify with your audience
- A variety of communication techniques and styles, from listening to building rapport
- Key presentation tools to deliver high-quality presentations
- How to incorporate visual design to your speeches
- Variety of expertise offered from a five-person team of teachers
- Self-paced program, with the option to complete all three skill-building courses and gain a certificate
- Improve your employability with this university-accredited course
- Covers a range of communication skills, which ultimately will make you a better public speaker
- A longer time commitment than some other courses in this list, and consequently a higher price – but the value is also comparative with this duration and price
- A group of teachers might provide a less linear or direct program, but also the opportunity to learn from a range of experts
Who it’s for: Perfect for anyone willing to commit to improving their public speaking and communication skills in the workplace. Whether you’re just starting out in a new job which requires presentations, or you’re looking to improve your interpersonal skills in your daily work, this course would get you the results you’re looking for.
Overall: This accredited, engaging, and informative course is a great opportunity to learn every important aspect of communication skills. Becoming a fantastic presenter will be easy with this comprehensive, detailed course.
-> For more detail on edX check out our edX review.
4. Communicating with Confidence (Linkedin Learning)
Platform: Linkin Learning | Teacher: Jeff Ansell | Course Length: 5 sections of online videos, totalling 1 hour 16 minutes
Jeff Ansel is the head of his own management consulting and communications training firm, a media and communications coach, and author. He has incredible experience in training public speakers, from big-name companies like Wal-mArt or PepsiCo, to White House spokespeople and high-profile case lawyers, as well as being an award winning journalist. It’s hard to come by someone more qualified to teach you fantastic public speaking skills.
- What makes a good speaker, and what holds you back
- The art of connecting with others by knowing your own message, goals, and self
- How to prepare and structure your speech
- The importance of speaking confidently and articulately
- How to appear confident through body language and gesture
- Tangible advice for overcoming anxiety
- Learn from a highly-qualified coach who has expertise to share with you
- Gain a Linkedin Certificate of Completion which can be added to your CV
- Convenient learning structure, with chapter quizzes to consolidate your new knowledge, and two concluding coaching exercise to put your skills into action
- Real, tangible strategies for improving public speaking and overcoming nerves
- High-quality lessons and materials, all provided on Linkedin for free
- Nearly 13,000 reviews confirming how great this course is
- A general introduction which may be too basic for experienced public speakers – although I think anyone would benefit from Jeff Ansell’s insight
Who it’s for: The incredible adaptability of this course would improve anyone’s public speaking skills, whether you’re new to presenting or a confident communicator. I think this program would be especially helpful for those looking for a short course to add to their CV and improve their employability.
Overall: Jeff Ansell provides a comprehensive course on public speaking, taking you from basics to more specific skills. This course will improve every aspect of your communication skills, is certifiable, and best of all, it’s completely free. What’ve you got to lose?
5. Robin Roberts Teaches Effective and Authentic Communication (MasterClass)
Platform: MasterClass | Teacher: Robin Roberts | Course Length: 11 video lessons, totalling 2 hours 22 minutes
Robin Roberts starts millions of people’s mornings every day, as co-anchor of “Good Morning America”. Who better to learn public speaking from? Emmy award-winning broadcaster Robin will take you through every essential aspect of communicating, learnt from her experience in speaking to the nation. Benefit from her success, and learn how Robin engages with such a broad (and perhaps intimidating!) audience in such a special way.
What you’ll learn:
- How to make an authentic connection with your audience, by sharing vulnerability and making your message clear
- Confident and effective speaking in front of large audiences
- How to apply lessons in communication skills to a range of situations, like job interviews, at work, with loved ones, or even on TV
- What life is like behind the scenes for Good Morning America’s beloved host
- An exciting opportunity to learn from celebrity broadcaster Robin Roberts
- Broad and brilliant advice for every communication situation
- Focus on human communication, using your personality and charisma to connect with others
- An original focus on authentic communication
- Broad content could be seen as less focused for people looking for specific public speaking skills, but gives fantastic advice on communication in a real range of situations
- Based largely on Robin’s experiences, which might not be as training-based as some certified courses. But does allow you to benefit from her wealth of knowledge and unique skills
Who it’s for: Anyone who wants some great advice on how to use your personality, humanity, and vulnerability to become a strong communicator and connect with others. Fans of Good Morning America would enjoy the opportunity to learn more about the show’s enigmatic co-anchor.
Overall: A really exciting course which offers an opportunity to learn from a broadcast journalist at the top of her field, who uses essential spoken skills every single day, and who wants to share this knowledge with you. These lessons will improve your ability to communicate in any situation effectively and authentically.
6. Introduction to Public Speaking (Coursera)
Platform: Coursera | Teacher: Dr. Matt McGarrity | Course Length: 5 online sessions, totalling approx. 12 hours
This excellent overview course of public speaking is taught by the highly qualified Dr Matt McGarrity, who is a Teaching Professor of Communication at the University of Washington. His teaching credentials are great, with numerous teaching awards demonstrating his commitment and skill in passing on his expertise. More than one million students in over 170 countries have benefited from his online public speaking classes, and he’s a top rated professor on Coursera. This course will give you valuable insight into this teacher’s hard-earned expertise.
What you’ll learn:
- How to give concise speeches with direction and purpose
- The art of confidence, achieved through rehearsal, preparation, and dynamic movement and gestures
- Adaptability in public speaking, great for briefings, more informal chats, interviews, presentations and more
- You’ll receive a certificate with great credentials from the University of Washington
- Provides a brilliant, introductory understanding of rhetoric and how to be confident, concise, and fluent in delivering speeches
- A fully online course with a flexible schedule and deadlines, so you can learn at your own pace
- Opportunity to progress to the three further courses in the Dynamic Public Speaking Specialization qualification
- The opportunity to learn from an experienced and well-qualified teacher
- Learning opportunities from graded quizzes and assignments, both peer and teacher-reviewed
- Lecture-based lessons, which give good experiential tips from the tutor, but may leave some learners wanting more practical and applicable advice
- Peer-reviewing results in some underwhelming advice from other learners, but can also provide a great opportunity to learn from those at the same level as you
Who it’s for: A great overview for those looking to learn from an experienced individual who specializes in teaching. Those looking to begin developing their skills in public speaking will find a great introduction which progresses from basic foundations to specific advice, while seasoned speakers will find some great pointers to take your presenting skills to the next level.
Overall: A great introductory course with a teacher who has experience in the classroom, and will guide you through to mastering public speaking. Reducing nerves, getting rehearsals right, structuring your speech and the perfect delivery are all part of the deal with this class.
-> For more detail on Coursera and how it works, check out our Coursera review.
7. Become a Better Presenter: Improve Your Public Speaking Skills (Future Learn)
Platform: Future Learn | Teacher: Liz Avery | Course length: One three-hour unit per week, for three weeks, totalling 9 hours
This course has been put together by professional presenter Liz Avery, who founded the organization The Presenter Network with Royal Museums Greenwich, which unites presenters and public speakers to share tips and knowledge. As such, this course will teach you key skills based on the expertise of a range of experienced professionals, who are keen to share what they know.
You’ll learn to:
- Identify your own strengths and weaknesses in public speaking, and make your presentation personal
- Engage with your audience in every context
- Present spontaneously, using improvisation and storytelling to your advantage
- Deal with difficult situations when presenting and know what to do when things go wrong
- An experience-based learning experience, with presenters giving you tips learnt from real-life situations
- Access to a vast network of presenters and other students to learn from and with
- A well-paced course spread over three weeks to give you time and space to learn
- Accreditation through the CPD certification service
- An excellent starting point, but aimed more as an introduction to presenting than a way to define public speaking skills – although this is great for beginners
- Lessons are mostly based on interviews with experienced presenters, who offer great insight, but might provide advice that is a little too general for some
- Focuses more on theory than practice – great for learning, but doesn’t help so much with practical elements like overcoming nerves
Who it’s for: Aimed at people in a range of settings who want to brush up on their professional presentation skills, especially digitally. Certainly, however, anyone who wants to being learning how to present would benefit from this great introduction from experienced presenters.
Overall: A fantastic overview of online public speaking, covering a range of skills from discovering your presenting style to delivering speeches effectively. This program also provides a great opportunity to engage with other presenters and learners, to solidify lessons and get tips from others.
Platform: Skillshare | Teacher: Ashley Keenan | Course Length: 5 lessons, totalling 26 minutes
In one of the shorter courses available online, teacher Ashley Keenan will take you through a crash course in elocution, or the art of speaking. Ashley is a writer, performer and teacher, and has experience in live events, such as live-lit and comedy shows, in which she mastered the art of speaking to big crowds. Her crash course consists of well-considered, experienced-based advice.
What you’ll learn:
- How to project confidently and clearly to a large audience
- Proper enunciation and emphasis
- Gesture and other engagement techniques
- Fluency and clarity in speech
- Taught in straightforward lesson structure, split into five presentation which content additional information
- Includes a series of fun elocution exercises – like tongue twisters – as well as sample speeches and poems, designed for you to practice with in your own time
- Benefit of a clear and engaging instructor who has real experience in this type of speech
- Direct and not too long, getting you speaking like a pro in no time
- Might not be as in-depth as some other classes available (but it’s a ‘crash course’ for a reason!)
- No certificate of achievement, although its lessons are still valuable
- Quite a basic introduction to the subject – possibly too simple for more experienced public speakers
Who it’s for: Ashley describes the course as great for ‘new managers, actors, college students, and non-native English speakers’ who’d like to brush up on their elocution skills. I think this program would suit anyone who wants to learn some essential public speaking skills in a hurry.
Overall: A great course on elocution, covering the foundations of giving speeches, which make a great starting point. Learn from someone with hands-on experience in an online class of other learners, and improve your public speaking skills in a quick and easy course.
9. Talk the Talk (OpenLearn)
Platform: OpenLearn | Teacher: Marshal Anderson | Course Length: 12 hours of studying, spread over 4 weeks
Marshal Anderson is an Open University Associate Lecturer in English, and occasional stand-up comedian, who has years of experience in public speaking. His knowledge of the effective and persuasive presentation of ideas is something that he’s keen to share with you in this course. The Open University is a trusted organization which provides accredited classes in a range of subjects.
What you’ll learn:
- The key elements of a good presentation
- How to start and end presentations effectively
- The importane of linking ideas to create a narrative and maintain attention
- How to use body language and vocal projection in presentations
- Comes from a trusted organization with a great track record for learning
- Learn from an experienced speaker, with expertise
- Gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your new skills
- Completely free on OpenLearn
- Understand the principles of public speaking and how to do it effectively
- Flexible learning schedule, but set over a longer period of time, which requires more time commitment
- Introductory level – possibly too basic for some advanced public speakers
Who it’s for: An entry-level course is intended for anyone who is interested in public speaking, creating presentations, or communicating ideas effectively, in a range of contexts. Anyone would benefit from this class – either as a starting point for beginners, or an essential refresher for veteran presenters.
Overall: A great, free course, detailing essential elements of public speaking split over well-structured, weekly lessons. Boosting your confidence and gaining core knowledge of presenting is easy with Marshal’s course.
10. Public Speaking (Alison)
Platform: Alison | Teacher: Alison platform | Course length: 1 hour 30 mins – 3 hours
Alison is an empowering learning platform that provides video lessons on a range of subjects, uniting learners around the world to gain new skills. This course covers 12 modules – 33 topics – which allows participants to go at their own pace. The platform is renowned for its free learning opportunities, and is sure to give valuable advice.
You’ll learn to:
- Identify your audience
- Prepare effectively for speeches
- Overcome your nerves
- Deliver public speeches effectively
- Deal well with question and answer sessions
- A flexible, valuable course with well-structured information
- Completely free on Alison
- An accredited course, with the option of purchasing a certificate of achievement once completed
- End of module quizzes to help you track your progress and solidify your learning
- No teacher connection, which might make it harder to reach out with specific queries. But well structured modules makes it easy to follow and understand
- Might be a little simple for experienced public speakers, though still has valuable advice
What are the advantages of taking a public speaking course
- Communicating effectively is essential in nearly every workplace setting and can make you more personable
- Sharing messages succinctly and with passion will make your goals more achievable
- A great opportunity to gain a skill that could advance your career
- Public speaking is a life skill, valuable for everyone
- Use public speaking skills in every setting, from home, to school, to work
Buyer’s guide: what to look out for
The number of course choices for a skill as important as public speaking can be overwhelming. But if you look out for the following criteria, I’m sure you’ll be able to find the perfect program for you:
- Learning from an experienced teacher. The more they know, the more you’ll learn
- Flexibility in time and commitment for online courses. Learning extra skills should work around your schedule
- Accreditation. Having a certificate of completion is essential if you want to add this skill to your CV
- A broad range of content, but supported by concrete examples and exercises, so that your learning really sticks
- Good value for money. Make sure it’s worth it for you!
How much does it cost?
The courses listed in this article range from absolutely free online (like Linkedin Learning, or Alison) to upwards of $400 for the most expensive course (the Professional Certificate in Communication Skills, accredited by RIT, which is a significant qualification).
Generally, great courses can be found for mid-range prices, anywhere from $20 – $150. Remember, in many cases the professionals you’re taught by and the profundity and breadth of information that they give you make these prices highly competitive, especially if compared with in-person training.
Also, with platforms like MasterClass, Udemy, and Skillshare, buying a subscription will get you access to thousands of others similar (and some not so similar!) courses, covering nearly every subject you can think of. This makes the investment well worth your money.
How long does it take to learn public speaking?
It really depends on the depth of the course.
Many of those listed here are between 1-3 hours of online learning time (watching video lectures), with extra time recommended for practice. A few are recommended to be taken over a longer period, weeks or months, with weekly learning that consolidates new knowledge and allows for more time to practice and explore the subject.
Some would argue that public speaking is a skill that is refined over years, or even a lifetime.
Essentially, how much time you want to dedicate to this new skill is entirely up to you. These courses just provide the essential information and guidance for you to begin your learning. And, you can go back any time to remind yourself of what the experts have to say.
Learning essential skills like public speaking has never been easier with such a fantastic range of online courses to choose from.
I think the Udemy courses that I’ve chosen, The Complete Presentation and Public Speaking Training Course, and Speak Like and Pro are the most beneficial if you’re looking for professional development. Both offer fantastic, professional advice from experienced teachers.
The detailed course on edX, Professional Certificate in Communication Skills from RIT, is suited to those who want a complete understanding of communicating with others, from theory to application.
Robin Roberts’ MasterClass is an exciting opportunity to get insight into the life and knowledge of a beloved presenter, while Communicating with Confidence on Linked In learning is a great opportunity to learn some practical skills and tips.
Whatever you choose, hopefully this article has shown you the possibilities of learning communication skills online, and provided a bit of guidance on what the best public speaking course might be for you.
Best Public Speaking Course Frequently asked questions
I think the best class available is Chris Haroun’s “The Complete Presentation and Public Speaking Training Course” on Udemy. This is because of the professionalism of the teacher, the depth and breadth of content, and fantastic resources it offers.
Some courses are completely free, while others can cost upwards of $400. Most mid-range courses cost between $20 and $50.
The best thing about online learning is you can learn at your own pace. The programs listed here vary between 1-3 hours and 12 hours of online content to learn from. But make sure you factor in how many hours you want to spend practicing – which is completely up to you!
Maddy is a current King’s College London student, going into her final year reading Spanish with English BA Hons. She loves to write, learn, and share knowledge.