Public Speaking Courses

A brief look at four of the many public speaking courses I've done over the years. All different in approach and impact. All useful. One brilliant (it's the last one so keep reading all the way to the bottom :)

I'll finish with a couple of recommendations if you want to do a course as part of your own public speaking training.

1. Generic "Train The Trainer" Course

I did this as a junior officer in the military and it was a good entry level course to prepare people for 'instructing' as we called it - teaching in a classroom, presentation skill training.

5 days long. The best thing about this course was you had to do a speech on each day except the first. It taught me you can prepare, rehearse and deliver four speeches in four days if you have to.

This type of course will probably help your confidence. Plus you learn the basics, the mechanics of speaking.

2. Eight Week Public Speaking Courses

Although this wasn't a Toastmaster Course, it was certainly based on their 'Speechcraft' course. You should be able to find one of these close to where you live. If not approach the local Toastmasters Club and ask them when the next one is (that'll motivate someone to get moving!)

Held on 8 consecutive weeks, on the same night each week - 8 Tuesdays for example. Three hour sessions with a break for coffee and a snack.

You prepare and deliver a different speech each week. The speeches follow a set pattern and gradually increase in complexity.

You also do some extemporaneous or impromptu speaking each session. Good practice for the real world!

Your presentations are recorded so you can view how you did later. Highly recommended. (get over yourself, you don't look or sound that bad :)

Another good, basic course to get you going or to polish your skills and build more confidence.

3. Ten Month Professional Speaker's Course

This was a unique course which I'm proud to say I passed with Honours. It consisted of a three hour session one evening a month, plus a Saturday morning training workshop each month with a guest trainer.

It was for people like myself who were speaking for a living (or who wanted to). We had to do a certain amount of public speaking in the real world as part of the course requirements.

The course culminated in each of us delivering an after dinner speech at a fancy restaurant in front of a packed room. It was great fun.

Obviously a more advanced course, this was good value. The invited experts for the Saturday sessions were all at the top of their field and taught us advanced subjects like breathing, personal presentation and grooming and drama.

If you can find one like this go do it. If the idea inspires you to start your own, great. Just make sure you send me some pictures or videos!

4. Dr Rich Allen's "The Power To Train"

I saved the best for last. This course over two days was a real hoot.

Rich Allen is a delight to be trained by, and the best trainer of any kind I've ever experienced. He has a PhD in educational psychology and he knows how people learn best.

Most important, he can teach you how to do it.

His site is at
You'll have to check out his schedule. He's based in the US, but I believe he also does courses in New Zealand.

The thing I remember most about this course (it was more than 7 years ago) was how much I laughed. He knows how to help you enjoy a course, which is what you want to be able to do as a trainer!

Other things off the top of my head include:

  • A brilliant memory exercise I've used many times since.

  • The important of changing the state of your audience very, very often. Every few minutes.

  • The brilliant use of music in a training environment. Extremely powerful because music taps the emotions better, and more quickly, than anything else.

If he's training anywhere near you, go do his course. Of all the public speaking courses I've done, this one really stands out.

Recommendations On Public Speaking Courses

  1. Do one! The more practice we get the better.

  2. Start with the basics. Unless you're already a professional speaker, doing many presentations each week, you need the basics.

  3. Use it! Enjoy putting your new skills and confidence out there into the world.

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