Essential Public Speaking

The easiest way to become a great public speaker. Learn with online classes, practice in interactive exercises.

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Course overview

Online

CPD Accredited

65 online lessons

Digital certificate

8 practice exercises

5 hours of learning

Course outcomes

Overcome a fear of public speaking and feel comfortable speaking in front of audiences of various sizes

Know key theories and techniques to deliver effective and memorable speeches

Easily design your presentation to engage and persuade your audience

Manage nerves and become a confident public speaker with practice in interactive exercises

Engage and connect with your audience through storytelling

Enhance your message with body language, eye contact, and gestures

Practice exercises

Access the practice exercises either online (in your browser) or in virtual reality (if you have a VR headset).

VirtualSpeech courses have been completed by employees at companies including:

Accelerate learning with realistic practice

Over 70% of HR professionals say that public speaking is essential for a successful career. Feeling confident in your ability to articulate yourself and inspire your audience can transform your professional and personal life, and help you to reach your full potential.

This course gives you the tools and techniques to successfully deliver a presentation, pitch, or speech whenever you want. We'll help you write and structure your speech, use literary techniques for maximum impact, and transform your nervous energy into an authentic connection with your audience.

Practice exercises: Practice makes perfect

A unique feature of this course is that you can practice everything you've learned, either online or in VR:

Conference room
  • Unlock access to interactive exercises, which you can access from your web browser or a VR headset.
  • Mock conference rooms, meeting rooms, Zoom presentations, and more.
  • Practice your skills with various audience sizes.
  • Receive detailed feedback on your performance.

Online learning, done differently

We combine online learning with practice for a unique learning approach. At certain points throughout this public speaking course, you'll practice what you've learned.

Learn online courses

Learn online, anytime

Complete a series of videos, quizzes, and case studies at your own pace - available to access at any time.

Practice exercises

Practice with exercises

Build your skills and confidence by putting them to the test with computer-generated audiences.

Improve with feedback

Improve with feedback

Receive instant feedback on your performance to help identify your strengths and weaknesses.

Reduce nerves

Reduce nerves through practice

Practice as often as you need to in realistic virtual environments, ensuring you're confident for any future public speaking event.

Course participants have stated that completing the practice exercises has reduced their anxiety, as they get more familiar with speaking in front of an audience.

Featured by Forbes in their list of Top 10 Online Business Courses

Course content


  • Overview of the online course, including how to access the practice exercises, and how they can improve your public speaking. We end this section with a brief history of public speaking.
  • Course overview
  • If you are using VR
  • Practice: Vocal exercises
  • History of public speaking
  • Practice: Conference presentation
  • Rhetoric is an important part of public speaking and persuasion. This section covers the key aspects of rhetoric, as we explain what makes speeches easy to listen to and how to add these to your speech.
  • What is rhetoric?
  • Rhetorical situations
  • The canons of rhetoric
  • Ethos, Pathos, Logos: 3 pillars of persuasion
  • What makes speeches easy to listen to?
  • Practice: Creating analogies in your speech
  • It's vital that you understand and connect with your audience during your speech. This section covers the different types of audience members, how to maintain their attention and cope with distractions.
  • Example: Connecting with stories
  • 4 types of audience
  • Maintaining the attention of your audience
  • Making your presentation more interactive
  • Interacting with the audience at the event
  • Example: Be careful with audience interaction
  • Practice: Dealing with Distractions
  • Questions from the audience
  • Guide for handling audience questions
  • Practice: Answering questions
  • Planning is a vital part of public speaking. Learn how to pick a topic and what to ask yourself before writing your speech. We also show an example product demo, to help you plan for this scenario.
  • Questions to ask yourself
  • Choosing a successful speech topic
  • Purpose of your speech
  • Using statistics in your speech
  • Example: Planning for a product demo
  • Impromptu speeches are amongst the hardest you will do. Learn how you can prepare for these situations and then practice your impromptu speaking.
  • Think fast, talk smart
  • Practice: Impromptu speaking
  • Impromptu speech topics for practice
  • In this section, we provide frameworks and examples for how to write and structure a speech, with a particular focus on the introduction.
  • Structuring your presentation
  • The importance of the beginning and end
  • How to start a speech
  • The INTRO model
  • INTRO model example - Jamie Oliver
  • Example: Comparison between two introductions
  • Opening phrases to avoid
  • How to end a speech
  • Presentation and slide design
  • Practice: Learning a speech
  • Literary techniques are a powerful way to engage your audience. We examine the techniques used by Obama, Churchill, and King in some of the world's most famous speeches.
  • Useful literary techniques
  • Literary techniques example - Barack Obama
  • Example: Two speeches analyzed
  • Great speeches that use literary techniques
  • Practice: Literary techniques
  • Nerves are an inevitable part of public speaking. Practice your speech in our large virtual conference, before learning how to manage anxiety from an expert.
  • Preparation: TEDx Talk at short notice
  • Practice: Giving a TEDx Talk
  • Example: Body language and nerves
  • Managing anxiety
  • Reducing your nerves
  • Example: Nervous speaker
  • From warming up your voice, to actually delivering your speech, this section covers all the fundamental topics required when delivering a speech.
  • 3 easy to implement speaking tips
  • Exercises to warm up your voice
  • Example: Comparison between two vocal ranges
  • Practice: Pitch variation when giving a speech
  • Average speaking rate, with examples
  • Practice: Varying your pace
  • Example: Speaking pace
  • Importance of eye contact
  • Practice: Eye contact
  • Example: Speaking at a lectern / podium
  • Practice: Online presentations
  • The final section of this course gives you simple communication tips and a checklist to go through before your next speech.
  • Simple rules for effective presentations
  • Checklist for before and after a presentation
  • Practice: Two additional rooms
  • Course completed

Example videos

Throughout this course, you'll watch real-life video examples of the skills being taught, including how to start a presentation, use your voice effectively, and answer audience questions.

Learn from these videos and transfer the skills to your own public speaking.

Video example

Your instructor

Dom is Curriculum Lead for the Public Speaking course. He's an entrepreneur and engineer with a passion for finding new ways to improve speaking skills using technology. Previously, Dom worked at Jaguar Land Rover before leaving to start VirtualSpeech and now speaks at events around the world.

Practice exercises

Practice your public speaking with interactive and engaging exercises. At key points during the course, you'll be prompted to practice what you've learned in one of the following exercises.

Note: These exercises can be completed online (in your browser) or in virtual reality (if you have a VR headset).

350,000+

Learners

4x

Faster than classroom training

6

Learning awards

Features in the practice exercises

Improve faster and practice what you learn with these features.

Presentation Slides icon

Upload slides and notes

Practice with your own presentation slides and notes with you.

Voice Analysis icon

Speech analysis

Receive feedback on your eye contact, speaking pace, filler words, and more.

Audience distractions icon

Audience distractions

Learn to deal with audience noises, mobile phones ringing, and stage lighting.

"As someone who suffers from public speaking phobia, this threw me right into the lions den... I encountered flaws in my approach that I would not have discovered until the actual event."

- Ish Laos

"Insanely useful for someone who wants to learn to speak in front of people... I'm now the 'pitch man' for our company, and my pitches opened the door to our (now completed) seed round of funding."

- Jordan Brook

"VirtualSpeech helps conquer stage fright and get someone accustomed to what it feels like to be presenting to a crowd, and thus prepare for the same situation in real life."

Kit Eaton - The New York Times