Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

University of Washington

Introduction to Public Speaking

University of Washington via Coursera


Unlock Unlimited Opportunities: Get 50% Off Your First Month of Coursera Plus
This course offers a proven framework for crafting and delivering impactful presentations. In the professional world, academic settings, or public life, we're frequently asked to "share some thoughts." Many individuals struggle in these situations. This course aims to make you excel where others stumble. We'll explore how to structure speeches coherently, write memorably, and present confidently. Upon completion, you will diminish your public speaking anxiety, leverage rehearsal methods to develop a robust, engaging speaking voice, and execute speeches with dynamic movements. The speech model we'll practice is versatile for briefings, elevator pitches, interviews, and even as a blueprint for hour-long presentations. Whether you're a novice or an experienced speaker, this course will help you master speaking fundamentals or elevate your public speaking skills to new heights. As a bonus, you'll gain access to an immersive VR experience that lets you perfect your presentation skills in a simulated auditorium or conference room, complete with a virtual audience. You will receive real-time feedback, empowering you to refine your abilities through practice in a realistic setting.


  • Week 1: Understanding speech
    • Thank you for joining Introduction to Public Speaking! I am thrilled at the prospect of a global discussion about good speech. Let's get started! In this module, we’ll focus on the basics of the course and how rhetorical canons will help us structure our time. Then we’ll turn to the important ways that speaking and writing differ. By the end of this week, you should have some tools for evaluating your speech writing. If you want some feedback, you’ll be able to upload an introductory speech for peer review.
  • Week 2: Making ideas compelling and memorable
    • Now that we have the course foundation out of the way, we can work on our basic speech model: the key point speech. I love this format. It's the Swiss army knife of speeches. This basic model works in interviews, short presentations, elevator talks, and can even structure an hour long presentation. After overviewing the assignment, we’ll talk about how to plan out your speeches. By the end of the week, you should have some tools for quickly putting together short presentations. You can practice this by analyzing some speeches.
  • Week 3: Illustrating and delivering your ideas
    • This week, we’ll talk about support and arrangement. The lessons here will immediately help all of your other presentations. Why? Because we need to think about how audiences hear our ideas in real time. There are things we should be doing to help listeners instantly organize and process the information we’re presenting to them. By the end of the week, you should be able to discuss evidence clearly and highlight your speech's organization. If you want some feedback, you’ll be able to upload a practice elevator speech for peer review.
  • Week 4: Overcoming your fear of public speaking and developing great delivery
    • This week, we'll discuss speech apprehension and delivery. I know the fear of public speaking is a pressing topic for many. Why didn’t we start the course with this? Because I think many delivery concerns go away if the invention and arrangement are good. However, invention and arrangement are just part of the equation - now we can supercharge our delivery. By the end of this week, you’ll have some techniques for combating those butterflies and speaking confidently. If you want some feedback, you’ll be able to upload a practice key point speech for peer review.
  • Week 5: Course conclusion and your final speech
    • Thank you for time in this course. I hope the material has proven helpful in some way. We concluded our discussion of the speech last week. I would like to spend a bit of time reflecting on the course and talking a bit about the other courses in this specialization. We will end this week with your final key point speech.

Taught by

Matt McGarrity


4.4 rating, based on 14 Class Central reviews

4.8 rating at Coursera based on 2028 ratings

Start your review of Introduction to Public Speaking

  • Anonymous
    This class was great. I took it to improve my English and the topic was also very interesting for me. Course turned out to be a super interesting course about public speaking. The teacher is great, he really keep your attention until the end, also very good and entertaining speaker. Also, you have option to post your own speech and get a peer review which was very helpful to me. So I recommend this course to all of you who are interested to find out how to prepare and deliver great presentation and in the process you will learn a great deal related to public speaking topic. Highly recommended!
  • Anonymous
    Hi everybody,

    I recently completed Introduction to Public Speaking course by Dr. Matt McGarrity. The content of the lectures is very high, the expertise of Dr. Matt McGarrity is supurb. This is one of the best courses I have taken so far. There are quizes to test your theory and the best part is that you can upload video practices and get feedback (which I think was the most valuable part of this course). I highly recomend this course to anyone who is interested in Public Speaking.

  • Ukachi Agbai
    The introduction by Dr matt garrity was great he helped to me that public speaking is not all about speaking English and the right word to use in expressing myself in public while speaking
  • Amos Mapharing
    The art of public speaking is very core especially in a professional life. It makes one a better communicator,a better manager and a team builder who is able to communicate the image of his organization.
  • Peace Theodore
    I want to learn how to speak fluently with a British assents,also,on how to be organised when ever you are called upon,ability to speak fluently and work write with good english
  • Anonymous
    Before I enrolled at this course, one part of my job is to deliver sessions to the PC volunteers. I was not doing bad but needed more skills to easily do my sessions.
    After this course I feel much and more comfortable to do this
  • Profile image for Luis Ribeiro
    Luis Ribeiro
  • Anonymous
    The art of public speaking is very core especially in a professional life. It makes one a better communicator,a better manager and a team builder who is able to communicate the image of his organization.
  • Seng Nau
    I have lose confidence to talk other in public, sometime I forgot words to talk. I hope this course will give some knowledges and imformations.
  • Mark Riker
  • Renata Naumoska
  • Mohit Kumar Singh

Never Stop Learning.

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.

Someone learning on their laptop while sitting on the floor.