How to Teach Public Speaking

With the fear of death, the fear of public speaking is one of the most common phobias across the world. It's extremely important to therefore understand that some of your students may have an extreme case of fearfulness when it comes to speaking to an audience of more than one or two people.


  1. 1
    Make sure your students are as comfortable and relaxed as possible. You don't want them to start too far outside their comfort zone. Not too comfortable - we don't want anyone nodding off to sleep now!
  2. 2
    Ask some 'searching' questions to understand their fears. For example, ask, "Why do you think you're afraid to speak in public?" or "What aspect of public speaking are you most nervous about?" Try to find out if their past experiences with speaking/performing in front of an audience have been generally positive or negative, and use their comments to target your teaching.
  3. 3
    Give your students exercises that emphasize manner of speaking over content. Ask students to speak without preparation on a random given topic for at least one minute. This makes them think quickly on their feet and helps them get comfortable speaking without excessive preparation.
  4. 4
    Evaluate your students' performances, offering tips and constructive criticism. Give them plenty of opportunity to practice and work on the specific areas you target for improvement.
  5. 5
    Give positive examples to show good public speaking practices. After a student gives a speech on an assigned topic, give an example of the same speech, making sure to use pauses, eye contact, gestures, and repetition appropriately. This helps students understand and reinforce good habits.
  6. 6
    Invite strangers to listen to your students speak. If they get too comfortable with you and your class, expand the audience to make the speeches feel more authentically public.

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Categories: Public Speaking | Teaching