10 online public speaking courses to build your confidence at work

Public speaking courses give you the tools to overcome the nerves and anxiety that often accompany talking in front of a group.
Written by Melissa Sartore, Contributor

According to the National Social Anxiety Center, public speaking anxiety affects over 70% of the population. Luckily, public speaking courses exist to help you overcome your fears around public speaking.

Public speaking can be daunting, especially at work. Talking in front of people in person or via Zoom can produce anxiety ranging from minor nervousness to full panic. 

Online public speaking courses are among the options to gain confidence in your public speaking abilities. Many are even free! We've included our top picks below. 

Top online public speaking courses: Our picks

Public speaking courses equip you with strategies and tools for effective public speaking. Courses like the ones here offer public speaking tips, practice activities, and essential support to help you build your confidence and abilities as a public speaker.

1. Communication strategies for a virtual age (Coursera) 

Cost: Free access to everything but graded materials for auditors, $49 for certificate

Length and format of course: Approximately seven hours, self-paced with videos, readings, and quizzes

What you'll learn: Offered in conjunction with the University of Toronto, the course introduces techniques used for in-person and virtual communication alongside strategies for applying them. You'll learn how to create presentations, persuade others, run effective meetings, and facilitate virtual collaboration within teams. 

Who will this course most benefit? Designed for team leaders, project managers, and anyone who wants to develop leadership skills, the course provides practical and informative content through real-world examples. The course trains you to apply proven concepts as you build your emotional intelligence and communication efficacy. 

Check out our Coursera review for more information on the platform and its courses.

2. Dynamic public speaking specialization (Coursera, University of Washington)

Cost: Free access with a 7-day trial or monthly subscription; certificate for $49 

Length and format of course: Approximately five months, suggested three hours per week, four courses within the specialization, self-paced

What you'll learn: The comprehensive dynamic public speaking specialization includes four courses. An introductory class in public speaking teaches you models for creating and delivering effective presentations, while the Speak to Inform course focuses on professional presentation technologies and strategies.

 Speaking to Persuade, the third class, emphasizes using arguments and language constructively. The culminating class, Speaking to Inspire, emphasizes using stories, humor, and evidence to inform and entertain. Through the specialization, you design, practice, record, and get feedback on your presentations. 

Who will this course most benefit? The specialization accommodates professionals who want to improve public speaking at all stages of their careers. By learning how to develop and deliver presentations, use rhetoric and argumentation, and employ communication strategies, you become a more confident communicator. 

3. Storytelling and influencing: Communicate with impact (Coursera, Macquarie University)

Cost: 7-day free trial, monthly subscription afterward, $49 for certificate

Length and format of course: Approximately 18 hours over four weeks, self-guided, videos, quizzes, discussion prompts, written assessments

What you'll learn: The course begins by introducing you to theories of persuasive communication. From there, you learn how to develop a dramatic narrative and connect with people through authenticity. The class culminates with instruction about guiding influential conversations and meetings. 

This course is part of a specialization in influencing through storytelling, change management, and governance.

Who will this course most benefit? Ideal for individuals who want to gain insight into effective persuasion through communication, the course also helps you develop strategies to build rapport, overcome resistance, and find acceptance as a leader in the workplace. 

4. Become a better presenter: Improve your public speaking skills (FutureLearn)

Cost: $49 for the course,$16 for a monthly subscription; both come with certificates

Length and format of course: Three weeks, three hours per week, self-guided, videos, active discussions

What you'll learn: Engage audiences by reflecting on your presentation style and making adjustments to improve. The course teaches you to streamline your presentations while properly incorporating improvisation and storytelling. Additional tips for facing challenges, incorporating technology, and answering questions help you as you put theory into practice.

Who will this course most benefit? Anyone who wants to improve how they present and speak to coworkers may benefit from the course.The class gives you more experience as you gain confidence in public speaking. 

5. Communicating with confidence (LinkedIn Learning)

Cost: Free month-long trial or $40; certificate available

Length and format of course: Video lectures with six chapter quizzes, self-guided, roughly 75 minutes

What you'll learn: The course begins by identifying what it takes to be a better communicator. You then learn to hone your message, sound confident, use effective body language, and confront anxiety. Six chapter quizzes accompany two real-world coaching exercises to help you gain experience.

Who will this course most benefit? This course targets beginning public speakers with anxiety around public speaking. Easy-to-use tips emphasize how to effectively communicate using words and movements alike.

6. Intro to public speaking: Give a 5-minute talk without dying (Skillshare)

Cost: Free

Length and format of course: Nine lessons, roughly 50 minutes, self-guided, videos, hands-on class project

What you'll learn: The course focuses on creating slides, connecting with your audience, and eliminating the anxiety that accompanies public speaking. Through step-by-step video segments, you learn to create a presentation and yourself. Apply tips on picking a topic, preparation, and practicing to have a fully developed presentation by the end of the course. 

Who will this course most benefit? Quick, accessible, and practical, the course targets anyone who wants to know the fundamentals of effective and confident public speaking. 

7. Complete public speaking masterclass for every occasion (Udemy)

Cost: $27 for course; certificate of completion available

Length and format of course: Thirty-one hours of self-guided video, four articles, eight downloadable resources 

What you'll learn: Through 51 sections and over 600 individual lectures, the comprehensive course accommodates public speakers of all levels. Public speaking fundamentals, including body language, speaking on video, eliminating fear, and talking to audiences of various sizes, receive attention. Additional topics include using a teleprompter, team presentation, sales pitches, and addressing foreign audiences. 

Who will this course most benefit? This course has information for any public speaking circumstance, event, or occasion. Pick the parts that interest you, or take the whole thing. Check out our Udemy review for more about the platform.

8. How to break the habit of self-doubt and build real confidence (CreativeLive)

Cost: $30 for class, $13 monthly subscription

Length and format of course: Sixteen video lessons, roughly five hours of content, downloadable and offline access, workbook included, self-paced

What you'll learn: Designed to help you overcome anxiety, the course trains you to stop negative thoughts and change the way you think. By exploring self-doubt, you learn to build confidence, eliminate fear, and challenge yourself. Lessons provide information on avoidance coping, hypercritical personality, and overcoming learned helplessness.

Who will this course most benefit? More than a public speaking course, the class aims to help you make the best out of your personal and professional experiences. 

9. Complete public speaking course: Become a great speaker (Udemy)

Cost: $130 for course; comes with certificate of completion

Length and format of course: Roughly five hours of video content, five articles, five downloadable resources, self-paced

What you'll learn: Presented in 10 sections and 140 lectures, the course teaches you to create and deliver an effective, memorable, and accessible speech. Foundational topics include how to use PowerPoint, mechanics of public speaking, and storytelling. 

Advanced content explores how to deal with criticism, persuasion, and different types of public speaking, such as making a toast or delivering a eulogy. The course also includes a recorded question and answer session with instructor TJ Walker. 

Who will this course most benefit? The class accommodates anyone who wants to develop constructive public speaking habits. TJ Walker aims to train you from a competent speaker to one that offers memorable and effective presentations in any setting. 

10. Essential public speaking with VR (VirtualSpeech)

Cost: $45 per month subscription, $34 per month with annual subscription; team and enterprise plans available; certificate of completion awarded. VR headset required.

Length and format of course: Five hours to complete with 58 online video lessons (quizzes and case studies included) and eight virtual reality scenarios; self-paced 

What you'll learn: Online lessons and virtual reality technology blend self-paced learning and immersion to improve your communication abilities. The course covers connecting with your audience, planning your speech, literary techniques, and coping with nerves and anxiety. Virtual reality scenarios let you practice making eye contact, impromptu speech, managing distractions, and giving presentations.

Who will this course most benefit? The course may benefit anyone who wants to hone their public speaking skills while using the latest technology. You can overcome nerves while receiving feedback about how to become an effective public speaker.

Editorial standards