Art of Public Speaking: Lessons from the Greatest Speeches in History

Course No. 2031
Professor John R. Hale, Ph.D.
University of Louisville
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4.1 out of 5
125 Reviews
75% of reviewers would recommend this product
Course No. 2031
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Course Overview

Everybody is a public speaker. Maybe you're delivering a corporate presentation or interviewing for a new job. Maybe you're a teacher lecturing students or a citizen addressing a neighborhood association. Maybe you're arguing a case before a courtroom or persuading book club members about the merits of your latest read.

Whatever the situation, being able to speak in public is essential to success. You can have the most logical argument possible, but in order to truly teach, inform, persuade, or defend, you need to present your ideas with conviction and confidence.

Yet this is often easier said than done. Many of us have a deep fear of public speaking. Or we think it's just an intuitive talent that can't be learned. But according to award-winning Professor John R. Hale of the University of Louisville, a masterful public speaker who has delivered more than 1,000 speeches to all manner of audiences, that couldn't be further from the truth.

All it takes is confidence, practice, and the knowledge of time-tested techniques and strategies used by history's greatest public speakers—all of which you'll find in The Art of Public Speaking: Lessons from the Greatest Speeches in History. This 12-lecture course is your guide to the secrets of this essential skill, an insider's look at what makes history's enduring speeches so unforgettable, and an invaluable reference tool you can use any time you have to speak your mind.

Learn from History's Greatest Public Speakers

As both a lecturer and a distinguished historian, Professor Hale has a strong awareness of how public speaking has been used effectively in the past. What makes The Art of Public Speaking such a unique educational experience is that you learn about the craft from some of the best public speakers in history. Each lecture features powerful speeches by iconic individuals that illustrate how the strategies of public speaking have been used in real situations.

Here are some of the powerful voices you'll meet:

  • Abraham Lincoln, who defined the art of delivering a strong conclusion with his iconic Gettysburg Address
  • Marie Curie, whose commencement address to Vassar College in 1921 exemplifies how to turn dry facts into captivating stories
  • Martin Luther King Jr., who illustrated the best way to share beliefs in his stirring "I Have a Dream"speech

A Course Designed for All Speakers

Explorations of public speaking are often bogged down in complex rhetorical terms. But Professor Hale has designed The Art of Public Speaking to be accessible to everyone. In order to do this, he takes you through each of the three key components of successful public speaking.

  • How to prepare for public speaking: Learn from Patrick Henry, Elizabeth I, and others how to overcome stage fright, control your voice and body, use humor, and personalize your delivery.
  • How to craft a great speech: Learn how to build captivating speeches from people such as Paul the Apostle and Susan B. Anthony and how to use stories, examples, logic, and impressive visual images.
  • How to handle your audience: Learn from Mark Antony, Gandhi, and others how to focus on your audience, persuade them to agree with you, invite them to share your vision, and inspire them to change.

Practical Advice to Help You in Any Situation

The Art of Public Speaking, though rooted in rich history, is packed with practical advice. Here are just three of the tips you'll find:

  • Speak from personal knowledge: Use personal experiences to allow your audience to better connect with you. In polite conversation, talking about yourself is frowned upon; in public speaking, it's essential.
  • Organize your facts into a story: When drafting a speech, find the underlying stories in your topic and organize your information around these stories. You'll find it easier to remember your speech, and your audience will engage more with your message.
  • Weave familiar references into your speech: Using familiar quotations when addressing your audience can establish a common ground. They may not be your words but, when used sparingly, they can infuse your speech with added power.

A Course that's Informative and Inspirational

Praised by both our customers and his students for delivering lectures that are informative and engaging, Professor Hale is the perfect instructor for a course on the power of public speaking. Each of his lectures is an example of lecturing at its finest, demonstrating firsthand the ability of a public speaker to tell stories, to inform, and to inspire.

So join him on this invaluable and practical look at one of the most important skills in your personal and professional life. Whether you want to finally become the confident public speaker you've always wanted to be or are just looking for fresh advice on how to strengthen your public speaking skills, this dynamic course has everything you need.

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12 lectures
 |  Average 31 minutes each
  • 1
    Overcome Obstacles—Demosthenes of Athens
    Here, Professor Hale outlines the goals of the course. Then, he introduces you to Demosthenes—the ancient Greek orator whose life and career illustrates how practice, hard work, memorization, the acceptance of early failures, and other skills are essential to overcoming obstacles from stage fright to speech impediments. x
  • 2
    Practice Your Delivery—Patrick Henry
    Key to effective speaking is using your voice and body to reinforce your meaning. Using examples from Patrick Henry, Oliver Cromwell, Winston Churchill, and others, learn how the power of a speech lies not so much in words as in vocal and physical elements like tone, pitch, facial expression, and posture. x
  • 3
    Be Yourself—Elizabeth I to Her Army
    In order to make the deepest possible connection with your audience, it's essential to talk about yourself. This lecture provides you with advice on opening up to people about yourself—your experiences, your emotions, even your weaknesses—with some lessons taken from speeches by Elizabeth I and Sojourner Truth. x
  • 4
    Find Your Humorous Voice—Will Rogers
    Learn how to use humorous techniques such as hyperbole, incongruity, and surprise—even when your speech is of the utmost seriousness. The secret of effective humor, as speeches by Will Rogers and others show, is to ensure that each laugh makes a point and focuses your audience's attention on the topic. x
  • 5
    Make It a Story—Marie Curie on Discovery
    Turn now to a series of lectures on composing effective speeches. Here, investigate the benefits of organizing information into a story to give your details weight and vividness. One powerful example of this concept at work: Marie Curie using storytelling to explain the complexities of radium—and to make them memorable. x
  • 6
    Use the Power of Three—Paul to His People
    What is the power of three? And why is it so important to writing a great speech? Find out as Professor Hale unpacks the 13th chapter from Paul's first letter to the Corinthians to demonstrate why a speech—and the examples and anecdotes it uses—should be planned in threes. x
  • 7
    Build a Logical Case—Susan B. Anthony
    Logic should always guide the sequence of your thoughts, whether you're giving a sermon, a corporate report, or a birthday toast. Discover how to avoid digressions, offensive statements, contrarian views, and other pitfalls that may disrupt the logic of your speech, with examples from Susan B. Anthony, John Stuart Mill, and Chief Joseph. x
  • 8
    Paint Pictures in Words—Tecumseh on Unity
    Narrow your focus to the individual words and phrases you use in your speech—each of which can make your topic unforgettable. With the help of Tecumseh, Homer, Aesop, and others, examine ways to create and use evocative images, avoid mixed metaphors and hyperbole, and more. x
  • 9
    Focus on Your Audience—Gandhi on Trial
    Now that you've learned how to overcome obstacles and prepare, it's time to learn the essential elements of actually giving a speech. Here, Professor Hale uses famous historical figures, including Gandhi and President Kennedy, as models for how to deliver your speech to—and connect with—specific audiences. x
  • 10
    Share a Vision—Martin Luther King's Dream
    Martin Luther King Jr.'s “I Have a Dream” speech is one of the most iconic speeches in modern history. More important: It's the perfect example of a speech with the power to inspire. In this lecture, discover ways to articulate and share your personal vision with an audience. x
  • 11
    Change Minds and Hearts—Mark Antony
    Sometimes, you may find yourself speaking before an audience who needs to be persuaded about your point of view. Discover invaluable tips for swaying emotions and opinions by appealing to sentiments, repeating facts, and using props—just like Mark Antony does in his unforgettable speech from William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. x
  • 12
    Call for Positive Action—Lincoln at Gettysburg
    Finish the course with a look at what Professor Hale considers the greatest speech ever written: Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Two powerful lessons you can take away from Lincoln's words: Include a clear call to action near the conclusion of your speech, and always craft a strong ending. x

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Your professor

John R. Hale

About Your Professor

John R. Hale, Ph.D.
University of Louisville
Dr. John R. Hale is the Director of Liberal Studies at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. He earned his B.A. at Yale University and his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge in England. Professor Hale teaches introductory courses on archaeology, as well as more specialized courses on the Bronze Age, the ancient Greeks, the Roman world, Celtic cultures, the Vikings, and nautical and underwater archaeology. An...
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Art of Public Speaking: Lessons from the Greatest Speeches in History is rated 4.0 out of 5 by 125.
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Content I enjoyed this course and will revisit it again, if only in parts. The presenter is leaps and bounds a better speaker and presenter then the other communication course I watched through this platform. One of the things I wish there was included transcripts of all the speeches there are mentions of books where to find them, but that feels like a shot in the dark as to if you are going to get the full/correct/proper version.
Date published: 2016-01-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very educational I listened to this course and do not feel I missed anything. A full appreciation of this course did not come to me until I listened to it for a second time. It was very interesting how he used different speeches and speakers to make his points. Most all of what he presents is all ready out there, but he is able to present it in a way that makes is more memorable and entertaining than reading the points off a list. For those who speak regularly this is a great refresher and those who want to learn how to speak this is a great course to lay the foundations with.
Date published: 2015-10-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Terrific introduction to a common situtation Professor Hale provides a terrific service to everyone by providing a concise, clear introduction to being a speaker. Whether you are called upon at work to discuss a project or by a clergyman to give testimony - this course will provide you with the basics of how to do so - intelligently! By reviewing great speeches, you are treated to materials which withstand the test of time. These speeches demonstrate specific, targeted directives which the professor is clearly illustrating. Thank you for creating a terrific Great Course. This one truly lives up to it's name. The audio version would have sufficed for this one with the exception of lesson 2 (where he discusses body language). The DVD was terrific overall, as he demonstrates each lesson how to engage an audience without making it obvious. However, there are not many graphics which would require the DVD version over the audio only.
Date published: 2015-07-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from My review of "Art of Public Speaking: Lessons from the Greatest Speeches in History" by John R. Hale: Professor Hale does a fantastic job of covering famous speeches from notable men and women throughout history, touching on strengths and improvements on the speeches for anyone who wishes to pursue a career in which public speaking is involved. I recommend this to anyone interested in communications, broadcasting, television production, etc.
Date published: 2015-07-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from an informative and interesting course After recently submitting a decidedly negative review for an earlier course, it is a pleasure to highly recommend Art of Public Speaking. On the customer evaluation form which accompanied this course, I rated both the content and the lecturer a 9 out of 10. Although after lecturing to medical and graduate students in human physiology for over 30 years, many of the suggestions and pointers made by Dr. Hale were familiar to me but several I was either not consciously aware of or had used them without planning to use them. His discussion of Shakespeare's Mark Antony speech at Caesar's funeral where he made use of props to great effectiveness, reminded me of the times I had lectured on the distribution of air in the upper versus lower areas of the lung by bringing in a child's "slinky" to illustrate the effect gravity played in that regard. Hale used the blood-stained and dagger-stained robe of Caesar to strengthen his argument but only made a cursory mention of Caesar's will: As I recall, in the film of :Julius Caesar: Marlon Brando waved the will around for several minutes to make the same prop effect for his argument. His lectures on JFK, Churchill and Gandhi were very well presented,, including their minor flaws in which they partially undermined their main points by adding extraneous words at the very end. I was surprised that he did not include any films of Martin Luther King actually delivering his most famous speech. Nor did his bibliography include any references to audio/visual recordings of JFK, King, or Churchill which I am certain exist. All in all.I think this course would be useful to a neophyte lecturer. I was surprised, however that he discouraged the use of the old practical teaching maxim: "Tell them in the introduction what you are going to tell the, then in the body of the lecture, tell them, and finally in the summary tell them what you have told them" As it turned out, Dr. Hale himself used this very principle in almost all his lectures. All in all, I rate this course a four and a half out of five for this on-line review
Date published: 2015-05-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Especially good for young people This course has been among my collection of Great Courses for a while, and I keep returning to it. Primarily because I like to play it for young people that I care about. When in the car for any period of time, I'll play this and ask them to listen, and rarely am disappointed by their uptake. This professor does a fantastic job of explaining why public speaking is relevant and important to acquire as a skill. His first lecture is wonderful to inspire young people with a sense of purposefulness--as life example, beyond the confines of this subject too. For late teens trying so hard to fit in and any penchant to get by on doing as little as possible, the story related of Demosthenes is just great stuff. Then the progression of topics and examples from historical figures is engaging. Eye-opening to young people who tend to think of these great figures as destined from the get go. To portray to them that their great moments of oratory took fore thought, effort and were carefully constructed is good challenge to young minds. An easy to swallow exhortation to practice likewise purposefulness in their endeavors. Lectures on humor and focusing on audience are good instruction. Even though I've heard these lectures a number of times now, I have yet to tire of them and still enjoy reading the faces of young people listening. I particularly like how a couple points of frequent trite advice on speeches are turned on their heads as bad advice with well reasoned explanation. Such as, imagining your audience unclothed to overcome anxiety, or strenuously avoiding speaking in the first person. I refrain from divulging more. So in the end, this course has been the best value of a number I've purchased,
Date published: 2015-05-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A great inspiration First thing I would say : don't expect Art of Public Speaking: Lessons from the Greatest Speeches in History, by Professor John R. Hale, to be a practical method about the writing and delivery of a great speech. If so, you will be deceived. I saw the course more as a non-exhaustive toolkit: it brings a lot of great ideas about the entire process of communicating efficiently in public. As a scholar, public speaking is something I must do quite often: I wasn't particularly bad at it before, but this course somehow changed the way I thought about the whole thing. Not exactly in a practical way - though there are frequent checklists of things you should not forget in the process; but more as a general inspiration about what could make the experience of speaking in public better - both for you and your audience.
Date published: 2015-04-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very helpful to improve Public speaking ability. By watching just 5 videos I gained many Public Speaking Techniques. Thank You Professor for explaining all materials very explicitly. And thanks Great Courses providing this opportunity. I am thinking to buy some Calculus courses as well.
Date published: 2015-04-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Art of Public Speaking Enjoyable and learned some. Wish it would have contained actual speeches from the known authors
Date published: 2015-02-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Art of Public Speaking Excellent material. I really enjoyed session #7 where the instructor discussed 1 Corinthians 13 relating to its speech elements. that was really very good. This is a very helpful course.
Date published: 2015-01-10
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Good title, poorly presented The idea of presenting the greatest speeches in history and learn from them is fantastic, but the way professor John R. Hale presents it is very poor. Rather than providing meaningful information on how to understand the real important points of what makes a difference on preparing to do public speaking, taking all the great examples he mentions on the course, professor Hale concentrates on delivering his own readings and this limits the knowledge. I think the best way to learn to do public speaking is to practice and listen to yourself, so I think rather than listening to the readings, some practical exercises would have made a difference in this course. Another important point in public speaking is the passion given at delivering the message, and professor Hale lacks passion totally. I was disappointed with this course.
Date published: 2014-11-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting and Entertaining Listening to the various speeches and the getting the professor's commentary was great. I enjoyed listening to all of these lectures on the drive to work. I also like how the study guide gave a recap of the key take-away points at the end of each chapter. The choice of speeches was good, I have read about Tecumseh before and find his visual imagery excellent. The other speeches by Oliver Cromwell, Martin Luther King, and Patrick Henry had interesting Biblical references that you would never learn in public school but they are part of history. The writings of the apostle Paul (in Corinthians) was also pointed out for its use of three point structure. Overall, the professor for this course is a good story teller and makes his subject interesting.
Date published: 2014-10-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent way to learn! I really like this! I think everyone would benefit from learning this way. No class rooms and you can go at your own pace!
Date published: 2014-10-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Worthwhile introduction to the Great Courses I had been wanting for years to try out a course from the Great Courses. I decided that, since I will soon be called upon to speak in front of a group, this was the perfect course to try. At first, I was not sure about the idea of an archeologist presenting the material. However, Professor Hale made the class interesting and touched on a variety of different topics relating to mythology, sociology, and history in the context of learning to give a better speech. There are really just basic lessons on the art of giving a speech, but there are several important ideas spread throughout. Every lecture was worthwhile and presented in an interesting manner. I look forward to taking more courses from the Great Courses--in fact, I've already started my next--and possibly even more from Professor Hale.
Date published: 2014-09-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Terrific Course I do some public speaking. This course had very many good ideas which I have been able to incorporate. I have enjoyed listening to it several times and plan to do so again in the future. A great resource for any public speakers.
Date published: 2014-08-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not one of the best from TGC Rather than provide a platform for students to really understanding how great speeches came to be, insists upon delivering his own tiresome theatrical impersonations of various speeches, sometimes with an uncanny similarity to the voice of Fozzy Bear.
Date published: 2014-02-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Average content I might be a bit harsh in my evaluation of this course primarily because I have been an active member in the Toastmasters for the past five years. The instructor is an archaeologist so his approach to teaching public speaking is coming from an archaeologist’s perspectives, which are useful to a certain extent. I would rather see the instructor/presenter in action. That is a real speaker shows you how best to give a speech instead of someone reading from the materials. Even though the course title specifically says ‘Lessons from the Greatest Speeches in History,’ I still expect to see more clips or videos of those people rather than the reading from the instructor. I found the best way to learn effective public speaking other than the well known fact of practicing it yourself is to learn from the speaker themselves. Of all the presentations and workshops I attended at the Toastmasters conferences, the best teachers are the world champion. Even so not every world champion is a great teacher, only some. For this course to me it is a bit textbook based especially with all those references to the figures in the history. If you enjoy history or have a liking to something of that nature, you might enjoy this course in the process.
Date published: 2013-11-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Public Speaking The content of this course is certainly very good, very helpful, and easily applied to a wide variety of situations. I would have liked to see the Professor's eyes. It bothered me, and distracted me not to have contact with his eyes. And sometimes he seemed a bit too polished. Personal preference. Apart from those 2 distractions, the content is good and I will definitely recommend this course to friends.
Date published: 2013-11-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beneficial to Anyone While a good, well written, expertly delivered speech can be engaging, interesting, and thought-provoking, a speech (or lecture) about speeches has the potential to be bland, boring and uninteresting. Thankfully, Professor Hale works his way around this problem by focusing on well known speeches delivered by great speakers, straight from the history books. I was initially concerned that this course would be twelve lectures of the professor repeating public-speaking mantras: maintain eye contact, keep your hands out of your pockets, don't be chewing gum...etc. I am glad to say that this is not what this course is. Yes, Professor Hale does include general rules and tips for public speaking in his lectures, but he masterfully weaves them into his discussion of great speeches. Rather than simply saying "maintain eye contact with your audience," Professor Hale will read an excerpt or show a clip from a speech, then state "...see how Martin Luther King maintains eye contact with his audience throughout the duration of his speech" or "Notice how Queen Elizabeth doesn't talk down to her audience, but rather establishes herself on the same level as them." Examples are incredible learning tools and this style of presenting the subject matter makes the lectures interesting, and gives each installment the chance to have its own "personality”. This course would benefit anyone. All of us will, at some time, have to get up in front of a group, large or small, and speak. The use of the tools illustrated in this course will supply what I believe are the keys to speaking: confidence, and knowledge. Knowledge leads to confidence and understanding the components of a great speech allows the speaker to connect with an audience, project through body language, and create content that engages the listener. Whether speaking to a large group, or offering a toast at dinner, understanding how to speak gives any speaker the requirements for success. This course not only demonstrates what goes into a great speech, it also offers examples of what not to do. Professor Hale will point out, for example, " diverging from your main point takes away from your message..." At a weak point in a speech, he would point out "this is what you're not supposed to do" and offer an explanation as to why. Sometimes the most valuable lessons are in others mistakes. A couple of times I did find Professor Hale repeating himself, which was sometimes distracting. While this did bother me a bit during the lectures, in hindsight the points I remember most were mentioned multiple times. For me, this detracted from the overall enjoyment of the course, but greatly boosted the value of this course, because if nothing else, remembering these key repeated lessons will have already improved your public speaking abilities. I do love however, that this course sneaks a bit of history into the lectures. As a history buff, I was appreciative of historical context through a back story. Professor Hale would present background information on the speaker who was the focus of the lecture, with these short "clips" of history, helping us as students to understand how and why the speakers developed and presented their speeches the way they did. I recommend this course to anyone. Public speaking is a subject that, despite the level of discomfort or fear people may harbor towards it, can be crucial to a situation or even individual success. The skills and knowledge Professor Hale delivers through this series of lectures is, in summary, interesting, enjoyable and confidence building.
Date published: 2013-09-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An interesting course I have enjoyed other of Professor Hale's courses, in particular his Tour of Greece and Turkey. So I was looking forward to his presentation of this course. I wish I could give this 5 stars but unfortunately I found that his technique of reading many speeches while serving his purpose left me with my mind wandering a great deal. There are some very good parts of this course and for those interested in public speaking I think they may find the course of interest. While he focuses on specific great speakers he also includes many others. I found it puzzling that Churchill was not included as a focus, but he does include several examples of his speeches. Likewise the picture on the cover of the course is of JFK but he is not one of the chosen speakers for concentration. But he does give examples from JFK's speeches. While he uses some recordings of actual speeches most of the time he reads sections he wants to use as examples even where recordings are available. Where he does use actual recordings they are very effective. In my view where possible more use of actual speeches would have helped to give useful color to the course. The one item he mentions that I found interesting was his comment that in his grade school every student was required to have a speaking part in a play each year and that he says this helped him overcome any sense of stage fright when public speaking. In my own case in high school every junior was required to give a five minute speech in front of the student body and every senior a ten minute speech. There is no question this was helpful to me through my career. So Professor Hale's recollection of how helpful this was to him at an early age struck a responsive chord. It seems strange that in the age of communications the art of oratory is no longer the focus it was in prior ages. So for this reason alone the course has value.
Date published: 2013-06-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fabulous Course! I just finished this course and have found it to be incredibly helpful. Dr. Hale provides excellent examples and explains things clearly adding great insight. I like the fact that his professional background is in something different than public speaking as it helps add examples on how to apply the lessons learned. While I do a very small amount of public speaking, I spend alot of time in meetings selling my ideas, the material taught in this course is a great help in both areas.
Date published: 2013-05-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Attention all public speakers I have read a book shelf of text on public speaking and sermon preparation and delivery, taken many courses and speak in public 2-3 times per week. Dr. Hale gives a wonderful foundation series that pulls all the important elements into one series. His delivery and content are exceptional examples of using what he is teaching. I plan to use this as a regular refresher class! Thank you, Dr. Hale
Date published: 2013-05-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not what I had hoped for I was very excited to begin this course as I do a good bit of public speaking and am looking for tips to ease my nerves and create engaging presentations. Fundamentally, I was disappointed with this program and was glad that I bought it on sale. The instructor was knowledgeable - having presented thousands of lectures to students. However, his academic background is in archeology and not communications - and I do not feel like I came away from the course with new skills or understanding about how to be a better presenter. The overall concept for the class is interesting - learning from great speakers of the past. But it ended up being a critic of those past speeches and what the speakers did wrong instead of a course about how to confidently develop and present in today's world. The written materials were not especially helpful. They were simply dictated from portions of the instructor's presentation - complete with copious amounts of semicolons to reflect the his speaking style.
Date published: 2013-05-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from You'll Listen to This More Than Once If you wonder what an archeologist has to say about public speaking, give this course a try. The professor brings great orators of the past into class as "guest professors," and methodically dissects specific aspects of each speaker's technique within a single great speech, concentrating on the rationale for the speaker's approach in the speech in question. The presentation is superb. It's worth listening to just to hear the great speeches deconstructed, but the course is a very practical guide for improving one's own speaking and writing skills.
Date published: 2013-03-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Basics to Follow as a Public Speaker Professor Hale offers a twelve lecture course on the skills of public speaking. The course content clearly emphasizes the “how to” of public speaking as opposed to a detailed study of the famous speeches and speakers utilized in a support role to illustrate his important tenets. Little real scholarship on the topic of public speaking is mentioned - maybe there just isn't much research to call on. The lecture points are primarily opinions of Professor Hale based on his experience as a public speaker. His recommendations are clearly presented but often rather basic in nature. I would place the level of difficulty of these lectures are on a par to an advanced high school course. Despite the basic nature of the lectures it is still surprising to me how often many of these basic principles of public speaking are ignored by prominent orators. This course is peculiar in several ways. First, JFK graces the cover of the course guidebook. However, he is mentioned rarely and appears only in a minor supporting role. Second, Professor Hale emphasizes repeatedly that the closing of a speech should not consist of simply rehashing what you just told the audience in the body of the talk. Yet the professor does this repeatedly in each lecture, violating his own dictum. Finally, he uses the speech of Susan B. Anthony on women’s suffrage as a model for presenting a logical argument. Yet during this lecture he points out multiple areas of her talk which actually defeat this goal of logical argument. Surely there must have been another speaker/speech which could illustrate this skill in a more convincing fashion. The course guidebook is a bit thin. Texts of the famous speeches presented in the lectures and short biographies of our "guest speakers" would have been welcome additions. Audio of actual speakers, other than Professor Hale, could have been used more frequently to great effect. Despite these drawbacks I do think this course is worthy of study for individuals who speak frequently in public. Adoption of only a few of Professor Hale’s basic principles could make the difference between success and failure as a public speaker.
Date published: 2013-02-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting Content & Great Professor I agree with many of the other reviews... the content of this course is interesting from a historical perspective, and there are also good leadership lessons to be learned; however, it's not a "how-to" for writing speeches though it does give serveral good tips for public speaking.
Date published: 2012-12-23
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not a course to actually "learn" from Don't waste your money. If you think this course will teach you to be a good public speaker - it won't. Actually, it wasn't just a waste of money, it was also a waste of time.
Date published: 2012-12-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sensual and Deep Less a skills course than an eclectic journey into the rich history of oratory. Providing examples from great speaking and speeches throughout history, Dr. Hale makes the important connection that all of us have with the great orators of history -- namely, communication between human beings is the same now as it was 2000 years ago, and the time-tested techniques that make for great speeches are available to us all. Watch, listen, absorb. Superb.
Date published: 2012-12-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Teaches the principles of a successful speech As other reviews have noted, this course is not a formulaic outline (A+B=C) on how to give a "successful" speech. Rather, Prof. Hale begins the course discussing the speaker (you) and specific preparations that can help enhance your speech. He then reviews a series of historical speeches and pulls them apart to illuminate the communication principles in these timeless classics. This is a great approach for several reasons. First, you can mix and match the principles as they suit your occasion and audience. You don't always have to be funny or share a vision or call for positive action. Second, your study of the lectures can be more focused as the situation demands. Big speech next Tuesday? Pick a couple of techniques and listen to the lectures to see how to apply them most effectively and then get to work. Finally, the sheer diversity of the selected speeches strengthens the course because you learn principles that transcend time and place. This is a solid course and a real value. I’ve listened to some of the lectures multiple times and all of the lectures at least twice. I give at least 6 speeches a year and this course has helped to strengthen my delivery, my content, and my connection with the audience.
Date published: 2012-11-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good tips and techniques to improve your speaking This is an interesting course. It doesn't cover that many techniques and tips, but the ones it does cover are important and well illustrated with the examples. I found the following to be the most useful. Telling stories Using visual imagery Knowing the audience The importance of the ending The use of bad examples as a contrast helps to get the points home. The presenter is excellent making the points well and the examples interesting. I wanted to improve my public speaking, this course delivered some real techniques that I can take to the bank. If you are in the same position, I would certainly recommend it.
Date published: 2012-11-14
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