Many people feel anxious about giving a formal presentation or talk in public. In surveys people have ranked the fear of public speaking ahead of such things as financial ruin and even death. Although almost everyone has the ability to speak, being able to express oneself clearly and effectively in front of a group is a talent that definitely needs to be cultivated.

Learning some basic information about preparing and delivering formal presentations can help allay some of the fear involved in public speaking. Studying well-crafted speeches to see how the content is constructed and the message is delivered can also be beneficial.

Effective public speakers can inform, persuade, and motivate people. People who possess and hone their public-speaking skills will have many opportunities available to them.


Places To Go    People To See    Things To Do    Teacher Resources     Bibliography

Places To Go

Travel back in time to ancient Greece and the world of Aristotle.  He was gifted in the art of rhetoric. Rhetoric is the study of the effective use of language.
The Forest of Rhetoric
This online rhetoric is a guide to the terms of classical and renaissance rhetoric. This site is intended to help beginners, as well as experts, make sense of rhetoric, both on the small scale and on the large scale.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Reacquaint yourself with Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  Through his fireside chats on the radio, he was masterful at speaking to and calming a worried nation—whether about difficult economic conditions during the Great Depression or about the circumstances surrounding World War 2.
The Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858
Visit the seven counties in Illinois where the Lincoln-Douglas Debates were held. In 1858, Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln participated in a series of debates as they both vied for the Illinois Senate seat. They took part in seven debates designed to demonstrate their stance on the issues of the day—especially their views on slavery.  Stephen Douglas won the election.  Lincoln went on to win the 1860 presidential election.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Plan a trip to Atlanta, Georgia to visit the birthplace of Martin Luther King, Jr.  His inspiring speeches changed the world.
The United Nations
Travel to the United Nations where leaders from around the world gather to speak their minds and present their views.  The United Nations was founded in 1945 by 51 countries “committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights.”

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People To See

Anxiety Coach
Meet the Anxiety Coach. Through cyberspace, he can provide you with exercises to help alleviate your fear of public speaking. Demosthenes
Meet Demosthenes. He was the Greek who was a great orator. Find out if the story about him putting pebbles in his mouth to improve his diction is really true.
The Churchill Centre
Meet Winston Churchill and read many of his famous speeches and quotes that helped rally the spirits of the people of the United Kingdom during the dark days of World War II.
Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum
Spend some time with Franklin D. Roosevelt. Part of the success of his long presidency can probably be attributed to his famous Fireside Chats and to the public's perception of him reaching out and speaking to them directly. This site has full text of his chats starting in 1933.
George Bernard Shaw
Get to know George Bernard Shaw, the Irish dramatist. He wrote a play called Pygmalion about a linguist named Henry Higgins who turns a common flower girl named Eliza Doolittle into a lady by teaching her to speak more correctly. The play became the musical, My Fair Lady.
Gifts of Speech: Women Speeches from Around the World
Gifts of Speech was created as a result of a college librarian's frustration at the difficulty of finding a copy of a speech by Gloria Steinem, the modern mother of feminism. It is dedicated to preserving and creating access to speeches by influential, contemporary women from around the world. 
The History Place: Great Speeches Collection
This collection of historical speeches includes speeches ranging from Patrick Henry's "Liberty or Death" speech delivered in 1775 to Bill Clinton's "I Have Sinned" speech in 1998. Each speech is prefaced with commentary establishing the historical context of the speech.
Lou Gehrig
Get acquainted with Lou Gehrig and listen to his farewell speech. Discover why, on July 4, 1939, he said, "Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth."
Mister Roger's Neighborhood
Remember Fred Rogers. His cozy style of communicating with children endeared him to children of all ages.
This site contains information and documents related to the speeches, writings, and biographies of all the presidents of the United States.
Royal Windsor Website
Like romantic speeches? Then get to know Edward VIII of England and read his abdication speech in which he relinquished the crown of England to marry the woman he loved.
Will Rogers
Meet Will Rogers. Read the speeches, newspaper columns, and quotes of this irascible American humorist.

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Things To Do

American Rhetoric
Browse through an online searchbank of over 5000 notable American speeches.
Bartlett's Quotations
A Collection of Passages, Phrases, and Proverbs Traced to Their Sources in Ancient and Modern Literature Compiled by John Bartlett.
Cliche Finder
Find just the right cliché to express exactly what is on your mind.
Learn some tips to conquer your fear of speaking to large groups.  Did you know that the fear of public speaking is called glossophobia?
History and Politics Out Loud
This website is a searchable archive of politically significant audio materials for scholars, teachers, and students.
KidsHealth: Laryngitis
Find out what to do if you "lose your voice" because you have to be able to speak up in order to keep an audience attentive.
McGraw Hill Public Speaking Website
Humor and quotes to work into your speech-of just for your own enjoyment.
Phobias Glossary
Laliophobia is fear, anxiety, or extreme self-consciousness that arises from speaking in public. Identify any other worrisome phobias that you may have.
The Quotations Page
Browse through thousands of famous quotes to get ideas for your next speech.
Toastmasters International
Learn the 10 tips for successful public speaking.
You Don't Have to Imagine Their Underwear! Seven Tips to Becoming a Dynamic Presenter
Learn 7 helpful tips to improve your public speaking skills.

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Teacher Resources

Effective Speech Writing
Writing speeches for graduation, class assignments, or other purposes consists of a lot more than finding a few inspirational quotes and possibly a funny story or two.
Online Activities

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  • Brown, Marc. Arthur Meets the President. Little, Brown & Company, 1992.
  • Carnegie, Dale. How to Develop Confidence and Influence People by Public Speaking. Simon and Schuster, 1976.
  • Krannich, Caryl Rae. 101 Secrets of Highly Effective Speakers: Controlling Fear, Commanding Attention. Impact Publications, 1998. 
  • Lucas, Stephen E. The Art of Public Speaking. McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2000.
  • Maisel, Eric. Fearlesss Presenting: A Self-Help Workbook for Anyone Who Speaks, Sells, or Performs in Public. Watson-Guptill Publications, 1997.
  • Noonan, Peggy. On Speaking Well: How to Give a Speech with Style, Substance, and Clarity. HarperCollins Publishers, 1999.
  • Papajohn, Dean. Toward Speaking Excellence. University of Michigan Press, 1998.
  • Sterling, Bryan B. and Frances N. Sterling. Will Rogers Speaks: Over 1,000 Timeless Quotations for Public Speakers, and Writers, Politicians, Comedians, Browsers. M. Evans, 1996.
  • Walters, Lilly. Secrets of Successful Speakers: How You Can Motivate, Captivate & Persuade. McGraw-Hill Companies, 1993.