The Benefits of Public Speaking

Learning Objectives

Explain the benefits of public speaking to your education, your personal life, and your career.

A woman is speaking to five colleagues around a table.

It may be self-evident to you why speaking more confidently, clearly, and effectively would help you in a variety of ways. From speaking up in class or at work to communicating with your children, partner, or friends, making yourself heard and understood has some obvious benefits. You may not realize, however, that the study of public speaking covers far more than just speaking in front of an audience. To succeed in this class, you will learn how to listen actively and provide productive feedback, think about the ethical implications of public communication, build your research skills, practice analyzing and constructing arguments, and to anticipate and incorporate the needs and expectations of your audience for any kind of communication. At the same time, of course, you’ll gain skills and confidence to speak publicly in a variety of situations, from persuading an audience with facts and logic to entertaining a crowd with a well-prepared toast.

Educational Benefits

Many of the skills you learn in this class are directly transferable to other classes and academic pursuits. Here are just a few ways that public speaking can help you in your educational journey:

Research Effectively

Whether for a speech, a written essay, or a multimedia presentation, you need to have relevant and trustworthy information. How do you know which facts are accurate? How do you know which experts are credible? In putting together your presentations, you will learn the key skills of researching a topic and gathering the most compelling, relevant, and reliable data to make your argument.

Make Stronger Arguments

Rhetoric, the art of persuasion, was originally framed in terms of persuasive public speech (In ancient Greece and Rome, a rhetor was an orator). And in fact, you will likely find that preparing arguments for public speech helps to clarify broader questions of argumentation. After all, what better way to test the power of your argument than to try it out on a live (or virtual) audience?

Organize Your Ideas

As you probably know from experience, it’s harder to follow a complex argument in spoken form than an argument in writing. When writing a speech, you may find that you grapple with organizational questions in a different way than you do when writing a paper, which in turn can provide insights about organizing strategies more generally.

Increase Your Confidence in Class Participation

The more you speak in public, the more confident you’ll feel about making your voice heard.

Life and Career Skills

Year after year, research has shown that employers rank the ability to communicate effectively as one of the most sought-after competences from new employees. Many of the top-rated soft skills necessary to succeed in a shifting work environment and evolving career fields are found in this public speaking course. [1] [2] In a survey of college graduates, Zekeri (2004) found that former students rated “skill in oral communication” at the top of a list of crucial academic skills.[3]

Skill in oral communication 3.49
Skill in written communication 3.25
Skill in motivating and managing others 3.27
Skills in personal time management 3.27
Skills in setting personal goal 3.18
Skill in setting organizational goals & objectives 3.15
Skill in effective group leadership 3.07
Skill in project and/or program evaluation 2.90
Skill in public speaking 2.81
Skill in negotiating employee/employer differences 2.84
Skill in finance and cost management 2.80
Skill in handling consumer/customer relations 2.80
Skill in computer use 2.54
Skill in basic statistical techniques 2.43

Zekeri, A. A. (2004). College Curriculum Competencies and Skills Former Students Found Essential to Their Careers. College Student Journal, 38(3), 412–422.

By honing the skills learned in this course, you can stand out at work and advance your career, and you’ll probably discover benefits in your personal life as well.

Inspire People

Being able to persuade and inspire clients, stakeholders, team members, and leadership will help you to ensure buy-in for your ideas and build a positive workplace culture.

Grow Your Confidence

Understanding apprehension and leveraging the techniques to reduce and persevere through anxiety will help you to speak up, take on special projects, and seek out opportunities to network and gain visibility in your career.

Be a More Effective Leader

A good leader, like a good speaker, places their audience at the center of the communication process. The skills you learn in this course will help you to focus on others and consider the thoughts and feelings of your team when making decisions and presenting ideas.

Be a Better Listener

Among the central competencies of this course are the crucial—and challenging—skills of listening actively and sharing feedback productively. Purdy (1997) enumerates a plethora of benefits of conscious listening, including greater success in school and at work, more fulfilling interpersonal relationships, and even health benefits [4] The advantages of active listening extend from our most personal relationships to the realms of mass politics and entertainment, and outward to all aspects of our interconnected society.

Become a Powerful Advocate

Whether negotiating with a family member, persuading a co-worker, or winning over a contentious crowd at a school-board meeting, the argumentation strategies you learn in this course will help you become a stronger advocate for the values, ideas, and causes you believe in.

Develop Your Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking Skills

Public speaking teaches us to build sound arguments, follow logical reasoning, and evaluate sources. It also helps us to see past our own perspective and adapt, which is necessary when problem-solving in all areas of our lives.

Hone Your Presentation Skills

Rather than adding to the number of boring and inapplicable presentations employees and clients will sit through, you will be able to command attention from the room, use your speaking time effectively, and create visual aids that enhance rather than detract from your presentation. Whether prepared or speaking off the cuff, you will have the storytelling skills to effectively use data points and research to create a comprehensive story.

Try It

  1. (Lazzaroni) Pate, Deanna. The Top Skills in Demand for 2020—And How to Learn Them, 13 Jan. 2020,
  2. Marr, Bernard. “The 10+ Most Important Job Skills Every Company Will Be Looking For in 2020.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 28 Oct. 2019,
  3. Zekeri, Andrew A. “College Curriculum Competencies and Skills Former Students Found Essential to Their Careers.” College Student Journal, vol. 38, no. 3, 2004, pp. 412–422.
  4. Purdy, Michael. "What Is listening?" Listening in Everyday Life: A Personal and Professional Approach, edited by Michael Purdy and Deborah Borisoff. University Press of America, 1997, pp. 1–20.