Communications and public speaking give you entry to several types of careers. You’ll have opportunities to learn about current events and media. Your studies will also help you to craft your public speaking skills. You’ll learn to write well and express yourself in a way that others can easily understand.
Along with your public speaking skills, you may become an expert in marketing products or services. You can hone media skills that allow you to pick out the unspoken messages that move through social media and news stories.
After developing your communications skills, you’ll be able to help your employer reach the specific demographic groups they want to communicate with. Your classes will teach you how to develop your research skills, focusing on qualitative and quantitative research methods.
Resources for Before and After College
Resources for Public Speaking Students
Why is accreditation so important? Should you pay attention to programmatic accreditation? First, accreditation is a specific recognition of a school’s high quality instruction and faculty. Someone who graduates from an accredited university or program may receive more consideration for a position than someone whose application and transcripts show that they attended a program that wasn’t accredited. While you may not believe that accreditation is important, your future employers do. And if they see that your degree program holds accreditation while other candidates don’t, you’ll be the one who gets a call for an interview.
Accreditation simply means the school and program have set minimum standards that have been established by an accreditation agency. Along with receiving calls for interviews, you’re more likely to get a higher salary offer, your requests to transfer to other schools are more likely to be accepted by the receiving school, and you’ll also be able to receive federal financial aid. Students attending unaccredited degree programs and schools are not able to access federal financial aid, because the US Department of Education is reluctant to put its faith in a program that hasn’t shown it has the high value required to allow students to succeed.
Questions About Financial Aid
Financial aid (especially federal) has many rules and regulations you need to be aware of. If you are an undergraduate student and your parents aren’t (or can’t) provide full financial support for you to go to school, the Department of Education may still not classify you as independent. This means that your parents’ income, regardless of whether they are helping you financially or not, will be taken into account when you apply for aid. If your parent’s financial situation is less than perfect, this might mean you will have access to more assistance with your tuition. If your parents are doing well financially, you may want to attend a community college until you are considered independent.
This will likely come into play when you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for need-based aid, fill it out anyway! If you have a sibling who is also in college, that will be taken into consideration along with your parent’s ability to help you pay for school. You may also need to fill out your FAFSA to apply for some communications scholarships or for your school to include you in the running for grants they offer new students.
If you want to apply for work-study and you have also applied for student loans, you can send a letter to your school’s Financial Aid office to request access to work-study. If approved, you may be able to apply for a fewer loans, lowering your overall debt.
Most, but not all, scholarships are merit-based. “Merit” refers to academic achievements such as your GPA, college entrance exam scores, and extracurricular or leadership activities.
If you know of a scholarship focusing on your public speaking major or a specific interest, such as participating in state symphony orchestra, apply! You’ll likely need to do your research to find such scholarships, but the work is definitely worth it, even if you only get enough to cover one semester or a year’s worth of books.
Public Speaking Associations for Students
Joining a public speaking association that accepts students gives you advantages that other students will not receive. While you’ll likely already be pretty busy with school, going to a weekly or monthly meeting will net benefits for you that you are less likely to get by studying in your dorm.
Think about those group or individual assignments that require you to get up and speak, sometimes extemporaneously, in front of the entire class. Your heart rate speeds up, your mouth dries, and you’re sure you’ll embarrass yourself with a mistake. By joining a public speaking association, you can learn to address these issues. You’ll also learn about conducting your research before you get up to make your next spoken presentation.
This world-famous association teaches people, including students, to speak publicly. You’ll learn how to develop presentation skills, which includes speaking before an audience.
- National Speakers Association (NSA)
Membership in the NSA allows you to refine your skills in presenting and research so that, when you get up to speak, you’ll know just how to convince your audience. NSA membership offers both resources and community to its members.
- The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD)
ASTD focuses on learning in the workplace for performance professionals. Students are welcome, enabling them to learn about research, benchmarking, analysis, and how to seek online information
- Meeting Professionals International (MPI)
At MPI, the leadership team knows that when individuals meet in person, they are more empowered. This allows professionals in the events and meetings industry to lift themselves up with the beneficial effect of mutual empowerment.
- American Society of Association Executives (ASAE)
ASAE is the most-needed organization for people in association management. ASAE represents individual association professionals and organizations, helping them to transform society.
Student or Open Access Journals
As a communications/public speaking major, you should consider subscribing to a professional communications journal or finding an open access journal in your school library. While it means additional reading, it will also help you to acquire higher-level reading skills within your field, giving you a broader knowledge base in communications that will help you get through your junior and senior courses with ease.
Public Speaking Study Resources
Even as a student, you may feel the need to take courses from another learning resource, such as an online university, so you can begin adding or prepare to add certifications to your resume. If you decide to do this, there’s a strong likelihood that you’ll be studying 100% online.
You may have several reasons for taking this path: You may want to add to your eventual career. You may enjoy the flexibility of the scheduling and environment. However, the skills for online studying and test-taking are different from face-to-face instruction. You’ll have to exert more responsibility and self-discipline, so you complete all readings and assignments by their deadlines.
Here are some online options for public speaking or communications students:
- Rochester Community and Technical College/Online Speech Classes
At RCTC, you are able to take online speech classes from your own state. Required speaking assignments can be completed via an online video.
- Coursera/University of Washington/Dynamic Public Speaking Specialization
This course allows you to earn the skills you need to become a good speaker. Required practice will help you to meet your goal.
- Skillshare/Intro to Public Speaking - Give a 5-Minute Talk Without Dying
In this online class, you identify fear of public speaking and learn how to approach public speaking with confidence.
- Udemy/The Complete Public Speaking Course: Become a Great Speaker
In this course, you learn how to develop your ability to speak in public with confidence. You’ll learn the particulars of public speaking.
- Saylor/ Comm 101: Public Speaking
This course gives you the elements of effective speaking. Short videos help you to learn about performance-oriented details of public speaking.
Assuming you are a traditional college student, you grew up with apps. Apps can be helpful tools for you as you handle schoolwork and learn to manage your time, which is always in short supply. If you grew up speaking a language other than English, you may be all too aware of your accent, and worried that it will hold you back in your public speaking assignments. As the saying goes, “There’s an app for that!” If you need an easy way of note taking or a way to block yourself from social media and focus, you’ll be able to find almost anything you need on your app store of choice.
Apps related to becoming an effective public speaker allow you to practice in front of a crowd (a virtual one, that is). Or you can zero in on those filler words, such as “like” and “um”. There’s even an app that prompts you.
Check out some of the options below:
- Virtual Speech
Using virtual reality, you’ll be able to “see” an audience seated in front of you. This app comes with online courses and enhances your classroom experience.
Featuring large, red numbers, you’ll be able to time yourself as you practice your speech.
- Confident Public Speaking Now
Available on Amazon, this helps to keep your usual physical reactions to public speaking at bay.
- Pro Metronome
This app helps you learn stage performance and daily practice through time signatures, provided through beats.
This app works as a speech coach. It helps you to find your speech quirks, such as “um,” “like”, or “so.” Practice with TalkAbout (conversation game) or FreeStyle (open mic) to prepare for speaking assignments.
If you know in high school what your major will be, it’s a good idea to begin working on your communication and public speaking skills. While you are unlikely to earn an internship this early, you can start working with groups that will allow you to hold leadership roles that will give you experience in speaking to others from a position of authority.
In college, your internships will be located in working environments, such as non-profits. These may be paid or unpaid. As you consider your options, make sure that your internship will allow you to do actual communications work, rather than just completing non-communications work that any employee could handle. It’s important to search for an internship that will let you gain useful experience that will inform your job search and skills growth.
Resources for Students and Professionals
Public Speaking Certification Options
It doesn’t matter whether you’re still a public speaking/communications major or if you have become a professional in this field. Taking certifications for public speaking will be an excellent idea in either case. As you consider this option, you can research the certification options available online. You need to find courses at an appropriate level for your learning and skills. Some courses will be free—this applies to all skill levels, from beginner to expert.
You’ll find courses on some of the most popular MOOC websites such as Udemy, Skillshare, and Coursera. Whether a course is free or not often does not affect its quality.
Temp agencies fill gaps in employment for companies. In the communications or public speaking sphere, such agencies place only communications or public speaking professionals.
When you have just graduated and you don’t have much experience beyond internships, a temp position may just put you at the level you need to apply for a permanent, full-time position by enriching your professional experience and resume.
The way this works is that companies looking for part-time workers contact the temp agency and let them know what they need and when. The temp agency goes through its roster of available employees. When it finds someone who fits the needs of the client company, it contacts the employee and gets their affirmation that they want to fill this temporary position.
Resources for Public Speaking Professionals
Professional Communication/Public Speaking Associations
Public speaking/communications associations are a wonderful idea. You are able to speak in public, so meeting and networking with other professionals may be a natural activity for you. However, attending these meetings and mingling with other professionals, becoming recognizable to others in your profession, may mean that one day you get the opportunity to climb the presentation stage at one of these meetings.
Popular Public Speaking/Communications Journals
When you get up to speak in public, you are delivering a message you created with care. You want that message to resonate with every member of your audience. Ultimately, you want to persuade them to consider your point of view.
Knowing this, you may want to subscribe to journals specializing in communications and/or public speaking. Good journals continually teach you how to whittle away what you don’t need so that your message is clear and concise. You’ll also learn how to plan, review, and revise your public speech. You don’t want to lose your audience while you labor through an anecdote you thought they would love.