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Publisher's Summary

Being a great public speaker can put you on the pathway to success, whether you're looking to teach, inform, persuade, or defend an idea. Yet many of us live in fear of public speaking. We experience stage fright or believe that speeches are best left to those with more intuitive talent. But nothing could be further from the truth.

As you'll learn in these 12 invaluable lectures, all it takes is confidence, practice, and the knowledge of techniques and strategies used by history's greatest public speakers, from Abraham Lincoln to Martin Luther King, Jr.

This insider's look at public speaking shows you three key components to help you succeed in any situation:

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

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 skills, this inspiring course is packed with practical advice to help you learn one of the most important skills in your personal and professional life.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2010 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2010 The Great Courses

What listeners say about The Art of Public Speaking: Lessons from the Greatest Speeches in History

Average Customer Ratings
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Insightful, helpful, captivating

This was a very well researched crafted and delivered series. Each new chapter brought new angles and insights that I can implement in the public speaking work that I do right away. The examples given from history brought huge credibility to the principles been taught,. This work substantiated in my mind advice that I have known to be accurate and things also that I’ve known to be awkward. A case in point is “tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and tell them what you told them” listening to this method is like nails on s chalk board, and dr. Hale addresses this. I have been involved in public speaking for 35 years on a weekly basis, and was impressed with this work. This was the second book I listened to on this subject, the first was a great disappointment, Dr hale’s was a breath of fresh air.

1 person found this helpful

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Fascinating!

This lecture was incredibly helpful and easy to understand.
I was multitasking while listening to Dr. John R. Hale. He has a friendly which is extremely helpful when teaching public speaking. He often changed the tone of his voice to elaborate how and when to draw the audience attention.
Thank you 😊

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Satisfactory

This course is not the strongest of the Great Courses. The premise of the course didn't work for me. I asked myself several times: how can you suggest that someone was a great speaker when they were alive over 2000 or 500 years ago? Dr. Hale uses several examples where he's using historically great speeches to drive home points about great public speakers. This just didn't work for me. As well, the each chapter is to impart a lesson regarding how to become a bettter speaker, but these lessons did not come through particularly well. The specific points he was trying to make often didn't map very well on the historical examples he provided. This book could have been much more effective if he use many more modern examples, where there was actual audio to use. Over the past 80 years or so, there could have been many people who could have been used to help him make his same points. As it was, he used two or three (MLK and JFK) but then only in limited fashion.

There are better books on how to become a public speaker. I will say that the historical examples that were provided were interesting.

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Worst performance ever

I really wanted to know more on this topic, but the gentleman teaching about public speaking is TERRIBLE. Do not but this audiobook

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  • Ron W.
  • 2014-06-16

Brilliant! Learn from history's success stories.

If you could sum up The Art of Public Speaking: Lessons from the Greatest Speeches in History in three words, what would they be?

Listen, Learn, Apply

What did you like best about this story?

The professor is very engaging and the examples from history were very well selected.
Each story has a purpose.

Which scene was your favorite?

Queen Elizabeth addressing the troops as an example of how to connect with your audience.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The importance of storytelling and how to apply the lesson to all your speaking.
Also, it was encouraging to hear that Mark Twain was so nervous about his major speech that he took steps to prepare (which I can apply to my own speaking as well).

Any additional comments?

This course is not only informative, but fun as well.

15 people found this helpful

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  • David Bricker
  • 2019-04-10

Exactly What it Aims to Be

Not everyone has reviewed this course so positively, but the problem is a matter of managing expectations. This is an academic course, a series of engaging lectures about the art of speaking and its origins. If you're looking for a "pep talk" course about the speaking industry or a fast path to making a fortune as a motivational speaker, this isn't it. But if you're truly interested in speaking, this course offers insights and examples that will provide insight into great speeches and what makes them work (or not). John Hale has done an excellent job organizing his content and curating historical examples that support his points. His advice is all valuable, and his unspoken message - that serious practitioners of any craft should understand the history and literature that have led to contemporary practice - is worth paying attention to. As a professional speaker, I plan to slowly memorize a handful of Hale's speech selections (Gettysburg Address, Patrick Henry, etc.) and learn to deliver them artfully. If you're a speaker - an art for which there is little academic support - approach this audio book as a student and you'll find plenty of good material to use on the platform.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Dana/Adam
  • 2015-01-21

Buyer Be Avised: It may not be what you think

This is a well-done series of lectures, but their focus is not on an analysis of the great speaches. It is about how to give a speach, and it uses excerpts of some great speaches to illustrate its how-to points on speaking. if that's what you're looking for, then give this a listen! If you want to hear the full versions of historical speaches, look elsewhere.

40 people found this helpful

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  • Sam Motes
  • 2014-02-13

Ask what the greats can teach you

Very interesting look at the art of public speaking by looking at the greats including Gandhi, Churchill, Kennedy, Reagan, King and other from form ancient times for insight on how we can be better in the art. The academician look at the topic was an interesting twist that shows how much of the art is timeless and unchanging.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Lasse
  • 2013-08-08

Fine book.

Where does The Art of Public Speaking: Lessons from the Greatest Speeches in History rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The performance of the speaker in the book was great. The book was divided into 12 half hours lectures, that did i found great.
The book was technical about how a speech is build up, and how to use the diffrent element in a speech.
I will rank this book in the middel of the "self learning" book i have listened to so far.

If you’ve listened to books by The Great Courses before, how does this one compare?

I have not listened to other books in "The Great Courses" before.

Which scene was your favorite?

I did like that the narrator used old speeches, from a lot of famous people, like Martin L. King, Lincoln, Churchill and many more. Then he analyse the speeches to see what was good and what was bad in the speeches.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

The book was spilt into 12 half hours lectures, wich made it easy to listen to, and easy to find a spot for pause, if you wanted to do that.

Any additional comments?

I thought that this book was more about, how to make a presentation of some study you have made, more than how a speech is built up and how to use the diffrenrent thing in a speech, but it was OK to hear about, and i learned som new stuff.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Yari Pagani
  • 2019-01-13

Understandable !!!

Is so amazing, that I have listened a few times in the same week!! .

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mark
  • 2013-12-27

Fair to middling

This audiobook is a series of lectures looking at history's most memorable speeches. It is a good analysis of those speeches and helps us to understand the elements which combine to make great oratory. He helps us to understand the different strategies that should be used for different purposes. So, for example, Ghandi used 'logos' or logic to prove his point when he was on trial for his life, whilst Martin Luther King appealed to the emotions when he gave his iconic 'I have a dream' speech.

Whilst this analysis is interesting, there is a slight conflict of interests within the book which doesn't work so well. The lecturer is supposedly trying to teach us how to be better public speakers, but to this he draws his lessons from speeches made by history's heavyweight orators made at pivotal moments in the World's history, such as Churchill's 'Blood, sweat and tears' speech and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. This is slightly comical, as the average listener buying this self-help lecture series will likely do no more than give a best-man speech at a wedding.

Despite this qualm, the audiobook is interesting and worth a listen.

29 people found this helpful

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  • Rob
  • 2018-08-06

Well Structured Outline

This audiobook covers a lot of ground in all the various ways you can deliver a public speech. By showing the pro's and con's of the various "great speeches" I have been able to implement these lessons into my daily life.
The way the course is structured is well thought out and kept me engaged all the time.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Drew Adams
  • 2015-11-01

absolutely wonderful

well done all around. the lecturer did an amazing job conveying the information. i didnt want it to end... it just felt like it was over so quickly.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Bookworm
  • 2014-11-14

Very enjoyable book

I love the author and how he reads his book. He has a good sense of humor and does a great job of breaking down the art of speech making. Highly recommended.

1 person found this helpful