Introduction to Public Speaking (May/June 2020)

Updated: May 5

In this blog, we'd like to break down this course for anyone who might be interested.

Dates: 14th, 21st, 28th May & 4 June 2020

Time: 5:30pm - 6:30pm UTC

The first week (Thursday 14th May) of the Introduction to Public Speaking course is open to anyone who would like to attend without registering for the full course.

If you then wish to complete the course, students may register for the second, third and fourth classes on Thursdays 21st May, 28th May and 4th June.

You might be wondering why the Irish Institute of Music & Song (IIMS) is running a course in public speaking. Good question. Let us explain.

Our approach to public speaking at the IIMS focuses on vocal health, audience engagement and the craft of storytelling.

Vocal Health

Any public speaking engagement relies on a healthy voice. Whether it's a work presentation, a networking conversation, an 'elevator pitch', a wedding speech, or you're hosting an event, your first consideration is always the state of your voice. Without your vocal health, you won't be fit to communicate.

In this course, we explain the science behind a healthy voice and give you tips on how to maintain a healthy speaking voice, especially in run-up to a speaking engagement.


The next thing you must consider before you present in public is: who is your audience? If you are speaking to a classroom of teenagers, you will have to tailor your message appropriately. Likewise, if you are making a pitch to the company board or speaking on stage in front of hundreds, you should compose the content of your speech based on who will be listening.

In order to connect with your audience, you must first understand where they are coming from. Are they tired because they've been out shopping all day? Are they hungry because it's nearly lunchtime? Are they tired because they were working late the night before?, etc. To communicate effectively, you must understand what exactly your audience is seeing and hearing as you speak; how are you standing? Do you seem energetic? Are they sitting down? Are you well lit? Are you far away?

We will also explore some useful stagecraft techniques learned from the world of musical performance.


This is so important when planning the actual content of your presentation. When thinking up your speech, you should understand the structure of your story before you try to tell it. It's vital that you construct your story based on the amount of time you have; over time, you will develop your 1-minute story, your 3-minute story, your 10-minute story, etc.

We will analyse the fundamentals of what makes for an engaging story. Unless you first know what it is you want to say, your audience will never know about your story.

If you know anyone who might be interested in improving their public speaking skills, please see the details below.

Who is this course for?
  • Anyone who wants to build confidence when speaking

  • Anyone interested in learning more about keeping a healthy voice

  • Anyone who values effective communication at home or in the workplace

  • Anyone who wants to better perform a party piece

  • Anyone used to speaking engagements at work

During the 4 weeks of this course, you will develop your presentation skills, build your confidence, and hone your craft as a storyteller

Whether you want to deliver high-impact presentations at work, better communicate with your loved ones at home, or entertain the friends in a social setting, this introductory course will challenge you to become a better speaker and storyteller.

Week 1

WEEK 1 - The Voice

  • Your voice as an instrument

  • Voice and body warm-ups

  • Basic Vocal Technique

  • Introduction to Content, Context and Conviction

Week 2

WEEK 2 - Content

  • What is the story you want to tell?

  • The power of narrative

  • Hero’s Journey

Week 3


  • Who is listening?

  • Know your audience

  • Preparation for different audiences

  • Why are you telling this story

  • Authenticity and impact

Week 4

WEEK 4 - Elevator Pitch

  • Analysis and feedback of submitted videos

  • Review of course content

About the facilitator:

Dónal Kearney is a performer, educator and songwriter with a background in human rights advocacy. He is a Cambridge Law graduate and former Researcher at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva. Dónal is joint Founding Director of the Irish Institute of Music and Song.

Find out more at this link.




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