Speaking As A Leader | About The Course

Speak as a Leader: 10 weeks email-driven course

About the Course

A report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers shows that employers want job candidates with strong communication skills. Similarly, educational success also requires the ability to articulate your thoughts clearly. In this class, we will study the principles of public speaking and critically examine our own and others’ speeches through interactive practice.

Learning Objectives

The overriding goal of this course is to improve the quality and confidence of your persuasive speech.

Upon successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

  • present yourself in a confident and engaging manner
  • structure complex ideas into clear persuasive speech
  • build credibility using personal stories, effective data and expert opinions
  • share your values with those around you

Course Prerequisites

If you wish to complete the weekly speech exercises, you must have access to video recording equipment (e.g., digital camera, cell phone, flip camera, webcam, or video camera).

Uploading of speeches is not required.

Assessments and Activities

In designing this course, I wanted to provide a wide range of activities and assignments for the wide range of student interest and needs. Some students may want only to watch the video lectures and take the quizzes; others may invest more fully and post sample videos and participate actively in discussion forums. Here are some of the course assignments and activities:


Video lectures: Most of the course content is delivered through a number of video lectures. Each video runs 8-12 minutes and teaches a specific public speaking ability or concept.

Discussion forums: This class thrives on discussion. There are a number of discussion forums that emerge from the lectures and sample speeches. You will have the ability to articulate your views on public speaking as well as learn from your peers.

Quizzes: Many video lectures have short quizzes embedded that reinforce basic knowledge of certain concepts and argument structures.

Speech Analysis and Modeling: One of the best ways to refine your own speech ability is through a close study of others’ speeches. We will have a number of opportunities to examine and discuss sample speeches and speakers.

Peer Assessment Assignments: There are four optional speech assignments: an impromptu, informative, and persuasive speech. Students can elect to record and post videos of their speeches.


Course Schedule

  • Email #1.  Getting Started with your Webcam
  • Email #2.  The “Ice-Breaker” – Connecting with People
  • Email #3.  Learning from Others: What works?
  • Email #4.  Begin to Communicate Values
  • Email #5.  The Secret of Consulting
  • Email #6.  Evaluating Spoken Communication
  • Email #7.  Increasing Vocal Power
  • Email #8.  The Rule of Three
  • Email #9.  Three Words for the Future
  • Email #10.  Pain – Benefits – Improvement

Discussion Forums

Discussion forums are a great resource. They allow you to discuss the course with other students. Here, you may ask questions regarding the material or assignments, or respond to other students in need of help. Please be courteous when posting.



How long will the course take to complete?

The course will require approximately 1 hour of your time per week in total effort.

Is there a statement of completion or certificate issued for this course?

No, there is not a credential awarded for this course.


About the Instructor

Conor is a sought-after keynote speaker on resilient leadership. As an entrepreneur, he has founded 4 companies, selling 16 private jets and building the 3rd largest fleet of private jets in Spain. He is a lecturer on leadership at IESE Business School, and a visiting professor at University College Dublin. More at http://cono.rs

The “How I got here” Ice-breaker: 

An ice-breaker is a simple introduction of who you are.  It will be used at networking dinners, or at a point in a larger speech where you share your own story to build credibility for the speech.  There are 5 standard formats; this week we will focus on the “how I got here” approach.

Today’s Task

How I got here:  Describe 3 decision moments that led you to be “here”, where “here” might be the place you live, the job you have, or why you are practicing speaking at this moment.

Take a few moments and reflect on the 3 critical decisions.  Pick 3 and get started.  Don’t think too much.  The aim here is to get a first version done.  Then you can press delete.  And maybe try again…

Start your webcam.  Briefly explain the 3 critical decisions into your camera.  Then you can press delete.  And maybe try again…

Remember that this speech is merely a way for you to introduce yourself. Pick three important things you’d like your audience to learn about you and make those your speech. If you speak on something that you’re passionate about, you won’t run out of words. So, talk about an exciting adventure from your past, your hopes, your dreams and maybe your favorite hobby. What defines you? Talk about it.


How to improve this speech?  Here is a pdf with an exercise called the Lifeline Exercise

This will help you reflect over the key events of your life and how they have shaped the person that you are today.  It will provide wonderful reflection that can help you improve your “how I got here” ice breaker speech, and also understand more about yourself.


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