Delivering a Speech

In public speaking, as in any form of communication, there are five basic elements, often expressed as "who is saying what to whom using what medium with what effects?" The purpose of public speaking can range from simply transmitting information, to motivating people to act, to simply telling a story. Good orators should be able to change the emotions of their listeners, not just inform them. Public speaking can also be considered a discourse community. It contains elements of a discourse community that exist in many mediums and forms that serve different purposes for society and business among other areas of communication. Interpersonal communication and public speaking have several components that embrace such things as motivational speaking, leadership/personal development, business, customer service, large group communication, and mass communication.

Effective Public Speaking

Effective public speaking can be developed by joining a club such Rostrum, Toastmasters International, Association of Speakers Clubs (ASC) or International Training in Communication (ITC) in which members are assigned exercises to improve their speaking skills. Members learn by observation and practice, and hone their skills by listening to constructive suggestions followed by new public speaking exercises. These include:

* Oratory
* The use of gestures
* Control of the voice (inflection)
* Vocabulary, register, word choice
* Speaking notes
* Using humour
* Developing a relationship with the audience

Professional trainers in public speaking (or presenting) are cautious about recommending these organizations as they are essentially amateurs commenting on amateurs. As such they can reinforce mediocrity or worse, carry on spreading incorrect or over-simplified ideas. Serious students of public speaking are advised to get professional training.

Using a forum such as Toastmasters to practice public speaking skills after receiving professional training is a time-tested approach to developing one's ability to speak well. It is difficult to really receive any formal training but, can still be taught and practiced by those seeking to improve their public communication skills. The organization is among one of the largest nationally recognized that specializes in the improvement and networking of effective communication skills throughout the world.

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Author's Bio: 


This definition is part of a series that covers the topic of Public Speaking. The Official Guide to Public Speaking is Nancy Daniels. Public Speaking is speaking to a group of people in a structured manner with the intention to inform, influence, or entertain the audience. A good orator should be able to invoke emotion in their listeners, not just inform them.


Additional Resources covering Public Speaking can be found at:

Website Directory for Public Speaking
Articles on Public Speaking
Products for Public Speaking
Discussion Board
Nancy Daniels, the Official Guide To Public Speaking