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Public speaking

Public speaking is speaking to a group of people in a structured, deliberate manner. It is a form of communication which adds to the knowledge and wisdom of listeners, or which influences their attitudes or behavior. In public speaking, as in any form of communication, there are five basic elements, often expressed as "who is saying what to whom utilizing what medium with what effects?"

Public speaking is almost as ancient as speech itself. The first textbook on the subject was written over 2400 years ago, and the principles elaborated within it were drawn from the practices and experience of orators in ancient Greece. These basic principles have undergone modification as societies and cultures have changed, yet remained surprisingly uniform.

Effective public speaking can be developed by joining a club such as Rostrum, or Toastmasters International where 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.

Fundamentals of public speaking

  • Effective public speaking is a technique which can be learned.

  • Effective public speaking is an intellectual discipline.

  • The right to present a speech must be earned through research, preparation and practice.

  • A public speech is only an idea, or an outline, or an essay, or even just a set of notes, until it is transmitted to an audience via some medium.

See also: Debate[?], Rhetoric, Toastmasters International, Glossophobia



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