Public speaking: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Public speaking is the process of speaking to a group of people in a structured, deliberate manner intended to inform, influence, or entertain the listeners.

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. 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. Public speaking can be a powerful tool to use for purposes such as motivation, influence, persuasion, informing, translation, or simply entertaining.



Cicero Denounces Catiline, fresco by Cesare Maccari, 1840-1919.

On the subject was written over 2500 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. The history of public speaking has existed for centuries since civilization has been constructed and has had a major impact on society. The technology and the methods of this form of communication have traditionally been through oratory structure and rely on a large or sometimes somewhat small audience. However, new advancements in technology have allowed for more sophisticated communication to occur for speakers and public orators. The technological and media sources that assist the public speaking atmosphere include both videoconferencing and telecommunications. Videoconferencing is among one of the more recent technologies that is in a way revolutionizing the way that public speakers communicate to the masses. David M. Fetterman of Stanford University printed in his 1997 article Videoconferencing over the Internet: "Videoconferencing technology allows geographically disparate parties to hear and see each other usually through satellite or telephone communication systems". This technology is helpful for large conference meetings and face to face communication context, and is becoming more widespread across the world...


Effective public speaking can be developed by joining a club such as Rostrum, Toastmasters International, Association of Speakers Clubs (ASC), Speaking Circles or POWERtalk International 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:

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 Forensics 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.

The new millennium has seen a notable increase in the number of training solutions offered in the form of video and on-line courses. Video can provide significant training potential by revealing to the student actual examples of behaviors to emulate in addition to verbal knowledge transfer.


Leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Mao Ze Dong, and Adolf Hitler are notable examples of effective orators who used oratory to have a significant impact on society. The speeches of politicians are often widely analysed by both their supporters and detractors.

National and International Organizations

The National Communication Association (NCA) exists to assist professional communicators - both marketplace and academic. There is an annual convention held with many presentations addressing the concerns central to effective public speaking


Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that operates clubs worldwide for the purpose of helping members improve their communication, public speaking and leadership skills. Through its member clubs, Toastmasters International helps men and women learn the arts of speaking, listening, and thinking.[1]


The National Forensics Association (NFA) and the American Forensics Association (AFA) are two national organizations within the United States which sponsor competitive public speaking on the undergraduate level. Events within the NFA and AFA fall into four categories: Public Address, Limited Preparation, Interpretation, and Debate. The Public Address events include Informative Speaking, Persuasive Speaking, Rhetorical Criticism, and After Dinner Speaking; the Limited Preparation events include Impromptu Speaking and Extemporaneous Speaking; and the interpretation events include Poetry, Prose, Dramatic Interpretation, Dramatic Duo Interpretation (in which at least one dramatic piece is presented by two speakers working together), Duo Interpretation (in which two speakers present a scene or scenes from any source), and Programmed Oral Interpretation (in which speakers use material from multiple genres with a common theme). The Debate events include Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Policy Debate, and Parliamentary Debate.

The International Forensics Association (IFA) is an American body whose competitors hail from colleges and universities within the United States, but compete at an international location.

High School

The National Forensic League (NFL) is an organization with a similar structure and purpose to the NFA and AFA, but serves as the national organization within the United States for competitors in high school. The organization does not sponsor Informative Speaking, Persuasive Speaking, Rhetorical Criticism, After Dinner Speaking, Dramatic Duo Interpretation, or Programmed Oral Interpretation. For Public Address, the NFL sponsors Original Oratory and Expository. Extemporaneous speaking is split into two events, International (Foreign) Extemp, and United States (Domestic) Extemp, and Extemp Commentary is offered at the national tournament as a supplemental event, while Impromptu Speaking and Storytelling are offered limited preparation consolatory events. In addition to the interpretation events offered by NFA and AFA, the NFL also sponsors Humorous Interpretation. The debate formats sponsored by the NFL include Policy Debate (Cross-Examination), Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Public Forum Debate, and Student Congress.

The National Catholic Forensics League (NCFL) is an organization with a similar structure and purpose as the NFL, however it is a national competition between Catholic high schools in the United States. In recent years, the NCFL has allowed public high schools to also compete.

Although not affiliated with the NFL or NCFL, many states have governing organizations for their speech and debate programs, such as the Indiana High School Forensic Association (Indiana), and University Interscholastic League (Texas). These organizations may offer additional events in comparison to the NFL or NCFL.


The common fear of public speaking is called glossophobia (or, informally, "stage fright"). As Jerry Seinfeld said: "The average person at a funeral would rather be in the casket than doing the eulogy." Many careers require some ability in public speaking, for example presenting information to clients or colleagues.

Public speaking and oration are sometimes considered some of the most importantly valued skills that an individual can possess. This skill can be used for almost anything. Most great speakers have a natural ability to display the skills and effectiveness that can help to engage and move an audience for whatever purpose. Language and rhetoric use are among two of the most important aspects of public speaking and interpersonal communication. Having knowledge and understanding of the use and purpose of communication can help to make a more effective speaker communicate their message in an effectual way.

Public Speaking on TV: The Speaker, BBC Two Series

In April 2009, BBC Two ran a search to find Britain's Best Young Speaker. 14-18 year olds from across the UK were invited to apply to take part in The Speaker. From the entries received, Judges John Amaechi, Jo Brand and Jeremy Stockwell invited 160 Speakers to regional auditions. Only 20 were selected by the Judges to go through to the next stage. Throughout the series, the twenty were whittled down to a final three, via a process of Mentor led challenges. Mentors included Deborah Meaden, Earl Spencer, Kate Silverton and Alastair Campbell. The final three speakers (Duncan, Irene and Kay Kay) were taken on a research trip to Malawi, where they found out first hand the effects of children's rights, ahead of their final speech. The Judges and Mentors selected Duncan as the winner.[2] The series' website showcases the final eight Speakers, as well as a host of written and video advice on public speaking.

See also


  1. ^ Toastmasters International
  2. ^

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Quotes about public speaking:


  • According to most studies, people's number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that seem right? That means to the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.
  • The Human Brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public!
  • What the heart thinks, the tongue speaks.
    • Romanian Proverb.
  • There are three things to aim at in public speaking: first, to get into your subject, then to get your subject into yourself, and lastly, to get your subject into the heart of your audience.
    • Alexander Gregg, (1819-1893), an Episcopalian clergyman, the first Bishop of Texas.
  • You can speak well if your tongue can deliver the message of your heart.
    • John Ford.
  • Speech is power: Speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.
    • Ralph Waldo Emerson.
  • When a man gets up to speak, people listen then look. When a woman gets up to speak, people look then, if they like what they see, they listen.
    • Pauline Frederick

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiversity

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Simple English

Public speaking is speaking to a group of people in an organized way with the hope to give information, influence or persuade, or to entertain the listeners.

In public speaking there are five important parts which are often expressed as "who is saying what to whom using what medium with what effects?" The purpose of public speaking can range from simply giving information, to getting to act, to simply telling a story. Good speakers are often able to change the way the listeners feel, and not just give them information. Public speaking can be a powerful tool to use for goals such as motivation, influence, persuasion, informing, translation, or simply entertaining.

The Ancient Greeks called public speaking rhetoric; the Romans called it oratory; it is also known as forensic speaking, or forensics. Propaganda is another name for speech in favour or against some point of view.

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