They're the same thing, aren't they?"
On the surface, you might think so. A lot of the principles are the same: connecting with your audience, managing nerves, having a good solid central message, understanding the arena in which you are speaking, keeping your audience engaged and awake.
However, ask anyone who has had to give a best man's speech or was the key-note speaker at a conference or been invited to an after-dinner slot and I can guarantee they'll be able to tell you the difference.
Any form of presenting can feel very exposing, but public speaking can multiply that feeling of exposure ten-fold. Why is that?
When you're presenting, you are usually presenting 'something' - a report, an update, new information, a change within the organisation, an instruction, a product launch. You may be delivering information with loads of figures and graphs and often PowerPoint has a strong presence.
You are generally conveying information you want your audience to know and often you will want them to take some kind of action.
Whereas, when you're speaking in public it is indeed usually just you and your audience (thus that feeling of exposure) and your aim is to entertain (best man or after-dinner speeches, for instance), inspire and persuade (motivational speakers), exhort and urge (political speeches - shudder, shudder).
Great speeches such as Churchill or Roosevelt speaking to their citizens during World War II and Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream' live on because of the incredible impact they not only made at the time but for subsequent generations as well.
Obviously, not everyone who gives a speech is going to be a Churchill or a King, but for anyone who is entering the world of public speaking or who wants to get better, there are some key elements which draw the audience in, make them pay attention and of course, remember what was said.
- Strong use of emotions and emotional language
- Clear and vivid imagery
- Creating anticipation (what happens next?)
- Stories that take listeners on a journey
- Analogies and examples
- Alliteration and Repetition
Presenters can certainly use any or even all of those elements to improve their presentations,
however, they are imperative for a public speaker.