Public Speaking - General

General

The objectives of a public speaker's presentation can range from simply transmitting information, to motivating people to act, to simply telling a story. Professional public speakers often engage in ongoing training and education to refine their craft. This may include seeking guidance to improve their speaking skills—such as learning better storytelling techniques, for example, or learning how to effectively use humor as a communication tool—as well as continuous research in their topic area of focus.

People who speak publicly in a professional capacity are paid a speaking fee. Professional public speakers may include ex-politicians, sports stars and other public figures. In the case of high profile personalities, the sum can be extraordinary.

The common fear of public speaking is called glossophobia (or, informally, "stage fright"), although many people simply confuse normal nerves and anxiety with a genuine phobia.

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.

'The soul of delivery is in the manful assertion of the orator's personality, in the revelation of the high purpose by which he is actuated, in the profound conviction of the truth of his course, in the firm resolve to establish it, in the dauntless spirit that faces all obstacles, and, conquering them, sweeps onward to the desired goal.'

Leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Winston Churchill, and Sukarno are notable examples of effective orators who used oratory to have a significant impact on society. The speeches of politicians are often widely analyzed by both their supporters and detractors.

Some of the greatest examples of public speaking are well known and studied years after the speech was delivered. Examples are Pericles' funeral oration in 427 B.C.E. over the dead of the Peloponnesian War; Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in 1863, soon after Sojourner Truth's identification of racial problem in "Ain't I a Woman?" and Mahatma Gandhi's message of nonviolent resistance in India, inspiring Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech at the Washington Monument in 1963.

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