Public speaking

process and act of speaking or giving a lecture to a group of people in a structured, deliberate manner intended to inform, influence, or entertain a listening audience

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

Winston Churchill speaking in 1949.

In public speaking there are five important questions, which are often expressed as "who is saying what to whom, using which medium, with what effects?"

The Ancient Greeks called public speaking rhetoric; the Romans called it oratory. Until the late 20th century it was also called forensic speaking, or forensics. Propaganda is an another name for speech for or against some point of view. In George Orwell's words propaganda is a reflection of prejudices and beliefs that colors people's [or societies] aesthetic judgements.[1] Often they are simply fallacies or conjectures.

Methods and techniques


Professional public speakers may use storytelling techniques or humor as a communication tool. A public speaker who is strong at using comedy might have more success adding a joke into a speech than one who is weak in that area.

Bill Gates speaking at DFID
Franklin D. Roosevelt making his State of the Union Address by radio (11 January 1944) from the White House

A speaker's guideline is given in TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking.[2] Their information includes:

  • Try to make eye contact right from the start.
  • Include humor to disarm the tension within the audience towards the subject. But no offensive jokes or corny puns.
  • Drinking water avoids mouth getting dry from adrenalin and avoiding an empty stomach reduces anxiety.
  • Keep a backup plan (notes or scripts) to use if the presentation technology goes wrong.
  • It is better to avoid attempts to get applause. It is not about the speaker, but the idea the speaker is passionate about.

Other guidelines exist.[3][4]



Models in public speaking.

The 6 I model of credibility for public speaking are:

6 I's of Credibility
Ideation Be creative in presenting the idea
Information Bring out new and decision driving facts
Influence Be charismatic with show of confidence
Integrity Be authentic and build a trust through the first half of the session
Impact Identify and present a memorable delivery to root the message
Ignition Call out to action, if required (E.g. Funding, Social Action, Proselytisation ...etc.)

AIDA Model


The AIDA model is about designing the message and delivering it effectively to the target audience. It says the speaker should first get attention, hold the interest level of the audience, arouse desire for the solution or the objective (appeal, theme, etc.) desired to communicate, and finally obtain action or actionable commitment from the audience.[5]



  1. Dag, O. "George Orwell: The Frontiers of Art and Propaganda".
  2. Anderson, Chris (3 May 2016). "TED Talks: The official TED guide to public speaking".
  3. Michal Choinski (2016). The Rhetoric of the Revival: The Language of the Great Awakening Preachers. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. pp. 18–23. ISBN 978-3-647-56023-6.
  4. "Writing@CSU". Retrieved 2016-12-13.
  5. Courtland L. Bovée (2003). Contemporary Public Speaking. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 423+. ISBN 978-0-939693-60-3.

Further reading