Public Speaking 101
Speeches & Toasts Delivered in Minutes

You didn't take "Public Speaking 101" in college? That's ok, because here we have all the information you would have learned there, and it's free!

Public Speaking 101 is an overview of the basics of public speaking. That's your first stop for public speaking information. Once you know the basics, move on to the rest of this website on the left-hand navigation bar.

We'll discuss four areas of basic knowledge important to developing public speaking skills: Background, Basics, Preparation, and Practicalities. Ready, set, go!

The Background of Public Speaking

Here's a couple things everybody looking into public speaking should know - these form the background for Public Speaking 101.

  • What is public speaking? Simply put, public speaking is talking to a group of people. The Oxford English Dictionary defines public speaking as: "The action or practice of addressing public gatherings; the making of speeches" (Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd Edition).
  • Types of public speaking. Some broad categories are:
    • informative
    • persuasive
    • ceremonial
    • extemporaneous/impromptu
    • after dinner
    • along with debate, broadcasting, religious talks, etc.
  • History of public speaking. Public speaking has existed since the dawn of human history. The first known work concerning public speaking was written over 2500 years ago. Since then, public speaking has evolved to encompass various techniques and technologies.
  • Public speaking facts. The Book of Lists lists fear of public speaking as the #1 fear, even above death. Is this statistic correct?

Public Speaking Basics

  • The First Principle of Public Speaking. Understand that "a person is only as effective as his communication."
  • Fundamentals of public speaking. To speak well, one must understand and practice pronunciation, articulation, projection, inflection, and (sorry to break the 'tion' pattern) audience engagement.
  • Basic elements of public speaking. A typical speech has a number of basic elements. Among those are the:
    • introduction
    • body
    • and conclusion,
    each of which must fulfill specific functions to make the speech effective.
  • Public Speaking Techniques. A number of techniques, including utilizing humor, gestures, and repeated phrases, can enhance a speaker's effectiveness.
  • Guidelines for public speaking. There are a few rules that one would do well to keep in mind. (Remember, though, that none of these rules are hard-and-fast, but rather are just guidelines.)

Public Speaking Preparation

First and foremost, you must settle on a public speaking topic.

Also, you may want to consider some public speaking quotes when preparing speeches.

Public Speaking Practicalities

Considering a couple of practical items can make a speech or presentation go smoothly. Some of those are:

  • Public speaking and dress. What you wear is important. Your dress forms part of the overall impression you give to your audience.
  • Ethics in public speaking. When preparing and delivering your speech, you'll want to consider a couple of ethical issues. For example, what is the proper use of statistics and sources?

There's a lot of information on this page. Need more? My friend Eric Feng is also a professional public speaker, and he's tapped the minds of some of the best speakers in the world to create a killer course that you can download. Check it out: The FAQ Book on Public Speaking.

Congratulations, you've just graduated from Public Speaking 101!
Speeches & Toasts Delivered in Minutes | speeches & toasts | wedding speeches
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