The Difference Between Presentation & Public Speaking

Believe It Or Not, They’re Very Similar

What do public speakers and presenters have in common? Well, in the first instance, they face the same challenges. Overcoming ‘stage fright,’ pitching their voice at the right level, understanding their audience, and researching content to ensure their facts are correct, are just some of the skills needed for anyone interested in public speaking or building presentations.

Overall, though, the ambitions of the two are almost identical; and so it stands to reason that the novice public speaker will benefit from attending courses originally designed with the professional presenter in mind.

What Are The Similarities?

If you are considering – or perhaps even practicing – public speaking, then you already have one thing in common with the person looking to learn presentation skills: an audience. The remaining similarities are a little more complex – but certainly not difficult to understand or learn given the right mentor and learning environment.

The points we’ve outlined below have been taken directly from some of our best-selling presentation courses and underline the extent to which they overlap with the objectives of an aspiring public speaker:

1. You Need An Objective

Whether you’re selling, explaining – or just want to improve your self-confidence – you’ll need to have an aim. This could be teaching your audience something new, pitching a product or service, or even telling them a funny story. Public speakers, like presenters, must, therefore, structure their dialogue around this central ‘theme’ to ensure they get their point across clearly.

2. Who Are You Presenting To?

This dovetails in with the above point. In fact, arguably, this should be your first consideration. Before you agree on your core objective you need to ask yourself whether it’s thematically compatible with the audience coming to listen to you speak. Will your choice of the topic be relevant – and, above all, interesting to them? Will it grab their attention? Building presentations effectively as a public speaker in this manner is extremely important.

3. How Will You Get Their Attention?

Just as with the delivery of presentations, you’ll be faced with the alarming prospect of walking into a roomful of people who’ll be expecting you to deliver something clear, powerful, and memorable. The repeated use of key phrases will help re-enforce the central theme of your speech and find common ground with your audience – a skill that’s essential to building presentations too.

What Are The Differences?

There are, in fact, very few discrepancies to be found when comparing public speaking with the delivery of presentations. The primary challenge faced when considering this transition is that of the environment: as a presenter, you’ll often be sitting down with people you know in an intimate setting where you can share your ideas openly.

A public speaker will, conversely, find themselves in larger settings and talking to their audience, with little interaction occurring until the very end when the speech is curtailed (and your efforts hopefully rewarded by a healthy round of applause). The other difference is that the public speaker will be judged on the timbre and cadence of their voice, which will be on display for a longer period of time than with the professional presenter.

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Written By: Philip Andrews

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