What Is Public Speaking?
Updated: Aug 1, 2020
There is a very common misconception and stigma about what actually defines "Public Speaking." Is it giving a citation in front of an audience? Is it presenting your book report in front of a class? Is it getting up on stage to deliver a monologue? The answer is yes, yes, and yes! But it is also so, so much more! Chances are, if you are a student, a leader, a business professional, a corporate executive, or anything in between, you engage in the art of public speaking every single day without even knowing it.
The greatest gift we have as human beings is the ability to use our spoken word - it is what separates us from every single other life form on the planet. Our voice is our greatest advocate for our personal brand and what we have to offer the world. Let's put it like this - anytime you speak to someone that is not a member of your immediate household or family, you are technically public speaking. I mean, think about it - if your profession is a hair stylist, when a prospective client walks in the door, you want to have the confidence to be able to walk right up to that person and share your expertise, to share your truth. You don't want a client to ask you a question only to have you awkwardly avoid eye contact or mumble an answer under their breath. If you're a student sitting for a college interview, what is going to separate you from the hundreds of other potential students aiming to get into your dream school?
People are attracted to confidence and drawn to those individuals who speak with precision and poise. Imagine being an interviewer and feeling like you have to literally pull teeth to get answers out of your interviewee...would that person get the scholarship? The Job? The Award? Probably not. The way we speak, our word choice, our intonations, our inflections, our body language, our presence, our eye contact...it all adds up; it's all a part of how we sell ourselves, how we allow ourselves to be remembered. So if you're reading this thinking, "why would I ever invest in public speaking classes? I'm never going on stage"...first ask yourself - do you plan on ever applying to college, interviewing for a job, speaking to a coworker, presenting in front of a boss, or networking at a social function? If so, then public speaking should be important to you. After all. life is short - we get one first impression and one alone...make it count.