Public speaking is defined by Oxford University Press as “the action or practice of addressing public gatherings; the making of speeches.”
Public speaking usually brings images of professional settings or formal gatherings, when people think of public speaking they think of a stage with a large audience. If you had no stage or audience to deal with would you still need public speaking skills?
Here at Eloquence Academy we say YES you definitely need to work on your public speaking skills even when you aren’t faced with an auditorium full of people. Although communicating to a crowd is a big part of public speaking, it is not the sole use of the skill.
Wherever you stand should be thought of as your stage and whoever you speak to should be thought of your audience even if it was just one person.
Let’s talk examples. Jenny was a young adult I met, she had never needed to host an event or give a motivational speech to stadium full of people so she never practiced or worked on her public speaking skills. She solely relied on her social skills with her peers. Like most young adults in Malaysia & around the world, we think chatting with friends is all the skill we need. However friendly she was, she still did poorly when presenting her thoughts in class and never stood out in conversations at gatherings. Interviews were particularly tough for her, as she could not make eye contact or deliver her message well. Her lack of confidence came from her dismissal of opportunities to cultivate it and help her grow.
Eventually she started practicing the elements of delivering messages to listeners, first with one friend and then to bigger groups. Eventually she was used to communicating, her confidence built up and she was able to present in any situation fluently and gave respectable impression to the people she met.
Public Speaking is a combination of communication, presentation, entertainment & people skills, therefore practicing it in your daily interactions will serve beneficial to individuals. It is definitely more than just standing on stage.