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Foundations of Public Speaking

Learning Objective Learning Objective 3 - What are advantages and disadvantages of different methods of communication?
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Each communication method requires different approaches. For example, speech presentations are popular in business contexts because they are an easy method of communicating to a group of people. Through speech presentations, many people can receive the same message simultaneously, audiences can give immediate feedback, and presenters can use a variety of presentation modes, including sound and visuals. Here are some challenges of public presentations:

  • Transitory nature. A speech makes an immediate impression, but the listeners may quickly forget what was said, and there may be no written text of the speech for reference.
  • Greater time and cost. Professional-looking public presentations, such as PowerPoint, cost time and money to prepare and fulfill.
  • Awkwardness. The whole process of preparing a presentation, giving the speech, dealing with apprehension, and monitoring audience reaction can be unwieldy, complicated, and difficult to control. Fear of public speaking is complicated, but people can learn to speak effectively in public situations (Daly, McCroskey, Ayers, Hopf, Ayers, 1996).
  • Focus on speaker control. Speeches traditionally tended to be one-way communication in which the audience has little input (Staley & Staley, 1992).

    Speakers who understand that sometimes it is necessary to receive feedback from the listeners take public speaking to another level, the interactive level. In interactive speaking the speaker presents a message and then either reacts as the speech is being given or following the presentation to the reactions of the listeners. Today, effective public speaking and public listening is an interactive process.

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