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What if Martin Luther King gave a presentation on his dream, or your colleague was pitching a new proposal as a speech addressed to a large audience? In either of the cases, the intended purpose wouldn’t have been fulfilled because the presentation mode isn’t ideal.
Public Speaking Skills and Presentation Skills are two sides of the same coin – both are words that describe the act of communicating with an audience with a motive.
However, while both skills are essential in various scenarios, neither can be perfected by ignoring the other. Understanding the deep-rooted similarities and differences between the two is necessary to make optimal use of different opportunities and accelerate your life.
Let’s dissect the two skills comprehensively to make efficient use of them!
Understanding Public Speaking Skills & Presentation Skills
- Public speaking is the art of communicating information, ideas, or opinions to an audience in a live setting. It involves effectively delivering a message to a few people, whether a potential customer, a small gathering or a large audience. You indulge in public speaking when you have to inform, persuade, entertain, or inspire the audience.
- Presentation skills, on the other hand, refer to the abilities required to convey information in a structured and engaging manner using visual aids and other supporting materials. Oral presentations are often more structured than typical public speeches, involving slides, graphs, charts, and multimedia to enhance information delivery.
Though closely related and similar, public speaking and presentation skills have distinctive characteristics too.
Difference Between Public Speaking And Presentation Skills
Often misunderstood to be the same, presentation and public speaking skills are vastly different. A few key differences between public speaking and presentation skills are:
Context And Setting
- Typically, presentations refer to a more formal and structured communication activity conducted in various settings, such as business meetings, conferences, classrooms, or workshops. They often involve sharing information, explaining ideas, or persuading the audience.
- Public speaking generally pertains to delivering a speech or addressing a larger audience in a formal or informal setting. Public speaking events can range from speeches at conferences or events to more impromptu talks at gatherings or public forums like Ted Talks, motivational speeches, keynote speeches, etc.
Structure And Format
- Presentations often follow a structured format, where the presenter uses slides or visual aids to organise information logically. They might include an introduction, agenda, main content, and a conclusion.
- Public speaking may have a more flexible structure and be narrative or story-driven, depending on the speaker’s style and specific purpose. While it may have an introduction and conclusion, the content may not be as rigidly organised as in a typical presentation
- In presentations, the emphasis is often on clarity and precision. Presenters aim to convey information using a balanced and professional tone effectively. The delivery is expected to be well-prepared and controlled in informative presentations.
- Public speaking involves various communication styles, including storytelling, humour, and emotional appeal. Public speakers may use gestures, vocal variety, and body language to engage and captivate the audience.
Use Of Visual Aids
- In Presentations visual aids are commonly used in presentations, such as slideshows (e.g., PowerPoint) or charts, to support and enhance the spoken content. These aids include graphs, images, bullet points, and multimedia elements, efficiently communicating the central idea.
- Public speakers rely more on their spoken words, storytelling abilities, and personal presence to convey their message. While visual communication can be used in public speaking, it may not be as prevalent as in presentations.
- Presentations usually involve audience interaction, such as Q&A sessions at the end. However, the level of interaction may be limited because of the limited audience size, and the focus is primarily on the presenter’s information delivery.
- Public speaking can vary in terms of audience interaction. Some public speakers may actively engage the live audience through questions, polls, or interactive activities. Others may have less direct interaction but still aim to emotionally or intellectually connect with the audience by adding a personal touch.
Thus, while public speaking tends to be more informal, flexible, and focused on conveying a message verbally, presentation spoken communication skills, on the other hand, are more formal, structured, and utilise visual elements to support the content. However, apart from the differences, there are some similarities between them too!
Similarities Between Public Speaking And Presentation Skills
While public speaking and presentation skills have distinct characteristics, they share some fundamental aspects and common grounds:
Public Speaking skills and Presentation Skills require effective oratory skills to convey messages clearly and confidently.
- In public speaking, you address an audience verbally by choosing the right words, enunciating clearly, and using appropriate gestures to engage the listeners effectively.
- Similarly, in presentations, effective communication involves speaking and using audiovisual presentation features like slides, charts, videos, or graphs to support the spoken content. You must ensure that the visual elements complement the spoken words and enhance the audience’s understanding of the topic.
In both cases, being an active listener is crucial. A good orator listens to the audience’s reactions and adapts their approach accordingly. You should gauge the audience’s interest, take note of their questions, or use humour to connect with them.
Do you make your speeches and presentations engaging? A skilled motivational speaker, or presenter understands the importance of capturing the audience’s attention and maintaining that engagement throughout the session.
- In public speaking, you can use storytelling, anecdotes, or rhetorical questions to connect with the audience. Moreover, you can maintain eye contact, use appropriate body language, and incorporate tone and pace modulation to keep the listeners engaged and interested in the discussed topic.
- Likewise, audience engagement can be achieved in presentations by compellingly structuring the content and using visual aids effectively. You may incorporate interactive elements, such as polls, quizzes, or infographics, to involve the audience members actively.
Clear Message Delivery:
Clarity in preparing and presenting the specific topic is essential in both public speaking and presentations. When someone speaks publicly or presents information, they aim to ensure that the audience quickly understands their ideas and concepts.
- While delivering a speech, the public speaker must organise their main ideas coherently, including a clear introduction, main points, and a concise conclusion. Use appropriate language and vocabulary for the target audience, avoiding complex jargon or technical terms that might hinder comprehension.
- Similarly, in presentations, carefully structure your content, breaking it into logical sections. Use bullet points, headings, and visuals to make the information more digestible in your PowerPoint presentation. The focus is on presenting information concisely and straightforwardly.
While public speaking preparation tips can help gradually improve your speech, let’s explore how we can improve our presentation skills with the help of a framework!
Delivering Impactful Presentations – Monroe’s Motivated Sequence
“Tell’em what you’re gonna tell’em. Tell’em. Then tell’em what you told’em.” – George Bernard Shaw
Need help with persuasively structuring your business presentation? Monroe’s Motivated Sequence is a five-step persuasive technique that can help capture the audience’s attention, create a need, propose a satisfying solution, visualise success, and motivate action.
Step 1: Attention
- The first step for a good presentation is to grab the audience’s attention to ensure they are ready to consume information.
- Employing attention-grabbing techniques such as intriguing statistics, engaging anecdotes, or thought-provoking questions can instantly appeal to the audience’s curiosity.
Step 2: Need
- Once you have their attention, every successful presentation requires you to identify the audience’s needs.
- You establish a connection that fosters engagement by addressing a problem that resonates with the audience.
- In this phase, you highlight the central theme by addressing the problem. By clearly articulating the issue, you create a sense of urgency that compels the audience to seek a solution.
Step 3: Satisfaction
- With the problem established, the next step is to communicate a solution. Your solution should answer the audience’s needs, providing them with a clear and feasible way forward.
- Elaborate on how your solution directly addresses the audience’s needs.
- You build a direct connection, trust and credibility by demonstrating that your proposal is practical and effective.
Step 4: Visualization
- Emotions and aspirations naturally drive human beings. In this step, you paint a vivid picture of the desirable outcome that results from adopting your solution.
- You inspire them to visualise a better future by appealing to the audience’s emotions.
- Utilise powerful storytelling techniques and visual aids to enhance their emotional connection and foster a sense of shared purpose.
Step 5: Action
- The final step is to issue a solid call to action.
- Clearly instruct the audience on what specific action you want them to take. Be direct and persuasive, whether purchasing, supporting a cause, or changing a behaviour.
- By creating a sense of urgency and emphasising the immediate benefits of taking action, you increase the likelihood of a positive response from the audience.
Steve Jobs masterfully employed Monroe’s Motivated Sequence during the iconic iPhone launch in 2007. He captured the audience ranging attention by showcasing an innovative device, highlighted the need for a smartphone revolution, presented the iPhone as the ultimate solution, painted a picture of a smartphone-led future, and urged the audience to buy the product immediately.
Practical public speaking and presentation skills are imperative in the professional world. Whether you want to inspire, persuade, or inform, honing these skills can open doors to new opportunities and career advancement. A well-structured presentation using Monroe’s Motivated Sequence can make a lasting impact on your audience. Remember to summarise the key points, reiterate the call to action, and leave your audience with a compelling closing statement.