Speech coaches and trainers often perpetuate myths and misconceptions about presentations and public speaking.
I begin with the assumption that giving a speech is both an art and a skill.
Public speaking an art in that it requires a certain amount of creativity.
You have to come up with (i.e. create) a good idea to begin with. You have to put it together in a logical and persuasive structure. You have to use words and phrases and, sometimes, stories in a clear and evocative manner. And you have to deliver your speech with at least a modicum of drama.
Public speaking, like any art, is also a skill.
It has its own somewhat complex, somewhat variable set of requirements, rules, guidelines, and principles to learn, practice, and master. To give a speech — a good one, at least — you have to be able to plan and create one, explain your idea clearly in a limited amount of time, connect with an audience, begin and end a speech, overcome fear and project confidence in front of an audience, answer questions, and think on your feet.
Public speaking isn’t as complex or demanding a skill as, say, performing brain surgery or rocket science. But then again it’s not as simple or easy as riding a bike.
Beginning with that assumption — public speaking is both an art and a skill — I’ve developed my list of…