Public Speaking 101

Presentation? Speak with Confidence

When you need to speak with confidence in public, are you best giving a speech, pitch or presentation?

This is one of those questions that often occupies my clients as though they will have to adopt an entirely different method for their creation process.

Some people feel they will ever give a speech in a more formal setting, such as a wedding, whereas they always deliver a presentation in a business environment.


This definition seems to be particularly dominant in the corporate environment when the speaker is also using presentation software, such as PowerPoint. 


If this difference between a speech and presentation is correct, I wonder where the keynote speech that we see being delivered at business conferences and other corporate events fits into the definition.


Here’s what the Oxford Dictionary (2016) gives as its definition of a presentation: -

         A speech or talk in which a new product, idea,    

         or piece of work is shown and explained to an     

         audience.

As you can see from this definition, there is no actual difference between a speech or presentation.


Speak with Confidence in Corporate Presentations

I know from my own experience of working in the corporate world that most people will use ‘presentation’ to describe the act of speaking in public, whether this is to their colleagues, clients or those controlling their company.

There is also another word that you see used to describe delivering a speech or presentation.

Those whose job involves having the confidence to speak with confidence as they visit clients to deliver sales presentations will often describe the meeting as a ‘pitch'.

A pitch is what the Oxford Dictionary (2016) defines as: -

         A form of words used when trying to persuade

         someone to buy or accept something.

This definition may cause some confusion, as any speech or presentation that you may give or have heard can also be persuasive in nature. 


The speaker may not have been trying to persuade us to buy from them, but they will still have written their speech with the aim of persuading us to do or believe something. 


The speech may be by a manager on why a new application is going to be installed on everyone’s computer in the department. 


Here you’d still want to persuade those attending of the merits of this application and how it will be of help to them in their job both while speaking and answering their questions.


As you can see, the actual difference between a speech, presentation or even pitch really is down to personal preference, and the language used in your environment.


It’s perfectly all right for you to use one term over the other, especially when it is the one commonly used in your company or industry, so long as you speak with confidence.


Each of the stages required to speak with confidence as you create a pitch, presentation, or speech that connects with your audience and conveys your ideas while leaving an impression on those listening to you will be the same.

Seeing Your public Speaking Fear
Presentation? Speak with Confidence
Q&A Confidence for Meetings and Interviews

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