Introduction to public speaking updated

What comes to mind when you hear of communication? Many scholars have defined communication in several forms. The word communication is derived from the Latin word communicare which means to impart or participate or to transmit. The word communicate is derived from the root word Communis which means to make common or to share. We now know communicare means to impart and the latter to share or transmit so now what is communication?

Introduction to public speaking updated
Introduction to public speaking updated by

From the two Latin words, we can conclude that communication means to impart something to make meaning. Communication is defined in various ways but generally, it is understood as a process of conveying information, opinions, symbols, signs, and feelings through words or actions among people to create meaning. Communication is also a process of exchanging messages from a sender to a receiver.

Is Communication a process?

Communication is a process because it is a step-by-step or ongoing form of exchanging meanings.

Communication has been defined in different contexts based on the number of people involved in the process. We have intra-personal, interpersonal, and public or mass communication.

Let’s look at the word intra-personal. Intra means within. Personal means one’s own. Let’s combine these two words and find their meaning. Intra-personal we can therefore say it’s within one’s self.
Intra-personal communication refers to communication within one’s self-using internal vocalization or reflective thinking. Here communication is done within you. As humans, we sometimes communicate with ourselves using self-talk to calm ourselves during stressful situations. Have you ever stood before a mirror speaking to yourself before or you sit to reflect on yourself or perhaps you are worried/ excited and then you start talking to yourself? These are all intra-personal communication. Communicating to one’s self.

We discussed Intra personal Communication as talking to one’s self so what comes to mind when you hear of interpersonal communication?
Inter is a prefix that means between two groups.
Interpersonal communication refers to communication between two or more people. Interpersonal communication is also grouped into two, the dyadic and the small group. When we say interpersonal communication is dyadic, what we mean is that communication is done between only two people. Take note of the word ‘only’. Communication exists between two or more people in a small group.

MASS/PUBLIC COMMUNICATION. Mass means anonymous people. Hence we say mass or public communication refers to the transmission of messages from a single source through an electronic or print medium to a large number of people who are heterogeneous, diverse, and anonymous audiences who may be seen or unseen. Examples of electronic media are radio, tv, social media, websites et cetera. We have got no communication and the types of communication. What then is public speaking?

Knowing the processes and the ways of good communication doesn’t end there, you might stand before a multitude one day and talk to them. This is why you need to know how to use this communication knowledge to talk to the mass and this would be acquired through public speaking.


Introduction to public speaking updated
Introduction to public speaking updated by

You might think public speaking is the same as public communication. Let’s look at it and get to know the difference between the two.
Public speaking is a ‘formal’ form of communication to inform, inspire, entertain or influence a group of listeners or audiences.
A powerful form of communication includes a speaker who has a reason for speaking, an audience that gives the speaker attention, and a message that is meant to accomplish a specific purpose(O’ Hair & Wieman, 2012).

We say public speaking is a formal form of communication and when something is formal; it is official and it is that communication that is used to inform, inform here means educating us on something, to inspire or to imbue; to persuade the audiences and to entertain a group of listeners. (O’ Hair & Wieman,( 2012)are saying that before a speaker speaks the former has to have a reason for speaking and the motive behind the message. The audiences also have to give the speaker attention and without the attention of the listeners, the speaker has no reason for speaking and the message is meant to accomplish a specific goal whether to inform, persuade or entertain.


The wrong idea people get about public speaking is that you cannot learn to be a public speaker, you have to be born a good speaker. This is not true. Everyone can learn to be a public speaker. It is not always natural to be born with it. When you learn and get the required skills, you can be a good public speaker.

Another misconception is that people think reading a speech is the best way to ensure a good speech. It is not always so, one can read a speech but will not be the best public speaker. You can learn and get the requisite skills to be a good speaker.
What are the required skills a person needs for public speaking?
Confidence is built as a result of adequate planning and preparation, When you want to be a good speaker, you need to build confidence. How will you build confidence, by knowing your audience and knowing who you are?

Planning and preparation
All Public speaking activities require planning and preparation; without it, you will find
it difficult to effectively communicate your message to your audience. You need to plan and prepare.

Knowledge and application of non-verbal and verbal communication skills.
Public speaking is not merely about what you say but how you deliver your message to your audience is very much important. The use of gestures, facial expressions, and dressing means to communicate well to your audiences.


  • The ability to appear on stage thus gathering the confidence and courage to appear on stage
  • Being calm in your voice
  • Body movement and language
  • Keeping a relationship with the audience, eg: eye contact.
  • Delivery

This piece is the introductory aspect of public speaking. If you want to be a public speaker, then you need to start learning the ways especially when you were not born with it.

Image sources: and

Leave a Comment