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Thursday, 15 December 2016 04:12

Is public speaking an art or skill?

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A Good OratorI would suspect that most responses to this question will say that it is both. I’m going to take a different approach and say that it can be both or either.

Let’s expand upon that a little. The question doesn’t ask about public speaking well, efficiently or productively. It asks about public speaking, arguably, in general terms.

Any time that you are talking to somebody else besides yourself, you are public speaking.

The Difference-BetweenDifference-Between describes art as follows ‘art is (uncountable) the conscious production or arrangement of sounds, colours, forms, movements, or other elements in a manner that affects the senses and emotions, usually specifically the production of the beautiful in a graphic or plastic medium.’

And ‘skill is capacity to do something well; technique, ability skills are usually acquired or learned, as opposed to abilities, which are often thought of as innate.’

To be able to communicate with each other as adults, we rely on all of our language skills, both verbal and non-verbal, that we developed while growing up.

As an example, we are walking through our local Kmart and we hear on the overhead speakers “Attention Kmart shoppers, we have a blue-light special in aisle Three for the next ten minutes only …”

If you spend any time in large stores, you have likely heard a version of the same story. Is there any art involved? Not likely. Is there any skill involved? Some might argue, ‘No!” there isn’t because the announcer is just reading it.

Consider this … They have to read it with confidence.  They have to read it with people looking at them and perhaps even overcoming their fear of the microphone and hearing their own voice, larger than life. That sounds like some skills involved to me.

Now, if we amend the definition of public speaking to be that of presenting or delivering content to a larger group of people, you don’t have to incorporate art into your speaking. However, if you want to engage your audience and have them call you back … you will definitely need to incorporate art into your speaking.

Your speaking skills will allow you to have the nerve to get up to speak to your audience. Your speaking skills will allow you to maintain eye contact with your audience so that each of them believes you are speaking directly to them. Your skills will allow you to organize your speech so that it follows a logical flow i.e. opening, body and closing.

Your art of speaking will allow you to paint pictures with your words, so that your audience can experience your presentation. Your art will allow you to own the stage and move around it with purpose. Your art will make you stand out from other ‘public speakers.’

So … art yes, skills yes, art maybe, skills definitely!

Thanks for your interesting question!

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Rae Stonehouse

Author Bio:

Rae A. Stonehouse is a Canadian born author & speaker. His professional career as a Registered Nurse working predominantly in psychiatry/mental health, has spanned four decades.

Rae has embraced the principal of CANEI (Constant and Never-ending Improvement) as promoted by thought leaders such as Tony Robbins and brings that philosophy to each of his publications and presentations.

Rae has dedicated the latter segment of his journey through life to overcoming his personal inhibitions. As a 20+ year member of Toastmasters International he has systematically built his self-confidence and communicating ability. He is passionate about sharing his lessons with his readers and listeners. His publications thus far are of the self-help, self-improvement genre and systematically offer valuable sage advice on a specific topic. He is a long-time member of Kelowna Flying Solo Toastmasters and is the driving force behind its long-term success. 

His writing style can be described as being conversational. As an author Rae strives to have a one-to-one conversation with each of his readers, very much like having your own personal self-development coach. Rae is known for having a wry sense of humour that features in his publications.

Author of Self-Help Downloadable E-Books:

Power Networking for Shy PeoplePower Networking for Shy People: Tips & Techniques for Moving from Shy to Sly!

PROtect Yourself!PROtect Yourself! Empowering Tips & Techniques for Personal Safety: A Practical Violence Prevention Manual for Healthcare Workers.

E=Emcee SquaredE=Emcee SquaredTips & Techniques to Becoming a Dynamic Master of Ceremonies.

Power of PromotionPower of Promotion: On-line Marketing for Toastmasters Club Growth


Phone Rae 250-451-6564 or

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Copyright 2015 & 2016 Rae Stonehouse. The above document may be freely copied and distributed as long as the author’s name and contact info remain attached.

To learn more about Rae A. Stonehouse, visit the Wonderful World of Rae Stonehouse at http://raestonehouse.com

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