Friday, 16 August 2019 23:11

Why is public speaking a performance?

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To answer this question in the affirmative I would have to agree with the statement that public speaking is a performance, however I don’t.

The term performance to me indicates there is an element of acting to the speech delivery


I’m not saying that performing is a bad thing, in fact I believe many speech presentations can benefit from adding theatrics to the delivery of the content.

However, not all presentations are appropriate for theatrics or performing as the original question would indicate.

For example, my understanding of the American verses the Canadian legal systems. The theatrics we see on television with American lawyers performing in the courtroom would never be tolerated in a Canadian courtroom.

It is often recommended that every presentation can benefit from adding humour. Even a eulogy, or celebration of life can benefit from the injection of humour. It may not go over so well though if the eulogy deliverer went into theatrical mode. It may be attention grabbing but would it really be appropriate given the setting?

Adding characters to your presentation with different vocalizations to identify those characters to the audience can be beneficial for delivering your message. Having your characters say something positive about you can go a long way in building your credibility. If you say something about yourself, it may be considered to be bragging. However, if your characters say something about you, it can be considered a testimonial.

While I don’t agree with the original statement that public speaking is a performance, I will say that adding theatrics to certain types of presentations can be beneficial.

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