Public Speaking versus Conversation
Effective Public Speaking
This section compares and contrasts public speaking with conversation.
Similarities between public speaking and everyday conversation
They share 3 main goals: to inform people about things they do not know, to persuade people to believe something or to do something, or to entertain people and make them feel good about themselves.  Often, all three are combined, but a good speech has one of these as a primary goal.
They rely upon similar skills: thoughts are organized logically, messages are tailored for the audience, stories are used for maximum effect, and feedback is used to help adapt the message to the audience.
Differences between public speaking and everyday conversation:
Public speaking is more highly structured.  Speakers generally have time limits, and Listeners do not interrupt (usually).  Information is organized, planned, prepared, researched—it’s not “off-the-cuff.”  Listener needs and situational constraints are more carefully considered.
Public speaking required more formal language.  Listeners reacted negatively to slang, jargon, or poor grammar, so Speakers polish their language and choose words for the greatest effect.
Public speaking requires different delivery. Speakers talk louder (so they can hear you in the back of the room), avoid fillers such as long pauses, “um,” “you know,” and “like,” and adopt a more formal delivery (avoiding casual posture, distracting mannerisms, and verbal habits).

Public Speaking versus Conversation
Public Speaking Conversation
Direct Direct
Spontaneity Spontaneous
Colorful Muted
Compelling Comfortable
Tuned to Listeners Equal
Clearly Defined Roles Shared Roles
Carefully Planned Spontaneous
Structured (time limits, uninterrupted) (free, back&forth) Unstructured
Changing Environment Stable Environment
Responsible Forgiving
Multiple channels Multiple Channels
Exigence Entertainment
Formal (language, dress, posture, gestures, distractions) Informal
                                                                                                                                                                                    Source: Osborn & Osborn, Public Speaking, p. 10-17

This section compares and contrasts public speaking with conversation.  In the next section, we’ll cover different processes involved in communication through public speaking.  It also compares and contrasts different kinds of public speaking.  Public speaking is also described in terms of its 5 components.