Public speaking is speaking to a group of people in a structured, deliberate manner intended to inform, influence, or entertain the listeners. In public speaking, as in any form of communication, there are five basic elements, often expressed as "who is saying what to whom utilizing what medium with what effects?
"The purpose of public speaking can range from simply transmitting information, to motivating people to act, to simply telling a story. A good orator should be able to change the emotions of their listener, not just inform them.
Public speaking is a process of speaking to a group of people in a structured, deliberate manner intended to inform, influence, or entertain the listeners. It is closely allied to "presenting", although the latter has more of a commercial advertisement connotation. Public speaking is commonly understood as a kind of face-to-face speaking between individuals and audience for the purpose of communication.
Public speaking is almost as ancient as speech itself. The first known textbook on the subject was written over 2500 years ago, and the principles elaborated within it were drawn from the practices and experience of orators in ancient Greece.
These basic principles have undergone modification as societies and cultures have changed, yet remained surprisingly uniform.
Effective public speaking can be developed by joining a club such Rostrum, Toastmasters International, Association of Speakers Clubs (ASC) or International Training in Communication (ISC) in which members are assigned exercises to improve their speaking skills. Members learn by observation and practice, and hone their skills by listening to constructive suggestions followed by new public speaking exercises.
Effective leadership almost always requires the skill of good public speaking, and this can often make up for a lack of other skills. The ends to which this skill can be used vary greatly - Adolf Hitler and Martin Luther King, Jr. were both able to use oratory to have a significant impact on society - but in very different directions.
The fear of public speaking is called glossophobia (or, informally, "stage fright"). It is believed to be the single most common phobia — affecting as much as 75% of the population. Fear of oration is ranked even above that of death.