Public speaking and casual conversation are similar in that they are done to inform, persuade or entertain an audience. They are different in that public speaking is more structured, is spoken in a formal language and has a formal delivery.
Public Speaking and Conversation Contrasted
When we are engaged in a casual conversation with friends or colleagues, it isn’t formal and usually involves a back-and-forth communication. You say something; your friend responds. Pretty simple.In a casual conversation, the language isn’t formal and is more forgiving. Although casual conversation may be exchanged to inform or persuade, mostly it is for entertainment.
In public speaking, it is more structured and generally takes on a more formal language. The audience does not engage with the speaker. It is structured and has time limits. And it takes careful planning and research. Its delivery even has a purpose, and it can be to:
When a public speaker speaks to inform, he is sending information to the audience that they do not already know. This can be how to do something, like roast a chicken, or to relay information about an important event.
Sometimes, a public speaker will try to persuade an audience by attempting to change the way the audience thinks or behaves. A speaker may try to get the audience to think about religion or political issues in a different way in an attempt to convert naysayers. Another persuasive technique attempts to change the audience’s current behavior through a call to action, like convincing the crowd to donate to the speaker’s cause.There are times when the speech is made simply to entertain, or to add humor or amuse the audience. This may be a speech given at a celebration dinner or even at an event. It may be done to memorialize an attendee or even as a roast to poke light-hearted fun at another person.
The casual conversation may also have similar purposes but not in such a calculated way.
Public Speaking and Conversation Compared
Have you ever wanted Chinese takeout, but the rest of the crew wants pizza? You may wage a strong argument for crab Rangoon by describing its benefits, price or ease of ordering. What you are doing is trying to persuade and inform your friends to side with your cravings.You may even locate evidence that Chinese food is a healthier option. You may even offer to pay for the meal.
In any event, you are, in a way, trying to change thinking or behavior through the same channels as a public speaker.The only difference is you’re not addressing a large audience. You are casually debating dinner options amongst friends. Casual conversation and public speaking are similar in many ways.
Both are targeted for a specific audience and the messages are sent to have concentrated effect. And both use feedback to assess audience buy-in.In the casual conversation, it may be a direct comment made by a friend. In public speaking, it may be more about the audience’s body language. If the audience leans in to the speaker, it may indicate that they agree with the message. If your friend asks to see the Chinese takeout menu, it may also mean the same. If the audience boos and hisses at the speaker, well, that speaks for itself.
If your friends grab the nearest smartphone and dial into Joe’s Pizza… Well, you can see where I’m going with that.The casual speaker also seeks to entertain. Everyone knows a guy who loves spinning a few yarns.
He gets up before a crowd and tells jokes and funny anecdotes. This guy is merely there to entertain and amuse the crowd. He has no real agenda. Just to get a few sidesplitting laughs out of his friends. Although public speaking takes on a more compelling role, they do share certain similarities.
To sum things up, public speaking and casual conversation are similar in that both are done to inform, persuade or entertain an audience. In public speaking, the speaker is seeking to change thinking or behavior, call a large group to action or just amuse them with stories.In the casual conversation, this is also done but in a much more informal way. In this type of conversation, the audience is generally friends, family and even colleagues. The issues are less important and the tone is less compelling.
You should have the ability to do the following after watching this video lesson:
- Identify three purposes of public speaking
- Compare and contrast public speaking to casual conversation