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People often use the words “speech” and “presentation” synonymously, but are synonyms? The truth is, they are very different things. If you’re asked to give one of them, it is important that you understand the difference. If not, you may spend time preparing something they didn’t want. Here are the differences.

  • Audience

Presentations are usually given to a smaller group of people. They are often used in business, such as a sales presentation. The audience for a speech is usually large, because the topic usually interests a large number of people.

  • Formality Level

Presentations are more informal. Often, a presenter dresses like he does for work. Preparations take less time to prepare for as well. A speech is more formal .than a presentation. A person giving a speech likely wears a suit, carefully planning with care what to wear. Speeches usually take a great deal of time to prepare for.

  • Use of Visual Aides

Slide shows containing charts and graphs, pictures, quotes or anything else are not used in speeches. A speaker must rely on his/her own voice, facial expressions, and overall emotions to get their message across.

  • Handouts

Handouts are sometimes given out when someone is doing a presentation. This helps the audience know they don’t have to take notes, because you have everything prepared. When giving a speech, however, they are not used.

  • The Focus of it

When considering the focus, a speech generally covers a very broad range of ideas. A presentation usually covers a specific topic.

As you can see, these two things are quite different. You do, however, usually write a speech to do a presentation. Here are a few tips to make sure you get it right.

  • Write everything you know about the subject you’re speaking about. Break it down into categories in an outline form. Then write it in speech form.
  • Organize what you need to say in blocks of time. This way you know you’ll get the timing right. Prioritize and have your time organized, you should do fine. Add or delete material to fit your timeline. Make sure you have extra things to add, or know what to cut incase the presentation needs less or extra time.
  • Once you’ve done that memorize your block and the material in it. Usually, it’s best to make only 3 or 4 points so you can make sure to memorize them.

Whether you’re giving a speech or a presentation, being prepared is the key. Make sure you know which one you’re giving so you can prepare appropriately. It will make the world of difference. You’ll know you got it right, and whoever you’re speaking for will be glad they hired you to speak.


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