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.
For further discussion on public speaking, speech development, communication skills and Toastmasters, visit the Live For Excellence Book Store for the following publications:
Blow Your Own Horn!: Personal Branding for Business Professionals
Power Networking For Shy People: How to Network Like a Pro
The Power of Persuasion: Mastering the Art of Influence
The Power of Promotion: Online Marketing For Toastmasters Club Growth
The Savvy Emcee: How to be a Dynamic Master of Ceremonies
Working With Words: Adding Life to Your Oral Presentations
Rae A. Stonehouse is an author, speaker, and self-publishing consultant dedicated to helping others embrace constant improvement and overcome challenges. With over 40 years of experience as a Registered Nurse in psychiatry and mental health, Rae brings a wealth of knowledge and passion for self-development to his writing and presentations.
As a 25+ year member of Toastmasters International, Rae has systematically built his communication abilities and self-confidence to share his insights as an author and speaker. His self-help books and personal development presentations aim to have conversational one-on-one connections with readers and audiences.
Rae is known for his wry sense of humor and sage advice delivered in a relatable coaching style. After four decades as a nurse, Rae has rewired rather than retired, actively writing and pursuing public speaking. He strives to share lessons learned to help others achieve personal and professional growth.