The Differences Between Public Speaking And Conversation

Public speaking and conversation may seem similar on the surface, but there are some key differences between the two. In public speaking, you are typically addressing a group of people who have gathered to hear you speak. In conversation, however, you are casually talking with one or more other people spontaneously.

Let’s dig deeper into the topic and explore some of the key differences between public speaking and conversation.

What Is Public Speaking?

Public speaking is the act of delivering a speech or presentation to an audience. It can be done formally, such as in a work setting, or informally, such as at a wedding or graduation. The goal of public speaking is to share information or persuade the audience to see your point of view.

What Is Conversation?

Conversation is a spontaneous exchange of ideas between two or more people. It’s usually informal and often happens in everyday situations, such as at the grocery store or while waiting in line. The goal of conversation is typically to build relationships or to simply interact and exchange information.

Key Differences Between Public Speaking and Conversation

Now that we’ve defined each term, let’s take a look at some of the key differences between public speaking and conversation:

Delivery Method

Off-the-cuff conversations are more typical than rehearsed speeches. Although some people can speak about a topic without any external aids, this does not mean that they are extemporaneous speaking.

In conversation, you typically have a back-and-forth exchange with the other person or people. In public speaking, however, you are typically delivering a one-way message to the audience.

Content Structure

Public speaking is a formal, structured type of communication, while conversation is more informal. In public speaking, the speaker usually has a specific message they want to deliver to their audience, while in conversation people typically just talk about whatever is on their mind.

Public speaking is often more structured, with a specific introduction, body, and conclusion, while conversation can be more random.


Public speaking also usually involves preparing and rehearsing what you want to say ahead of time, while conversation is more spontaneous. Although both can be used to communicate, they each have different ways of going about it.


Another key difference is the audience. When you are having a conversation, typically both people involved are on the same level and are talking to each other. However, in public speaking, there is usually a hierarchy, with the speaker being at a higher level than the audience. The audience is also usually much larger when giving a speech.

Final Thoughts

Public speaking and conversation both have their own unique purposes. While they can be used to communicate, they each serve different functions. Public speaking is usually more formal and structured, while conversation is more spontaneous and informal. It’s important to know the difference so you can use the right communication style for the situation.