Public Speaking Course:
Here are some key definitions taught in my public speaking course.
PA: Abbreviation for public address system.
Panel: A group of presenters, normally seated, that hold a discussion on a particular subject. Audience members are invited to pose questions to individual presenters or to the group as a whole.
Parody: A humorous imitation of a serious piece of literature or song.
Planned spontaneity: See Canned ad-lib.
Plant: A person pretending to be a normal audience member, who, in fact, is there to assist the speaker in some way. Also Shill.
Platform: Raised area in front of the audience where the speaker stands. Also, Dais, Riser, Podium or Stage. (as in "Platform Speaker")
Pleonasm: The bringing together of two concepts or words that are redundant like frozen ice, sharp point, killed dead, sandy beach, young child, positive praise (in ways different than 'oxymoron')
Plug: An informal advertisement made during a presentation used to promote a product or service.
Podium: See Platform. Many people call a lectern a
podium. This is technically incorrect, but very common.
Practical joke: A playful trick that usually puts the receiver in an embarrassing position. Also Prank.
Prank: A practical joke that could be good natured or malicious. See Practical joke.
Pratfall: In comedy, an on-purpose, exaggerated fall to the floor usually accompanied by flailing arms and legs for effect.
Pre-program questionnaire: Information gathering document used to customize a presentation.
Press kit: A package of information used to promote a speaker or performer.
Prompter: A device used to electronically display
a magnified version of the script the speaker can see, but the audience
can't. (Commonly called a TelePrompter, which is actually a registered
Prop: A shortened version of the theatrical term "property"
used to describe
Public address system: Abbreviated PA. The equipment used to amplify sound for the audience.
Public domain: Material that anyone can use without the need to give credit.
Public seminar: An educational event which is open to the public.
Pun: The humorous use of words that sound alike or nearly alike but are different in meaning as in "Isn't this a punny book?"
Punch line: The climactic word or phrase of a humorous statement that provokes laughter.
Rehearse: To practice for a presentation until all the rough spots are smoothed.
Relevance, Theory of: Belief that the only humor used
in a business presentation should be related to the subject of the presentation,
Repartee: A conversation full of quick, witty replies. Also Comeback, Riposte.
Repeat engagement: A second presentation for the same group.
Response to Introduction: After the introduction, comments directed to the introducer or the audience about the introduction or introducer.
Riposte: Sharp, quick action or reply. Also Comeback.
Riser: See Platform. Also, Dais, Podium or Stage.
Roast: An event where the guest of honor is ridiculed and teased in a good-natured, comical manner.
Roastmaster: The Master of Ceremonies at a roast, as derived from a "Toastmaster".
Role play: An audience involvement exercise where
the audience members and/or the presenter interact
Rule of Three: Structure of humor where two serious
items set a pattern then the third unexpectedly switches the pattern
Running gag: A gag that repeats itself or plays off a gag that occurred earlier.
Saver line: Comment made to recover from a (supposedly) humorous comment that failed.
Sarcasm: A cutting, often ironic, form of wit intended to make its victim the butt of contempt or ridicule
Segue: To move smoothly and unhesitatingly from one
section or theme of a presentation to another.
Self-effacing humor: A very powerful form of humor that highlights your own weaknesses.
Seminar: An educational session lasting from 30 minutes to several days.
Series: See Bits, or Chunks. Portions of a longer speech that is easier to learn, or remember.
Shill: In comedy, a person planted in the audience to assist in a gag.
Shtick: A characteristic attribute, talent, or trait
that is helpful in securing recognition or attention.
Sick humor: See Black humor.
Signature story: A story that is credited to a particular person. This type of story should never be used without attribution.
Simile: A comparison of two things which, however
different in other respects,
Site: The location of the meeting. Also Venue.
Slapstick: Broad comedy involving boisterous action like throwing pies and fake violence ala The Three Stooges.
Slide: A 35mm transparency. Sometimes used to describe an overhead transparency.
Sound man (person): Person in charge of public address system, sound board, recording, etc. during a presentation.
Sound system: See Public Address System.
Speakers bureau: A service company that provides speakers for meeting planners.
Spokesperson: A person who speaks for or represents a company, organization or other person.
Stage: See Dais.
Stage fright: Nervousness associated with performing or speaking before an audience.
Stage left: As the performer faces the audience, the side of the stage to his/her left.
Stage lights: Lights illuminating the stage area only.
Stage right: As the performer faces the audience, the side of the stage to his/her right.
Stooge: An entertainer who feeds lines to the main performer and frequently is the butt of the joke.
Tailoring: Adjusting material to better suit a particular audience. Not quite customizing.
TelePrompter: See Prompter.
Test Humor: Humor used either in the introduction or early parts of a talk to determine the extent to which the audience is in fun.
Testimonial: A statement, usually written, in support of a another's character or worth; a personal recommendation.
Theater style seating: Seating where chairs are set in rows without tables.
Timing: Adjusting one's speaking and pausing for dramatic or comical effect.
Toastmaster: See Emcee.
Trainer: A person who conducts workshops and training sessions.
Transcribe: To make a written copy of a voice recording or presentation.
Transparency: A slide that is viewed by light shining through it from behind or by projection. Also Slide.
Two-step seminar: A free seminar where attendees are asked to buy a second seminar or purchase products.