Public communication is a broad discipline that incorporates any form of communication used to reach a large, heterogeneous group of people. It spans different platforms and mediums including speeches, television, radio, and digital media. The interaction may involve a speaker engaging with a vast audience like in a political or motivational speech, or it may involve a two-way interaction like social media engagement.
While public communication might seem straightforward, it’s actually a multidimensional concept, embedded with numerous elements. To fully understand its definition, it’s pertinent to examine its key characteristics, the significance of ‘public speaking skills’, and the role it plays in our digital age.
Key Characteristics of Public Communication
Public communication is characterised by several key elements, first and foremost, it involves disseminating a message to a large public audience. This audience is diverse in nature, with various backgrounds, perspectives, and expectations. Additionally, the communication process typically takes place in a one-to-many communication model. One individual or entity sends a message and many people on the receiving end interpret this message based on their personal perspectives and experiences.
Another pivotal aspect of public communication lies in its purpose: marketing and advertising, disseminating information about public services, inspiring social change, or influencing public opinion are common reasons for engaging in public communication. Ultimately, the goal is to affect the audience’s actions, behaviors, thoughts, or attitudes toward a particular issue or event.
The Significance of Public Speaking Skills
Within the scope of public communication, public speaking skills cannot be overemphasized. In many instances, public communication necessitates direct, verbal engagement with the audience. Whether it’s a politician addressing their constituents, a business leader inspiring their team, or perhaps a teacher educating a class of students, possessing strong public speaking skills is invaluable.
Effective public speaking skills encompass more than the ability to clearly articulate words. They involve non-verbal communication, like maintaining eye contact to build connection and gestures to accentuate points. A good public speaker should be capable of captivating their audience, conveying their messages distinctly and effectively, and thereby achieving the intended outcomes of information sharing, persuasion, entertainment, or mood elevation.
Public Communication in Our Digital Age
In contemporary society, the advent of digital technology has exponentially amplified the importance and influence of public communication. Now, the ability to publicly communicate extends beyond physical spaces to virtual platforms, from social media networks to blogs and podcasts, reaching an even larger and more diverse audience globally.
Today, public communication is woven into the fabric of our daily lives. It’s the headline news we read each morning, the social media trends we engage with, the brand advertisements we encounter, and even the viral videos we share with friends. It has undergone an evolution where it’s no longer just ‘top-down’, but incorporates feedback from the audience, fostering interaction, and expanding dialogue.
To conclude, public communication represents a dynamic and vital field of practice and study. With its heart beating in public speaking skills, it is an integral part of our existence, shaping our understanding of the world, influencing our emotions, beliefs, and behaviors, and propelling societies towards collective action and change.