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Steve Robson

Marine Industry

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Speech Vs Presentation

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I was asked recently what is the difference between a speech and a presentation. At first it sounds like an easy to answer question?

The main difference (according to the experts) is the use of visuals. ie Speeches have none and Presentations generally use them.

As far as I am aware there are no rules regarding the use of images when giving a speech.

So what IS the difference?

6 Responses

  1. IMHO

    "Speech" as a noun dates from the time when the only medium available was the person's voice.

    "Presentation" therefore was used to differentiate when visual aids became more widely available.

    I also feel that a 'speech' is a formal; event driven item, which purely passes on information. 

    Whereas a 'presentation' is more often a call for some form of action; eg buy my product, select my solution, choose from these options…..

    Having said that I'd say that the difference is semantic and in the eye of the beholder….if asked to give a speech or a presentation it is always worth understanding the detail of the request and the facilities available.

    Rus 

  2. David Cameron

    So did David Cameron just give a a keynote presentation?

    Whereas a 'presentation' is more often a call for some form of action; eg buy my product, select my solution, choose from these options…..

    After much deliberation I really don't think there is any difference?

  3. my silly response

     

    People are less likely to chant "presentation, presentation, presentation" to someone on a special event such as a birthday party or reward ceremony. 

     

     

  4. Honestly, just a language thing

    Honestly I'd say that you can use visual aids with a speech, and arguably a presentation could include no visual aids (if you had more than speaker, for example) so the most definitive difference is the context that we use each word in. As blakehenegan showed above, it would sound ridiculous to say 'Hey, make a birthday presentation!' or start planning for your 'Best Man's presentation' at a wedding, as we always use the term speech. But from my own wedding I can confirm that visual aids are definitely sometimes used in speeches!

    'Presentation' has more of a business connotation, whereas 'speech' feels more like something you make from a personal perspective (even if it's at work)… Ultimately a presentation is usually on behalf of a company, whereas a speech seems like it should be on behalf of yourself.

    That's just my opinion though! I think the whole emphasis on visual aids as the defining difference is a bit overstated.

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Steve Robson

Learning and Development Consultant

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