You may be thinking “I don’t intend giving a speech to a crowd of people, so why should I even worry about anything that concerns public speaking?”. Let us start by looking at what public speaking is.

Shapira defined it as any time you speak in front of an audience of one or more with some kind of goal. That covers everything from a formal address at a podium or on a stage to a small meeting with co-workers -Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).

When you discuss with fellow students during a class session or share a business idea with a potential partner, or simply having a conversation with an old-time friend, you are technically involved in public speaking. You can see that regardless of age, social status, and nature of day-to-day activities, we are all involved in public speaking one way or another.

However, beyond being a part of our everyday life, public speaking skill is one of the soft skills needed to excel in today’s labour market.

This article shares 3 fundamental components of public speaking. Understanding some of the key components of public speaking will put you on a good start to building your public speaking skill.

The Message

I like to define the message as what you want to say.

What is the topic of discussion? What have you been required to speak on? What is the message? Once clear on what needs to be said, you can then move to develop your message. While researching and developing your content, ensure you only put down what is up-to-date and relevant.

As we have learnt from the introduction, public speaking isn’t just that big speaking event where you need to give a two-pager speech. In a less formal situation like discussing with a friend or networking, you don’t have the leisure to research and put down things before you speak. Therefore, in such situations, the message is as simple as what you say on-the-go. As with the case of a formal speaking engagement, ensure your message is relevant and timely.

The Audience

The audience is the people or person you want to give the message.

Your audience is key in defining what message becomes relevant and how best the message is to be delivered. Your audience can be young, aged, professionals, non-professionals, peers, or simply just a friend.

Remember you need to send a message to your audience and as such you need to speak in a language they understand.

The Delivery

Delivery is how you want to send the message to the audience.

This is the point where you put all your preparations into action.

Do you want to use jokes in conveying your message? Or maybe start by telling your personal experience on the subject matter? How you send the message is largely dependent on the nature of the audience.

You can afford to use wild jokes when talking to a friend but can’t do the same when talking to a group of professionals.


The message, audience, and delivery style are key components of public speaking. Master what they each stand for and how to navigate through each component.