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Public speaking (also called oratory or oration) is the process or act of performing a speech to a live audience. Public speaking is commonly understood as formal, face-to-face speaking of a single person to a group of listeners. Public speaking can serve the purpose of transmitting information, telling a story, motivating people to act or encouraging people. This type of speech is deliberately structured with three general purposes: to inform, to persuade and to entertain.

Public speaking for business and commercial events is often done by professionals. These speakers can be contracted independently, through representation by a speaker’s bureau, or by other means. Public speaking plays a large role in the professional world. In fact, it is believed that 70 percent of all jobs involve some form of public speaking.

A common fear of public speaking is called glossophobia (or, informally, "stage fright"), this state of response by many beginners confuse with normal nerves and anxiety with a genuine phobia.[10]