Whenever someone gets up in front of a group and gives a talk, that's public speaking. If you dislike public speaking, you might not want to be a college professor or a politician.
Simply put, public speaking is speaking in public — especially if you're giving a well-planned speech to an audience. Some public speaking is done to entertain people, but it can also persuade an audience (to vote for you, for example) or educate them. You can also call this type of speaking oration or oratory. There's evidence that students studied public speaking as far back as ancient Egypt.
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