Public Speaking Training:
Glossary F-J Glossary
K-O Glossary U-Z
Here are some public speaking training definitions.
PA: Abbreviation for public address system.
Panel: A group of presenters, normally seated, that hold a
discussion on a particular subject. Audience members are invited to pose
questions to individual presenters or to the group as a whole.
Parody: A humorous imitation of a
serious piece of literature or song.
Planned spontaneity: See Canned ad-lib.
Plant: A person pretending to be a normal audience member,
who, in fact, is there to assist the speaker in some way. Also Shill.
Platform: Raised area in front of the audience where the
speaker stands. Also, Dais, Riser, Podium or Stage. (as in "Platform
Pleonasm: The bringing together of two concepts or words
that are redundant like frozen ice, sharp point, killed dead, sandy beach, young
child, positive praise (in ways different than 'oxymoron')
Plug: An informal advertisement made during a presentation
used to promote a product or service.
Podium: See Platform. Many people call a lectern a podium.
This is technically incorrect, but very common.
Also Dais, Riser, or Stage.
Practical joke: A playful trick that usually puts the
receiver in an embarrassing position. Also Prank.
Prank: A practical joke that could be good natured or
malicious. See Practical joke.
Pratfall: In comedy, an on-purpose, exaggerated fall to the
floor usually accompanied by flailing arms and legs for effect.
Pre-program questionnaire: Information gathering document
used to customize a presentation.
Press kit: A package of information used to promote a
speaker or performer.
Prompter: A device used to electronically display a
magnified version of the script the speaker can see, but the audience can't.
(Commonly called a TelePrompter, which is actually a registered trade name.)
In theater, a person in the pit, the orchestra pit, out of sight, to help actors
with their lines from the script.
Prop: A shortened version of the
theatrical term "property" used to describe
any object handled or used by an actor in a performance.
Public address system: Abbreviated PA. The equipment used to
amplify sound for the audience.
Public domain: Material that anyone can use without the need
to give credit.
Public seminar: An educational event which is open to the
Pun: The humorous use of words that sound alike or nearly
alike but are different in meaning as in "Isn't this a punny book?"
Punch line: The climactic word or phrase of a humorous
statement that provokes laughter.
Q&A: Abbreviation for the question and answer portion of
Click here for funny Q&A session info
Click here for serious Q&A session info
Of French origin, connection with the audience, especially one of mutual trust
or emotional attraction.
Rehearse: To practice for a presentation until all the rough
spots are smoothed.
Relevance, Theory of: Belief that the only humor used in a
business presentation should be related to the subject of the presentation,
the speaker, the audience, or the location.
Repartee: A conversation full of quick, witty replies. Also
Repeat engagement: A second presentation for the same group.
Response to Introduction: After the introduction, comments
directed to the introducer or the audience about the introduction or introducer.
Riposte: Sharp, quick action or reply. Also Comeback.
Riser: See Platform. Also, Dais, Podium or Stage.
Roast: An event where the guest of
honor is ridiculed and teased in a good-natured, comical manner.
Roastmaster: The Master of Ceremonies at a roast, as derived
from a "Toastmaster".
Role play: An audience involvement exercise where the
audience members and/or the presenter interact
while assuming the attitudes and actions of others.
Rule of Three: Structure of humor
where two serious items set a pattern then the third unexpectedly switches the
which provokes laughter, or three jokes on one topic in a bit.
Running gag: A gag that repeats itself or plays off a gag
that occurred earlier.
Saver line: Comment made to recover from a (supposedly)
humorous comment that failed.
Sarcasm: A cutting, often ironic, form of wit intended to
make its victim the butt of contempt or ridicule
Segue: To move smoothly and unhesitatingly from one section
or theme of a presentation to another.
Self-effacing humor: A very powerful
form of humor that highlights your own weaknesses.
Seminar: An educational session lasting from 30 minutes to
Series: See Bits, or Chunks. Portions of a longer speech
that is easier to learn, or remember.
Shill: In comedy, a person planted in the audience to assist
in a gag.
Shtick: A characteristic attribute, talent, or trait that is
helpful in securing recognition or attention.
In entertainment, a routine or gimmick attributed to a particular performer,
i. e. smashing watermelons is part of Gallagher's (the comedian) shtick.
Sick humor: See Black humor.
Signature story: A story that is credited to a particular
person. This type of story should never be used without attribution.
Simile: A comparison of two things
which, however different in other respects,
have some strong point or points in common. The words like and as will normally
be used when making the comparison as in "His brilliance is like a burned
out light bulb."
Site: The location of the meeting. Also Venue.
Slapstick: Broad comedy involving boisterous action like
throwing pies and fake violence ala The Three Stooges.
Slide: A 35mm transparency. Sometimes used to describe an
Sound man (person): Person in charge of public address
system, sound board, recording, etc. during a presentation.
Sound system: See Public Address System.
Speakers bureau: A service company that provides speakers
for meeting planners.
Spokesperson: A person who speaks for or represents a
company, organization or other person.
Stage: See Dais.
Stage fright: Nervousness
associated with performing or speaking before an audience.
Stage left: As the performer faces the audience, the side of
the stage to his/her left.
Stage lights: Lights illuminating the stage area only.
Stage right: As the performer faces the audience, the side
of the stage to his/her right.
Stooge: An entertainer who feeds lines to the main performer
and frequently is the butt of the joke.
Tailoring: Adjusting material to better suit a particular
audience. Not quite customizing.
TelePrompter: See Prompter.
Test Humor: Humor used either in the introduction or early
parts of a talk to determine the extent to which the audience is in fun.
Testimonial: A statement, usually written, in support of a
another's character or worth; a personal recommendation.
Theater style seating: Seating where chairs are set in rows
Timing: Adjusting one's speaking and pausing for dramatic or
Toastmaster: See Emcee.
Trainer: A person who conducts workshops and training
Transcribe: To make a written copy of a voice recording or
Transparency: A slide that is viewed by light shining
through it from behind or by projection. Also Slide.
Two-step seminar: A free seminar where attendees are asked
to buy a second seminar or purchase products.