The Art Of Public Speaking By Stephen E. Lucas


This review seeks to highlight a book used by many to learn about those aspects most fundamental to public speaking. These include body language, organization, purpose, ethics, audience analysis, vocal variety among others. This text is drafted with a complete consideration of students, both independent and classroom based, as shown by several signatory features; it is not a book by an expert for experts and therefore aims to maintain simplicity while having clarity.

The review shows the author’s ability to integrating support materials that ensure enough understanding of concepts and thought-provoking exercises after each chapter. While his book is intended for a classroom setting, anyone willing to learn about the processes and also the mechanics of public speaking on their own can do so and benefit.
Keywords: public speaking, art and language.


The author has provided suggestions for writing and giving presentations. It is a solid source for preparing for any type of public speaking occasion. This book is visually interesting, with colorful pages, pictures charts and examples to make speeches more engaging (Lucas, 2007, p.23). There is a wide coverage of ethics that allow learners to avoid the problems of plagiarism as well as how to listen properly i.e. without attachment to incorrect meaning or personal agenda to interpretation.

This textbook is itself organized into broad sections: Getting started, Organizing and Outlining, Speaking and Listening, Speech Presentation, and Variety of Public Speaking. Among those tackled, there are some aspects that can inspire more fear in readers than the prospects of being able to deliver a public speech.

The sections that are under Preparation of Speech include a wide range of topics, from doing research and organizing a speech, from beginning and ending in a meaningful, logical and interesting manner. In addition, selecting the idea and understanding the audience is part of speech preparation.

Although preparation is considered by many to be the most important part of a speech, the section on delivery and presentation of a speech is the most vital, because a successful speech with poor delivery is likely to have small impact whereas a poor speech with a powerful delivery can often have great influence. Under this section, vital issues like the use of visual aids i.e. at times when they are appropriate or not, delivery, personal presentation, language, and body language are dealt with.

The final section covers the different types of speeches. In essence, speeches can be informative like lectures, used to persuade as sermons and political speeches do; or are given during special occasions such as award ceremonies, introducing people, commemoration and memorial speeches or accepting honors (Lucas, 2007, p.120). There is also a chapter on small group speaking. Most people do not take into consideration the idea of giving a speech when it comes to speaking in board rooms and committees, even though there is a need for that kind of rhetorical skill.


Like texts used in many community college departments to teach public speaking, over the last ten years Lucas has updated the book since the third edition to maintain timely examples and fresh speech selections. Many reviews talk about a political bias, beating about the bush, but that is absent in this text (Cochrane, 2004, p.123)

A successful persuasive speech is a requirement to students that should address matters of a controversial nature like crime, abortion and health care, for example. The author warns about going too far to the left or right, outlining tools for giving a strong persuasive speech.

The section on logical fallacies is a necessity in critical thinking, whereas the emphasis on internationalism which most students increasingly find relevant during their business carriers is excellent. Since most books about public speaking are often dry, Stephen E. Lucas has kept his chapter full of funny and believable examples in his textbook to explain the vital points. Also included is a great list of what to note under informative, persuasive and group presentations. This would definitely be a helpful text for students taking classes for the first time.


Cochrane, J., & Lucas, S. (2004). Teaching Public Speaking Online With the Art of Public Speaking. Eighth edition, by Stephen E. Lucas. Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Lucas, S. (2007). The Art of Public Speaking (9th ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.