PUBLIC SPEAKING …………. STUDENT INFORMATION FORM Name: _________________________ S.S.#: ________________ Telephone: (day) ________________ (eve) _________________ area code area code E-Mail (optional): _____________________ Mailing Address: _______________________________________ zip code Major/Minor: ___________________________________________ 1. Brief summation of work experience (or, attach copy of resume): 2. In the area below, discuss your expectations of the course: S-9 PAGE TWO – PUBLIC SPEAKING INFORMATION FORM … 3. Have you had prior speaking – or, performing experience? 4. Do you use any public speaking skills currently in your life, such as at work or with organizations / groups you belong to? 5. What do you think that the instructor should know additionally about you? Feel free to call, e-mail, fax, or correspond with the instructor on any of these questions and your responses. S-10 PUBLIC SPEAKING - SITE IDENTIFICATION FORM During the term of the course, you must give two speeches before two separate live audiences. The first videotape will be due by the mid-term date and the second videotape will be due at the end of the course. A rehearsed draft of the first speech should also be sent to the instructor for commentary around two weeks before the actual delivery. Ethically, the six to twelve minute speech must be prepared by you – it cannot be a recycled, work-generated speech, from a training session, or as part of a group discussion. Any plagiarism will result in failure for the course. The topic can be either serious or humorous, informative, persuasive, a speech of tribute, or a demonstration speech and should be derived from your research during the term. You may take questions and give answers afterwards. The audience must be live, at least six people in a semi- formal or formal environment, and not family or work associates who are only there for you to make the videotape. Both sites must be cleared with the instructor prior to the third week of the course – therefore, aggressively set up your speaking situations early. It may be through someone you know or have been referred to. Clarify your topic with them – it should relate to their group function or a calendar occasion. Be clear on your start time and that you will need a few minutes in advance to set up your camcorder – or, have someone hold it from the audience. Be sure to let them know that you will be video-taping (camcorder on lock-down tripod) the speech (with an initial sweep of the camera to show the space and the audience.) Check to see that the camcorder microphone can clearly pick up your voice before proceeding. Afterwards protect the VHS cassette tape and check it at home. It should be a clean tape with nothing else on it in that it will not be returned by the instructor. Make sure it is re-wound and cued correctly before mailing it off. If you have changes in the speech date, notify the instructor – course deadlines must be met and incompletes will not be given, so you may have to find alternative audiences. S-11 SITE IDENTIFICATION FORM SPEECH # ONE: LOCATION / GROUP: __________________________________ FUNCTION OF MEETING: ______________________________ CONTACT PERSON: ___________________________________ TITLE: ________________ PHONE NUMBER: ______________ A/C THESIS OF SPEECH: __________________________________ OTHER COMMENTS: SPEECH # TWO: LOCATION / GROUP: _________________________________ FUNCTION OF MEETING: ______________________________ CONTACT PERSON: ___________________________________ TITLE: ________________ PHONE NUMBER: _____________ A/C THESIS OF SPEECH: _______________________________ OTHER COMMENTS: S-12 Speaking - NAME: ____________________ S.S.#: ___________ CARD CATALOG SCAVENGER HUNT: The card catalog, traditional or electronic, is a powerful research tool. Search each category/topic to see all materials, books and materials, that you might use in a speech, then list them. If you can find nothing under a category, then you must make up your own. Use the back for more room. Resources will be DIRECT, or exactly focused on the topic, or, INDIRECT, just mentioning the topic along with many other topics of a similar nature. Dictionaries and encyclopedias don’t count! 1. author Carl Sagan 2. The home baking of bread 3. World War I in Europe: Life in the Trenches 4. Traditional ways of getting married (you name the religion!) 5. The early years of the Ford Mustang 6. The history of Barbie S-13 SPEAKING – NAME: _____________________ S.S.# ___________ RESEARCH HELPS TO NARROW A BROAD TOPIC: Choose one of these three topics. Each one at first seems a good topic for a speech – but with a bit of research they become very complicated for one speech. So, choose one of the sub-set directions, and record all of the books, magazines, videos to assist you in researching that topical area. Use the back or staple additional pages. 1. Major Topic: The Beatles Sub-set directions: a. Their early years b. Their later years c. Their albums d. Their movies e. Their break-up f. Other Controversy g. The forgotten Beatle h. Recent re-release of CDs i. John Lennon & Yoko Ono 2. Major Topic: Ben Franklin Sub-set directions: a. Printer & Author b. Diplomat & Revolutionary c. Franklin’s times d. Scientist e. “1776” musical / Ben & Me 3. Major Topic: Walt Disney Sub-set directions: a. Early animated cartoons b. Feature-length animation films c. Documentaries d. Family films e. Early Television f. Theme parks g. Since Walt and Roy’s deaths h. Disney’s recent movies S-14 SPEAKING – Name: ____________________ S.S.#: ____________ WELCOME TO OUR COMPANY! - USING APHORISMS Three new employees have been just hired for your company. Your Human Resources director has asked you, as the current “Employee of the Month,” to give a three minute welcoming speech to them. You should speak of the quality of work desired, the corporate culture where you work, perhaps a bit of what you do! But you must incorporate at least four of the following APHORISMS (clever sayings) that the HR person has researched for you into your presentation. Consider what direction will be best for this speech, then write it on a separate page and attach to this form. WORK APHORISMS: 1) Leadership is never an issue until it is missing. 2) Never get between the dog and the fire hydrant. 3) Life is what happens to you while you are making other plans 4) No matter how thin you slice it, baloney remains baloney. 5) If your only tool is a hammer, then every problem is a nail. 6) A camel is a horse designed by a committee. 7) Tell the truth and you won’t have so much to remember. 8) Few great workers could pass Human Resources. 9) Only the lead dog on a sled team gets a fresh view. 10) Only a fool can reproduce another fool’s work. 11) If you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. 12) Never get into a spraying contest with a skunk. 13) Dealing with them is like nailing Jell-O to a tree. 14) If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence. 15) People seldom walk all over you until you lie down. 16) Arranging deck chairs on the Titanic gives a sinking feeling 17) Here’s a glass of milk, now make the cow. 18) Oops! You’ve mistaken me for someone who cares. 19) Don’t buy a car made on a Monday or a Friday. 20) Not my problem, not your problem, it’s their problem. 21) Are those stars in the sky or radioactive smog? 22) You too can have a gift certificate from the Kevorkian clinic 23) All the men in my office can type! S-15 PUBLIC SPEAKING – SPEAKER EVALUATION FORM Utilizing the insights you have received from the course and your own work, you must critique two speakers, preferably live in an auditorium, hall, or banquet room, although videotapes of speeches that are borrowed from area libraries or rented from video stores are acceptable. The reviews must occur during the term in which the course is taken. (Possible videotaped speakers: Barbara DeAngelis, Deepak Chopra, Tom Peters, Leo Buscaglia, Stephen Covey, John Bradshaw, etc.) Avoid audiotapes which do not convey the visual. The perspective is not from that of a typical audience member, but rather from that of a person wishing to analyze positive and negative techniques that can be eventually applied to their own situations. Speaking events are often listed in the entertainment pages of your newspaper, monthly “what’s happening” publications, in company or association newsletters, in bulletins or newsletters, or on the Internet. The audience should have a unified goal, cause, or similarity of background in being there. The student is not expected to drive a great distance or spend any money for an entrance fee. With a bit of previewing event calendars, free local speeches that are open to outsiders can be easily found as long as it is not at the last minute. For the purposes of a course, a formal speech is defined as a single person presenting a prepared speech for at least ten minutes in front of an audience. It can not be a random discussion or solely a question and answer session, nor can it be a theatre performance or audition, a comedy club act, a workshop session, storytelling, a singing event, or a dance performance (all of which are not speeches!) It could be a speaker brought in for a college/university campus event, a political rally, a ceremonial event, a local library or nature center event, a professional association luncheon, or at a church or temple. S-16 SPEAKER EVALUATION FORM: NAME OF STUDENT:_______________________S.S.#:____________ NAME OF SPEAKER:________________________________________ LOCATION / GROUP: _______________________________ TOPIC: ___________________________________________ (Use the back or other pages for more room) 1. How was the credibility of the speaker established? Were they introduced and how well did that “set up” the speaker? 2. What were the major issues, points, recommendations that the speaker made, and how would you analyze them? 3. What specific things did the speaker do to establish their speaking style? What worked for them, what worked against? 4. Describe the audience demographics and their response to the speaker throughout the presentation. 5. Describe the environment in which the speech happened and how it shaped the presentation. 6. What did the speaker do before and after the presentation that affected people? Rate this speaker: 1 2 3 4 5 S-17 SPEAKER EVALUATION FORM: NAME OF STUDENT:_______________________S.S.#:____________ NAME OF SPEAKER:________________________________________ LOCATION / GROUP: _______________________________ TOPIC: ___________________________________________ (Use the back or other pages for more room) 1. How was the credibility of the speaker established? Were they introduced and how well did that “set up” the speaker? 2. What were the major issues, points, recommendations that the speaker made, and how would you analyze them? 3. What specific things did the speaker do to establish their speaking style? What worked for them, what worked against? 4. Describe the audience demographics and their response to the speaker throughout the presentation. 5. Describe the environment in which the speech happened and how it shaped the presentation. 6. What did the speaker do before and after the presentation that affected people? Rate this speaker: 1 2 3 4 5 S-18 SPEECH # ONE - DRAFT WORKSHEET (to be submitted in advance to the instructor) NAME: ____________________________ S.S.#: ____________ (use the back or other pages for more space) 1. What will your first audience be like? 2. What will be the topic of this speech? 3. Why will this audience find this topic interesting? 4. How is this topic relevant to you? 5. List a bibliography of at least four sources in print, paper or electronic, that you have found on the topic. S-19 6. What informants, visuals, videotape or audiotape excerpts can I use to help me with the presentation? 7. How will I create a “power” start (the hook)? 8. How will I create a “power” end (the echo)? 9. List the points and sub-points to be made in the body of the speech. S-20 10. Will I propose an action plan, and if so, what is it? 11. What questions might be asked afterwards of me? 12. What is my schedule of rehearsals leading up to the speech date? 13. What do I plan to do to control any apprehension I might have? S-21 PUBLIC SPEAKING: SELF-EVALUATION FOR SPEECH 1 & 2 After your presentation, sit down to assess your effectiveness, what could have been better, how did you come across, etc. Use specific comments and insights. 1. HOW WELL PREPARED WAS I? 1 2 3 4 5 comments: 2. HOW WAS MY APPREHENSION? 1 2 3 4 5 comments: 3. HOW WELL DID MY NOTES WORK? 1 2 3 4 5 comments: 4. HOW WAS AUDIENCE REACTION? 1 2 3 4 5 comments: 5. WHAT WOULD I CHANGE IF I HAD TO DO IT AGAIN? comments: 6. OVERALL, HOW DID I RATE? 1 2 3 4 5 comments: S-22 PUBLIC SPEAKING: SELF-EVALUATION FOR SPEECH 1 & 2 After your presentation, sit down to assess your effectiveness, what could have been better, how did you come across, etc. Use specific comments and insights. 1. HOW WELL PREPARED WAS I? 1 2 3 4 5 comments: 2. HOW WAS MY APPREHENSION? 1 2 3 4 5 comments: 3. HOW WELL DID MY NOTES WORK? 1 2 3 4 5 comments: 4. HOW WAS AUDIENCE REACTION? 1 2 3 4 5 comments: 5. WHAT WOULD I CHANGE IF I HAD TO DO IT AGAIN? comments: 6. OVERALL, HOW DID I RATE? 1 2 3 4 5 comments: S-23 Draft A Mini-Speech - “ Men and Women In The World” Using at least four of the following quotations, draft a three to five minute speech regarding some aspect of men and women. Make the thesis much more specific than above. Note: include a citation for each quote, which means you must look up the quoted people you use. Be careful not to offend anyone. Macho is not mucho………………………………..Za Za Gabor Her mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork. …………Mae West You’d be surprised how much it costs to look this cheap. ………….Dolly Parton I married beneath me. All women do. ………….Lady Astor If the world were a logical place, men would ride side-saddle. …………Rita Mae Brown If you’ve got it, bump it with a trumpet! ……….Suzanne Somers The first time Adam had a chance, he laid the blame on a woman ……….Lady Astor Every man I meet wants to protect me – but from what? …………Mae West I have yet to ask a man on how to combine home and career. …………Gloria Steinham You never know a man until you have divorced him. …………Za Za Gabor If pregnancy were a book, they would cut the last two chapters …………Nora Ephron S-24 PUBLIC SPEAKING - OUTLINE FORMAT FOR SECOND SPEECH (duplicate on your own paper – FILL IN YOUR OWN SPECIFICS) NAME: _____________________________ S.S.#: ____________ THESIS: _______________________________________________ AUDIENCE/GROUP/OCCASION: ___________________________ DATE OF SPEECH: ______________________________________ I. HOW I AM INTRODUCED BY SOMEONE ELSE II. BEGINNING COMMENTS: A. ATTENTION GETTER - HOOK: B. FURTHER REMARKS ON THESIS III. TRANSITION – SPEECH ROAD MAP: IV. MIDDLE – BODY: A. POINT # 1 1. SUB-POINT 2. SUB-POINT B. POINT # 2 1. SUB-POINT 2. SUB-POINT C. POINT # 3 1. SUB-POINT 2. SUB-POINT V. TRANSITION TO CONCLUSION VI. CONCLUSION: A. SO WHAT? – RELEVANCE TO AUDIENCE B. END STATEMENT – ECHO FACTOR S-25 PREFACE … Good public speaking is an acquired art, developed through experience, observation, and hard work. Those who stand in front of others run the risk of possible stress and criticism. When a speech has gone well, the speaker has an immense sense of personal satisfaction. However, many people will never allow themselves to give a public presentation, and not all those who speak in public function effectively. Discovering that quality public speaking is a learned process and what techniques will help us to be a quality public speaker is what this course is all about. It is designed in a distance-learning format to meet your individual needs, provide flexibility, and transcend otherwise geographic limitations. Often, audiences assume that being apparently at ease in front of a group while delivering a speech that meets or exceeds audience expectations is something that a person is “born with”. However, no such talent arrives genetically, although one can accumulate helpful parallel experience through being in a chorus or band, running meetings, amateur dramatics, athletics and cheerleading, and so forth. Mark Twain, perhaps America’s greatest speaker once said, “it takes about three weeks for a good impromptu speech!” Twain understood that incredible moment when the speaker stares back at an expectant audience, and has to create the illusion of normalness – even a supposed enjoyment of being there. And not everyone who speaks necessarily functions well! Remember speakers in the past that you have observed that read their notes, clutched the podium, and bored the audience to tears. As they wanted to hurry up and sit down, so also the audience wanted them to sit down. Fear and stress may have twisted their stomachs, and after a disastrous presentation they vowed to never again let themselves get caught in such a situation. Their speeches may have had little relevance to the audience, and they may have seemed pretentious in their overuse of terminology or name-dropping. Yet communication abilities such as being able to talk to people continue to be promoted as the most needed skill for new college graduates entering the American workforce. Any mid-level management position –office managers, program directors, anyone in a supervisory capacity, human resource officers - requires speech-making abilities. Once you are on the job, you may not have the time or energy to easily learn public speaking approaches. The skills and experience to be gained in this course are applicable to more than formal, platform speaking situations. Students find years afterwards how Public Speaking has helped enhance their self-esteem and ability to talk with people S-26 in any situation. Students mention how the course has helped them with commission positions, times that they had to give evidence in a courtroom or in a township meeting, and in their personal commitment to social organizations. They may have had to deliver a wedding speech, an address at a high school reunion, or for a professional conference. Most importantly, it is easy to see how preparing and undergoing a speech is very close in nature to the demands of a job interview – on both sides of the interviewing table! So here we are at the beginning of Public Speaking! You are probably facing it as a college requirement, in that public speaking is traditionally one of the most required college/university courses in this country. Or, you have been in the work arena, and wish to fine hone your speaking skills for use in your professional contacts, career growth, or at business luncheons. Regardless of your background, each time you give a speech you have the opportunity to improve your communication skills in more effectively reaching people. SECTION ONE: A. WHAT MAKES A GREAT SPEAKER? It’s easy to think back to distant history or more recent years of those who are remembered as great speakers: * Abraham Lincoln – man of the people whose address at Gettysburg’s Cemetery for the Union dead is proclaimed as one of the great documents of American democracy. * Winston Churchill – whose “blood, sweat, and tears” speech against the Nazi blight rallied the people of Britain at their darkest hour. * John F. Kennedy – his phrase, “ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country,” still echoes even to the tone of his voice in people who remember his generation. While these were great leaders in exceptional times, and well experienced in the political arena, they still can serve as relevant role models for our own efforts. And they remind us that they were human also: the newspapers of Lincoln’s era the day after the Gettysburg Address say little about the actual speech – now we laud it as a great statement; Churchill reputedly fainted during his first address to Parliament but overcame his fear to become a great orator. John F. Kennedy, S-27 personable and always in control, used a variety of speechwriters to assist those crucial moments when world policy would follow from what was said. But most importantly, they were all speakers that we could term “charismatic.” B. THE CHARISMATIC SPEAKER: The charismatic or memorable speaker has the ability to establish the following types of qualities in the minds of the audience: 1. I am comfortably in control, glad to be here, and am not rushed – I project energy and belief in myself. 2. My credibility is well established, and I know what I am talking about without having to constantly refer to my notes. 3. I have something worth sharing with you that you will value, and I will not waste our limited time at this meeting. 4. But time is indeed limited, so let’s focus on what is important – my prior preparation allows everything to flow smoothly so time is not poorly used. 5. Even though we are in a group situation, you will feel like I am speaking to each of you individually – you will have eye contact from me and a sense of my answering your questions and concerns. 6. To create further energy in what I am saying, I will use pauses, vocal variation and intensity in my voice, gestures and movement, and facial expressions. 7. To increase the impact of what I say, I may use anecdotes, allusions, metaphors that you will recognize for further meaning – if I use humor, it will not demean or belittle any group. 8. After I have finished, you will remember what I said, how I looked, the tone in my voice. The best speakers seek to establish these qualities. Audience members seldom realize the extent of work that has gone into a presentation to make it seem so natural - or what is truly going on in even the most experienced speaker’s mind. Charismatic speakers also have a great deal of established CREDIBILITY, or acceptance as a knowledgeable authority by the audience. Credibility can be established by: S-28 • Current or past organizations associated with • Education, training, years in the field • Authorship and awards received • Association with other authorities in the field • Extent of personal commitment/involvement • Outstanding physical attributes or accomplishments • Future potential(s) • Or, having been in the right place at the right time Whether watching a Presidential State Of the Union address, listening to a local minister or rabbi who is a dynamic speaker, or attending a speaker series at which a nationally recognized speaker is brought in, we can see these qualities at work. An interpersonal term that is helpful here is the concept of EMPATHY: an audience will empathize, or “feel into,” a charismatic speaker who seemingly is speaking directly to them regardless of the size of the group. The audience feels that the speaker is “one of them” and understands not only their expectations but also the emotional side of hopes and fears. But how can we role model these experienced speakers, who often have others writing their speeches and coaching them? Moreover, a normal person presents one speech and that is it. Public speakers may have given a presentation any number of times and progressively fine-tuned it before your experience of it. This re-cycling has added to and improved the total impact of the presentation. The point of role-modeling such figures is to observe their approaches and techniques and apply them to our own speech work. How can we take what they have learned and use for our own purposes? What empathy-generating tools do they use to quickly win the audience over to their side? How can their choice of just the right words motivate an otherwise apathetic group? For example, John Bradshaw, the noted family counselor and best-selling author, always makes a point of walking up to the lectern at the start of wherever he is speaking, smiles, and then informally comes down to the edge of the stage to sit close to the audience before he begin speaking. Truly he utilizes this to remove any “distance” in his audiences, yet one could argue that it is a gimmick used to manipulate an audience. SECTION TWO: A. THE SPEAKER’S RELATIONSHIP WITH THE AUDIENCE In the best speaking situations, the speaker understands what are the group’s expectations of the speech – they will want either information or process that S-29 they can apply to their lives, or they will want to be entertained. The speaker must effectively relate the content of the speech to the audience or face having them “tune” the message out in their minds even though they are still physically sitting there. An advertising term that is helpful here is that of DEMOGRAPHICS, which are socio-economic factors that everyone in the audience has in common, such as: 1. Education level – Do you run the danger of “speaking over” their heads by being too technical or obtuse in your references? 2. Ability to influence others through economic resources – Do they make enough money to purchase or invest in your recommendations? 3. Commitment to social causes – Will they respect and promote the causes, organizations, action plans which you establish or discuss? 4. Membership in organizations – Will they be PRO (for) or CON (against) the group(s) you represent? Will they be neutral or undecided? 5. Are they all the same age cluster – Will they identify with what you are talking about? (i.e. most of the current “traditional aged” college students were born around 1980 – JFK was assassinated twenty years earlier at the beginning of the 1960’s, but the clusters of baby boomers will remember him. 6. Predominance of gender – Will the audience be mostly women or men, or, mixed? Allusions of football or soap operas may stereotypically fall short in an opposite gender audience (which is not to say that men only watch football or women only watch soap operas.) Jokes about women, wives, or female drivers may be perceived as very humorless. S-30 B. OCCASION AND LOCATION AS DETERMINING FACTORS: Imagine how the following could shape a speaker’s presentation: 1. January 16 – Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday (occasion); 2. The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York (location); 3. October 16 – World Food Day (occasion); 4. The Coca-Cola Museum in Atlanta, Georgia (location); 5. April 23 – William Shakespeare’s birthday/deathday (occasion); 6. The Olympic Games (location); 7. Motion Picture Academy Awards (Oscars) (occasion). 8. U.S.S. Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii – December 7 (location & occasion). C. THE SPEAKING ENVIRONMENT SHAPING THE SPEECH: The physical room in which a speech occurs can vary from a small break- out room in the conference facilities of a hotel to a large auditorium, all of which shapes the relationship of the speaker to the audience. Seating may be in front of a raised platform, three-fourths around an empty space, or at long tables so that half of those seated are facing away from the head table. The speaker may have had lunch in it once a month for the past several years as a member of the professional organization that uses it and therefore is very familiar with it’s positive and negative points. Or, the speaker may get into it for the first time five minutes before the speech is to begin and not know whether a lectern is too high or low, whether wall outlets are available, and what noise may distract from an adjoining room. We will discuss technical aspects at more length later, but imagine how the following environments affecting the delivery plan of a speaker: 1. An informal group of six friends seated around a fireplace in a ski lodge to a tuxedo and formally attired crowd of 500 who have paid $100 per plate for a once every four years political fund-raising dinner. S-31 2. An outdoors patriotic speech to an annual Fourth of July picnic crowd in a local park to a televised awards acceptance speech at the annual Country And Western Music Awards from Nashville. 3. Dim lights in which a speaker cannot read their notes, an over- sensitive microphone that shrieks feedback every few minutes, the lack of an overhead projector or flip chart, a banquet audience that is still being served dessert while a speaker attempts to continue, a thoughtless first speaker of a panel discussion who takes up all of the scheduled time assigned for the rest of the panel participants by speaking much too long, or a poster that falls off of a classroom chalkboard in the middle of a nervous speaker’s presentation. Obviously a flexibility and grace under pressure are also needed by any speaker to meet unexpected and at the last minute challenges. The effective speaker attempts to think through all of the many practical needs of a speaking situation along with back-up alternatives if things fall apart. The proverbial MURPHY’S LAW of “whatever can go wrong, will” is quite the case in speaking situations. SECTION THREE: SO WHAT TO US TODAY? A. HOW ARE SPEECHES USED? It might be helpful at this point to look at the many different types of speeches utilized in work, social, and personal situations: 1. The INFORMATION SPEECH – Here the speech provides background information, perhaps a chronological history, relationship to groups of people, how the topic might relate to the audience member. It could update those present on recent happenings or on changes, trends or future projections. Examples: a. What were Egyptian hieroglyphics? b. What might have happened to Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa? c. Why the color red is important in daily life? d. Why did the dirigible Hindenburg explode? S-32 2. The SPEECH TO PERSUADE - This goes a step farther by asking the audience to agree with, or at least accept, the speaker’s opinions by the information presented, the use of evaluation/criticism by other authorities, the balance between plus factors as assets (BENEFITS) and negative factors as counter-productive or detrimental (LIABILITIES) if a particular plan of action is followed. The speaker may face a happy and supportive or angry, adversarial audience. A variation here may be the MOTIVATIONAL SPEECH, or speech of values, inspiring the audience to action or mode of thought. Examples: a. Why the dog is clearly a superior animal to the self-centered cat. b. Should drivers over 70 be required to take annual driving tests? c. Are further experiments in genetic engineering dangerous? d. What of the “one bullet” theory in the assassination of JFK? 3. The DEMONSTRATION SPEECH The speaker physically demonstrates something that is relevant to the audience, as well as practical logistics and follow-through after the speech on the topic. This can range from sales demos to business training sessions. Examples: a. The new Tex-Mex cooking for your Sunday football viewing b. How to ride a bronco (using a bale of hay rather than a bull) c. The investment value in collecting baseball cards d. What if men became pregnant? 4. The Commemorative Address, Or, SPEECH OF TRIBUTE In this presentation, the speaker discusses the positive attributes of someone being nominated or remembered. for someone who has just passed away, this becomes a EULOGY. A commemorative address is close to a speech of NOMINATION – the reverse of which is the speech of Acceptance. S-33 Examples: a. Remembering Martha Washington - the Mother of our country b. The tragic, full-tilt boogie life of singer Janis Joplin c. The Nobel Peace Prize, Environmental Category, should go to Jean-Phillip Cousteau for his work in the world’s oceans d. The Legacy of Karen Silkwood and nuclear power corporations 5. The After Dinner or Humorous Speech Here humor, satire, absurdity can be used to make serious points and analysis of society through laughter – as long as it does not demean, attack, or ridicule any group or individual. Entertainment Speeches can also appeal to other emotions such as sentimentality and romance, suspense and intrigue. ROASTS, while sometimes funny, often attack individuals too strongly, and you also have to know the person for the comments to make sense. Examples: a. Miss Piggy as the Sex Symbol of the Twentieth Century b. Why Christmas at our house is more like Halloween c. The struggle of left-handed people in society d. Why I hate thin, healthy people at exercise salons e. Driving a school bus and keeping your sanity 6. The Impromptu Or Extemporaneous Speech – These are non-prepared speech moments when a person may be unexpectedly called upon at work to give a very Important statement or opinion. In the world of college Forensics, student speakers are given a generalized topic with little or no time to prepare their response in front of a set of judges. Examples here might be: a. What one item would you save from your burning house? b. If you had the opportunity to wake up in someone else’s body, who would you pick? c. As a marriage counselor, you must tell a young couple the best advice for a lasting relationship. d. What is the one thing that is not taught in the college curriculum that everyone should take? S-34 B. SPEECH FORMATS BY MULTIPLE SPEAKERS: 1. The BANQUET Situation – The speech is presented after a formal dinner as the highlight of the meeting. If the banquet is at the end of a long day of speakers or workshops, the main speaker may be termed a KEYSTONE speaker. Examples: a. State income tax trends for the new millenium (at an association meeting of certified public accountants) b. Why I’ll Never Forget Gene Roddenbery of “Star Trek” (at a Star Trek convention) c. Do heart transplant physicians promise too much to The families of patients? (at a medical conference) d. Why the “Wizard of Oz” is the great American movie (a special one-time award at the Oscars Awards) 2. The PANEL Or Symposium – A number of speakers are brought in who are connected by a similar topic, event, knowledge, or professional backgrounds. Examples: a. TV’s Soaps: Moralizers of Love or Wastelands of Lust? b. What have we learned from discovering the Titanic? c. The cloudy crystal ball of Nostradamus d. New directions in organic farming 3. The DEBATE – Two speakers – one PRO, one CON – are brought in to discuss an issue – the audience may vote later to evidence their acceptance or rejection. Examples: a. Howard Stern: Symptom or Disease? b. The Return of the Wolf in National Parks: Good or Bad? c. Rap Singers: Violence Pushers or Folk Heroes? d. Are movie rating codes outdated? S-35 C. STRESS AND SELF-ESTEEM: Depending upon the speaker’s perception of the audience, stress is often a factor is delivering a speech. An audience of well-known friends, such as a Best Man or Maid of Honor speech at the joyous occasion of a wedding, is one thing. Facing a group of work supervisors who can determine your job future or set merit pay increases for the next year is a different matter. Or, seeking to persuade an adversarial crowd that does not wish to listen to your arguments no matter how correct they are. By being singled out from the audience to be stared at and to assert oneself as an individual, perhaps to later face criticism, is a risk-filled situation in which one may lose dignity and respect. A difficult undertaking this speech making – better to stay an almost invisible, anonymous part of a group that thinks and acts in similar, predictable ways rather than seem “different.” Stress, apprehension, perhaps even fear are all signs of a person facing a moment in which they must do their very best, similar to an actor just before the curtain goes up, a football player running out onto a home game field, or a news commentator on television just before the red light of the camera goes on. Your career can make or break, you can be accepted or rejected at this moment of being totally alone, dependent upon your own limited resources, while everyone else watches and makes judgements. Psychologists often describe this moment as the FIGHT OR FLIGHT SYNDROME, in which the individual is ready to face the beast or run like hell! Physiologically, the body responds in many ways to this increased level of stress: * All bodily muscles tense, from the knees to the hands (why are my knees knocking and my hands shaking?) * Muscles also tense around the throat (why is my voice different?) to around the chest (I can’t seem to take a deep breath!) * Extra adrenaline hits the bloodstream and dries up the salivary glands in the mouth (invisible peanut butter hits!) * Blood pressure rises, with extra blood in the system, so that fair skinned people “blotch.” One’s mental process also shifts in this abnormal situation called “giving a speech”: * Time distorts and takes forever – or seems incredibly fast and over. S-36 * The memory forgets crucial points or jumps ahead to what was not planned by the speaker. * Despite the closeness of the speaker’s notes, it seems impossible to read them, so the speaker tries to work totally from memory, but then a major point is forgotten. Yet EUSTRESS, or healthy stress, is a normal part of life and is to be welcomed as a physiological sign of being ready to rise to any challenge. Being stressed also demonstrates a caring about how the speech proceeds and how the audience responds; being stressed-out means that the fear controls the speaker, rather than the speaker controlling the fear. Tied in with the stress factor is the individual’s level of self-esteem: how much does the individual believe positively in their ability to achieve practical speech goals while having put in the ground work to adequately prepare and rehearse the speech? A meaningful phrase here is that of THE SELF- FULFILLING PROPHECY: literally, as you think, so you will do. If you believe that your speech will not go well and the audience will be bored to tears, chances are that will happen. Often, beginning speakers drop their notecards although there is no outside factor to have caused that – here is a subconscious message from the speaker saying, “I don’t want to be up here!” The audience picks up very quickly on such a negative messages. Others hide behind a lectern or clutch it with a death grip. If they are brought out in front of the lectern, they immediately cross their ankles or lean against a convenient table – all signs that they want to go back to their seats in the audience. S-37 II. SELECTING AND RESEARCHING THE TOPIC A. Topic Selection – Seeing the trees in the wood, or, the squirrel traumatized in front of the on- coming car syndrome: Topic selection is often viewed as difficult by the beginning speaker as to what is best to shape the thesis or goal of the speech. Beginning speakers easily draw a blank as to what to do, then choose a topic they really like but on which they later find there is not any reference material. Discarding that, they then turn to four or five topics they really do not like and none of which are really any better than the others. On the night before the speaking date, the beginning speaker in desperation discards those, and goes back to the first topic at the eleventh hour. While the absence of time clears the mind immensely, the last minute is not the recommended approach, and audiences are often quite sophisticated in recognizing a throw-together speech. Too many speeches are presented that are not well prepared and are obvious in that. To the experienced speaker, however, there are thousands of possible topics “out there” which have to be eliminated or narrowed down to a workable focus. The experienced speaker may have been gathering information on a speech concept for several years before actually beginning to work on it in earnest. Or, they may alter other established speeches to fit current speaking needs. They may also have a speech topic commissioned for a special occasion, or it may be a spin-off of their latest book, travel tour, product line, or other function. S-38 The THESIS STATEMENT is a single sentence, with a subject, a verb, an object that fully defines what a speaker wishes to totally accomplish. If the speaker cannot draft a single sentence, needing more than that to describe everything, then the topic is too broad, too diverse, too poorly conceptualized. If a speech is in a seven to twelve minute range, then not very much can be covered. The beginning speaker will feel the need to try to cover everything, but then the speech suffers overall by being too quick, too superficial, rather than in-depth. Remember that the microcosm, or smallest part of a system, reveals the macrocosm, or total system. By speaking on one aspect of an issue, we have a good sense of the total issue. Definitely the following factors will shape a topic: 1. The awareness and experience that the speaker has in the topic – this could also be seen as the “comfort” and motivation level that the speaker has in giving it. 2. The expectations of the projected audience – what will they hope to receive from the speech? Why have they asked the speaker to be giving a presentation and will it fit into their reason for meeting? Will they remember it a week after the presentation and ask the speaker back a year later? 3. The availability of research materials for ideas, quotations and statistics, current perspectives, the credibility of experts, and visuals that might be incorporated into the speech – or, despite a good concept, there may be absolutely nothing available on the internet or at any local libraries. 4. Research directions can also occur in the use of interviewees, or INFORMANTS, who can contribute perspectives and further directions on the topic. Many people are walking encyclopedias on several topics because of their jobs or personal interests, and are quite willing to share their expertise. S-39 5. The occasion or date, location, and physical attributes of the speaking area (if it can be checked out in advance) all affect the presentation, and we will discuss this at length later. 6. The precedent of what earlier speakers might have said before the current date, or as part of a multi-speaker panel discussion. B. RELATIONSHIP OF THE SPEAKER TO THE TOPIC: There are many topics, issues, problems that we should care about: the destruction of the ozone layer, the end of the rain forests, the need to stop smoking, the ever growing list of endangered species are topics often used by beginning speakers. These are very predictable choices and often turn audiences off through their lack of creativity. But unless the speaker has had some first-hand experience with the actual topic, the speech will never have the immediacy of actual experience. Who has seen the green of a rain forest, or viewed the African elephant in its natural but fast disappearing habitat? Better to focus on the failure to fix potholes on a local highway that ruin the alignment of one’s car late some night than to speak of something abstract or distant in both the speaker’s and the audience’s minds. This is not to say that the loss of the ozone layer and the rain forests will not affect us for the worst, possibly even putting the human race on the endangered list. But how can the speaker persuade the audience of the need to affect positive change if the speaker does not first totally and personally believe in the topic? An old insurance salesperson concept was that the first policy you should sell starting out should be one to yourself – evidencing that you truly believed in your product. If you didn’t believe in your own company, then you would always have problems selling policies to others and would not make it in the insurance industry. Other topics have been with us all of our lives, and in the realm of media overkill. Yes, we know that smoking is bad for our health and S-40 that seatbelts are very important. But we have heard these issues so many times that we tend to tune out of any real listening. The speaker has to be able to creatively re-approach such commonly used topics from fresh perspectives so that the audience begins being truly open to possibilities once again. Consider this “different” approach on smoking in the beginning of a student speech: “Imagine taking a cigarette tonight when you go home. Hold it over a glass of water, carefully discarding the outer paper and filter. Then, unravel the strands of the tobacco leaf into the water. Let it sit overnight. In the morning, strain out the strands. The tea-colored liquid you have left is a deadly poison. If you find someone you don’t like and have them drink it without knowing its true origin, they will die of horrible stomach pains over several hours. In fact, organic farmers often use tobacco water to get rid of plant aphids in a natural way.” This beginning was used for an anti-smoking speech. Its freshness of insight and vividness of imagery – the use of a WORD PICTURE - had the audience listening quite closely. Empathy and the power of IMAGINATION caused the audience to become one with the speaker’s efforts. Audiences love to have their imaginations engaged as part of the presentation – whatever you do, don’t think of a giraffe at this moment! One only has to remember back to the Golden Age of Radio Drama in which only words and sounds created all of the programs to know how powerful the imagination is! The speaker has to assess the following “interest-level” questions as to whether the topic is really meaningful to the personality and interests of the speaker (or, not! – be careful of “great” ideas others suggest, or negative criticism used to change a speech): 1) Is the topic something that directly has affected the speaker and possibly those in the audience now or in the future (PERSONALIZATION)? 2) Is it worth sharing with the audience as something deserving respect and individual commitment (TOPIC VALUE) – how important is it that the audience hear this presentation? S-41 3) Does the speaker actually follow his or her own recommendations of resolving the problem of the topic (TOPIC BUY-IN or OWNERSHIP), thus having true ethical integrity in promoting the speech’s thesis. 4) Will the speaker still care about the topic five years from now (TOPIC LONGEVITY)? C. HOW ARE WE ACTUALLY AUTHORITIES ON CERTAIN TOPICS? At first glance, the beginning speaker may feel that he or she really knows little about anything to formally address a group with. In making a presentation, the speaker, in effect, is expected to be knowledgeable about the subject, experienced in its complexities, and hopefully cutting-edge current in what’s happening now with the topic. They should be open to opinions differing from their own, as well as to questions from the audience. If they don’t know the answers, they should be able to find out quickly, or refer the inquisitive audience member to someone who does know. Certainly, we know a great deal about our professions and where we work. We have grown up with different groups of people and possibly different locations. Social groups or organizations may receive a great deal of our time, or we may have hobbies, collections, or trips that are meaningful to us. Family members, neighbors, friends, work associates, people that we have taken high school and college classes with - all have their specialized interests, experiences, and commitments. We like certain types of movies, music, magazines, and books. We believe in certain values, certain public figures, certain depictions of the future. In each of these directions lie possible speech topics if we but clear our minds as to possibilities and options. When we begin to research the past or present, we find out how complex a world it really is! Imagine the speech student who wanted to give an informative speech on butter churns, assuming that there were only two or three basic designs – only to find out that there were over twenty different designs manufactured in the immediate region alone over the past hundred years (not including butter and cream separators. With this new information from a bit of research, the student then felt more comfortable in approaching the group on this topic. S-42 The creative approach of freshly combining different concepts or providing new insights is important in having the audience listen rather than just sitting there. Consider these creative approaches that may be helpful in jump starting the mental process in choosing topics: * Look through an old family photo album, noting the people, places, the times – who were you in those years compared to now? What were the major happenings, trends, media figures of those years? From this approach, people have generated productive speech topics such as, “the history of the Volkswagen or my first car,” “the social and family functions of the drive-in,” “the evolution of the football helmet.” * Do you have a bookshelf, and if so, what books are there? From fictional, biographical, self-help materials, people have come up with such topics as, “Ernest Hemmingway and the bull fight,” “How to tie fishing lures,” “The cultural history of Batman,” “Great African-American poets,” “Who was Dr. Seuss?” Don’t forget newsletters and quality web-sites, or, walk around the video store that you most frequent for “random ideas unexpectedly having meaning” (the concept of SERENDIPITY). * Look around the kitchen – foods, spices, and recipes and the cultures, holidays, technologies that developed them. Or, implements from food processors to tomato slicers. Remember memorable meals, their restaurants, the people present. Great demonstration speeches have come from this direction, such as, “Making buns for breakfast,” “How to brew beer at home,” “The legacy of saffron: the world’s most exotic spice,” “Death by chocolate.” * What other things are thrown into closets, hid in attics, dumped in garages? Boxes of old toys, grandmother’s wedding dress, barbed wire collections? All are possible directions for speeches, such as “My pet pig collection,” “Matisse and Monet: two masters,” “How to re-string a tennis racket,” “Coffee grinders as a collectible.” S-43 * If you could stand in front of certain political groups without any fear, what would you say to them? Groups such as the United Nations, the Republican or Democratic Party, the National Rifle Association, the U. S. Supreme Court, the head of programming for a national television network, the editor of a local newspaper, etc. * Ask people for their favorite books, and skim them. Some you will like enough to go back and fully read, and they could become the focus for a speech. Speeches have been successfully generated from The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield), Simple Abundance, The Prophet (Kahil Gibran), The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley), Conversations with Morrie, Kids Say The Darndest Things (Art Linklater), Where The Sidewalk Ends (Shel Silverstein), Life is a Bowl of Cherry Pits (Irma Bombeck), and so forth. * What would you be willing to drive some distance and pay some entrance fee to hear a speaker talk on a topic that really interests you? With your own experiences, insights, and some research, could you develop a similar presentation? * Brainstorm things in popular culture like the following that may strike a responsive chord in selecting a topic: … approaches to dieting, exercise, and health … pets and their masters … clothing and accessory fads … fast food franchises … courtship and relationship: dating, marriage, children, in-laws, divorce, 2nd marriages … old movies, television series, radio shows … unusual commercial products … the malling of America … life as seen from supermarket tabloids … the latest conspiracies and urban legends … great figures from histories … “what if” something had not happened? … obsessive/compulsive behavior S-44 D. WHEN YOU HAVE A “GOOD” SPEECH TOPIC: Once a good topic has been selected, everything seems to fall into place. The preparation goes smoothly and the speaker is comfortable about presenting it. Even though there may be some nervousness still, the speaker knows that the presentation will go well. Good topics share these attributes: 1. More than enough information arrives and the speaker has to edit away portions rather than run over-time. 2. How to end and how to begin seem clear right from the start. 3. It will present a somewhat different perspective that the audience will be sure to identify with and listen to. 4. In rehearsal, verbal qualities and gestures “just seem to grow,” and all part of the speech are easily remembered. E. WHAT AUDIENCES MIGHT A BEGINNING SPEAKER FACE? Groups are always seeking speakers – particularly if they have preparation on their speeches, credibility as an authority, and if the topics are relevant to the group. Professional speakers can be scheduled by events administrators for national conferences and conventions two or more years in advance, with extensive publicity, and for substantial honorariums. Some professionals create a schedule and itinerary of their engagements, and have fans who follow them from site to site. Then, there are local organizations that are always looking for speakers for their monthly meetings. Professional, political, and social organizations may expect officers to make regular presentations. Schools, churches and temples, athletic leagues, and book discussion groups may specify organizational or social meetings at which speeches must be given. S-45 Consider these possible speaking occasions: * A rod and gun club that needs someone to report on the new state hunting licenses. * A sixth grade class on Occupation Day. * A girl scout troop need specific information to complete a particular merit badge. * The annual Hawaiian dinner night of the Federated Women’s Club. * An opera appreciation group that wants a biographical statement and a plot summary before they go to see “Madama Butterfly.” * A high school parents and teachers organization needing to know how the construction of a new high school will affect local taxes. * Meetings close to the following holidays: New Year’s, Lincoln’s birthday (Feb. 12),Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14), Washington’s birthday (Feb. 15), St. Patrick’s Day (Mar. 17) Professional Secretaries’ Day (April 21), Mother’s Day, Armed Forces Day (May 15), Flag Day (June 14), National Boss Day (October 16), Election Day (Nov. 2), Veterans’ Day (Nov. 11). F. THE VALUE OF PRIOR RESEARCH: Seeking support information, as well as quotes and statistics, from creditable resources is a valuable aid to the speaker preparing a speech. A local library can easily provide the following research directions: S-46 1. Encyclopedias – While university-level research should move beyond encyclopedia entries, a good encyclopedia article will give a good summation and suggest more in-depth books to read. Of more value are specific-focus encyclopedias, such as the Encyclopedia of American Crafts. Most encyclopedias on computer CD disks are too superficial, although some now allow you to uplink by telephone to a central source. 2. Dictionaries – The same is even truer of using dictionaries – too often a speaker uses Webster’s to define a term, but a professional audience would want a more in-depth work. There are also specific-focus dictionaries, such as legal dictionaries, or Ambrose Bierce’s satiric, The Devil’s Dictionary. 3. Almanacs – Annual almanacs provide a wealth of information in a short space, especially statistics as in The World Almanac, or regional information as in the folksy Old Farmer’s Almanac. 4. Word Match Books – A thesaurus or other writer’s guides to choosing words that are helpful in writing the speech, and sometimes help organize a speech by their categorization of terms. 5. Quote/proverb/anecdote collections – Any reference area of a library will easily have two or three, or more, collections of quotes and anecdotes cross-indexed for quick access. Some quote books are very general like the traditional S-47 Bartlet’s Quotations (dry and classical) to more specific quote anthologies on classic movie lines, dining, political quotes, and so forth. 6. Short biographies, histories, timelines – Who and what happened when, as well as how. 7. Periodical (Magazine) indexes – These are increasingly available on inexpensive computer printer format. 8. Newspaper archives 9. Access to Internet sites – “Even a dog can put a web page on the Internet!” You have to check the credibility of any source examined, since there is no academic policing of what becomes available. Some web sites are incredible and provide links to many other similar web sites – other topical areas that you would expect to find are nonexistent because no one has been interested enough to establish such a site. Website directories can sometimes be very helpful if they are very current as there is a lot of turnover. 10. Access to Library of Congress holdings. Another library feature that often works well for small libraries with access to larger in-state libraries is the interlibrary loan option. E. THE VALUE OF QUOTATIONS AND STATISTICS WITHIN A SPEECH: A quote (a word-for-word statement from an authority) or statistic (intepreted by the speaker as to why it has meaning), along with an S-48 accompanying citation (who said it and why are they creditable enough to be able to say it), add a great deal to any presentation for the following reasons: 1. They may say something in a much better way than the speaker could have written it. 2. By quoting from known and respected sources, the speaker gains in their own credibility. 3. In finding the quotation, a speaker may receive new insights into the topic that they had not originally realized. 4. By quoting from others, the speaker establishes a sense of objectivity in having sought the opinions of others. 5. Quotes or statistics often are perfect ways of ending or beginning a presentation. CITATIONS are important to identify the credibility of a person or agency that you are quoting from. Short of the most known names, many audience members may not know who certain people are, such as: 1. John Milton (leading English epic poet who wrote ‘Paradise Lost” 2. Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (satiric American novelist) 3. Milton Berle (stand-up comedian, well-known for his TV shows in the 1950’s) 4. John Erhlichman (connected with the Nixon administration and the Watergate break-in) 5. Whitley Streiber (UFOologist and science fiction writer, known for his book Communion on alien abduction) Each of these citations briefly gives a frame of reference on why the quote is coming from a creditable source. Audience members also have an ability to ask afterwards “who” your sources are and what else have they written that can be read. Anonymous quotes usually fall somewhat short, since the audience then wonders why you didn’t find out who said it. S-49 STRUCTURING THE SPEECH: “Its not so important what you say as how you say it!” While quality content is quite crucial to the speech, there is no doubt that structure is very important in delivering the content in the most effective approach. Once the research materials have been gathered, how does the speaker put it all together? What is the best way to begin, what is the best way to end? In analyzing typical speeches, it is easy to see the function of the traditional three-part structure of beginning, middle or body, and conclusion. It is important to understand that each section has a separate purpose in achieving the speaker’s goal or thesis. A. THE BEGINNING: This is a delicate part of the speech – as the speech begins, the audience quickly decides how closely they will listen or drift in their minds. In addition to the concepts that the speaker is presenting, the audience is also assessing the less tangible factors of the speaker’s credibility and relationship to the topic, energy and enthusiasm, and the speaker’s respect for the audience. The best beginnings act as a “hook” to lure the audience into listening. Often “power” quotes or short stories are used to capture the imagination of the audience by immediately asking for their mental assistance, such as this beginning that put the audience into the energy of the speech right away: “If you were like me as a small child, you probably can remember how tremendously scared you could be in going to bed alone. I won’t ask for any show of hands, but I bet some of you, like me, were so filled with fear that you pulled the sheets over your head! As if a sheet would stop any monster intent on slicing and dicing a small child! And, those dark shadows – in the closet, in the corners, under the bed! Then as you increasingly became an adult, those fears supposedly went away. But, can you imagine having that oceanic fear today as an adult? Of having it shape your life so that you cannot function as a normal person, not to be able to hold a normal job, go shopping, even S-50 cut your grass? I am an agoraphobic, and for many years had to face the fear of leaving my house.” The beginning should also state the thesis of the speech, and through definitions and interpretation of terms by the speaker, the audience is made clear as to the goals of the presentation. Often this section of the beginning could be termed a ROADMAP, in which the speaker literally tells the audience what will and what won’t be covered. An example is the following: “In celebration of the recent anniversary of Disneyworld, I want to examine the life of one of America’s most talented and creative artist. I could easily talk about Disney’s early years, his animated and family movies, true-life documentaries, the Sunday evening television show, or even the dark side of the Disney Machine. But for our purposes here today at the annual convention of the American Association of Urban Planners, I am going to focus solely on Walter Elias Disney, the visionary planner, in his dream for the Epcot Center.” B. THE MIDDLE OR BODY OF THE SPEECH: This is generally the easiest part of the speech to write and could be termed the EXPOSITION or development of the speech’s thesis. Here, informative points are developed that “fill in” the audience about the complexities, the history, the relationships, and so forth within the topic. Usually there are three major points. If there is only one point or more than five, then the specific focus of the speech must be reworked as being too limited in scope or too broad in focus. Another variation of the body of a speech is to define an ACTION PLAN after the issue has been stated in the beginning of the speech. Good action plans are practical and move very specifically beyond the all-too- usual “write your congress person,” or, “sign this petition.” All of the following elements must be present to create a workable action plan: S-51 1. the statement that no other agency or organization is fulfilling this need at this time. 2. the specific demographics of whom the action plan would serve. 3. a specific budget on a multi-year basis (development, establishment, and then on-going maintenance.) 4. clarity on number and credentials of staff to be employed and their training. 5. The need for facilities, tools, advertising, etc. 6. timeline of when everything is to be put into place. 7. process of periodic evaluation and review. At first, this structure of a speech action plan sounds quite complex and lengthy. Certainly, it does require prior research and conceptualization on the part of the speaker. But once established, a detailed well-thought-through action plan is very persuasive and hard to argue against, particularly in realms of finances. Consider these example speech topics for which action plans could be drafted: 1. a new shelter for abused and deserted animals. 2. a high school basketball league for teens-at-risk. 3. the recycling of a local, closed-down military base. 4. the serving of road-kill deer meat to the hungry. 5. the re-stocking of local streams with trout. 6. how to fake Big Foot sightings to attract tourist monies. C. THE CONCLUSION OR ENDING: Generally this is the most difficult part of the speech to draft. It’s easy to think of a “catchy” start and what points should be discussed in the middle – but how to end adequately often draws a blank. In many S-52 situations, the speaker jumps to “Are there any questions?” rather than a true conclusion. The conclusion is not a summary or restatement of what has been said before – the audience has just heard those. The conclusion answers the SO WHAT? of the relevance of the topic to the audience: * Why should they care? * How does it touch or affect them? * Why is it somehow a part of their past, present, and future? * How can they do make a meaningful change? * What importance does it really have? Here the speaker may use their most striking quote to end on an upbeat note, or a story of how the speaker was personally affected. The best conclusions create an ECHO factor of images, phrases, arguments that stay in the audience’s mind long after the speech is finished and the speaker has sat down. For example, here is the ending to an informative/patriotic speech on how the Statue of Liberty came into being: “And so the money was raised for the pedestal and construction. Lady Liberty quickly came to represent the hopes and opportunities that the United States held for a vast flood of immigrants. In the 1883 words of a poem called ‘The New Colossus’ by New York suffragette Emma Lazarus: Give me your tired, your poor / your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, / the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. / Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, / I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” D. SPEECH TRANSITIONS: All sections of the speech should flow smoothly into the next. Transitional phrases that might be used to go from beginning to point to point to conclusion could be some of the following: • What does this mean today… • In addition, we must consider… • In a similar fashion… S-53 • On the other hand… • If we think of this point, we must also evaluate… • In other words… • This leads us to one conclusion… • There is no doubt of the outcome… • In summation… E. TECHNIQUES OF INVOLVING THE AUDIENCE: As long as they are not unduly “put on the spot,” audiences love to be engaged in the process of the speech. As long as it is not approached in a stress-producing manner, the thought of participation builds anticipation, reinforces the identity of the group, creates competition and humor. The speaker can incorporate the following techniques into a presentation: 1. Rhetorical question – A question that the speaker raises that the audience is expected to answer mentally. A striking rhetorical question can be used to start a speech or end it. Possible examples might be: … Is there no one here who is not guilty of this? … Can history allow us to think any other way? … I thought nothing could be worse, but I was wrong! … Dare we turn our backs and walk away? 2. Audience surveys – This can range from a nodding of heads to a show of hands to asking the audience to stand with a certain group of others in the room. The best surveys are anonymous, and distributed well in advance so that they can be tabulated to determine trends. Consider this satiric yes / no survey given for a humorous speech on driving habits: S-54 a. Do you frequently read while driving? b. Do you floor it on a yellow traffic light? c. Do you sing while driving? d. Do you pass on the right? e. Do you attempt holding the wheel while sitting in the back seat? f. Have you ever been naked from the waist down while driving? 3. Testimonials – Here audience members are asked to state their own experiences and opinions. This can be dangerous if the audience member talks too long or goes off on a different tangent. Humorous testimonials can be written prior to the speech and “planted” on willing audience members. 4. Mini-Scripts – Also written in advance, the speaker needs to have Printed copies to handout in easily read typeface. Generally humorous, a mini-script could also be used for a serious example as in this speech on the Cultural differences between American and Japanese business people: Nakamoto: Ah, Smith-San, welcome to Tokyo! Smith: Gosh, Tokyo is filled with pollution. Nakamoto: Perhaps, but let us first drink in honor of this first occasion. Smith: I don’t drink and need to be back on the next red-eye flight. Can we sign the contracts? Nakamoto: So soon? We were hoping for a long- term relationship with your company… Again, audience role-plays cannot be too long and must be controlled by the speaker. S-55 5. Questions and answers: Q & A can produce a very productive session after the formal speech, or it can produce a speaker’s worst nightmare: looking like an idiot in front of the audience when you can’t answer a question. Consider these solutions to such fears: a. someone asks an impossible question— the speaker responds with, “see me afterwards and I will call you tomorrow with the answer.” b. no one asks any questions— even a good presentation will suffer when lack of audience response seems to indicate that no one was interested in the topic – clever speakers make sure to secretly “plant” a first or difficult question with some audience member that can be trusted. Once the first question has “broken the ice,” other questions more easily follow. Repeat or summarize questions that can be barely heard or that seem confused – but ask the questioner if you have the right interpretation after you summarize. c. someone rambles on with their own agenda and won’t shut up— the speaker graciously interrupts to say, “I think I get the drift of your comments and let me respond,” or, “that’s not really pertinent to the group, so please see me afterwards” (they never do.)To avoid any interruptions, you may wish to mention at the beginning that you will entertain questions at the end of the presentation. 6. Drafting the introduction: The most important part of a speech happens before a speaker even begins – that of the introduction! Generally, a beginning speaker invests all of their time in the draft of the speech and leaves the introduction to the last minute. A member of the S-56 organization in introducing the speaker then mangles the name, incorrect states the thesis, and turns off the audience’s desire to listen. A good introduction quickly establishes the following: a. speaker’s name and title(s) b. the thesis or topic c. the further credibility of the speaker d. the reason the audience is meeting The card or paper that the introduction is on should be readable, and the tail should not wag the dog. Check with the introducer beforehand so that they can approximate names and long technical terms. Make more than one copy (in case they lose it at the last minute.) For example: “Why settle for second best in the office, or, all the men who work for me can type!” This is Mary Ellen Blair’s theme for us today at the Executive Women’s Luncheon. Mary Ellen is a past president of NAFE, The National Association of Female Executives, which she chaired for five years. Her recent book, Beyond Gender, will be available after the meeting. Mary Ellen, it’s a pleasure to have you with us today.” Here Ms. Blair does not need to pronounce her name or credibility, and her topic is established with a bit of flair in five sentences. While the introduction was being given, she also had a few more seconds to clear her mind and observe the audience before starting. S-57 THE SPEAKER’S NOTES: A. GENERAL APPROACHES: There are several things to immediately avoid in preparing the notes that the speaker will use: 1. Don’t memorize, except for the beginning and end statements of the speech where the speaker should have the most direct eye contact with the audience – what if the speaker blanks out and forgets? Let the notes carry the structure of the speech. 2. Don’t read from an essay – speeches that are read are quite boring as the speaker seldom looks up, and what if the place is then lost? Instead, the speaker should work with the approach of IDEA CLUSTERS, where the structure proceeds by concepts or ideas rather than by sentences. This also is more space- effective than word for word notes. 3. Be sure that the notes can be read – when they are hastily scribbled at the last minute and not used in any rehearsal, the speaker risks disaster at crucial moments. Always rehearse from the very start with the physical notes that you will use. 4. Notes should carry more than words – they can also serve as reminders on crucial activities such as, “poster,” “shout,” “gesture,” “breathe,” “walk” and “sit down, it’s over!” The speaker can underline, use arrows and felt-tip different colors. 5. Avoid difficult and foreign words – if a phrase continually messes up in rehearsal, chances are it will do the same in the actual speech. Substitute simpler words! S-58 5. Recognize that posters, Power Point computer – generated screens, and other visuals actually serve as larger notes. Refer to them to cue the audience where to look at that moment. B. PAGES VS NOTE CARDS: The less visible the notes, the more the audience will believe that the speaker is working completely from memory. From this perspective, note cards are superior to regular-sized pages. Note cards also provide independence from the lectern / podium, and less chance of creating an essay to read from since the space on the cards is more limited. Note card techniques: 1. Try not to have more than ten to twelve cards – the more cards, the more to handle. 2. Recognize that each card has a specific function: 3. Card 1 – beginning comments Card 2 - road map transition Card 3 / 4 / 5 – points A / B / C Card 6 - transition to conclusion Card 7 - end comments The other cards, 8 through 10 can carry quotes. 4. Progressively number each card, and check to see that you have all of them in the right order before leaving home, before getting out of the car, and before getting up to speak. There is no worse feeling than finishing note card 6 to look under it at card 8, and wondering where card 7 not only has disappeared to but what important points it had on it. Leave a margin so that either thumb if holding the cards does not cover the number. S-59 5. Don’t write on the back of the cards – the audience in The first few rows will try to read what is written. 6. Stay with white cards – colors connote meanings: thus pink cards are fine for matters of the heart topics and Mary Kay Ashe marketing plans. green cards are fine for money matters and StPatrick’s Day – otherwise, the audience may think of Pepto Bismal and slime! 7. Beware of showing tension in the hands by increasingly twisting them or tapping them on nearby tables. Letter-sized paper for notes (follow the same recommendations for note cards): 1. Beware of loose papers – better to put in a dark folder or in a professional looking legal brief folder – the opening and closing of the folder is like a theatre curtain opening and closing. 2. Beware of curled or folded edges catching when shifting pages. 3. Have several copies duplicated of the speech in case someone would like a copy to share with an absentee person. C. PROBLEMS IN USING / HIDING BEHIND A LECTERN: Charismatic speakers work as close as possible to the audience and avoid the walls or barriers psychologically communicated by lecterns, podiums, music stands (which look awful,) and raised platforms – although the speaker may have no other choice in the physical arrangements. S-60 Lecterns also: 1. May be too high or too short, and not adjustable. 2. Papers placed on them may begin to slide off. 3. They may create their own shadow so that any notes can be barely read. Remember that the best presentations are “given from the heart” and with some assistance from barely seen notes. C. HELPFUL ITEMS IN THE SPEAKER’S BRIEFCASE: … business cards in a holder (old card on outside to protect new inner cards as fresh) … scotch tape (masking tape, duct tape, push pins) … felt-tips, dry-erase tips, chalk, eraser … pointer / laser beam pen … electrical extension cord and small flashlight … clips to hold back pages of flip chart pad … extra copies of speech … scissors and mat knife … last-minute mirror (males and females) … maps to location w/telephone numbers … aspirin D. CHECKING OUT THE VIBES OF THE ROOM: Arrive well in advance if possible. If the speaker is at a conference, the room should be checked out the day before, with the following considerations: 1. Can the speaker move about, or is the speaking area quite limited? 2. How will the lighting be at the time of the presentation? S-61 3. Will others be also speaking and in what order? 4. How does the microphone work, if one is available? Does it pick up everything, or does it work in a cone-shaped field? Will it give feedback or “pop your plosives” (b’s and t’s)? Is there another microphone available for use by audience members? Do you really need a microphone, or does the room have a “warmth” (ACOUSTICS)? 5. Is a flip chart, VCR, video-projector, chalk board, overhead projector, slide projector and remote, water carafe and glasses available? Who will operate them? Where are electrical sockets? 6. What is possible competition from elsewhere – windows and doors all allow other vistas to be gazed at by bored audience. What noise can occur – waiters, air conditioners, gravel trucks? 7. SIGHTLINES – how well can the audience see the speaker at any given point? 8. Is everyone still clear on what the length of the speech should be? D. DEMONSTRATING WITH PHYSICAL OBJECTS: The handling of a three-dimensional item(s) increases the practical logistics of having something go wrong, along with thinking through how best to display the objects within the limitations of the speaking area. These presentations can range from food demos to antique displays to computer software examples, such as: S-62 1. the history of blue jeans 2. the Pennsylvania quilting frame 3. the earliest video games 4. how to have a Hawaiian luau 5. learning to polka Again, the SIGHTLINES of what the audience can see or cannot is a prime consideration. Does the object lend itself to being seen by being large and self-standing, or is it small and hard to see? In the business world, a prepared video tape could be shown infomercial-fashion, but the average speaker does not have access to studio production. Consider these techniques: 1. a table cloth, particularly a white or pastel one, enhances the image of the table and makes an object look larger. 2. putting flat items like books under the table cloth creates a multi-level base, which can also be leaned against. 3. how fragile is the object(s), how easily can they be transported, and how much comfortable set-up time is required? 4. will electricity be needed if the object is electrical? 5. is the audience small enough to come down to stand near the items? 6. if the speaker is holding something in his or her two hands, how do they hold their notes? 7. how can one condense time by prior preparation? S-63 Further objects that have been demonstrated in past presentations have been: … antique apple peeler … antique sausage grinder … pre-electric ice cream maker … painting with egg tempera … protecting comic books in plastic sleeves The two best demonstration speeches were: A woman who brought in a galvanized tub, a corrugated wash board, water, soap, and dirty suds, who then proceeded to show how clothes were cleaned in the pre-electric era. A nursing major, dressed in a colonial-style dress, Who, after pulling out a saw, discussed how wounded arms and legs were cut off of soldiers at Gettysburg. E. THE DANGERS OF HANDOUTS: At first glance, Xeroxing and then passing out hand-outs seems to be a productive idea. But handouts often work more against the speaker than for. Consider how if the speech is boring the audience member focuses on the handout and loses what the speaker is saying at that point. Handouts thus become competition to the speaker, and the audience may not wish to hold them for the rest of the presentation. The speaker may see them crumpled in the nearest trashcan at the back of the performance space after the performance. Only with items such as budget statements or charts and graphs, where the speaker “walks” the audience line-by-line through the page, should handouts be utilized during the actual speech. S-64 This is not to say that the speaker cannot offer free handouts to anyone interested afterwards by picking them up from a table in the room. Be sure that any articles duplicated have full citations on them in regard to author and source (and this walks the questionable line of copyrights.) Remember that most people do not read handouts, despite the effort, time, and cost put into creating them. F. USING VISUAL AIDS: As with demonstrating objects, the use of visual aids can both increase the visual appeal of your presentation and the number of challenges to be met. Consider the following: 1. FLIPCHARTS … Flipcharts may have prepared pad brought in by the speaker, or a blank may be waiting to be drawn upon during the speech. Felt tip markers should be carried by the speaker. Because of the thinness of the paper, often what has been prepared in advance shows through the page on top of it – this can be very distracting for audiences, and professionals often jump a page to avoid this. 2. CHALKBOARDS … Old-fashioned and often hard to read particularly if the sun is shining through a window on them, chalkboards are still quite common. The speaker should carry extra yellow chalk. Beware leaning posters on the chalk rail, which is never wide enough to keep things from eventually sagging. S-65 3. DRY-ERASE BOARDS … Much more recent than chalkboards, the erase requires a special felt-tip marker – regular felt-tip markers will not erase from this board. 4. OVERHEAD PROJECTORS & SLIDE PROJECTORS: Overhead transparencies are still inexpensive and can be made on Xerox machines and with decent computer printers. However, bulbs still blow out at inopportune times. Slides must be double- checked to see if they are in the slide drum correctly. 5. COMPUTER-ASSISTED PRESENTATIONS: Increasingly a business standard, the speaker still needs an expensive lap-top and video projector or overlay grid. Another value of graphics software, even without the use of a computer in the speech environment is that excellent Xerox handouts or transparencies can be prepared. S-66 Exploring Stagefright and Butterflies What happens when stagefright hits? Physiological: Muscles tighten up. Adrenaline hits the system. Blood flow increases. * Saliva dries up (“peanut-butter mouth”) * The “shakes” arrive in hands and knees. * Hands become awkward and as large as pizza pans. * Inability to breathe deeply. * Stomach churns. * Blotching occurs on skin. * Perspiration breaks out on palms and elsewhere. * Voice changes. * Thoroughly drained of energy afterwards. Mental: Concentration is easily distracted or lost. Perceptions distort. Self-consciousness and low-esteem arrives. * Inability to slow down, even speeding up. * Blanking out and forgetfulness. * Loss of delivery achieved in rehearsal. * Negative perception of audience. * Inability to read notes. * Inability to remember what happened afterwards. Certain myths about stagefright need to be dispelled: 1. Some people don’t ever get it. 2. It eventually goes away after a few speeches. 3. Speaking in front of an audience is a “natural” thing. 4. A rehearsal situation is the same as a performance situation. S-67 Control is the most important factor in overcoming the debilitating effects of stagefright. Control is related to: 1. Understanding of the topic. 2. Preparation of presentation, amount of rehearsal. 3. Mental anticipation of the speaking space. 4. Personal belief in the value of your topic. 5. Perception of the audience and it’s responsiveness. 6. Personal health and energy level. 7. Self-image and esteem allowing creativity and risk. Points at which stagefright begins to hit: 1. Thinking of giving a speech. 2. Agreeing to actually give a speech. 3. Selection of a topic – can I presume to be an authority? 3. First rehearsal – am I really going to do this? 4. Morning of speaking day – wow! what a wake-up call! 5. Arrival at speaking location – they’re waiting in there! 6. On being introduced – they’re talking about me! 7. Walking to lectern/speaking area – a long mile! 8. Facing audience for first time – they’re staring at me! 9. Beginning to speak - first 30 seconds. 10. Three-fourths of the way through – I want to sit down! 11. Finishing speech - last 30 seconds, almost there! 12. After sitting down or heading home – I really did it! Perceptions of the audience: what power/control do they have over you? 1. Supportive - mildly interested to greatly interested. 2. Adversarial - willing to listen but with opposite perspective, or, not willing to listen. 3. Indifferent - bored and drifting, not connected. You will never know what goes through an audience’s mind – but there are always people who are on your side and want you to do well. They will smile and give you encouragement. S-68 Negative perceptions that go through a speaker’s mind: 1. The audience will not understand what I am saying. 2. They will know more about my topic than I do. 3. They don’t care about my topic. 3. Someone will ask a question I cannot answer. 5. Something will go wrong I can’t control. 6. I will look foolish, unprepared, and stupid, or, different from everyone else. APPROACHES TO CONTROLLING APPREHENSION: 1. Understand that it is a natural thing to feel some apprehension. 2. Be truly prepared and know it. 3. Have thought through all possible problems and responses. 4. Keep deep breathing. 5. Clear your mind just before speaking. 6. Socialize with audience members just before the formal part of the meeting begins – try to learn their names. 7. Draft a well-written introduction that someone else will use. 8. Give the appearance of giving full eye-contact to the audience. 9. Know that your topic is meaningful and no one else can present the same perspective as you can. 10. Keep deep breathing. 11. Project a positive image of the audience applauding you afterwards. 12. Remember you are a professional. 13. Keep yourself busy enough to minimize any negative thinking. 14. Remember that the speaking event is a unique opportunity to network and make friends. 15. Keep deep breathing. Each time a presentation is given, the speaker comes away with more experience, more control for the next – success is just a matter of keeping your butterflies flying in formation! S-69 Negative actions that occur when a speech is not going well: 1. Speaker concentration is diminished and sidetracked. 2. Pacing in speech speeds up uncontrollably. 3. Speech points are forgotten or superficially passed over. 4. Speaker is threatened by the audience or holds them in contempt. 5. Speaker stops caring about the topic, or goes into Avoidance mode. 6. Obvious effort is made to finish the presentation quickly. THE REALITIES OF SPEAKING: 1. Not all audience members will be supportive, regardless of what the speaker does. 2. Audience response varies greatly at different times. 3. Pay attention to nonverbal clues on audience involvement: a. Leaning forward or back. b. Making eye contact or looking away. c. Smiles, laughter, nodding of heads. Mark Twain once recounted how on a tour through Fiji he was invited to a local feast. At the height of the celebration, the king’s advisor came over to Twain and said, “We are now at the most important moment of the evening – the king wishes to welcome you to our land and a response is expected.” Twain immediately became concerned and said, “can I have a minute to prepare?” “Oh, no,” replied the advisor. “We’ve already given it to one of our professional speakers to respond for you.” S-70 PREPARATION AID REVIEW - VOICE: Speak in a clear, strong voice. Keep volume up throughout each sentence and phrase; don’t allow it to die off as the sentence ends. Project your voice to the back wall. Speak slowly and distinctly; don’t rush it! Use effective pausing after sentences, and when making a transition from one major point to the next. Use variety in each of the above; don’t fall into a monotone or “sing-song” delivery. Finally, get inflection and stressing into key words and thoughts; use tone of voice to accent language. Sound enthusiastic and be animated throughout. ARTICULATION: Avoid verbal interjections (non-words) such as “um”, “ah,” “uh,” “and” “okay”, etc. Express your words clearly; don’t slur! Make certain not to drop “g” from “ing” endings of words like: “somethin’,” “nothin’,” “doin,” etc. Use correct pronunciation. Do not run words together, thus forming “new words”: “Whatcha gonna do” for “What are you going to do,” or “wanta” for “want to.” Be careful not to mispronounce technical, scientific, or foreign words and expressions – or avoid totally if you are not comfortable with them. BODY ACTIONS: Use natural, specific eye contact; look at the members of your audience. Don’t employ nervous body movements or bad posture; stand erect, don’t slouch, don’t rock from side to side or back and forth. Don’t cross your ankles - keep your feet apart and rooted, and keep hands out of pockets. If you move around, be sure to take at least two steps. Lean toward your audience occasionally when delivering an important point. Employ hand gestures, but don’t try to program them so that they seem contrived. Beware of distracting hand movements - thumping a ring on the lectern, clapping hands together, banging the podium, cracking your knuckles, etc. And smile! S-71 LANGUAGE: Always use concrete language (unless you’re being intentionally ambiguous, figurative, or metaphorical), and pinpoint for your audience exactly what you mean. Don’t use expressions such as “You know what I mean,” or “Something like that.” Avoid slang, jargon, four-letter words, colloquialisms, “color” or loaded words, and ambiguous terms. Employ simple rather than exotic words, and define all technical terminology; don’t assume the audience knows what you’re talking about. Use descriptive language and words that will paint a picture for your listeners. Stay away from cliches and worn-out language. Don’t load up on adjectives. Finally, don’t overuse a word or point, but strive always for language variety. ORGANIZATION: Like compositions, speeches contain an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Make certain that the introduction includes both a thesis statement (what your speech is about), and an “attention getter,” a device that will get the audience interested and involved. Depending on length, cover no more than two to five major ideas or points, and place all subordinate material under the specific topic. Arrange your material logically, so that it flows smoothly, with appropriate transitions from one major idea or point to the next. Announce your conclusion to the audience. Remember, the summary is your last chance to stress your message or point of view. CONTENT: Use only relevant material. Don’t include unrelated material just to “jazz up” your topic. If you include humor, be careful not to tell jokes unless they, too, make a specific point. Watch out for statistics; don’t overload your speech with this type of data. Too many statistics hinder a speech; they become confusing to the audience if not interpreted in-depth. Vary your supporting data, and don’t rely just on personal opinion. Use quotes from newspapers, magazines, books, etc. to back up your statements. Don’t assume the audience is knowledgeable about your topic, but don’t demean them either – audiences are always very sophisticated. Carefully explain any detailed or difficult material whenever used. Finally, use only factual data; credibility is a vital speaker asset. S-72 ADDITIONAL: Strive for a relaxed conversational delivery. Don’t force your presentation; be natural. Support your speech, when needed, with visual aids, but make sure they are relevant to the topic. If employing handouts, be absolutely certain they are distributed either immediately before or after the speech; under no circumstances give them out while you are speaking. If using posters, be sure that printing is both large and legible; remember, the audience will be further away from them than you are. Stay with basic color combinations; for example, red and black printing on a white background. Observe time limits when composing a speech. Run through the speech several times using a watch or clock; if it’s too long, cut out material - if too short, make appropriate additions. NOTE: Polished public speaking requires a speaker to be confident and comfortable. Without careful preparation and practice, these two conditions are impossible to achieve. Given the time limitations and the resources available, a speaker has the best control when he or she knows that everything that could be done has been done. S-73 INTO THE ACTUAL REHEARSAL: Having discussed the various modes of delivery, and the physical and vocal aspects, we turn now to some recommendations for preparing your speeches. First and foremost, you need to acknowledge that none of these goals will be realized if you do not budget adequate practice time for each speech. You cannot expect to succeed if you do not work at it. The rehearsal process is the most important part of the speech preparation. Here approaches are tried-out, retained and improved, or discarded. The speaker begings to naturally memorize, without having to be tremendously dependent upon notes. One run-through is NOT enough. You must practice every day a couple of times a day before you will begin to feel comfortable with your speech. The more you practice, the more you will know your speech and the less likely it is that you will have to rely on your notes. The speech has to be in your head, not only on your note cards. Consider the following practices places: 1. in the shower stall in the morning; 2. driving to and from work in the car; 3. at morning and afternoon breaks; 4. the final thing before going to bed at night. With the understanding that you have crafted your speech sufficiently in advance of your assigned speech date, there are some practice strategies that will facilitate your speaking success: • Try working in front of a mirror to assess the physical components of delivery. Note your facial expression, your gestures, and your posture, to make sure your body is communicating the message you want to send. • Use a tape recorder to listen to your speech. You will be able to evaluate your rate, pitch and tone. This technique will also inform you if you are prone to the tonal patterns described above. Finally, a tape recorder will allow you to hear the aural impact of your style. • Always practice with a clock. Most public speeches occur within some time limits. This is certainly the case with speeches delivered in time-conscious meetings. A stopwatch feature in your wristwatch can provide you with the precision necessary to help you adjust the speech for your timeframe. S-74 • Practice in front of a friend or loved one to gauge possible audience responses. There is no substitute for a live human being. An audience of this type will be able to provide you with the immediate feedback necessary to optimize your chances for success. These guidelines focus on the importance of practice for improving speech performance. • Exercise some care in choosing what to wear during your speech. Clothing choice should not be a distraction from your message. However, even in the most relaxed environments, T-shirts with political slogans or ads for alcohol, etc., may interfere with your audience’s ability to attend to your message. Outside of the classroom situation, audience expectations can be much more specific, so give careful thought to what your clothes “say” about you and your concern for the speech situation – i.e., respect for the audience and the occasion. • Be cautious about wearing jewelry. As noted before, the podium is usually a hollow piece of wood or metal that caries sound like a drum. Bangle bracelets, pendant necklaces and rings can hit the podium and make quite a racket. • Whether you are a man or woman, ask yourself whether your hair allows you maximum use of your face. Even the most beautiful hair can interfere with your speech purpose if it reduces your eye contact by falling in front of your eyes, or if it completely covers your forehead. Moreover, we have observed many men and women with longer hair who develop the mannerism of pushing the hair away from the face; this can be quite distracting as well. In addition to the practice and comportment guidelines offered on the preceding page, there are many things you can do in immediate anticipation of your speech that will help you perform at your best: • Plan to arrive early at the speech location so that you can check it out and get a feel for how loudly you will have to talk, what seating arrangements will facilitate your goals, and so forth. If you have control over seating and see that it is beneficial to orient the audience away from “center stage,” then move the chairs as you wish - providing your host approves. In an auditorium situation you might not have such control, but it will still be helpful to acquaint yourself S-75 with the physical setting. You might also want to stand for a moment at the podium to determine whether you will choose to use it. If you are not tall, the podium may interfere with your ability to communicate with your body. Getting to the speaking location early allows you to make the necessary adjustments to improve your public speaking performance. • Breathing is extremely important in projecting your ideas to the audience and achieving a comfort level as you speak. Prior to beginning your speech, try to concentrate on breathing and relaxation. If you are feeling nervous, a few deep, cleansing breaths will help you regain composure. • The anticipation of speaking in public can result in excessive energy, so it can be helpful to do a few “exercises” prior to beginning your speech. Rotating the arms from the shoulders, and gentle twisting at the waist can help dissipate some of your excess energy and can literally help you “take hold” of your body. In a public speaking class these exercises would probably have to be performed in front of the audience, while in other situations they may be performed off-stage or “in the wings.” • Many speakers identify dry mouth as a side effect of tension. It is perfectly appropriate and even advisable to bring a glass of water to the podium. An additional benefit of having a glass of water present is that you can take small sips as a way of regaining control over your breathing and helping you slow down if you are speaking too rapidly. A carafe of water and a glass may be provided by your hosts, but don’t count on it. • Make sure you keep track of your performance notes, and keep them in order. It can make for a very rocky beginning if, as you are called to speak, you have lost your notes or discover that they are out of order. If you place them in a packet, make sure they can be removed with a minimum of fuss. S-76 SAMPLE SPEECHES: The following excerpt is put into essay form to give the full flavor of the text of the speech (as speech notes it would be better in a phrase outline form of the next two speeches.) It also is in the format of how it would be placed taped on a lectern or taped to either inner side of a legal brief holder. The tape keeps the pages from sliding out of reach – the large font size makes it easy to read at a bit of distance and in uncertain light. This was delivered to a local health care association of middle managers. 1 Thesis: “Networking is a crucial white collar survival skill in health care.” YOU’RE ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR ROLODEX! THIS RECENT MANDATE FROM MANAGEMENT GURU, TOM PETERS, GIVES A SENSE OF THE JOB JUNGLE OUT THERE. EMPLOYMENT EXPERT RONALD KRANNICH PREDICTS THAT GRADUATES NOW ENTERING THE AMERICAN WORKFORCE WILL FACE 5 CAREER CHANGES AND 15 JOB CHANGES IN THEIR WORK LIVES – IF THEY KEEP CONNECTING. NEWSWEEK MAGAZINE OF LAST YEAR INDICATED THAT BY THE YEAR 2005 ONLY 50% OF ALL EMPLOYEES WILL HAVE FULL-TIME JOBS – THE REST WILL WORK AT SUB-CONTRACTED, PART- TIME JOBS FROM HOME COMPUTERS OR OUT OF THE TRUNKS OF THEIR HIGH-MILEAGE CARS. CATCH THE NEW HR TERMS: ADJUNCT, CONTRACT, SINGLE-TERM FOR LESS THAN FULL-TIME EMPLOYEES – SOON WE’LL HEAR MERCENARY, PALLIDIN, HIRED GUN. WITH THIS NEW APPROACH TO THE WORKFORCE, THE POINT IS IF YOU ARE NOT APPEARING, YOU WILL BE DISAPPEARING. THE AMERICAN HEALTH CARE BUSINESS IS IN UPHEAVAL, REDEFINITION, UNCERTAINTY, SOME WOULD SAY CHAOS. TECHNOLOGY, INSURANCE, CHAPTER ELEVEN – DARE I SAY THE DREADED “H” WORD – S-77 2 YES, HMO! THERE IT IS! BUT “AS A DOOR CLOSES, SO A WINDOW OPENS” IS MOST PERTINENT TO US HERE TODAY – IT IS THROUGH OUR PERSONAL NETWORKS – OR SHOULD I SAY “SAFETY NETS” - THAT WE WILL HAVE A FUTURE. AS ROSS PEROT ONCE SAID, “LIFE IS MORE LIKE A COBWEB THAN AN ORGANIZATION CHART.” BUT WE MUST DO MORE THAN SPIN OUT STICKY LINES THROUGH OUR CARD FILES TO SEE WHAT FAT FLIES CAN BE STILL CAUGHT. THE MEETING MAVENS – CALENDAR IN ONE HAND, CELLULAR PHONE IN THE OTHER, SHOT-GUNNING OUT CARDS AND BROCHURES – THEN OFF TO THE NEXT GATHERING. AS WOODY ALLEN ONCE SAID, “90% OF MAKING IT IN LIFE IS JUST SHOWING UP.” AND WE HAVE ALL BEEN DEALT A LOSING HAND BY THE CARD SHARK, WHO BALEFULLY EYES YOUR NAME TAG AND TITLE, BEFORE DECIDING TO GIVE YOU HIS CARD OR NOT. BUT! IN TODAY’S SOCIETY, SILENCE IS NOT GOLDEN– IT IS THE KISS OF DEATH THERE IS NOTHING SMALL ABOUT SMALL TALK, NOTHING EVERY LOST BY LISTENING. LET’S RETURN TO THE GOLDEN RULE – ASSOCIATE AMONG OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM ASSOCIATE AMONG YOU. AND THE ELEVENTH COMMANDMENT – NURTURE THY NETWORK! While this is just the beginning part of a longer speech, it gives a sense of the upbeat, in-your-face style of the total presentation. Three quotes, some statistics, and variations on cliches assault the listener’s ear. Note also how it was typed up to be easily seen and to catch the flow of the speaker’s fast pacing. S-78 Second Sample: this is in a phrase outline form – Thesis: ‘Controversy Revisited: Columbus was the last person to discover America, but was the first slave-trader” (beginning) I. Four Hundred Years Later A. Hoopla and propaganda B. Who owns the sky, the land, the water? (roadmap) II. Santayana quote: “Purpose of history is to keep us from making same mistakes.” (body) III. The Nina, the Pinta, and Slavery A. Revisionist storm hits history books B. Popular image of Columbus crumbles C. History belongs to the victors.” D. Who wasn’t here before? Proof of: 1. Phoenicians 2. Welsh 3. Chinese E. What of Native American Indians? 1. Carbon dating: back to 40,000 B.C. 2. Protest of Columbus Day 3. New World – but – sacred land 4. Poverty still today (Conclusion) A. Show video of pollution w/”America Brave” B. Ask students for their gold C. Demand better history courses This impassioned speech asked for the righting of social wrongs in erroneous stereotypes and history lessons. For irony, the speaker asked people in the class to give up their gold neckchains and bracelets (which no one did!) S-79 Third sample: Thesis: Smash a computer today! I. Technology takes over Quote: “Artificial intelligence beats real stupidity” A. Y2k extensiveness – what if they’re right B. Here at college – transcripts & loans C. Bill Gates 1981 quote: “640K ought to be enough for anyone.” II. What we are not going to talk about A. Eniac / Brainiac B. Texas Instruments C. 386’s III. Letthe pulse hit! A. Cartoon series on transparencies: destroy! B. Who are the Neo-Luddites? C. Quote: “For every action, there is an equal And opposite malfunction.” D. Third world and computer cast-offs E. Where is Windows ’95? IV. “Spell check does not recognize ‘reboot’” A. Return to abacus and slide rule B. Count on ten fingers and toes C. Cattle prods and computers: guerilla warfare D. The ultimate virus E. Raffle: old MAC classic Satire arising from frustration in this presentation that everyone, computer literate or not, can identify with. How true the serious point of rapid change underneath the humor. At the end, a cast-off computer was to be raffled off, but no one wanted it. In this speech, the outline served only to remind the speaker of the different points. Space Invaders, anyone? S-80 SUGGESTED BIBLIOGRAPHY: There are many college/university texts out there, as well as books more directed to business situations in speech making. I have found the following books very rewarding, direct and practical, for “power” speeches: Carpenter, Ronald. Choosing Powerful Words. 1999. Dawson, Roger. Secrets Of Power Persuasion. 1992. Hillman, Ralph. Delivering Dynamic Presentations. 1999. Lawson, Karen. Involving Your Audience. 1999. Martel, Myles. The Persuasive Edge. 1989. Nice, Shirley. Speaking For Impact. 1999. Osgood, Charles. Osgood On Speaking. 1988. Rogers, Natalie. How To Speak Without Fear: Talk Power. 1982. Sarnoff, Dorothy. Never Be Nervous Again. 1987. Van Fleet, James. The Complete Guide to Verbal Manipulation, 1987. Two authors especially recommended for the sensible and determined speaker: Humes, James C. The Sir Winston Method. Instant Eloquence. More Podium Humor. How To Get Invited To The White House Walters, Dottie: Speak And Grow Rich. What to Say When You’re Dying… The Greatest Speakers I Ever Heard… S-81 STRESS ! ! ! in SPEAKING Fear of public speaking is known as lalophobia, or, glossophobia, or phonophobia STRESS GIVE-AWAYS IN SPEECHES: Anticipate that you may physically show stress, which the audience will pick up on. Consider how these following gestures can erode away the positive image that you are trying to create: Facial Gestures … … failure to make eye contact with full audience, or focusing on only two or three people continually; … repeatedly rubbing at the nose or tugging at an ear; Repetitive Placeholder Speech Habits… … “uhms,” “you know,” “like, uh,” tongue clicks, and other phrases begin to intrude in what you are saying as they increase in number; Hands And Arms… … watch creating walls or barriers to the audience by crossing the arms, holding the hands lower down in a fig-leaf wall, folding the arms behind you, and ankle-walling in which you use one foot to cross the ankle of the other; … beware death grips or nervous fidgeting with pens, glasses, and other physical objects, as well as not leaning onto the lectern or the table if there is one in front of you; … don’t hold your notes or note cards so that you twist them or make moving from one note card to another too obvious; … drumming of fingers on whatever is close by, along with tapping your notes and jingling any money in your pockets; Distractive Pacing… … beware of walking back and forth like the caged pacing of an animal; Other Stress Signs… … perspiration on the forehead or continual wiping of the palms of the hands; … sighing at pauses or at the beginning/end of the speech; STRESS SIGNS BEFORE GIVING A SPEECH … As the speaking engagement date gets closer, it is not unusual for a speaker to have some anxiety disorder symptoms that may hinder the true directions of research, writing, and rehearsing beforehand. These prior stress signs can be described as: ♦ Racing heart or irregular heartbeat ♦ Unusual tightness in the throat and shortness of breath ♦ Uncomfortable feeling in the stomach ♦ Feeling of lack of control or negative reactions by audience ♦ Sleeplessness over the thought of giving a speech ♦ Feeling of numbness or helplessness in preparing a speech ♦ Avoidance of preparation time STRESS RELIEVERS WHEN ANXIETY HITS: Everyone experiences some stress before giving a speech and it is helpful to consider physical strategies that will alleviate a panic attack, whether it is a week before, driving to the speaking location that day or evening, or at the last second as the speaking is walking up to give the speech. The following approaches may be of value to you: DEEP BREATHING … visualize your “in” breath as an ocean wave flowing into your system bringing energy and cleansing, then flowing back with the “out” breath, taking tension, tiredness, and negativity with it. Keep the breaths flowing gently down to your abdomen so that you have the full strength of a deep breath affecting your body. MUSCULAR RELAXATION … For some, this is clenching your fist tightly so no one can see this, then “letting go” of the squeezing effort in your hands. Others quietly go somewhere private beforehand, then push their two hands palm against palm tightly and release. Some raise their eyebrows as high as possible, or hold the back of their head with both hands, simultaneously pushing forward and resisting. Or, try raising your shoulders as high as you can, then let them totally drop for ten times. SPEECH AFFIRMATIONS … Others work with their level of self- esteem and self-credibility by repeating or keeping the following phrases in mind: “My topic is meaningful and I can say things people don’t realize.” “I can set effective goals, priorities, deadlines in my preparation.” “My structure facilitates my speaking goals in the time given.” “There may be some problems, but I am flexible enough to overcome them.” “Each speech has the potential of new opportunities and friendships.” “Every speech that I give is part of a larger picture of my communicating as a professional.” “I can accept and learn from constructive criticism.” “My audiences are intelligent people who want me to do well.” “I recognize that not everyone will agree with me and they are entitled to their opinion.” “It’s OK to feel concerned – I eliminate the stress by action and preparation.” “Making speeches can bring great satisfaction.” Negations or negative statements that compromise one’s self- esteem can too easily enter into a speaker’s mind and impact upon the quality of the speech. Consider which of these you might use and replace it with a counter positive statement: “The audience won’t like it”(understand it, identify with my points, will be bored, won’t like my sense of humor, etc.) “I haven’t had the time, the resources, the skills to be totally prepared” “I don’t know enough about my topic.” (someone in the know will ask an embarrassing question I can’t answer.) “The last time I stood in front of an audience, I had problems.” “I don’t have any natural ability in speaking.” “I will lose control during the speech and face humiliation.” “Something will go wrong I can’t anticipate.” THE PREPARATION TIMELINE The minute a commitment is made to give a speech, the clock begins ticking, and the speaker has a choice of following a process to create the speech for the audience, occasion, and location, or can procrastinate by avoiding preparation until the last minute – which is not recommended although the absence of time can clear the mind immensely. One of the major goals of taking a speech course is demonstrating how a creating a speech is a process, rather than some “natural” spontaneous happening. The more one follows a series of mini-goals and the deadlines by which they must be accomplished, the more paranoia and procrastination can not happen. Consider the following mini-calendar for each speech: (Week Five) Date: __________ TOPIC SELECTION – choosing a topical direction that Is meaningful to you, the audience, and the occasion. This is also narrowing your focus by defining your terms and clarifying what are workable goals within the time limitations. (Week Four) Date: __________ INFORMATION GATHERING – here you assess what materials are available on your topic as well as anticipating what expectations your audience will have. Perhaps you can visit in advance the actual location and room where you will be giving the speech. You may interview informants and seek the assistance of reference librarians. You consider the use of audiovisuals as support directions in your presentation. (Week Three) Date: __________ BALANCING YOUR STRUCTURE - assembling what you have gathered balanced by your own insights and life experiences, you begin to shape what will happen during the speech. What relevance does the topic have to the audience? (Conclusion) How do you want to get them listening and tell them what you want to accomplish? (introduction) Then, constructing the middle or body: what main points in what progression do you wish to make, further developed by minor points or considerations and supportive materials such as quotes or statistics that prove your statements? What are you not saying enough about for true clarity? What is superficial or heads in a different direction that needs to be edited out? (Week Two) Date: __________ TRYING FOR FLYING: REHEARSALS – saying the words aloud quickly produces so much more than just reading the speech silently. Here phrases fall into place, and the notes are less and less needed (but avoid trying to memorize and work with your notecards right from the very start in rehearsals so that they become comfortable – if you use them at the last minute, disaster will happen during the actual speech.) The speaker begins to understand the need for pacing, pauses, louder and softer vocal control. Gestures and movement begins to feel “natural”. The timing of each run-through begins to stabilize. But remember that a number of shorter rehearsals produce much better results that one last minute, long rehearsal the evening before the speaking date. You may try-out your presentation on family members or work associates. (Week One - SPEECH DATE!) Date: __________ Feeling prepared is the best way to walk into speaking location. PLACES WHERE SPEECHES HAPPEN : A speech need not be a formal platform-style presentation behind a lectern in front of a multitude who have seen publicity instilling high expectations in them! An important speech career-wise can be the unexpected moment during a group meeting when your supervisor turns to you in front of everyone and says, “what do you think?” That’s somewhat an extreme situation although it does happen regularly, but speeches can be any statement you have to give of some length one-on-one to an individual, to a small group or larger. It could be connected with a sales presentation, a personal cause that you believe in, or with a social occasion you are attending. It may be a presentation that you anticipate giving again in the future. Perhaps a commission, merit pay, or job advancement (or reversal) is connected with how well you speak. You audience may be long-term friends, work associates, a church group that know you well or have never seen you. You may be on an auditorium stage with lights and microphone, banquet hall, TV studio, or, you may be in a conference or training breakout room in an area hotel. You could also be in someone’s living room during a social gathering, lecturing a Girl Scout Troop out in a state park, or asked to say a few words at the last minute at someone’s retirement dinner. Usually such audiences are receptive and encouraging, although at times speakers must face an audience indifference or adversarial towards a point of view or speaker. Remember that the audience wants very much to be on your side, to be informed and entertained, and to have you sit down at the appropriate time when they are wanting more! Possible speaking environments are: Regional or National Conferences, Association Meetings, Job Training Sessions, Workshops and Seminars; Professional or Organizational Banquets, Luncheons, Working Breakfasts; Political or Social Cause Rallies, Fund Raisers, Monthly Meetings; Festival and Holiday Gatherings, Calendar Observances, Annual Reunions, Marriages/Births/Deaths, Welcoming and Retirements, and other honorific occasions; Club, Professional Group, Church/Temple/Mosque, School or Educational meetings. Beginning speakers who have worked with this course have spoken in front of a wide range of audiences such as friends and work associates, Personnel/Human Resource training sessions, a Boy Scout troop, a cricket team, a local pilot luncheon, a realtor meeting, testimony for a court hearing, a sixth-grade humanities enrichment class, a Sunday School session, and so forth. DEFINING YOUR SPEECH GOALS Once you have selected your topic, clarify in your mind what you wish to accomplish in the speech – what you hope that your audience will take away from your presentation. What do you wish to achieve and how can you best achieve it in the time limitations of the speaking situation? What will your audience want to get out of it? The more defined your objectives are, the clearer your thesis statement will be in shaping the structure of the speech. If you are too general, or have not thought through the specifics, then your structure will wander and the audience will drift with its lack of focus. Major speech goals can be analyzed as follows: ♦ To Inform … Providing background information, relationships, analysis of how the topic is relevant. The speaker may provide definitions of terms and processes, a chronology or history, an in-depth statement of the thesis. ♦ To Persuade … To influence by stating pro (for) or con (against) views in how information and opinions are presented. Possibly to motivate the audience to take action by voting, altering purchasing habits, donating money or in-kind services, signing contracts, etc. – here a solution is provided and follow- through requested by the speaker – politicians, lawyers, salespeople, organizational leaders, motivational speakers often make this type of presentation. If not to the point of agreeing with the speaker or taking immediate or long-range action, at least the audience will achieve a better understanding and perhaps respect for the topic. ♦ To Entertain … Here stories, anecdotes, humor may be used to appeal to the emotional values of the audience. ♦ To Commemorate … These are speeches of acknowledgement, Remembrance, awards, etc. that are often initiated by a special calendar date or social occasion – the Academy Awards, eulogies at funerals, St. Patrick’s Day speeches, retirement And wedding speeches all fall into this area. Shorter versions of these speeches might be toasts, witty statements, readings from documents like the Bible or the Talmud, testimonials. STRUCTURING AN ACTION PLAN IN A SPEECH TO PERSUADE After defining an issue or problem to resolve, a persuasive speech may focus in its middle or body on a detailed and practical action plan. The action plan moves beyond just complaining about something to how it can be practically resolved. Such speeches are often given at township or city council meetings, at PTO meetings at schools, or at planning meetings for work organizations. The crucial elements in an action plan revolve around budget, staff, and deadlines/timelines – all elements of resources available or that can be created. Superficial action plans do not attempt in-depth analysis of what it will actually take to solve a problem, and can ask for such lackluster strategies as signing a petition or writing a congressperson. A workable action plan deals with specific projections by the speaker of all elements needed to make something work. The following steps should be followed for this type of action plan: Identifying that the current situation, or status quo, is problematic at this time and that current agencies/departments/offices are not fulfilling the needs of the problem; Clarifying the demographics of whom the action plan will serve when put into place; A specific line budget on a multi-year basis (meeting the needs of development, installation, and maintenance) with some examination of where this money or in-kind services is to come from; The extent of staff, equipment, facilities, etc. and their training/maintenance over a multi-year basis; The relationship of the impact of the action plan to other existing agencies or divisions. In facing the endless number of problems needing resolution around us regardless of where we live, there are any number of directions for possible action plans: ♦ 911 situations, Emergency Room overload; ♦ suicide/crisis hot lines; ♦ shelters for women and children in abusive relationships; ♦ meals-on-wheels plan for elderly and the disabled; ♦ community centers for teenagers; ♦ the approach of land conservancy in saving farms, historic buildings, old schools and military bases no longer used, water lands, Native American Indian sites, etc.; ♦ the handling of wild animals such as deer, geese, alligators, etc. ♦ the re-training of those that cannot find jobs; ♦ healthcare and hospital situations; ♦ the scarcity of quality public teachers; ♦ the proliferation of airplanes using airports; ♦ the need for more monuments honoring veterans and battlefields; ♦ how to accommodate skate-boarders, roller-bladers, paintballers; ♦ recycling street people; ♦ bringing childcare and retirement centers together; ♦ creating a local arts center; ♦ etc., etc. “FITTING” THE TIME LIMIT Under the pressure of giving a speech, time can distort easily. What timed perfectly to the limitations given in a rehearsal may be become longer or shorter in actual performance. Ethically it is important to work within the time limit given by the person arranging the speech and the group the speech is given to. No one likes a speaker that drones on for too long, or seems to be ending his or her speech and then suddenly start with a new point. Worse yet, in panel situations is the first speaker who talks much too much and thus eliminates available time for the speakers who will follow. Then, there is the speaker who falls short in adequate preparation or on the spot editing (or, memory loss!) and who suddenly sits down after just beginning. A clear cut time structure may be difficult to predict in a standard three-part speech, but generally the following can be expected of a five to seven minute presentation: ⇒ INTRODUCTION ………. One to two minutes ⇒ MIDDLE OR BODY ……. One to two minutes for each of three points ⇒ CONCLUSION …………. One to two minutes With this approach, it is easy to see a time length of five to eight minutes here. The more that a speaker rehearses their speech, the more that the time will standardized to a predictable length, and the less the speaker needs to worry about abnormally speeding up or slowing down their speaking pace. With this balanced approach in structuring time, the speaker needs to consider if too much time has been allotted to either beginning comments, the conclusion, or, too many points trying to be covered in the middle or body. If the speech ends up much too long, the focus of speaking goals needs to be reconsidering if the thesis is too broad and needs to be narrowed down. If too short, then again the thesis needs to be reworked and not necessary just padded to fill in the time. You may also be trying to use too many supportive materials such as quotes or statistics, illustrative anecdotes and stories, or the use of audio-visual aids that end up being actually not that helpful. Truly what are the main points that you are trying to make and what length of time do they deserve? TIMING YOUR SPEECH The best speeches should always end just a bit under the expected time limit, leaving the audience on a “high” note and wanting more. There is nothing worse than a speaker who drags on for too long. Time each run-through in rehearsal by either watching a clock or using a stop watch feature on your wristwatch. Be sure to include in time for use of audio-visuals and the passing out of materials. Even the question and answer period should have a time limitation on it (shape the closure by saying, “we have time for one more question…”). IF YOUR SPEECH RUNS TOO LONG CONSISTENTLY IN REHEARSAL – … examine if your thesis is too broad or vague; … ruthlessly consider what is not crucial that can be cut out; … if information is crucial, move it to a poster or handouts; … check to see if you are needlessly repeating your points; IF YOUR SPEECH RUNS TOO SHORT CONSISTENTLY IN REHEARSAL – … examine if your thesis is too narrow or not comprehensive; … consider if you need more research or support points and examples; … review if your conclusion achieves the maximum impact of what you want the audience to think about after you have sat down; … assess if you adequately prove your points and contentions. AUDIENCE SITUATIONS ARE JOINT CREATIONS! Remember that audiences communicate back non-verbally just as much as the speaker is communicating. Any performance situation is a dialogue, a two-way street where speaker and audience join together successfully (in the best speeches) or are at odds to each other (in the worst.) The audience wishes to learn and be entertained, to be asked to have their imaginations and creativity engaged, to be respected as sophisticated, intelligent people regardless of their age or background. It truly is a collaborative effort, and a speaker must learn to anticipate the audience as a co-partner in the speech making. When one repeats a speech, the realization of how different audiences and speaking environments shape a speech is very apparent. Audiences will laugh at a joke one week, and then have nothing but a cold silence in the same place the next. ANALYZING YOUR AUDIENCE(s) This may be a group of people you are familiar with, an organization whose goals are will known to you, or strangers that you have never seen gathered together for purposes that are not clear. Obviously, the more you an project of what the audience will be like and how they will respond to your topic – what relevance it will have to them – the less stress you will carry standing in front of the group in that fateful second before you begin speaking. If you have not been with the group before in some capacity, a great deal can be predicted about them by talking with the person who has arranged your speaking date, calling individual members beforehand and introducing yourself (and your topic) to them, as well as perusing publications, calendars, websites beforehand. Find out what other speakers have they had before, and what were identifiable elements of the most successful and least successful speakers. How much socializing will happen before and after your presentation (remember that your speech is still continuing during question and answer.) Has the audience in the past asked many questions? When you arrive, ask to be introduced to some people who have worked on the meeting and try to remember their names (a powerful technique is to thank organization members by name in your introduction.) Trends and details in common with groups can be called demographics – an advertising term used to trying to determine in advance buying and lifestyle patterns, voting patterns, entertainment preferences. Initial demographics for the speaker to seek in advance could be: What general age are they? (Will they be able to relate to your comments and references?) What gender will predominate? (careful on gender stereotypes, but female audiences respond differently than male audiences and vice versa.) Occupations, political preferences and religious preferences, racial and ethnic clusters, education and economic levels, geographic location will all enter into an audience’s receptiveness to you and your topic – they may be immediately supportive, indifferent, or adversarial, or, you may need to win them over with logic, evidence, emotional appeals, and/or the commitment you show in your delivery. USING INFORMANTS TO SHAPE YOUR SPEECHES … Always seek those who can help you with your speech. Generally people are glad to be of assistance with insights, facts, suggestions, and testimonials. They may serve as door openers to others that can help you even further with the topic. They can keep you from pursuing dead- ends, or provide publications, articles, photographs, or objects relating to your speech that otherwise would not have been available. A telephone call can be unexpectedly rewarding, or an hour-long interview may provide nothing that can be helpful. However as a researcher in the early stages of speech preparation, you can leave no source untapped. Resource people are all around you: relatives, neighbors, educators and teachers, reference librarians, members of professional associations (legal, medical, political), merchants, newspaper reporters all can be tremendously helpful. Don’t neglect the blue pages in the middle of most telephone books for public service agencies. Increasingly, people publish their e- mail addresses, which they may respond to more quickly than to telephone calls. Never arrive out of the blue without a prior appointment, and always keep a date, time, and informant name/title/telephone number with each informant encounter. Be sure to respect any confidentiality by asking if people mind if they are quoted or referred to in the presentation. THE ROADMAP: DEFINING YOUR TERMS An effective technique in the beginning statements of your speech is to provide a verbal “roadmap” defining the goals of the speech. Definitions of major words, technical terms, foreign words can all enter in. If your topic tends to be very broad, you can limit what you will speak on by saying you will only cover certain areas given the time limitations. You may define how your topic relates to larger systems and you can define your topic by stating what it is not (definition by negation.) You may define by examples, well know role models, symbolic metaphors, or the end results of what happens. The roadmap may put into very direct terms how this speech thesis is very pertinent to the audience, how they may have experienced it recently and felt frustrated or appreciative of it. USING STATISTICS TO SUPPORT YOUR POINTS … “Statistics, statistics, and damned lies!” - Ambrose Bierce, author of The Devil’s Dictionary Consider how the use of statistics can be manipulated unethically to shape audience opinion: “48% of married people get divorced!” (52% don’t…) “38% of chewing tobacco users get mouth cancer!” (62% don’t – although this is a much higher figure than general population norms) Any statistic must be interpreted to put it into the correct context for he audience. Beware of large numbers that become incomprehensible Because of their size: “4,500 teenagers in the U.S. will die this year because of drinking and driving!” compared to: “If we combined the student population of all of the high schools in this state, it would equal the national number of teen deaths by drinking and driving!” Be clear also on the credibility of a statistic, chart, graph, etc. Who collected the data from how large a sample using polls, surveys, periodic comparisons, etc.? How does this figure compare with earlier times and is there a discernible trend growing or diminishing? What does it mean specifically to the audience? Always cite your sources, or be prepared to if an audience member challenges it during question and answer.
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