“There are always three speeches for every one you actually gave: the one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave.” – Dale Carnegie, Writer and lecturer
Public speech comes in dozens of forms. From the motivational to the ceremonial, the christening to the eulogy, the rehearsed best man to the impromptu – the chances are good that in your lifetime, you will experience just about every genre of public speaking. We will explore a variety of speeches styles in this course, so here is a preview of the speeches we’ll attempt!
No matter where your career takes you, at some point you’ll engage in conversation with a business partner, a client or a customer about a previous job, an unusual experience or even your family. It will be your opportunity to “wow” them with a good story. In this assignment, let’s pretend that you’re in that situation, and you want to wow us with a good story! This speech is simply a well told story or event from your life. It should be interesting, it can be entertaining – but ultimately, I want it to be a story that you’re familiar with and enjoy telling. Treat us as if we were friends at a round-table discussion, and you want to tell us something that you know we’ll enjoy.
Pop Culture Speech
This assignment will give you the freedom to reenact a speech that is relevant to our current popular culture or current events landscape. President Obama’s inaugural address. The Tiger Woods’ apology speech. Jeff Bridge’s Oscar acceptance speech. Make sure you define the speech and illustrate its social significance. Become the speaker and transport your audience to the scene. Invoke the same emotion that the speaker gave.
This assignment will give you an opportunity to educate the audience on how to do something, how to create something, how something is done, or how something works. Audience consideration is key here – it’s important to keep in mind that we’re in a collegiate, professional classroom, so ‘How to Water Your Garden’ might not be particularly interesting! But, something like: techniques for drawing a sketch book, or how to make the perfect fettuccini alfredo, or how to create a secure network for a wireless router, might appeal to your listeners. Start thinking about visual aids that you could use for this assignment, as these will be major assets to your presentation.
The choices are truly endless for this assignment! To help scale down your options, pick something that interests you, that you think will interest the audience, and that the audience doesn’t know a lot about. Provide valuable information in this speech – open our eyes to a subject we barely know. Describe pros and cons. Briefly summarize the history. But be careful not to drift into persuasion – there is a fine line between informing us about a topic and persuading us to think a certain way about it. Your task in this assignment is to present unbiased, objective facts.
In this assignment, you will have the opportunity to persuade your audience to think a certain way. In many cases, this serves as a natural progression from your informative speech, because now you are tasked with taking a stance on something and defending your viewpoint. Make sure you clearly state data and statistics that support your claims. Give us facts thatconvince. Appeal to the beliefs and sensibilities of your audience. Visual aids always add great value to one’s argument, so use them when you can. Strengthen your side by disclosing an opposing view, but discredit it – a great way to bolster support for your side. The Fear of Public Speaking
“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” — Jerry Seinfeld, comedian
What is it about public speaking that sends chills down our spines? The causes of glossophobia (public speaking anxiety) have long been studied, and although no single cause has been identified as the key culprit, studies have repeatedly shown that more people are afraid of public speaking than death. Consider the following statistics:
The Top 10 Global Fears are:
1.Fear of public speaking (Glossophobia)
2.Fear of death (Necrophobia)
3.Fear of spiders (Arachnophobia)
4.Fear of darkness (Achluophobia)
5.Fear of heights (Acrophobia)
6.Fear of people or social situations (Sociophobia)
7.Fear of flying (Aerophobia)
8.Fear of open spaces (Agoraphobia)
9.Fear of thunder and lightning (Brontophobia)
10.Fear of confined spaces (Claustrophobia)
Research has proven that a fear of public speaking can have negative effects on careers, and hinder success if not addressed.
Three out of four individuals across the world suffer from speech anxiety. Simply put, 75 percent of all humans fear public speaking.
Up to five percent of the world’s population (hundreds of millions of people) experience glossophobic symptoms in a given year.
Some studies have found that a larger percentage of females suffer from speech anxiety related problems.
More men than women seek treatment to cure fear of public speaking through means like hypnosis therapy, beta-blockers or self-help literature.
Social phobias often start with shyness in childhood or early adolescence, and progress during maturation, according to scientific studies on fears of public speaking. What is Extemporaneous Speaking?
Extemporaneous speaking (sometimes referred to as extemp or extempo) is a speech format where an orator delivers to an audience without assistance from notes, teleprompters or the like. In its finest form, it is a smooth, dynamic performance that mixes subject knowledge, humor, research and fact.
Conduct this exercise: Look around the room you are in right now. Choose an object at random. Something on a shelf, the window sill, the floor, just a random object near you right now. Now look at a mirror and try talking about that object for 60 seconds without stalling, stopping, pausing, or using any fillers like ‘umm’ or ‘uhh.’ Whatever comes to your mind about that object, just rattle it off! Can you fill a full 60 seconds with substance? You don’t have note cards, you didn’t rehearse, you just chose something you were familiar with and spoke on it for a minute. That’s speaking extemporaneously!
Here are 10 tips to speaking extemporaneously:
1.Start your extemp with a good summation that grabs attention, the state the theme. 2.Develop between three and five main points. Each one should be a distinguished idea. 3.Tie each idea back to your main topic.
4.Tie each idea to the next idea. Go for smooth transitions and sensible bridges. 5.Keep it simple. Don’t try to impress your audience with fancy words. Impress them with powerful expressions and convincing facts. 6.Your subtopics should reinforce the main points. They should describe or elaborate. 7.Revisit your thesis on occasion. Remind the audience of what your main point is, and how this ties into the smaller items. 8.Cut to the chase! The audience appreciates detail, but not so much that they get lost in minutia. 9.Don’t be afraid to make a joke about your nervousness. The audience will appreciate it, and you’ll feel better about it. 10.Quit while you’re ahead! Start smooth, support your stance, finish strong… depart respectfully!
Know Your Audience
“Be sincere; be brief; be seated.”
– Franklin D. Roosevelt, on speechmaking (1882-1945, 32nd President of the United States)
Finding a connection with your audience can be the key to delivering a successful, comfortable presentation, or it can lead to the exact opposite. Chances are good that you will deliver speeches where you don’t know every audience member – and the reality is, you don’t really need to. But you do want to find some common ground early, which will help your credibility, but also help your nerves.
So how do you connect? An easy and painless way is to mingle. It’s an audience analysis technique that is too often overlooked. Shake hands. Introduce yourself. Talk about the weather.
When you stand before the podium or take the mic, gather your surroundings for just a moment. Smile as you survey the scene and make some inclusive observations. What’s everyone wearing? What’s the body language like? What do their facial expressions say? And where are the emergency exits??? Just kidding!
The audience wants to feel like you’re talking to them, and they want to feel that way individually. Although eye contact is an enormous part of public speaking (and we’ll discuss it further in future lectures), it’s not realistic to look each person in the eye. So, focus on points to your west, north and east. Pick a listener at each point of the room, and focus on thosemembers. As you look left at your first focal point, then center at your second focal point, then right at your third focal point, you’re glancing over the entire audience equally. You’re pulling them into your speech and making them feel like you’re talking to them – personally. This is a trick that doesn’t fail!
In an online class, it goes without saying that your audience isn’t present – but that doesn’t mean there’s not an audience. We’re here! So treat the camera like it’s us. The window is a portal into the classroom and we’re here observing, listening attentively. So how will you connect? Think about what you’ve learned about your classmates in the Cyber Café and through the video introductions. Use it to your advantage!
Additional Types of Public Speaking
Every speaker has a mouth; An arrangement rather neat.
Sometimes it’s filled with wisdom. Sometimes it’s filled with feet.
— Robert Orben, professional magician and comedy writer
Each week we’ll take a close look at some of the different types of public speeches out there. This week, let’s look at three that you may be familiar with: Specialized, Entertaining, and Political Rhetoric.
Have you ever gone to hear a doctor discuss a new type of study? Did you ever walk past an auditorium and catch a teacher for students with disabilities, talking to a group of other teachers about the difference in pedagogical approaches? Or what about a police chief, discussing law enforcement practices to a group of safety administrators in a different city than his hometown? The purpose of specialized speeches is to inform, educate and demonstrate to a professional audience. Listeners find credibility in the speaker based on similarities in professional or social interests. A common example would be a speaker at an educational information technology convention, where an orator addresses other faculty or school administrators in an effort to inform them of emerging technologies or best practices in the field.
Most often referred to as the ‘after-dinner speech,’ this form of public speaking is intended to entertain the audience through laughter, anecdotal humor or irony. It differs from a stand-up routine because it flows more logically, with a distinct beginning, middle and end. Speakers of this variety use entertaining material typical woven around a central premise. It’s important to note that not all entertaining speeches are aimed at the funny bone. Sentimental stories can trigger tears, and many tales are meant to appeal to the emotions in some way.
One form of public speaking that we’re all familiar with is the political speech arena. Whether it’s your local politician lobbying to knock down an aging shopping center or President Obama rallying public support to approve national healthcare, we’re exposed to political rhetoric nearly every day. This form of speech is unique because politicians are typically speaking to like-minded people (those who would vote for him/her regardless of the topic) or skeptics (those who exhibit wariness or suspicion) simultaneously – only on the rarest of occasions do they speak to crowds of unanimous approval. Regardless, there are a few tricks to writing and delivering effective political speeches: •Take a stand.
Clearly state your stance and support it. It’s unrealistic to be all things to all people; in fact, supporting everything means (ironically) that you support nothing. •Stay Energized. Every topic is important to somebody. Not every topic is spicy, but audience members are savvy and they’ll detect even the slightest bit of disinterest in a subject. Be enthusiastic and stay upbeat! •Facts. Check your facts. Have your staff check the facts. Double check the facts after they check the facts. Know statistics. Know dates. Know your opponents’ stances and what s/he supports. Be 110% certain that what you’re saying is true. •Overlook vocal naysayers. Politicians expect protesters or booing from the audience – and how a political hopeful handles such antagonists says a great deal about his/her character. The ability to approach such behavior with a sense of humor or by ignoring the noise altogether goes a long way toward building credibility with those you’re attempting to persuade.
Overcoming the Anxiety
“They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
– Carl W. Buechner, American author
You’ve gotten your first two speeches under your belt. How do you feel about them? How did you feel leading up to them? In all likelihood, you were just a bit nervous as you got ready to record, and that’s normal! Preparation for public speaking is a process, and even the best of the best get butterflies right before taking the microphone.
Public speaking is an art, not a science. A few common misperceptions of public speaking are:
1.That you have to be perfect to succeed. Nobody’s perfect – you’re human! You don’t have to be perfect to do anything successfully; in fact, the audience is not nearly as critical of you as you are of yourself.
2.That you have to provide a ton of information all at once. Imagine asking a server ‘What’s on special’ and getting the history of the restaurant in response. Did that answer your question? Probably not – so don’t overload your audience with information that isn’t relevant or they may already know. Give them something valuable. Send them home feeling like they’ve learned something.
3.That you have to please everyone. This is not only an unrealistic approach to audience consideration, it’s unhealthy. You can’t be all things to all beings, so don’t strain yourself trying. The audience will appreciate your message far more than your efforts to please.
4.That tremendous preparation will yield better results. Studies have shown the complete opposite – that too much preparation causes a speaker to over-think and over-scrutinize. Have a solid, working knowledge of your material, but don’t dissect every word.
5.That if you’re serious, the audience will take you seriously. The audience wants to relate to you. They want to see your human side. Share a memory. Tell a story. Let them in on a personal experience. Never underestimate the power of humor in public speaking; humility and a good joke can go a very long way.
So how can you overcome your fear of public speaking?
1.Breathe. A simple, deep inhale sends a wave of relaxation through your body. Take a deep slow breath as you walk toward the podium or approach the front of the room, and itwill calm your nerves. 2.Practice. Rehearsing in front of your family or friends is great way to get instant feedback, because if anybody is going to be honest with you, it’s your friends and family. Engage in positive visualization: close your eyes and picture yourself standing before the audience. Visualize your surroundings. Use note cards to keep you focused and highlight the main points to emphasize. Use a mirror to help gauge your eye contact and your nonverbal behavior (like swaying, shifting or playing with your hair or tie). 3.Mistakes happen. If you lose your place or stumble over a few words, just glance down at your cards, find the next highlighted word or topic, and move on.
Take a deep breath and smile – the audience probably didn’t even notice. 4.Avoid Caffeine. A lot of speakers think that a quick rush of adrenaline through the system will electrify them into a phenomenal delivery. Not true. It can make you jittery, shaky and make you rush through the speech at an unhealthy pace. Go for a water or a juice to avoid dry mouth. 5.Find a target. Recall what we mentioned in an earlier lecture about your focal points. Locate a person at east, north and center to glance at every couple of seconds. That way, when you look left and right, you still have a target at center on which to focus. 6.Gesture for Emphasis. Speak conversationally and you’ll find a very natural, comfortable way of using your hands. If you get distracted by buttons or pockets, wear clothes without buttons or pockets. These are two very costly distractions!
Time to Write the Speech!
The task seems daunting, for sure – but it’s a task we each face at different times! Writing a speech can be an assignment that’s so open-ended it seems like there’s a never-ending abyss of possibilities, but below are some tips
that may get you going!
Before The Speech…
•Visualize! I cannot stress this point enough, and you’re probably tired of reading about it! Nevertheless, as soon as you receive your assignment, start the positive visualization process. Imagine yourself at the podium, or in front of the class, or on the stage. Positive visualization is subliminal preparation. •Start the research portion early. Even if it’s a topic you’re familiar with, it never hurts to freshen up. Find new angles on the topic. Document negative aspects that may fend off dissenters and help you prepare for tough questions. •Get it on paper! Jot your ideas down as they come, and begin to formally organize your thoughts. They don’t have to be lucid, elaborate ideas at this point – but capturing some of your initial considerations or inclinations ensures that they won’t get lost in the shuffle.
You’ve got some ideas down, you think your subject has potential, now frame it! •Prepare to introduce yourself. Just a few lines about who you are before you delve into your subject builds credibility with the listener. •Organize your major points. Depending on the time parameters, you might be limited to as few as one or unlimited entirely – but you want to have substantive, quality information on each point. It’s widely accepted that a speech contains three major points. •Conclude and Convince. Summarize your speech and reiterate the most important speech. What do you want your audience to take away from this speech? Express them here once more.
You’ve just delivered a top-notch speech! You prepared, you researched, you organized… what are you going to do now? Consider these two additional closing activities that will separate you from the rest! •Take some questions if time and the forum permits. This is a great opportunity to interact with listeners. It proves that they were interested, that your message hit home – but also can illuminate what areas of the speech can be tweaked. •Share references and resources with your audience. Unless you did the experiment or discovered the anecdote yourself, your information came from somewhere! Acknowledge those whose information you used while creating your speech – it’s a great way to put a polished touch on the closing minutes!
Additional Types of Public Speaking
“The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public.”
-George Jessel, Academy Award winning movie producer
Each week we’ll take a close look at some of the different types of public speeches out there. This week, let’s look at three that you may be familiar with: Ceremonial, Acceptance, and Motivational.
This speech format is most common at formal events such as recitations, graduations, weddings, etc. For example, the ‘Best Man Speech’ is the most common ceremonial speech. Ceremonial speeches are also known as epideictic speech, and language of the speaker should be inspiring, rousing and vivid. Two techniques of epideictic speech are identification (which creates a feeling of closeness, familiarity and universality), and magnification (which exemplifies overcoming obstacles, exceeding boundaries or achieving the unachievable. Five simple guidelines can direct you to a successful ceremonial speech.
•Use concrete terms (not abstract)
•Use personal references (not impersonal)
•Use simple sentences (not complex)
•Use active verbs (not passive)
•Use repetition of ideas to enhance comprehension and memory
After receiving an award or honor, you may be expected to respond with an acceptance speech. Express gratitude, acknowledge the person or group that’s giving the award, recognize what the award stands for or represents. Four simple guidelines can direct you to a successful acceptance speech: •Accept the honor with grace and humility. Use magnification in an acceptance speech. •Give credit where credit is due. Mention those who assisted you or influenced your life. •Give back to the audience. Express your awareness of its deeper meaning and leave the audience with a tribute to their work or what inspired you. •Contextualize the future: what does this award mean to society, to the group, and express how you will continue this work.
Motivational public speakers, arguably the most popular type of speaking out there, uses stories, anecdotes, illustrations, and allegories to capture the audience. Typical of motivational speaking is the delivery of a moral lesson that will uplift, inspire and or have an impact on the listeners. The most common goal is to encourage self-improvement, with the orator telling a story that crafts the mind to form a mental attachment that enables members of the audience to think: “I can do that, too.” Motivational speakers should be leery of adding political or religious elements to their content – because of the diversity of audiences, this can render a speech to be less effective, or even offensive. Verbal Style
The words we choose and the terms we use define how impactful or ineffective our speech will be. Below are some typical devices used by public speakers to illustrate comparisons, repetition, magnification of a significant point, or a contrast of ideas.
Devices that illustrate comparisons
•Analogy: Occurs when similar statements are placed near one another. Analogy illustrates commonalities between ideas. ◦Example: He tackled that question the way a linebacker would tackle a running back!
•Metaphor: Occurs when applying a term of phrase to a statement that enhances
or embellishes – but not literally applicable. ◦Example:He jumped so high I could’ve sworn he was a kangaroo!
•Allegory: Occurs when objects, characters or occasions are given metaphorical definitions. Typically gives identity to items that lack identity. ◦Example: The landlord was so mad I thought he was going to spit fire!
•Onomatopoeia: Occurs when a clever play on words uses a sound descriptor associated with the item or thing being named. ◦Example: Did anyone else see that gaggle of geese swim by?
•Synecdoche: Occurs when something is identified or categorized based on a part of the whole. Can often be sensational, exaggerated or a skewed view. ◦Example: To understand the history of Italy, just read about the mafia.
Devices that argue through repetition
•Alliterations: Occurs when a succession of words carries identical sounds. ◦Example: Nobody knew Nate could never knot his Nikes.
•Antimetaboles: Occurs when words are repeated within the same sentence, but reversed. ◦Example: Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country!
•Climaxes: Occurs when items are placed in series to illustrate rising importance of emotional escalation. ◦Example: Hope springs eternal; and with that hope springs eternal youth; and with that youth comes the hope of a generation!
Devices that magnify a significant point
•Allusions: Occurs when disconnected terms or items are mentioned in reference to a relevant discussion. ◦Example: Bill Gates would so mad at you for using that old machine!
•Cumulation: Occurs when related items are compiled and weight is added to an argument. ◦Example: How can we get any work done when the phone keeps ringing? Not to mention the internet keeps blinking … and I’ve had people at my desk all day!?
•Oxymoron: Occurs when a contradiction is obvious. ◦Example: Thank goodness for decaffeinated coffee; how else would I get through the day?
Devices that contrast ideas
•Hyperbole: Occurs when exaggeration evokes a colorful reality. ◦Example: The head of that department might as well be 10 years old.
•Irony: Occurs when a statement’s meaning is recognizably opposite of the literal translation. ◦Example: I love how it hasn’t rained for three weeks but then rains on our wedding day.
•Understatement: Occurs when what is said is considerably less than what’s actually meant. ◦Example: Boy, that hurricane made such a mess out of traffic. What Makes Some Speeches Great?
“I gave a speech in Omaha. After the speech I went to a reception elsewhere in town. A sweet old lady came up to me, put her gloved hand in mine, and said, ”I heard you spoke here tonight.”
“Oh, it was nothing,” I replied modestly.
”Yes,” the little old lady nodded, “that’s what I heard.” – Gerald R. Ford, President of the United States, 1974-77
What makes some speeches great? Why can Americans separated by two generations recite President Roosevelt’s Declaration of War in 1941? How is it that children less than 10 years old understand the meaning behind Dr. Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech? Why do our hearts sink when we hear Lou Gehrig tell a teary Yankee Stadium that “Today, I feel like the luckiest man on the face of the earth”?
These speeches have overcome the test of time for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, they are filled with passion. There is nothing submissive or passive about them. These speakers deliver powerful jolts with every word, and the listener has no choice but to feel the subsequent emotional stir.
Some historical speeches touch upon human conditions that remain fixed through each passing generation, keeping them relevant. They touch upon circumstances to which mankind relates – things like war, prejudice, tragedy and triumph.
Use of urgent language emphasizes the importance of the situation. Some of the most everlasting speeches were given during times crises or social unrest, so an elevated sense of urgency is inherent in these orations.
Famous speakers use their words with craft, and you’ll often find them repeating themselves for dramatic emphasis and stress. Repetition is a device used to make a direct, earnest point (this idea is explored in Week 4 Lecture 1). This also allows for listeners to more easily recall an important point, if it’s been spoken more than once.
Think about a speech in your lifetime that made a major impact on you. Who delivered the speech? What was it about? How did it impact you? Speeches that impact us can range from something with international magnitude (such as President Bush addressing the nation following 9/11) to a one-on-one disciplining from a parent. Think about some of the speeches you’ve witnessed in your life – why do you remember them?
Additional Types of Speeches
“It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.”
Each week we’ll take a close look at some of the different types of public speeches out there. This week, let’s look at three that you may be familiar with: Debate, Inspirational, and Newcasting/Broadcasting.
Debate is a formal interaction of persuasive exchange and argument. Logical consistency, factual accuracy, and a modest level of emotional appeal typically allows one side to triumph over the other through representation of a superior context and framework. Some valuable tips to debate successfully include:
Never say ‘never,’ and never say ‘always.’
Don’t challenge an obvious truth.
Refrain from pointing out errors, but admit if you’re mistaken.
Challenge the idea, not the person.
Don’t exaggerate – truth is easier to remember.
Say ‘some’ rather than ‘many’.
If it happens ‘often’ or ‘generally,’ you’re permitting exceptions.
Say ‘many’ rather than ‘most’.
Numbers and figures came from somewhere – quote them.
Do not present opinion as fact – if it’s opinion, say so.
Disagree with a smile on your face.
Stress the positive any way every time.
You can lose some battles and win the war.
Concede minor points.
Tone – it can empower or belittle. Be cognizant.
Winning a debate isn’t worth losing a friend.
Inspirational speeches are highly emotional, motivational speeches that push listeners to pursue previously unachieved goals in life. These speeches give listeners tools and proper awareness of goal pursuit and bolster the possibility of accomplishment. A few common topics include personal growth, career advancement, team building and leadership development. Inspiration has no limits, so audience consideration hinges on social and practical factors like education, status, class and personal interests. Inspirational speech writing is often considered a five-stage scheme: •Stage 1: Include a word structure that attracts the attention of the audience. •Stage 2: Diverse testimonies that expose the ineffectiveness of current solutions, but proposes promising, successful solutions to all problems . •Stage 3: Attainment of satisfaction – innovative thoughts empower the audience to learn of new ways to satisfy a need. •Stage 4: Positive visualization of new practices through imagery, emotional representation and visual aids. •Stage 5: Motivate the audience to transform plans into actions.
This type of public speaking constitutes a professional brand of speech transmitted through media outlets such as radio, newspapers or other print publications, television and internet services. Broadcast speech is typically written in present tense to convey a sense of urgency – a unique twist on delivering information from speaker to listener. It delivers a sense of ‘now’ and when written in active voice, can be very dramatic and breaking. When writing or speaking to the masses, it’s best to stay with a less-is-more mantra. Sentences in journalism tend to be short and economical – as in, they are easy to read, easy to understand, and say a lot with few words. Contractions are usually permissible with one exception: be very careful contracting ‘not’ – sometimes the audience can’t hear the –n’t—following the verb and it can lead to serious miscommunication. Always, always, always attribute your information to its source. Humor is not typically a part of journalistic prose – it can blur the line between serious and lighthearted. Nonverbal Communication, Part I
What does it mean when we smile? When you see a person sitting on a bench with a cell phone to her ear smiling, what can you conclude about her conversation?
When a couple is walking through a parking lot holding hands, what can you surmise about their relationship?
When you see a man motoring down a sidewalk with a stronghold on his briefcase and frantically checking his watch, what can you deduce about his day?
Nonverbal communication surrounds us – in fact, it’s been estimated that as much as 90 percent of all communication is nonverbal. That’s a staggering amount that’s worthy of deeper discussion. Since the topic is so vast, we’ll focus on a few common, key points about nonverbal communication. •Physical Environment: The study of proxemics focuses on how people use and perceive the space surrounding their physical presence. Enviro-factors like noise, lighting, crowd, temperature, furniture, even the way you decorate your bedroom – it all impacts you nonverbally. There are four distinct territories of proxemics: ◦Primary: Space allotted to someone who has specific rights to it. Example: Your home, apartment, dorm – these are primary spaces that are exclusively yours. Others require your consent and knowledge to enter. ◦Secondary: Space not allotted to someone, but people may still feel a specific ownership of that space.
Example: You go to a restaurant once a week, and sit in the same booth each time. If you enter the restaurant and someone is sitting in that booth, you are slightly irked by the fact that they’ve occupied your secondary space. ◦Public: Space that is available to all, but not always. Example: Anyone is free to park anywhere they like, unless a space is already occupied.
•Interaction: Space created during an interaction. Example: If two people are sitting at a table talking to one another, nobody will sit in between or obstruct their view of one another (they would be disrupting the interaction space). •Movements: The study of kinesics began in the early 1950’s with a study of how people communicate through facial expression, gesture, body movement and posture. ◦Posture can indicate a person’s degree of interest, a status separation between communicators, or the level of fondness the listener has for the communicator. Arm position, body orientation, direction of lean and body openness are all examples of posture. ◦Have you ever given someone a wink? Chances are you have – and your gesture was probably well received! Gesturing is a silent body movement that can indicate a number of verbal messages. A hand wave to say hello, a thumbs up to indicate approval, an eye roll to indicate a negative reaction – all gestures that speak.
•Nonverbal Cues of the Voice: Have you ever been told to “Watch your tone”? If so, you were warned to be careful of your paralanguage. Qualities like volume, pitch and tempo; even articulation and eloquence give each of us a unique voice print. The voice set describes the context within which someone is speaking, and can encompass mood, age, gender, even culture. •Eye Contact: Studying eye contact during public speaking, or oculesics, is a fascinating experiment. Eye contact typically indicates interest, attention and engagement. This is not to be confused with eye gazing.
So what does it all mean? What does nonverbal communication really tell us? It expresses emotions and interpersonal feelings; it accompanies speech in managing the cues of interaction between speakers and listeners; and it manages inaudible cues between speakers and listeners.
When Do You Say No?
“There are two types of speakers, those that are nervous and those that are liars.”
– Mark Twain, American author and humorist
Could you stand up and give us a presentation on nuclear biophysics? How about pharmacology or pathophysiology of the lifespan? Neither could I – because we’re not knowledgeable on the subjects. These topics are well out of our comfort zones. Now… could you stand up and tell us how to make Ramen noodles or eggs benedict? Probably! As important as it is to know your facts on things that interest to you, it’s equally important to know your boundaries.
When is it ok to pass on a speaking opportunity, or even pass on a particular topic? •If the topic is too technical or methodological, and you’re simply not versed enough in the material to discuss it, move on. Choosing a topic that’s rich with medical terminology would produce unsatisfactory results. Your heart wouldn’t be in it, and you’d lose interest quickly or worst of all – procrastinate until it was too late. Regardless, the resulting performance would not please. •If the audience knows more than you do, you’re likely to be recognized as a fraud quickly. I wouldn’t recommend speaking on a topic that you’re modestly familiar with, when the listeners are experts or considerably more savvy than you. Don’t even think about a question-and-answer segment! •If you’re under the weather, it’s simply not your day. You would not want to sit through a lecture where the speaker was coughing, sneezing, had a raspy, scratchy voice and looked generally unhappy to be there – so don’t be that person. If venues can reschedule concerts, hosts can reschedule your presentation. Even in this class – it might be worth waiting an extra day to hit the record button, to make sure the germs are gone!
Make no mistake – I’m certainly not advocating that you not research new things, or explore new topics or investigate new puzzles. I’m simply saying – I want you to put yourselves in a position to succeed!
Nonverbal Communication, Part II
While the study of nonverbal behavior dates back to the late 19th century, there’s one thing that we don’t need experimentation to prove: that nonverbal behavior is a real entity that influences interpretation, meaning and communication in general. As we discussed last week, the physicality of nonverbal behavior extends from our eyebrows down to our leg stance, and includes everything in between. But what do we get when verbal and nonverbal communication mesh?
There are six ways in which verbal and nonverbal communication can interact: complementary, substitution, confliction, repetition, regulation, and moderating. •Complementary: Messages are interpreted more accurately when verbal and nonverbal communications complement each other. Messages are remembered better when there is no chance for misinterpreting. A smile that accompanies a positive statement, a wink that accompanies a congratulatory remark, a thumbs up that accompanies an approval – all are forms of complementary nonverbal gestures.
•Substitution: Messages can be replaced entirely by facial expressions, body movements or gesturing, or positioning. Waving hello or goodbye replaces the spoken salutations. A slouching student can indicate disinterest or exhaustion, without the student saying as much. Raised eyebrows can indicate surprise or shock, without uttering a single syllable. •Confliction: Messages can be misinterpreted, misconstrued or even misleading if nonverbal cues indicate one thing, and the verbal cues indicate another. Someone on trial may be expressing a truthful statement, while avoiding eye contact or fidgeting – an indication that s/he may not be telling the truth. You are probably familiar with the cliché: “mixed signals.”
This could serve as nickname for confliction. •Repetition: Messages can be repeated and reinforced simply through gesturing, for emphasis. An instructor may announce a particular topic, then point to it on a smart board, for example. •Regulation: Messages can be regulated through physical touches that cause no bodily harm or threat, but merely call attention. For example, if two people are speaking and a third person touches the arm of one, that clearly means that s/he wants the attention of one of the participants. Raising your hand in class when you have a response is another form of regulation. •Moderating: Messages can be emphasized, highlighted or even dramatically altered with moderating gestures. Someone angry might shake a fist or experience a changed pace of breathing. Someone nervous might pace. Someone excited might fidget or rock in a chair.
How Can You Create a ‘Great’ Persuasive Speech?
As we get closer to delivering the final Persuasive Speech, I want to offer you a few tips to keep in mind as you make your final preparations! •Support your claims with solid evidence. If you are hoping to put an end to something like the global greenhouse crisis, prove that such a crisis exists first. The funny thing about evidence is: more doesn’t always mean better. Think quality, not quantity. •Give your audience a way to help.
Assert your stance and call for action. Propose a solution or a way for the audience to get involved. Audience members are often asking: “What can I do to help?” Don’t leave them wondering. •Make sure what you’re asking of the audience is reasonable. “We need to switch to all-organic diets and never drink non-filtered water again!” That’s probably a bit far-fetched, and highly unlikely that you’ll be taken seriously. •Expect and embrace controversy!
Speak about a topic that emotionally impacts you and tell us why. You’ve chosen a topic some time ago, so make it clear why you’re so vested in this debate. •Honor the time limits. The persuasive speech will be 8-10 minutes long. I have worked with some faculty who watch up to the maximum time, and grade how you’ve done to that point. So if your speech is 11 minutes long, this instructor would’ve missed the last minute! Be conscious of the clock. •Strive to challenge and change your audiences’ attitudes, values, and beliefs. You’re not going to convince everyone, but you can certainly ask your audience to hear you out and respect your opinion. Always be polite, courteous, and direct. •Nobody knows it all, and your information came from somewhere. So tell us where! This ties into the first point about supporting your claims with solid evidence. Cite your sources, give credit where it’s due, and your credibility will benefit as a result. Additional Types of Public Speaking
“Make sure you have finished speaking before your audience has finished listening.” — Dorothy Sarnoff, American musical theatre actress and self-help expert
Each week we’ll take a close look at some of the different types of public speeches out there. This week, let’s look at three that you may be familiar with: Award Presentations, Eulogy, and Roast.
Award presentations are typically straightforward and simple. Unless the award or recognition is meant to be a surprise, always start with the awardee’s name (and always make sure you pronounce it correctly). Talk about the criterion for the award – why was the winner chosen? Who recommended him/her?
List the achievements that made the winner worthy, and use vivid, powerful examples to illustrate why the winner is deserving of the recognition. Touch on the interpersonal side, too. What characteristics does the winner possess, that are admirable and commendable? Point them out. Usually there’s a trophy, plaque or certificate involved in an award presentation, so make sure you explain the significance of the item the winner is receiving.
And one last bit of advice: when the winner comes to the stage to receive the award, hand it to him/her with the left hand, so that you can shake with the right!
Without question, eulogies can be the most painful and emotionally drawing speech there is. But it can also be uplifting. Eulogies offer hope – they combat grief with happiness and emphasize the positive qualities of the person who has died. Eulogies are commonly linked to religious figures, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes family members or close friends of the deceased speak on his/her behalf, as the orator is required to offer perspective, comfort and reassurance to in attendance.
When delivering a eulogy, it’s critical to acknowledge the feelings of loss, sadness, shock, even anger – but touch on them, don’t linger. Try to stay on brighter notes, and recall positive memories and recollections that others might not have experienced. Highlight the person’s legacy and their contributions to those around them.
Use language of inclusion – things like “I know that many of us have seen…” or “All of us who cared for…”. Tie concepts of life and death together with universalities like the circle of life or the immortality of the human spirit.
Roasts are most commonly known for their comedic value, as has been demonstrated on various celebrity roasts on the television channel, Comedy Central.
These speech engagements are meant to be light-hearted and poke fun at a suspecting target – but it’s not spiteful or angered. It’s a teasing, satirical style that parodies a person’s life, lifestyle, occupations, habits, history, etc. Anything goes in a roast – and the irony is that it teases with the truth.
Roasts are an art that has evolved into a vastly different engagement that it was a few short decades ago. It’s best illustrated by showing, rather than telling.
Consider: Ronald Reagan’s roast of Frank Sinatra in 1977:
I chose question B. I felt she was very energetic and did an excellent job using gestures and adjusting her vocal tone and pace to keep your attention. She put in some of her own humor which always keeps the crowd interested. I also feel she did a great job with her eye contact. She didn’t stay focused on one area of the room for too long. Overall she had a great speech and it showed that she does this often. Wonderful self confidence and presentation.
Courtney from Study Moose
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