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: Learning to Speak in Public




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5. RESEARCH

It is pretty obvious that good research is the foundation of a good speech. Ultimately, the listeners are bound to appreciate a well<informed knowledgeable speaker. Naturally, the amount of research and the type of information to be used in the speech depends on the type of speech that is being prepared. However, there are some general recommendations for the speakers to consider regardless of the type of speech:

1. It is vital to check and double check the facts and statistics and to quote the sources when using them.

2. Slander should be avoided.

3. Plagiarism should be avoided at all costs. If you want to use other peoples words or ideas you should cite the source.

As regards the sources of information, the most commonly used are: media (newspapers, magazines, radio, TV), libraries, reference books, general reading, experts.

After all the accumulated information is filed, the speaker should sift it with regard for the subject<matter and the objectives of the speech. Interestingly, speech writing is a process of simplification rather than elaboration, so it is important to select from your materials only the truly relevant information. It will help if you give yourself some time for your ideas to ferment. The next step is to organise your material into a definite
structure.

 

6. STRUCTURING A SPEECH

It is widely held, that any composition, including a speech has a beginning, middle and an end. Thus, the traditional and generally accepted structure of a speech contains the following elements:

introduction, in which the speaker grabs the attention of the audience, introduces the subject, his purpose and himself to the audience;

the body of the speech, which contains the outline of the major ideas and information that supports and clarifies the ideas;

conclusion (close), which contains a summary or a conclusion from the information presented and which helps the speaker to end his speech gracefully.

However, in the actual process of speech writing it is recommended to stick to a different order: the first thing to prepare is the body of the speech, then the conclusion should be written and, finally, the introduction. In fact, this approach gives you the opportunity to access the content of the speech and its message, contained in the body and the conclusion, so that to present them in the most effective way in the introduction.

Another important parameter of effective monologuing to consider in the process of speech structuring is that the speech is to be ultimately presented as an oral text. It follows from this that a good speech<writer creates his speech as an oral presentation and builds in a number of elements which will make it dynamic and will maintain the desired contact with the audience. In linguistic literature such devices are called contact devices, in public speaking manuals they are often referred to as splashes, appeals and links.

Splashes are attention grabbers, which engage and maintain the attention and interest of the audience.

Appeals identify the speakers purpose with the needs of the audience.

Links connect parts of the speech in a logical way and hold the speech together.

Possible approaches to structuring a speech are presented bellow.

 

Introduction

I. Purposes

A. To obtain the attention of the listener
B. To create a favourable first impression, if you lose them here, you lose them for good
C. To arouse interest in your subjects
D. To orient the audience to the parts of your speech

II. Possible Approaches

A. Attentiongetting Phase (choose one)

1. Ask the audience to physically move in a short and nondisraptive way
Examples: Raise your hand if you ever
Take a moment and concentrate on this object
2. Create curiosity.
3. Refer to a preceding speaker.
4. Refer to matters of local interest.
5. Refer to setting and/or occasion.
6. Refer to something you have in common with the audience.
7. Compliment your audience.
8. Use a startling statement or statistic.
9. Relate your subject to the special interests of the audience.
10. Make a personal reference.
11. Use a quotation that is appropriate to your purpose.
12. Use humour that is appropriate to the topic, audience and occasion.
13. Use a short story, anecdote or example.
a. Specific (true) example
b. Hypothetical example.
14. Pose a question (rhetorical or otherwise).

B. Orientation Phase (choose as many as are appropriate)

1. Phrase your specific purpose in a concise, definite manner
a. Avoid overtly stating My specific purpose is
b. Use subtlety and creativity.
2. Arouse interest in the subject. Relate your message to the concerns of individuals in the audience.
3. Establish your credibility to speak on the subject.
4. Define terms unknown to the audience.
5. Preview the major ideas in your speech.

III. Helpful Hints

An effective opening should be confident, friendly, short and simple. The speaker should not be apologetic, if he starts by saying that he is not the worlds expert on the subject, he will hardly win the audiences respect. The speaker should not sound antagonistic. There is always a possibility of stage fright, so the opening lines should be simple. Eye contact is vital in the introduction.

 

Body

I. Purposes

A. To present the material in a logical way
B. To maintain contact with the audience
C. To implement the goals and objectives.

II. Possible Approaches

A. Outline the structure of the body.

1. Specify the main elements and the subordinate elements.
2. Choose an appropriate organizational scheme.

B. Use various types of supports effectively.

1. An effective support should:
a. give the audience reasons to believe the speakers ideas;
b. make the ideas clear to the audience;
c. make the ideas interesting to the audience.
2. Vary the forms of support.
There are five major types of supports:
1. Definitions.
2. Generalizations.
3. Examples.
4. Formal reasoning.
5. Citations.

Here are some recommendations for using them in public speaking.

Definitions should be used with caution so that to avoid ambiguity. Sometimes a dictionary definition must be readjusted to the needs of the speaker and the audience, in other words, an operational definition, which explains a phenomenon or an object by how it appears to an observer, might be more effective than a dictionary definition. The following examples will make this idea clear:

Dictionary definition: Litigious. Of or pertaining to lawsuits or litigation; inclined to dispute and disagree; argumentative, quarrelsome.

Operational definition: For the purposes of this paper, litigious is used to refer to students who argue their grades and seek some kind of hearing by an outside party to make a decision about the grade they should receive.

Generalizations are often based on the result of many individual cases leading to a general conclusion. Such words as most, few, always, some or never are signs of generalizations, which sometimes tend to be vague and misleading. Beware of such generalizations as All men are selfish, Old people are simpleminded, Students always cause trouble, they can be unfair and offensive. Generalizations are effective when they are based on facts and statistics.

Examples are single instances that are representative of an entire group. The purpose of an example is to provide a detailed sample of the whole class of things it is drawn from, it also makes an abstract point more concrete with the help of specific details. There are several types of examples:

A typical example is a report of an actual occurrence, of something that actually happened to you or to someone else.

A hypothetical example refers to something that did not actually happen, but it accurately represents what tends to happen in a given set of circumstances.

An illustrative example describes something, but it does not serve as proof, it just illustrates the point being made. Illustrative examples are very effective, because they are personalized and interesting to the listeners.

Reasoning supports explain how the speaker reached his or her conclusion. There are two types of reasoning: inductive and deductive.

Inductive reasoning moves from particular instances to general conclusions. From pieces of evidence, we infer or predict something. Here is an example of inductive reasoning: Mr Smith gave a very successful talk at the conference, his last speech was also quite good, so he is a brilliant speaker. This example proves that inductive reasoning is never fully true, because it is based on inferences and probabilities: Mr Smith might very well fail in his next presentation.

Deductive reasoning moves from general premises, which are true to particular conclusions, which are implied by the premises. Formal deductive logic is written in a precise format called a syllogism, which can be represented like this:

Major promise: true statement (if A, then B):

Every time you go out in rainy weather, you must take your umbrella.

Minor premise: statement related to major premise. (A is the case):

It is raining now.

Conclusion: necessary consequence. (Therefore, is the case):

Therefore, you must take your umbrella.

Deductive reasoning rarely exists in such straightforward form. Usually, one of the premises is hidden. When you say: Vote for Smith, a good family man, you are really saying, You ought to vote for good family men. Smith is a good family man. Therefore, you should vote for Smith.

Citations are supports that refer to an authority in some way. It may be a direct quote, it may refer the audience to a work by the authority. Citations are effective only if the audience agrees with the speaker that the person quoted is a legitimate authority on the topic. There are special techniques for integrating citations into the speech:

1. Avoid the use of quote, unquote, close of quotation, etc., unless you want to specifically emphasize the quotation.

2. A slight pause or change of tone will indicate that you are quoting the words of another.

3. It is sometimes permissible to abstract or summarize a long quotation as long as you remain consistent with the materi al being summarized.

4. Try to give the source first, then the quotation.

5. When quoting an expert give his or her name, a brief indication of their credentials and the location of the quotation.

Now that we have given an overview of the main types of supports to be used in the body of the speech, it is important to point out to more parameters: appropriate links between parts of the body, which glue it together, and splashes or contact devices, that will maintain the audiences attention and interest.

 

Conclusion

I. Purposes

A. To promote the proper mood
B. To clarify the content of the speech
C. To provide a sense of closure

II. Possible Approaches

A. Summary Phase intended to reinforce the point or purpose of your speech; you can choose as many as are appropriate.

1. List the main ideas of your speech.
2. Review informally.
3. Reemphasize the basic theme.
4. Stress the significance and the application of your topic.
5. Stress relevant goals, aspirations and feelings that you share with your audience.

B. Concluding Phase intended to provide a sense of closure (choose one)

1. Quotation.
2. A challenge (persuasive).
3. An appeal (persuasive).
4. Visualize the future (persuasive)

III. Helpful Hints

A. A conclusion is the final impression on an audience, so present your remarks assertively, with confidence, and with out reading.

B. Make concluding remarks with a mood and facial expression consistent with the tone of speech.

C. Express your final utterance with an air of finality and wait a few seconds before you leave.

D. Do not introduce new points in the conclusion.

E. Do not pack your notes or materials as you deliver the conclusion.

F. Do not end with a thank you.

G. Avoid overtly saying In conclusion Use subtlety and creativity.

H. Leave the speaking area with a positive non<verbal display.

Basically, the conclusion of any speech is very important, because it consolidates all the information presented and rein forces the speeches purposes. The strategy of the conclusion may be fairly varied and depends on the duration of the speech and its complexity. The conclusion has no set time span or subject matter, but obviously, the longer and more complex the message, the greater is the need for a comprehensive summary to remind the listeners of the significant issues.

In shorter speeches there is hardly any need to remind the audience of what has been recently said, summarizing the main points would also be excessive. A reinforce, however, is appropriate for even a five<minute speech.

It is recommended to end the speech on a high note, so that the audience should remember your final words. According to Dale Carnegie: The close of a speech is its most strategic element. What is said last is likely to be remembered longest.

Above all it is important that the speaker should finish confidently, the audience should be concsious that he is going to close. Such closing words as Well, thats all I have to say or I guess, I will stop should be avoided. They are too straightforward. It is better to stop without talking about stopping. Anecdotes, jokes, quotations, rhetorical questions are good ways to end. Interestingly, in organization, a speechs conclusion is the reverse of its introduction.

The introduction first gains attention, then previews what will be said; the conclusion summarizes what has been said, then reinforces the audiences attention.