Since this Is a public speaking class, It means that you will Indeed have to present speeches! Since many people become nervous at this prospect, I like to get the first one done early in the semester. It’s like ripping Off band-aid: rip it off fast to feel less pain. Your Introductory Speech is your first baby step into this field. This assignment is meant to be easy. It’s meant to be a way to get you up in front of the group and doing something for 2-4 minutes, not to be a heavy, taxing assignment. Therefore, If you find that it’s really hard, you’re doing it wrong!
Take a deep breath, remember It’s supposed to be simple, and start over again. Because I want this assignment to be easy and I want everyone to be on about the same level, this Is the one speech in the semester where I’m going to give you topics to choose from rather than just letting you pick something on your own. Don’t worry, after this one you can talk about any appropriate subjects you want, but for now, your choices are limited to five. Topics Your first topic option Is called a “coat of arms” speech. A coat of arms is also often called a family crest.
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In Medieval heraldry, pictures were emblazoned on a night’s shield or armor which represented that person’s character or ancestry. A family crest has pictures that tell about a family’s history. Don’t worry; I’m not going to ask you to research your genealogy! Instead, for this topic, I want you to create your own personal coat of arms. To do this, you should choose between 2 and 4 objects that represent something about you. For instance, If I were to create a coat of arms for myself, I would choose a golf club, a suitcase, and a roller coaster because those represent three of my favorite hobbies.
I love to play golf (though I’m not very good at t), I seek any opportunity to travel, and I’m a huge roller coaster nut who will go anywhere to ride the latest and greatest ride. You could choose hobbies, as I have done, or you may choose a person or people, a pet, something related to your future career, etc. You can choose anything that tells us a little bit about you, who you are, and what you like. You don’t have to get deep and personal, Just tell us some basic, surface-level things about yourself.
Since some people don’t Like to talk about themselves, you have other options as well. Your second topic to choice Is: If you loud invite any three people to dinner, living or dead, fictional or non-fictional, who would they be and why? Who would you most like to meet and talk to, either from the past or the present? What would you like to learn from them? Since they don’t have to be living, I could choose Adolph Hitler if I wanted to. Since they can be fictional, I can choose Bugs Bunny If I want to. They don’t have to be famous people or characters, either.
I know someone who would be at the top of my Invitation list would be my grandmother, who died 25 years ago, and I’d just like to sit down and talk with her gain. You might also address what that combination of people would be like at dinner. Are Hitler and Bugs Bunny going to get along, or will there be trouble? Will my grandmother be able to put Hitler in his place? Your third topic option is: if you were going to be stranded on a deserted Island, what three books would you want to have with you? Do you want to entertain yourself with fiction? Would you prepare coconuts” or “How to build a raft and get off a deserted island”? When I bring up this topic option in a live class, students often groan that they don’t read or eke a lot of books, so I’m not completely hung up on your choosing them, but I would like you pick some form of media such as magazines, music, movies, newspapers, journals, etc. We’ll Just pretend you have a lifetime supply of batteries so you can watch those movies or listen to that music! Your first three choices have all been “informative”-type speeches, because you’d Just be telling us about yourself, the people you’d like to meet, or the books you’d like to have.
Your fourth topic option is a persuasive one: a sales speech. You can sell us any product or service. It can be a eel product, or you can make up a fake one (and yes, it can be funny and creative). I know that many students I have in class work in sales, and if that’s the case with you, you can sell us the product you sell at work. The bottom line is: if you choose this option, your goal is to make us want the product by the end of your speech. Keep in mind that it isn’t meant to be a TV commercial; it should still be a proper speech in proper speech format.
Your final option could be either informative or persuasive, depending on how you approach it. It is a speech about your pet peeves. What are the little nit-picky things other people do that really get on your nerves? Is it people who chew with their mouth open or fail to replace the toilet paper roll when it runs out? Is it all the bad drivers in Columbia? You could approach this topic option in a couple of different ways. You could pick out two or three different pet peeves and talk about each, or you could give two or three reasons why one thing is a big pet peeve of yours.
For instance, I once had a woman in class who talked about the three things she found most irritating at Wall-Mart. Keep in mind that pet peeves are supposed to be minor irritations. Something like domestic abuse, for instance, isn’t a pet peeve, but a major social issue! Hopefully, you find at least one of those topic options appealing. Remember the assignment is supposed to be easy, so choose the one where ideas come to you most easily. Sometimes, upon first hearing the topic choices one stands out as “THE one” you’re going to do, but when you sit down to write it you can’t think of anything to say.
If that’s the case, try another one to see if the ideas come to you more easily. You want the writing part of this to be easy so that you’ll have plenty of time to practice your speech before it’s due. You may also consider using a visual aid with this presentation. It’s not a requirement, but if you’re particularly nervous about speaking, you might consider it for a couple of reasons. First, having a visual aid may make you less nervous because it gives the audience something else to look at for a moment rather than you!
Second, the visual aid will help you remember what you want to say in your speech. If I have a golf club lying on the table, I’m not likely to forget that I want to talk about golf! The visual aid could be an actual object, a picture, a power point slide show, or whatever may be appropriate for the subject you’re discussing. Writing and Organizing the Speech Regardless of which topic option you choose, your speech should contain certain basic elements that are present in all speeches that you will present in this class.
First, the speech should begin with an introduction to lead the audience in to the main content of the speech. You should spend 10-15% of your speaking time setting up the speech in the introduction and it should include at least these two a speaker first stands up to speak, the audience is doing a hundred other things rather than listening. They’re talking to each other, daydreaming, reading, doodling, and who knows what else? So, your first goal as a speaker is to get the audience to stop doing those things and to want to listen to what you have to say.
You can accomplish this by having an effective attention device as the opening of your speech. There are several techniques you can use to draw the audience in. Attention Getters 1. You could ask the audience a question, which forces them to participate in some way. You could ask a rhetorical question that makes the audience wonder where you’re going with the speech, or you could ask for a show of hands in response to our question, which forces them to physically participate. In order for this to be an effective device, though, you have to make sure it’s a good question!
If the question has an obvious answer, instead of drawing the audience in, you’ll turn them off For instance, I once had a student who started his speech with “How many of you have ever watched television? ” The audience laughed and nobody raised their hands. The speaker then timidly said, “No, really. Raise your hand if you’ve ever watched TV. ” The audiences sighed and grudgingly held up their hands. The audience felt that it was obvious that they had all seen TV before, and resented having to actually answer that question, so the speaker’s attention getter backfired. . You could tell a joke. Humor is actually a wonderful way to begin a presentation. It lightens the mood and makes the audience want to hear more. Most speakers report feeling the most nervous right before starting their speech, so if you can tell a good Joke and get the audience laughing, it will help you feel like they’re with you and you’ll start to relax. There are a couple of catches to this technique, though. First, the audience may expect you to continue to be funny throughout your speech. Second, you want to make sure it’s a good Joke!
If you tell a Joke, you’ve got “wait for laughter” written in your notes, no one laughs, and you can hear the crickets chirping, it will make you more nervous! 3. You could use a quotation. If you’re choosing the people you would invite to dinner or the books you’d take to a deserted island, this could be a good attention device for you. Choose a powerful quotation from one of the people or a dramatic passage from one of your books, and it can help to set the mood of your speech. 4. You could make a shocking statement or give a surprising fact or tactics to begin the speech.
A surprising fact about the subject can make the audience want to hear more about your subject and your research. 5. You could use a visual aid or physical demonstration to draw the audience in. For instance, if one of the objects you’ve chosen to represent yourself is something unusual, it may make the audience curious about what you’ll be discussing. I once had a student that opened his speech in a way that scared me to death. He stood up and started talking, when suddenly; another man burst in the door and attacked him! I was panicked! I thought, “Oh no, a fight! They’re going to kill each other! Just as I was getting ready to call security, it became clear that this was a pre-planned “skit” for a speech about self-defense. The speaker was showing how to get out of a hold by an attacker. It was frightening, but it definitely got our attention! Not everyone is comfortable with being quite that dramatic, though, so feel free to use one of the gently draw the audience into your speech and topic. For instance, if I were doing my coat of arms speech, I might tell a story about a day at the amusement park. These are the main techniques speakers use to start a speech. You might also reference a historical event or a previous speaker.
The main thing I want to get across to you is that you should NOT start a speech by stating the topic. Saying, “My name is Cindy and today I’m going to tell you about my coat of arms” is boring and not likely to make the audience interested. Don’t say, “My speech is on… ” Or “My topic is… ” Use a good, well thought-out attention getter. Keep in mind as well that the attention getter MUST be related to the content of the speech in some way. Don’t tell a random Joke, for instance, tell a Joke that’s related to something you’re actually owning to talk about in your speech.
I feel that the attention getter is one of the hardest parts of the speech to write, and I would save it as one of the last things I write. You want to know what your main content is going to be before you decide how to start the speech. These with Preview of Main Points The second part of the introduction is to have a clear thesis that previews the main points you’ll discuss in the body of the speech. Just like a paper has a central thesis it’s trying to get across to the reader, a speech has a central thesis it’s trying to get across to the listeners. The thesis takes your entire speech and summarizes it in one sentence.
It is THE thing you want the audience to remember, even if they remember nothing else about your speech. The thesis includes a preview of the main points that will be discussed in the body of the speech as well. This means that I’m literally going to state my main points in my introduction, as part of that thesis. For instance, a potential thesis for my coat of arms speech might be something like, manfully get to know me better once you see how much I like golf, travel, and roller coasters. ” Now the audience knows that I’ll be discussing those three pacific topics in my speech.
One thing you’ll learn in this class is that most people aren’t particularly strong listeners, so you have to keep reminding them of what you want them to know. A general rule of speech making is “tell ‘me what you’re going to tell ‘me. Tell ‘me. Then tell ‘me what you Just told ‘me. ” The preview is telling them what you’re going to tell them. Vive had some students in the past that really hated the idea of doing a preview. They were afraid it would make the speech boring and repetitive or that it was giving away all the potential suspense in their speech.
Well, it might be a bit repetitive, but that’s a necessary evil when dealing with oral communication. It’s also still possible to leave people in suspense while still previewing the body. For instance, in my “three people I’d invite to dinner speech” I could have the thesis of: “The three people I’d most like to have to dinner include a relative, a historical figure, and a cartoon character. ” Vive still previewed, but the audience won’t know which relative, historical figure, or cartoon character Vive chosen until I talk about them in the body.
The Body Once you’ve previewed your points, then you move into the body of your speech. The body is where you’ll develop your ideas and spend 80% (the vast majority) of your speaking time. Generally, the body will be developed like this: l. Main Point A. Support Transition: II. Main Point B. Support Ill. Main Point Your speech should have at least two main points and no more than four (considering your short time limits for your speeches). If you’re doing the coat of arms speech, the main points will be each object that you’ve chosen to represent yourself.
If you’re talking about three people, each person will be a main point. If you’re talking about three books, each book would be a main point in your speech. With the pet peeve speech, the main points would be either each different pet peeve or each different reason one thing is your pet peeve. The sales speech’s main points are less obvious. You could give three reasons to buy your product, or spend one point explaining what your product is and one point showing why we should buy it. You have options with the sales, but do make sure the points are distinct and memorable if you choose that option.
The support for your main points includes any examples, descriptions, definitions, explanations, etc. That you’re using to explain why that object, book, person, etc. Is meaningful. Remember, this speech is supposed to be 2-4 minutes long, so it wouldn’t be enough for me to say “l love to play golf, traveling is really fun, and roller coasters are really great. ” That would take me about 10 seconds! I need to give some detail. Maybe I could tell my most embarrassing moment playing golf and my proudest accomplishment. In the travel point, I could talk about some of my favorite destinations and places I’d like to visit in the future.
In the roller coaster point I could talk about some of my favorite rides and the roller coaster club I belong to. Ultimately, your support should explain why meeting is meaningful in your speech. Between each main point you need a good transition to smoothly bridge the gap between your main ideas. You don’t want to Just stop talking about one thing and start talking about another. You want to lead the audience into the next point smoothly. Again, the audience is potentially full of poor listeners, so anytime you’re shifting gears in your speech, you need to signal that to the audience.
For example, I might use a transition like, “While golf is my most frustrating hobby, riding roller coasters is my most exciting hobby, “or “The only way o get to the best roller coasters is to travel. ” This lets the audience know that I’m done talking about one point and moving on to the next. It could be as simple as numbering your main points such as, “My second hobby is riding roller coasters. ” You just want to make sure that you make it easy for the audience to follow and remember. The Conclusion The last part of your speech is the conclusion, which makes up 5-10% of your speaking time.
In the conclusion, you’re essentially doing the opposite of what you did in the introduction. You will review your main points and give the speech closure. In the introduction, you told the audience what you were going to tell them with you’ve Just told them in your review, such as “Now you can see how much I like golf, travel, and roller coasters. ” This means that Vive told the audience three times in three minutes what my three favorite things are, and if they don’t know what they are, I don’t know where they’ve been! Vive done my best as a speaker to get them to remember those three things about me.
Just like you don’t want to begin a speech with “My topic is… ” You don’t want to end a speech with “That’s it,” or “I’m done. You want to leave an impression on the audience or leave them with something to think about. Many of the techniques we used to start a speech could be used as closure as well, such as a dramatic statement, a quotation, or reminding the audience of the most important piece of information from your speech. One technique I used to like to use when making speeches was to tell part of a story in the attention getter, but not tell how things turned out until the conclusion.
This makes the speech feel like it’s come full circle. At this point in the semester, I’ll be happy if you do anything beyond Just stopping or saying “That’s it. One of the things Vive noticed in beginning speakers is that they often don’t have a conclusion at all. They just stop talking after they’ve finished with the body. Don’t make this mistake! Take some time to wrap up and summarize what you’ve discussed in your speech. Just as with the attention getter, the closure to the speech is one of the more difficult things to write. Think it through and come up with a good closing line.
Part of opening and closing a speech is not Just what you say, but how you say it. To gain attention, increase your volume a little (not to a shout, but louder than your normal invitational level). Projecting energy and enthusiasm will also help to draw the audience in. When concluding, slow the pace and drop your tone, and the speech will sound finished. That closing line should be the cue for the audience to start clapping! When it’s all said and done, the speech’s structure should look like this: Introduction l. Attention Getter: el. Thesis with Preview of Main Points: Body Conclusion l. Summary/Review: II.
Closure: You may notice that speeches are structured very similarly to the essays you you’ve taken many writing classes in high school or college. Yes, in structure, peaches are very similar to papers. However, written English and spoken English are not entirely alike. For instance, in a formal English essay you’re not to use contractions. You write things like “will not, cannot, or could not. ” Well, such formal language would sound very odd in an oral presentation! You wouldn’t sound natural if you didn’t say, “won’t, can’t, or couldn’t. ” So, oral language is slightly less formal than written language.
However, it’s slightly more formal than everyday conversation. We don’t typically use a lot of slang in a formal speech. It’s also recommended in Ritter language to use third person rather than first or second person, which is also inappropriate for oral communication. Vive had students say things like, “My audience will discover by the end of my presentation that… ” That’s far too formal! You don’t want to distance yourself from the audience by calling them “my audience. ” You should say, mille will discover… ” To make the audience feel like they’re a part of the message.
Always keep in mind that speeches are all about audience, not about the speaker. You want the audience to feel connected to you, not separated from you. Delivering Your Speech Now that you have your topic and know how to write and structure your speech, the only issue that remains for your first speech is how to deliver the message to the audience appropriately. There are four different types of speech delivery, but only one of them is appropriate for the speeches you’ll present in class. First, we’ll discuss the three that are NOT appropriate for our purposes.
Types of Speech Delivery The first type of speech delivery is the one that most beginning speakers want to use, but isn’t really appropriate for our class. It is calumniator’s delivery. When speaker is using a manuscript, they have the speech written out word for word and they are essentially reading it to the audience. Manuscript delivery is typically used when accuracy is vital. The President of the United States will use a manuscript for his speeches (reading it from a teleprompter), because the world is watching him and it’s important that s/he speaks accurately.
Newscasters use manuscripts because they are trying to accurately report the news. A. Advantages: There are certainly advantages to using a manuscript when speaking. If you have a manuscript, there is no way you will forget an important detail in your speech. It will be well organized, and probably timed out perfectly. So why don’t I want you to use this style of delivery in class? B. Disadvantages: Complete and utter perfection is not an absolute necessity for our purposes. People who use manuscripts will typically stick their face in the paper and read in a monotonous drone that doesn’t keep the attention of the audience.
Their eye contact is terrible because they have to read what they’ve written. Worst of all, when they do look up to try to make eye contact, when they look back down, they’ve lost their place and have to take time to find it again. Ultimately, you’re hurting yourself and the effectiveness of your message by reading it to the audience. As a result, we will not be using manuscripts in this class. I want to hear speeches, not papers read aloud. 2. Some people feel that if they can’t use a manuscript to read it word for word, they’ll memorize the speech word for word and present it that way.
There are some occasions where it’s appropriate for a speaker to a tour guide may memorize their spiel, or an actor or actress will memorize their dialogue. A. Advantages: Honestly, I can’t think of many advantages to memorizing a reservation. If it’s truly, perfectly memorized, it may carry the same advantage of not leaving out vital information that the manuscript format has. It will also be perfectly timed for the occasion at which you’re speaking. B. Disadvantages: However, the potential disadvantages here are great. What happens when your mind goes blank and you can’t remember what you wanted to say?
You’re likely to be embarrassed and feel like giving up. Memorized speakers also tend to have the same kind of monotonous drone that manuscript readers have, as if they’re “reading” the speech from their own brain. No, I want you to have a positive experience with public speaking, and I don’t believe that memorizing, with its great potential forgetting, is the way to give you that. 3. The third type of delivery, impromptu, is the most spontaneous and natural-sounding delivery, but it’s still not the one I want you to use in this class.
When someone speaks impromptu, they’re “winging it,” or speaking off the cuff. They’ve spent no time preparing or practicing the speech, they’re Just deciding what to say as they’re saying it. There are certainly times in life when you have to speak well impromptu. Let’s say a company you work for has a meeting and someone brings up how much the budget should be cut in your division. You didn’t know that issue would be discussed at that meeting, but you’d better be able to coherently defend your division’s budget on the spot! A. Advantages: As stated above, it’s the most natural-sounding delivery style.
Impromptu speakers are very conversational and tend to have great eye contact with the audience. B. Disadvantages: People that are not very experienced with impromptu speaking tend to be disorganized, losing the structure we talked about in the “writing” section above. Since they haven’t thought about their message before, they often don’t have enough support for their ideas. Admittedly, I know for a fact that several of my students in the past have presented this first speech impromptu (because they forgot it was due that day! ), and they did a fine Job.
However, all of the other speech assignments in this class have a research requirement, thus forcing you to plan it in advance and making impromptu impractical for the class. 4. That leaves the fourth and final type of delivery, which is obviously the type I want you to use for your classroom speeches. It’s calledextemporaneous delivery. If you placed the different types of delivery on a continuum, it would look like this: Least Prepared Impromptu Extemporaneous Manuscript/Memorized Most Note that extemporaneous delivery falls smack in the middle, meaning that it has elements of the other three types of delivery.
Like manuscript and memorized, you have thoroughly prepared and practiced your speech. You’ve planned out major elements, such as your attention device, transitions, supporting ideas, etc. And you’ve practiced it well enough that you know that material well. However, like impromptu, you’re choosing the exact words of your speech as you speak. This means that each accessory going to use the exact same words each time you say it. The extemporaneous speaker uses a brief set of notes to go by, usually in outline form. The outline format makes it easier to find your place when you look down at your notes.
A. Advantages: Using extemporaneous delivery will give your speech a spontaneous and conversational feel that the memorized and manuscript formats lack. It also allows you to better adapt to feedback from your audience. Since you’re not stuck with following a set manuscript, you can explain more when the audience looks confused, or move on to a more interesting point if the audience looks bored. B. Disadvantages: It will not sound quite as spontaneous as the impromptu speaker, and it’s certainly not as easy as reading a preset script to the audience.
I know that the extemporaneous style may sound a little challenging for some of the more nervous among us, but it’s truly the most effective means for delivery the types of speeches we’ll be presenting in this class. Use your speaking notes to your advantage. Limit the amount of material you put in your outline to keep it sounding spontaneous, but also include delivery cues to help you present the speech more effectively. If you have a tendency to want to read, occasionally write in your notes, “Look up! ” If you have a tendency to talk too fast, occasionally write, “Slow down! These kinds of cues can help you overcome bad habits. Some people prefer note cards for their speaking notes because they’re more portable and they allow you to move around the room. You may use a couple of note cards if you choose. I always preferred to type my outline onto a single sheet of paper so I could lay it on the podium and see everything at once at a glance. The choice is yours, but keep in mind that you will be graded on using extemporaneous delivery! Reading to me will seriously hurt your score!
Final Thoughts on the First Speech: Don’t let nerves keep you from preparing the speech! Some people get so nervous at the thought of speaking that they put off preparing. If you wait until the last minute, all the things you fear are likely to come to pass. Prepare early and practice often! It’s also best to practice for people, if you can find someone willing to listen to you. A person would be able to tell you that you’re going too fast, for instance, when you may not notice that practicing by yourself. Don’t take anything to the front of the room with you that you don’t need.
I once had a young man who took a pen with a click top up to the podium with him and he proceeded to click that pen for the duration of the speech! The audience was more obsessed with whether or not he’d manage to click it than whole time than in what he was saying. Pens also tend to make good batons and drumsticks. Leave the pen at your desk. You may also want to take any keys or change out of your pockets so you won’t be tempted to rattle them throughout your presentation. On speaking day, we’ll go on a volunteer basis, so whoever wants to go first can go first (and usually someone ants to be first to get it over with).