public speaking 24

Assignment 1: TRUSTING THE PERSON SPEAKING

Aristotle, a Greek philosopher who wrote a book on communications called The Rhetoric, argues that the credibility or integrity of a speaker is the most important thing they have going for them. The audience has to trust them or all the other stuff such as skill in delivery doesn’t matter. Is that true? For this module, write two or three paragraphs on how important (or not) you think the integrity of the speaker is. Does it really matter if the speaker is a good person? Does it matter if the speaker knows his/her topic well? Does the quality of the person doing the speaking make much difference? Offer your thoughts on this theme of speaker integrity.

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Assignment 2: REFLECTING ON QUALITIES THAT MAKE FOR CREDIBILITY

Someone has said, “A speech is a thousand little things done well.” I take that to mean that there are many ways to make our speeches more or less successful. If we have distracting mannerisms, we need to work to remove them. If we have a swaying motion when we speak, we need to learn better body control. If we tend to look at the ceiling of the room rather than at the audience, we need to get our eyes down and on them.

Read over the following list. Place a check mark beside the ones that you believe hinder the audience when it comes to enjoying and learning from a speaker.

_____ 1. The speaker makes numerous grammatical mistakes such as using singular subjects with plural verbs.

_____ 2. The speaker rambles at times, making it hard for the audience to follow his/her line of thinking.

_____ 3. The speaker looks around at the entire audience, making sure to let all of them know he/she is aware of them.

_____ 4. The speaker chats directly with a person in the front row while he/she is delivering the presentation.

_____ 5. The speaker is chewing gum.

_____ 6. The speaker closes his/her hands tightly when making key points.

_____ 7. The speaker projects his/her voice well, making sure to communicate clearly with those in the back of the room.

_____ 8. The speaker appears to be distracted at times, making the audience wonder what else must be going on in his/her mind.

_____ 9. The speaker searches through his/her notes on the podium in order to find what he/she really wants to say.

_____ 10. The speaker explains terms that might not be familiar to the audience. For example, when referring to the CIA, the speaker briefly notes that the acronym stands for Central Intelligence Agency, a group that searches for key information concerning national security.

_____ 11. The speaker has a cold, but does not refer to it and uses a handkerchief to keep from spreading germs.

_____ 12. The speaker asks several questions but immediately moves on, leaving it to the audience to come up with answers for them.

Assignment 3: REFLECTING ON QUALITIES THAT MAKE FOR INTEGRITY

Credibility is a quality we enjoy if people have confidence in us. Integrity is the inner quality of honesty and accuracy. Assignment 2 deals with how people perceive us. This Assignment focuses on the honesty we demonstrate in terms of quoting others, citing our sources and using reliable information. When we are true to ourselves and to the content we share, we are said to be people of integrity. As you read the following statements, put an “I” beside those that contribute to integrity and a “D” beside those that would detract or take away from our integrity.

_____ 1. Citing a source that aligns with a particular political point of view without referring to other viewpoints.

_____ 2. Mentioning an opposing point of view on a subject and noting that some people prefer to view the subject in that way.

_____ 3. Speaking honestly on a topic that at times makes you uncomfortable.

_____ 4. Giving the audience a handful of sources that they might want to check out if they wish to pursue the topic further.

_____ 5. Aiming a few of your comments at a particular person or group in the audience.

_____ 6. Being transparent with your sources.

_____ 7. Mentioning that several in the audience, because of their lack of general knowledge on the content, may not understand parts of the presentation.

_____ 8. Sharing a direct quote from an author without actually referring to that author by name.

_____ 9. Observing that some of the sources cited in the speech are from an earlier period of history and therefore not as reliable.

_____ 10. Offering the audience a few thoughts on why a particular resource may not be as trustworthy as you might wish it were. For example, you might want to say that the article is on medicine, but the person who wrote it is not actually trained in the field.

Assignment 4: POINTING OUT THINGS WE SHOULD NEVER DO IN A SPEECH

When giving a presentation, there are certain things that the speaker simply cannot say or do if he/she wants listeners to remain attentive. Anything that a speaker says or does that overshadows the speech to the point of turning the audience off is simply unacceptable. We have all heard of people who thought that because they were famous or blunt by nature that they could get away with doing or saying anything, but who lost their credibility and often their jobs as a result of their mistake.

This chapter contains a few ideas of what we simply cannot do or say during a speech. Develop a short list of “no-no’s.” Beyond the obvious such as not being dressed or not holding up a gun, what are some of the things that a speaker should never do? Offer a list of at least five things we as speakers should never do or say. You may draw ideas from the chapter or from your own reflection.

Assignment 5: REVIEWING THE GUIDELINES FOR ETHICAL SPEAKING

Here is a short list of guidelines for maintaining a high ethical standard in our speaking.

  1. BE HONEST. SAY WHAT YOU TRULY BELIEVE
  2. BE ACCURATE. CITE YOUR SOURCES CORRECTLY.
  3. BE RESPECTFUL. HONOR ALL OPINIONS.
  4. BE COURTEOUS. AVOID NAME-CALLING.
  5. BE GIVING. GIVE CREDIT TO THOSE YOU QUOTE.
  6. BE WARM. WRAP YOUR CONFIDENCE WITH KINDNESS.
  7. BE PREPARED. MAKE IT WORTHWHILE FOR YOUR AUDIENCE.

Just one question. Why do speakers sometimes get too personal and attack others personally? What makes people resort to that kind of tactic? Offer your opinion.

Assignment 6: HELPING THE AUDIENCE BE GOOD LISTENERS

Toward the end of the chapter, Dr. Lucas sets out a series of guidelines for ethical listening. List each of the three he offers and then in your words, explain what each one means. Two or three sentences per each will be fine.

(1) to listen courteously and attentively;

(1) to avoid prejudging the speaker;

(1)to maintain the free and open expression of ideas;