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THE IMPORTANCE OF SPEECH DELIVERY
THE IMPORTANCE OF SPEECH DELIVERY 7
SPEAKING IN PUBLIC:
334onsider Mia’s story:
My sister needed an organ transplant and, as she waited and waited on the
WHAT IS SPEECH DELIVERY?
C organ-transplant waiting list, I learned a lot about the many rules that govern the
organ-donation waiting-list system. I decided to give my informative speech on this
THE IMPORTANCE OF SPEECH
waiting list, as it is something that I now know a lot about. I practiced my speech and
I felt that I was ready. When I delivered my speech, I concluded by telling my audience
KEY ISSUES IN EFFECTIVE
about my sister. We were very close and she passed away waiting for an organ that never
arrived. I started crying; I couldn’t help it. I think it upset the audience. I think everyone
will remember my speech and the delivery, but I’m not sure what they’ll remember about
Setting the Tone
Considering Language and Style
Mia’s delivery on the topic of organ-donation waiting lists definitely made an
Incorporating Visual Aids
impression on her audience. After her speech, her classmates looked as though they
Being Aware of Time Limits
wanted to say something but didn’t know what to say. One student hugged Mia,
Choosing a Delivery Method
and everyone will remember Mia’s speech because it touched them, she had a
Projecting a Persona
command of the subject matter, and her delivery demonstrated her strong commit-
Practicing Your Speech
ment to the topic. It also left many students feeling awkward.
Many people think of public speaking as all about delivery, but delivery is—as we
THE INDIVIDUAL, SPEECH
hope you have seen in the previous chapter—only one aspect of the entire process.
DELIVERY, AND SOCIETY
Delivery alone will not result in a strong speech. In this chapter, we will discuss
Ethos, Pathos, and Logos
important issues surrounding speech delivery, including overcoming anxiety, set-
SPEECH DELIVERY AND ETHICS
ting the tone, considering language and style, incorporating visual aids, being aware
Use Language Sensitively
of the time, choosing a delivery method, projecting a persona, and practicing the
Use Visual Aids Carefully
speech. Finally, we’ll address some ethical issues relevant to speech delivery. But
Respect Time Limits
first, we’ll learn what delivery is and why it is important.
Once you have read this chapter, you will be able to:
● Explain the importance of speech delivery.
Chapter Review Questions
● Identify key issues in speech delivery.
● Connect speech delivery to the three artistic proofs: ethos, pathos and logos.
● Understand the ethical issues in speech delivery.
335336 CHAPTER 14 Speaking in Public: Speech Delivery
WHAT IS SPEECH DELIVERY?
the presentation of the speech
In the context of public speaking, delivery refers to the presentation of the speech you have
you have researched, organized,
researched, organized, outlined, and practiced. Delivery is important, of course, because it
outlined, and practiced
is what is most immediate to the audience. Delivery relies on both verbal communication
(see Chapter 3) and nonverbal communication (see Chapter 4). While some rhetoricians
feelings of anxiety that accompany
separate style from delivery, we have found it useful to discuss the two together, as the style
public speaking. Commonly
of the speech should be connected to its presentation.
referred to as stage fright
THE IMPORTANCE OF SPEECH DELIVERY
Once you have selected and researched your topic, and prepared and organized your pres-
entation, you will need to work on your delivery. Without diligent work on the initial parts
of the speech process, however, even the most impressive delivery has little meaning. On
the other hand, combined with a well-prepared and practiced presentation, delivery can be
a key to your success as a speaker.
Delivery can communicate your confidence and preparedness to your audience.
Effective delivery shows your audience that you have researched your topic and understand
what you are speaking about. An effective delivery allows you to pull it all together—to
showcase your work and to speak with confidence during your delivery.
Think about some of the brief courtroom speeches you’ve seen or heard by lawyers
on various television shows, such as Law and Order. Think about how they communicate
confidence and enthusiasm in their arguments when making a case to the jury. If an
attorney does not seem confident in his or her delivery, how might it affect the jury’s
In the following section, we focus on eight important aspects of delivery: overcoming
anxiety, setting the tone, considering language and style, incorporating visual aids, being
aware of time, choosing a delivery method, projecting a speaking persona, and finally,
practicing and putting your speech into action.
KEY ISSUES IN EFFECTIVE SPEECH DELIVERY
While we often think of delivery as happening at the moment of the speech, the fact is that
the foundations of effective delivery should be laid out well before you step up to the
podium. Let’s look at some of these key issues.
If you feel nervous about speaking in public, you should know that it is normal to experi-
ence some communication apprehension, or “stage fright,” when you deliver a speech.
Even people you wouldn’t expect to experience speech apprehension do. The well-known
actor Mel Gibson is reputed to have been so overcome with nervousness in front of other
people during his first performance that he had to sit down—his legs were too weak to
support him. Other notable celebrities who have experienced similar stage fright include
Rod Stewart, Barbra Streisand, Laurence Olivier, and Carly Simon, among others (http://
www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20727420/). Mick Book and Michael Edelstein (2009) have
even interviewed 40 celebrities about stage fright and how they overcome it, as a guide to
helping others overcome their anxiety. Extreme fear of public speaking is the number-one
social phobia in the United States (Bruce & Saeed, 1999).
Speakers may express apprehension in a variety of ways—as Mel Gibson experienced
when his legs felt weak—but some of the most common symptoms include shaking hands
and legs, voice fluctuations, and rapid speech. Moreover, almost all speakers worry that their
nervousness is going to be obvious to the audience. Fortunately, many signs of anxiety are
not visible. For example, if your hands sweat or your heart pounds when you speak, your
audience will probably not notice. Read It Happened to Me: Jamie for the story of one of our
students, who realized she was the only person who knew she was nervous.Key Issues in Effective Speech Delivery 337
As a speaker, your goal is not to eliminate feelings of apprehension, but to use them
to invigorate your presentation. Having some apprehension can motivate you to
prepare carefully; it can give you the energy and alertness that make your presentation
lively and interesting. Public speaking instructors usually say that they worry more
about students who aren’t nervous, as it may reflect lack of concern and motivation,
than about those who are. Although you may feel that your communication apprehen-
sion is too much to overcome, statistics are encouraging. Researchers have found that
only “one out of 20 people
suffers such serious fear of
speaking that he or she is es-
sentially unable to get through IT HAPPENED TO ME: Jamie
a public speech” (Sprague &
Stuart, 2000, p. 73). Your own When you called on me, my stomach sank. I was ready to run out of the building. When
feelings of apprehension will I started my speech, I could feel sweat beading up on my forehead. Then, I thought
likely be much less than that. about all the tools you gave us. In an instant, it seemed, I was done. I stood there, ready
Still, several strategies can help for criticism on how bad my speech was. But the class applauded. They had not seen
you manage (not eliminate) that I was at all nervous. Your comments were that I seemed like a natural speaker.
Experts have discovered that it is not the amount of time you spend preparing, but how
you prepare. People who are extremely anxious about giving a speech tend to spend
most of their time preparing notes. On the other hand, speakers who have less appre-
hension and are more effective prepare careful notes, but they also spend considerable
time analyzing their anticipated audience (Ayres, 1996), a subject we will turn to later
in this chapter.
Practice Your Speech Before You Give It
There is no substitute for practice. However, going over the points silently in your head
does not count as practice. Practice means giving your speech out loud (possibly in front of
a mirror) while timing it and later asking a sympa-
thetic friend (or friends) to listen to it and give you
Focus on a Friendly Face
Once you are in front of your real audience, find a
friendly face in the crowd and focus on that person.
The peak anxiety time for most speakers is the first
moment of confronting the audience (Behnke &
Sawyer, 1999, 2004). Receiving positive reinforce-
ment early on is an excellent way to get over this
initial anxiety. When you spot that one person who
looks friendly or nods in agreement, keep your eyes
on her or him until you feel relaxed.
Try Relaxation Techniques
While the fear may be in your head, it manifests itself
in physiological changes in your body; that is, your
muscles tense, your breathing becomes shallow, and
adrenaline pumps through your system. Effective
Finding a friendly face in the
relaxation techniques for such situations include deep breathing and visualizing a successful
audience can be helpful
speech (Behnke & Sawyer, 2004). Shallow breathing limits your oxygen intake and adds
in reducing anxiety.
further stress to your body, creating a vicious cycle. Sometimes we’re not even aware of these
stress indicators. See the Building Your Communication Skills: Try Relaxing Breathing Exercises
to learn how to break the shallow-breathing cycle.338 CHAPTER 14 Speaking in Public: Speech Delivery
Building Your Communication SKILLS
Try Relaxing Breathing Exercises
Dr. Weil, the health guru, recommends this simple exercise that requires no equipment
and can be done anywhere, anytime you feel stressed (like before speaking in public).
1. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front
teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise.
2. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
3. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
4. Hold your breath for a count of seven.
5. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound, to a count of eight.
This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times, for a total
of four breaths.
You’ll notice that, after a few breaths, you’ll feel calm, as the exercise is a natural
tranquilizer for the nervous system.
SOURCE: Andrew Weil. (n. d.). Breathing: Three exercises. Retrieved February 16, 2010, from http://www.drweil.com/
Do not admit your nervousness. Do not say to yourself or to your audience, “Oh,
I’m so nervous up here” or “I think I’m going to pass out” These kinds of statements
only reinforce your own feelings of apprehension as well as highlighting them for the
Talk Yourself into a Strong Performance
If you watch professional athletes, such as tennis players, you may notice them talking to
themselves. Often, these are messages meant for themselves to motivate them to play a
better game, hit the ball more accurately, make better backhand returns, and so on. The
purpose of this kind of speech is positive motivation. In public speaking, a similar kind of
psychological technique can be helpful. As you prepare your speech, practice your speech,
and get ready to give your speech, tell yourself that you are going to do very well. Be positive
and take a positive and confident approach to the speech.
Consider the Importance of Your Topic to Others
It may be helpful to think about the significance of your topic to others as one way to gain
the confidence to give a strong performance. For example, if you are speaking about
domestic violence, gun violence, or other important social issues, think about the people
who suffer, whose lives are ruined, or whose lives are lost, and your own nervousness will
seem insignificant in relation to the point of your speech and the impact you want to
have. You don’t want your apprehension to become more important than the difference
you want to make with your speech. Thinking about others can help you take the focus off
It may seem simple, but this is the strategy most public speaking instructors and students
use to overcome anxiety (Levasseur, Dean, & Pfaff, 2004). In short, it becomes easier and
easier with each speech. As one seasoned speaker said, “Learning to become a confident
speaker is like learning to swim. You can watch people swim, read about it, listen to people
talk about it, but if you don’t get into the water, you’ll never learn” (Sanow, 2005). TakeKey Issues in Effective Speech Delivery 339
opportunities to hone your public speaking skills. Volunteer to give speeches, or become
the mood or feeling the speaker
a member of Toastmasters International or a local group of public speakers. Take every
opportunity that arises to give a speech.
Setting the Tone the type of language and phrasing
a speaker uses and the effect it
Tone refers to the mood or feeling the speaker creates. Sometimes the tone is set by the
occasion. For example, speaking at a wedding and speaking at a funeral require differ-
ent tones, and these tones are determined more by the situation than by the speaker. In
other situations—such as speaking in front of a city council to praise them for making
a courageous decision about building a new library or park or criticizing them for
doing so during a time of tight budgets—the occasion allows the speaker to determine
the tone of a part of a meeting. In these kinds of situations, the speaker has the ability
to set the tone. When a speaker rallies a crowd at a protest, the speaker has tremendous
power to set the tone—as Martin Luther King Jr. often did, so that the crowd was
incited not to do violence but to protest nonviolently. In these cases, the speaker may
have an ethical obligation to consider the consequences of setting different tones for an
If you are smiling and look happy when you get up to delivery your speech, you
will set a tone of warmth and friendliness. If you look serious and tense, you will set a
different sort of tone—one of anxiety and discomfort. Remember: You set the tone for
your speech long before you begin speaking—in fact, the tone can be set as soon as the
audience sees you.
Your tone should be related to the topic of your speech. If you are giving a speech
intended to inspire people to take action—such as recycling, participating in a beach clean
up, or walking in a fundraiser—an uplifting and positive tone can motivate your audience.
For example, when Barack Obama spoke about race in “A More Perfect Union” (see
Chapter 16, pages 373–374), he used an uplifting tone: “This time, we want to talk about
the men and women of every color and creed who serve together and fight together and
bleed together under the same proud flag.” If you are telling a tragic personal story, your
tone would probably be quite serious. If you are campaigning for one candidate over
another, you may want to set a more serious tone for your candidate and a more ridiculing
one for the opponent. In Chapter 16, Rudy Giuliani’s “Speech to the Republican National
Convention,” (pages 374–375) set a more aggressive tone as he argued for John McCain
and against Barack Obama. For example, when he notes, “This is not a personal attack . . .
it’s a statement of fact—Barack Obama has never led anything. Nothing. Nada,” his use of
repetition emphasizes the tone of his criticism of Obama.
Although your tone will run throughout your speech, it can vary as you proceed. For
example, you might start out with a serious tone as you point out a problem of some kind,
such as cruelty to animals, but you might end with a much more positive tone in moving
your audience to address the problem. You may end with a very uplifting tone that invites
your audience to envision a future without cruelty to animals and to help make that vision
become a reality.
Considering Language and Style
As a speaker, the language you use to give your speech will shape the style of your speech.
Style refers to the type of language and phrasing a speaker uses, and the effect it creates.
Your style can be ornate and indirect; such a style was common in the nineteenth century
but is less so today. For example, consider the ornate style used in this selection from
Daniel Webster’s 1825 “Bunker Hill Monument Oration”:
The great event in the history of the continent, which we are now met here to commem-
orate, that prodigy of modern times, at once the wonder and the blessing of the world,
is the American Revolution. In a day of extraordinary prosperity and happiness, of high
national honor, distinction, and power, we are brought together, in this place, by our
love of country, by our admiration of exalted character, by our gratitude for signal
services and patriotic devotion (Webster, 1989, p. 127).340 CHAPTER 14 Speaking in Public: Speech Delivery
Alternately, your style can be plain and direct. For example, if Daniel Webster had chosen a
plainer style to commemorate the Bunker Hill Monument, he might have said something
The American Revolution was a great event in our history, and we are here to com-
memorate its importance by erecting this monument.
These two examples (the first one real, the second one hypothetical) show that an
ornate style can stimulate a more emotional response and, in this case, create great pride in
the establishment of the United States. The plainer style, on the other hand, gets right to
the point and values economy in wording. In his “Last Lecture,” Randy Pausch (see
Chapter 15, pages 359–360) speaks in a plainer style so that he can communicate clearly
and easily with his audience. He uses a plain style with less-wordy language to create a
more informal relationship with the audience.
The key is to select a style that is appropriate for the speech you are giving. For example,
you may use a plain style if you are giving instructions in a “how-to” sort of speech, but you
may use a more eloquent style if you are celebrating someone’s accomplishments at a 75th
birthday. When choosing a speech style, be aware that the style you use can either enhance
or undermine your message. For example, if you speak at a meeting of the local school
board using an informal style—maybe referring to the board members as “dudes”—the
audience will likely focus more on you than on your topic, because your style would inter-
fere with your ability to convey your message. Or, if you were asked to deliver a speech about
college life to a class of fifth graders, you would likely use different words than you would if
you were asked to speak to a class of high school seniors. In addition to word choice, you
might adjust your sentence length. Overly complex sentences will likely lose younger audi-
ences. Think of telling a story to your friends. How would the way you narrate the story
change if you were telling that same story to your parents or coworkers?
The two main elements of style are clarity and appropriateness. Your speech style has
the element of clarity if listeners are able to grasp the message you intended to communi-
cate. Using precise language increases clarity. In everyday conversation, speakers often use
words and phrases without much attention to precision. For example, if someone says,
“Bob’s totally gross,” we learn little about Bob; we only know that the speaker has some
objection to him or dislikes him for some reason that we do not know. But if the speaker
says, “I don’t like Bob because he uses vulgar language and ridicules his friends,” then we
know more specifically how the speaker perceives Bob.
In the interest of clarity, speakers should use their words in precise ways. For example,
in describing how someone died, you have many words to choose from: killed, murdered,
terminated, exterminated, or assassinated. Consider the different messages each one con-
veys. If someone was killed, it sounds less intentional than if someone was murdered. To say
that someone was terminated sounds very casual and flippant, like a character in a science
fiction or action movie, while exterminated communicates a far more sinister death. After
all, we call an exterminator if we have a bug infestation, but to exterminate people sounds
more closely related to genocide or mass murders. If someone is assassinated, it communi-
cates political reasons for this murder. Think carefully about the words you use and what
In addition to focusing on the clarity of your language, you also need to consider its
appropriateness, which generally refers to how formal or informal it should be or how
the use of language to increase
well adapted the language is to the audience’s sensitivity and expectations. In general,
precision and reduce ambiguity
speakers tend to strive for a more formal style when they are speaking to a larger audience
precise language and a less formal style with smaller audiences. Speakers are also apt to use a more formal
the use of language to give more
style during a more formal occasion, such as a big public wedding or funeral, and a less
specificity and exactness in
formal style for more casual events, such as a family holiday dinner. Though we can’t offer
a strict formula for levels of formality or appropriateness, a good rule of thumb is to
strive to match your style of presentation to the type of clothing you might wear to the
speaking event (see Building Your Communication Skills: The Importance of Dress). Just as
following the relevant rules, norms
you wouldn’t wear your favorite cut-offs and tank top to a job interview at a bank, you
and expectations for specific
relationships and situations shouldn’t use a very informal style of speech if you are making a presentation to yourKey Issues in Effective Speech Delivery 341
Building Your Communication SKILLS
The Importance of Dress
How you dress for a public presentation can influence how others respond to you, as well
as how you feel about yourself. Here are some suggestions from the Image Resource
Group website at: http://www.professionalimagedress.com/dress-professional-dress.htm
This website has suggestions on how professional dress reflects on an organization. As a
speaker, these guidelines might be helpful, but you need to pay attention to the occasion
as well. While you may not follow all these suggestions, the importance of how we dress
cannot be overlooked. Go to the webpage and check out the guidelines. You might take
the quizzes as well.
Enhance the image of those who will take your business to the next level
Professional dress is critical in business. It is more than our public skin, it is a language. The
way you package yourself sends a message about you, your skills, and your organization. It
takes only a few seconds to form a first impression, and more than half of that first impres-
sion is based on appearance.
Professional dress for men and women is also a critical component of your organization’s
brand. Maintaining a competitive edge requires that your staff sustain a consistent visual
impression with customers. Your employees are the ambassadors of your organization, and
the way they are perceived determines how your organization is perceived by customers, the
community, and the marketplace.
company’s clients. Similarly, as you may have been told, if you don’t know what to wear, it When you give a
is often better to overdress than to underdress, and the same is true with the appropriate-
public speech, what is
ness and formality of your speaking style—that is, it is usually best to speak a little more
the appropriate way
formally than to speak too informally. Becoming too familiar with an audience (especially
to dress? How should
one that does not know you) can alienate them and reduce your effectiveness as a speaker.
you dress for the
The use of very strong language can also impact your audience and gain their atten-
speeches that you
tion, although this strategy has to be used very carefully. In August 2009, Treasury
give in class?
Secretary Timothy Geithner is reported to have “blasted top U.S. financial regulators in an
expletive-laced critique . . . as he responded to frustration ...over the Obama administra-
tion’s faltering plan to overhaul U.S. financial regulation” (Paletta & Solomon, 2009, p. A1).
Mr. Geithner’s fairly aggressive language use could be received in various ways. First,
because he is not known for typically using this kind of language, his “repeated use of
obscenities” (p. A1) likely made a strong impression. Second, his language choice certainly
brought attention to his point, as his rant was covered by the national press. Third, some
people saw this language choice as reflective of someone who was losing patience and
power. Many observers saw Geithner’s approach as a sign that his power was waning, along
with the possibility for change in financial regulation. In contrast, however, Stanley Bing, a
columnist for Fortune magazine, saw something different:
I love it when executives drop the whole statesmanlike thing and get down to what
really works: Force. The manipulation of fear. The exercise of power. And nothing
establishes who’s in charge more than a good display of old-fashioned, fist-in-the-face
anger. And what conveys that best? Profanity. Tim Geithner dropped the F-Bomb
repeatedly the other day. And I think it’s safe to say it’s living proof that genuine regula-
What do you think
tory reform is now on the way.
about the use of
speaking? Is it ever
While it may be too early to know the effect of Mr. Geithner’s strong language, he
certainly gained notoriety for his language choice.342 CHAPTER 14 Speaking in Public: Speech Delivery
Giving a clear speech also means avoiding jargon, or technical terminology associated
technical terminology associated
with a specific topic. Remember that, while you may know your topic well, your audience
with a specific topic
may not necessarily be familiar with the words being used. If you were giving a speech to the
American Heart Association, it would be fine to assume that your audience is familiar with
medical terminology like stat (immediately) or sequelae (condition due to prior disease). In
figures of speech and tropes that
other cases, it would not be wise to assume that your audience shares your knowledge of
are used to shape the style of a
message such complex language. Similarly, be careful when using acronyms, like m.i. (myocardial
infarction, or heart attack) or h.a.(headache). If you do use an acronym, be sure to clearly
define it for your audience. Otherwise, you may lose them before you even begin.
a figure of speech that compares
One way to elevate your speaking style is to incorporate stylistic devices like
two things or ideas to highlight a
metaphors or hyperbole in your speech. John F. Kennedy was well known for his effective
use of rhetorical devices. For example, in a 1961 speech delivered to the Joint Convention
of the General Court of Massachusetts, Kennedy used the metaphor city upon a hill to
a figure of speech that exaggerates
emphasize the importance of the role played by Massachusetts’ politicians in the national
a characteristic to capture audience
leadership: “Today the eyes of all people are truly upon us—and our governments, in
attention and interest
every branch, at every level, national, state and local, must be as a city upon a hill—
constructed and inhabited by men aware of their great trust and their great responsibili-
ties” (Kennedy, 1961).
Vivid imagery is a crucial part of an effective speech. It is one thing to make your
point—it is quite another to make your point through rich imagery and description. A
number of stylistic or literary devices are commonly used to aid in such vivid description;
for example, alliteration, or the repetition of consonant sounds at the beginnings of words,
can be effective. Alliteration can range from the mundane like “bang for the buck” or “high
on the hog” to more sophisticated examples such as these article titles: “Science has Spoiled
my Supper” and “Kurdish Control of Kirkuk Creates a Powder Keg in Iraq” (Oppel, 2008;
Wylie, 1954). For more information on stylistic devices, see Building Your Communication
Skills: Stylistic Devices.
After considering delivery issues of tone, language, and style, the next step is to think
about how best to incorporate visual aids into your speech—the topic we turn to next.
Building Your Communication SKILLS
Using rhetorical devices can make your speeches more memorable and give them
more style. Some popular rhetorical devices include:
Alliteration and Assonance. Alliteration refers to the repetition of a consonant
sound in a series of words. During a commencement address at Knox College in
Illinois, then-Senator Obama proclaimed America to be “a place where destiny was
not a destination, but a journey to be shared and shaped” (Gallo, March 3, 2008,
www.businessweek.com). In this brief phrase, Obama echoed the sound of destiny
with destination and shared with shaped. Alliteration draws the audience’s atten-
tion to particular words, thereby reinforcing their rhetorical power. Assonance
refers to the repetition of a vowel sound in a string of words. For example, “tilting
at windmills” or “high as a kite” are examples of assonance, because the vowel
sound i repeats.
Hyperbole. Hyperbole refers to an exaggeration intended to capture attention and
interest. For instance, when describing her exhaustion, Jackie proclaimed, “I feel like
I’ve walked a million miles today.”
Metaphor and Simile. Both devices are types of comparisons. Similes are phrases that
compare one thing to another with the use of the words like or as. For instance, in
the film Forrest Gump, the title character declared, “Life is like a box of chocolates.Key Issues in Effective Speech Delivery 343
You never know what you’re gonna get” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109830/
quotes). A metaphor is a comparison that does not use like or as and analogizes
things that would otherwise seem to have little or nothing in common at first
glance. John Donne’s quote “No man is an island” is a classic example of a metaphor
Onomatopoeia. This refers to the use of words that sound like they mean. For in-
stance, when building tension in a narrative, you may suddenly shout, “Bang Boom”
Parallelism and Repetition. Parallelism refers to the repetition of “the same word or
expression at the beginning of successive sentences or phrases” (Gallo, March 3,
2008, www.businessweek.com). Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech is
one in which the use of parallelism and repetition was made famous.
Personification. Personification refers to the process of giving an inanimate object
human qualities. For instance, when describing the rain, you might say that the sky
Incorporating Visual Aids
audiovisual materials that help a
As a student in elementary school, you may have used visual aids in “show and tell”
speaker reach intended speech
speeches. In these speeches, the visual aid—perhaps a favorite toy, gift, or souvenir—was
the central focus of your speech. Now, as part of your college coursework, your instructors
may again require that you use visual aids in speeches. Even if you are not required to do
so, you may wish to consider incorporating them in your presentations. Visual aids are any
audiovisual materials that help you reach your speech goals. Some of the most common
kinds are video clips, photographs, models, DVD segments, and PowerPoint slides. (For
more tips on preparing effective PowerPoint slides, see Did You Know? PowerPoint Tips).
To introduce your visual aid during your presentation, follow these general three steps:
1. Introduce the visual aid to your audience by explaining what they will see.
2. Point to the parts of the visual aid that you want them to focus on.
3. Reaffirm the major point of the visual aid, thus pointing the audience to the
conclusion you want them to draw.
In a sense, the use of visual aids is a microcosm of your overall speech—that is, it has
an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
DID YOU KNOW?
When using PowerPoint and other computer-based presentation materials, consider
the following tips:
Be aware of your font type. Script fonts are typically difficult to see when projected
onto a large screen, so keep to the traditional Serif and Sans Serif fonts. These are
easier to read than some of the more playful ones. Your font type should also align
with the occasion. If you are giving a presentation for work, stick to a font that
Be aware of your font size. Be sure that the audience will be able to read the font. This
may require you to check on the size of the room in which you will be presenting.
Be aware of your font color. Keep it simple. When projected onto a large screen, blue
letters on a black background, for instance, can be difficult to see.
Use animation sparingly, if at all. While animating fonts can enliven a presentation
and make a point more effectively, do not use this computer function to excess. It
may be distracting.344 CHAPTER 14 Speaking in Public: Speech Delivery
Keep in mind that although visual aids can help you reach your speech goals, some can
distract the audience from your main points. For example, if you distribute a handout
during your speech, audiences will tend to focus on the handout and you will lose their
attention. Also, if you finish with a visual aid and leave it up on the screen, the audience
will continue to focus on it rather than on you. Finally, speaking to the visual aid instead of
your audience is another way to lose audience attention. While it may be tempting to avoid
eye contact with the audience, you risk disconnecting with your audience. Let’s look at
some general guidelines for handling visual aids effectively.
Prepare Your Visual Aids in Advance
If you use the blackboard as a visual aid, for example, you communicate informality and
lack of preparation. Your lack of preparation could be insulting to some audiences, who
may have made a major effort to come to your presentation. If, on the other hand, you
incorporate relevant and well-designed PowerPoint slides, you communicate that you have
carefully and thoughtfully prepared your presentation.
Use Visual Aids That Are Easy to See
If your visual aid is too small—for example, if you hold up a 3 × 5 photograph in front of a
room full of listeners—it will frustrate your audience. As you speak about something they have
difficulty seeing, many audiences will tune you out. Once you have lost your audience, you will
have a very hard time recapturing their attention, and you won’t reach your speech goals.
Ensure That the Equipment You Need Will
Be Available When You Speak
For example, if you want to use a PowerPoint presentation, be sure the room has the appro-
priate equipment. Today, many classrooms are “smart classrooms” and have this equipment,
but it is always best to check. Sometimes classrooms only have overhead projectors, and if
you know this, you can prepare overhead transparencies to use in your presentation.
Prepare for Potential Technology Failure
Computers fail, overheads fail, and DVD players are not always correctly connected to LCD
projectors. No equipment is foolproof, so you may not be able to show your visual aids.
Thus, make sure that your speech can stand on its own and that you are prepared to speak
even without the visual aids.
To use visual aids in a way that will help you meet your speech goal, see the Building
Your Communication Skills: Visual Aids Checklist.
Building Your Communication SKILLS
Visual Aids Checklist
Although you may have carefully prepared your visual aids in advance, it is also
important to use them effectively in your presentation. Here are some tips for using
Be sure to practice with the visual aids, as speaking and handling visual aids at the
same time can be tricky.
Be sure that you are speaking to the audience and maintaining eye contact with
them, not looking at the visual aids.
It is a good idea to avoid passing around objects, as the audience will be distracted
from you and focus on the object or on passing the object. Try to keep the focus on you.
Explain your visual aid to your audience. Do not simply show it to them and assume
that they will know what points you are trying to clarify with the visual aid. Tell them
what to focus on and what to notice.Key Issues in Effective Speech Delivery 345
As your own classroom experience has likely demonstrated, when used well, visual aids
can be very effective in helping an audience understand a topic. When you use them, be sure
that they strengthen your presentation and make your points clearer—not detract from the
presentation or fill in as a substitute for content. To determine whether the visual aid is going
to enhance or detract from your presentation, ask yourself why you are using it and how it
will help to reach your speech goals. For example, in a presentation about types of skin can-
cer, you could develop a visual aid showing the prevalence of each type and what it looks like.
No matter how dynamic your personality, if your visual aids are not well organized,
prepared, and executed effectively, you can lose your audience’s interest. Using visual aids
that are effectively incorporated will give you confidence in your presentation. If you have
prepared an engaging introduction and a clearly organized body with a strong conclusion,
all tied together with the artful use of signposts and visual aids, you will have laid the foun-
dation for a successful speech.
After you have selected your style of presentation and incorporated your visual aids,
you are ready to consider the presentation of your speech. In the following sections, we will
look at several more guidelines for the delivery of your speech.
Being Aware of Time Limits
In the United States, we often think about time as absolute—a phenomenon that can be broken
down into clearly measurable units: seconds, minutes, and hours. Yet communication scholars
have repeatedly shown that notions of time are relative, as described in Chapter 4 (nonverbal
communication). Many public speakers experience this relative nature of time. Some, for
example, feel that they have been speaking for a very long time, while their audience may feel
that they have heard only a short speech. More often, however, speakers feel that they have not
spoken for very long, while their audience is wondering whether the speech will ever end.
Knowing how long to speak is an important aspect of the art of public speaking. The
length of any speech should be guided not only by audience expectations and context, but
by your content as well. In some instances, the guidelines are rather loose—such as speeches
at weddings and retirement celebrations, for example. In other cases, the time limits are very
strict, and you may be cut off before you finish. For example, a citizen advocating a position
in city council meetings often faces strict time limits. In this case, you should be respectful
and adhere to those time guidelines.
On the one hand, if your speech is significantly longer than expected, your audience
may become restless, impatient, and even hostile. On the other hand, if your speech is
significantly shorter than the time expected, your audience may leave feeling disappointed
or shortchanged. After all, they may have made a significant effort to be at your presenta-
tion, with expectations that remain unfulfilled. Also, your speech may be part of a larger
program, and the planners may be depending on you to fill a particular time slot.
In classroom speech situations, you are often told how long to speak—say, for five minutes.
In this situation, your audience expects you to speak for only five minutes—and your instructor
expects you to speak for no less than five minutes. One way to make sure you comply is to time
yourself when you practice your speech. Doing this will ensure that you know how long your
speech runs and whether you need to adjust it. If you have prepared, practiced, and timed your
speech, you should have no problem meeting your time requirement.
In non-classroom situations, the goal is to meet the time expectations of the audience. If
others are also scheduled to speak, be sure that your speech is not too long. If you speak for
much longer than expected, someone else may not have the opportunity to speak. Your long
presentation may reflect badly on you, and you could be perceived as inconsiderate of others.
Choosing a Delivery Method
Speakers have several methods for delivering a message—ranging from spontaneous, off-
the-cuff remarks to speeches carefully planned, written, revised, and rehearsed. Let’s look
first at the more spontaneous variety, referred to as impromptu speeches.
Impromptu speeches are those that have not been prepared ahead of the presentation—
perhaps because the speaker has been given very little notice or no notice at all. For example,
at an event like a business convention, a person may be asked to speak spontaneously as the
a speech that is delivered with
surprise recipient of an award. Or a person may be asked to make a few comments at a little or no preparation346 CHAPTER 14 Speaking in Public: Speech Delivery
community or university meeting. Making extensive comments in class can also be thought
a speech that is written out word
of as an impromptu speech. This type of speech is often difficult for a beginning speaker.
for word and read to the audience
What do you do if you are asked to speak at the last minute? If possible, take a few moments
to jot down the major points you wish to make, an interesting way to introduce your topic,
and some way of concluding. Organizing your speech in this way will ensure that you make
a speech that is written ahead of
the important points. Be sure to stop when you have made your points.
time but only in outline form
On some occasions, speakers have their entire speeches written, and they read the speech
to the audience. While it may be tempting to take this manuscript speech approach, it is not
public identity created by a
often a good idea. Rarely can a speaker read a speech and manage to make it sound natural.
Too many speakers sound like they are reading, rather than speaking naturally to us. Audiences
generally prefer to hear from you directly, as if you are speaking from the heart. Engaging your
audience with direct address, including direct eye contact, is preferable to the more distanced
presentation that results from reading. However, reading a speech can be appropriate if the
specific word choices are extremely important and your speech is likely to be quoted directly.
Often, the president of the United States reads speeches, as journalists and others are likely to
quote him and because lack of attention to word choices can create controversies.
For example, in a question-and-answer session after his speech on September 16,
2001, President George W. Bush referred to the military response to September 11th as a
“crusade.” His statement resulted in an immediate and strong response from some people
in the audience. The Crusades of the medieval period were a significant religious conflict
in which Christians left their homes to engage in battles against Muslims in the Middle
East. While President Bush may not have intended to frame the military actions against
terrorism as a holy war against non-Christians, his word choice—which was spontaneous
rather than scripted—pointed to this interpretation. If he had been speaking from a manu-
script speech, he could have avoided creating this controversy.
In the middle ground between impromptu and manuscript speech is the extemporaneous
speech—probably the most common type of delivery. Speaking extemporaneously allows you
to be a directly engaged but well-prepared speaker. An extemporaneous speech is written ahead
of time, but only in outline form.; then, the speaker uses the outline as a guide. Some
extemporaneous speakers may include a few extra notes in the outline to help them remember
particularly important points, statistics, or quotations, but the speech is neither written out in
its entirety nor memorized. By speaking extemporane-
ously, you will be able to better engage your audience
and adapt your speech to their responses. The sample
outlines provided in Chapter 13 are typical of the types
of outlines extemporaneous speakers use.
Projecting a Persona
Your persona, which includes your personality, is the
image you want to convey. If you have seen Ellen
DeGeneres on her talk show, you know that she proj-
ects a friendly, down-to-earth, almost naïve persona.
She dresses informally, she jokes with her audience,
and she seems friendly. Ellen’s nonverbal communi-
cation is very informal and relaxed. She makes direct
eye contact with her audience and the television cam-
era; she sometimes slouches in the chair and even
does a little “dance” at the beginning of every show.
These elements together make up her public persona.
Like talk-show hosts and other television per-
sonalities, speakers also adopt personas when they
deliver speeches. For example, a speaker who appears
As you think about your own to be confident, trustworthy, and calm may have had to create this persona and learn how
public persona, watch how other
to project that image. Successful national politicians work to develop personas that are
public figures create their public
attractive to large groups of people. President Clinton, for example, was described by
many—even his detractors—as both affable and engaging in public. While having aKey Issues in Effective Speech Delivery 347
Communication in SOCIETY
Be Cautious with Humor
Many speakers like to use humor in their speeches to keep the
Understanding humor requires an in-depth understanding
audience engaged and the tone more lighthearted. While
of the culture.
humor can be a very effective tool for keeping an audience
Ethnic-type humor, stereotyping, and sexist, off-color, cul-
engaged, it can also be problematic, especially when dealing
tural, or religious humor should generally be avoided.
with cultural issues. Here is a list of issues to consider when
Political humor can be effective in certain circumstances.
incorporating humor into a speech.
Knowing the type of humor your audience appreciates can
Some Basic Rules to Remember
When in doubt, the safest approach is to avoid humor.
Each culture has its own style of humor.
Americans in particular begin speeches with a joke. Not all
Humor is very difficult to export.
cultures appreciate or respond to this approach.
Humor often involves wordplay and very colloquial expres-
Laughing at yourself often diffuses tense situations.
Humor requires exceptional knowledge of a language.
SOURCE: Adapted from Cultural Savvy (2009). Humor. Retrieved September 28, 2009, from http://www.culturalsavvy.com/humor.htm
positive persona can be very helpful in connecting with audiences, be careful about using
humor in order to engage your audience. (See Communication in Society: Be Cautious
with Humor for more on using humor in your speeches.) Humor can be very effective in
setting a particular tone with an
audience, but it can also ruin a
speaker’s connection with the
IT HAPPENED TO ME: Ted
The persona you choose to
I thought I should always be just ‘me’ when I spoke. It seemed “fake” to try to pretend
project should be connected to
to be someone else. But after watching other speakers in various situations and
the communication event and
thinking about which ‘me’ I wanted to speak, I focused on projecting that kind of
the purpose of the speech, as our
persona. Establishing a persona has helped me reduce my anxiety. It is only one part
student describes in It Happened
of me, but it is the part I want to show the audience. It doesn’t feel “fake.”
to Me: Ted. If you are speaking at
a wedding, you should sound
upbeat and positive and project
Think about the
a persona that helps the marital couple, their families, and their friends rejoice in the wed-
persona and the
ding. Even if you have some concerns that this marriage won’t last or that the couple is
public image of a
getting married for all the wrong reasons, the persona you project at the wedding should
great speaker you’ve
not broadcast those feelings.
heard. Now imagine
If you have seen videos of Martin Luther King Jr. speaking, you may imagine that he
projected a different persona when speaking to his children or a store clerk than he did on
communicating more informally
the steps of the Washington Monument. At home, he would likely have been more informal
around a dinner table with
and more relaxed with his posture and body movements, and less eloquent in his language.
As you can see, creating a public persona is not a matter of falsifying who you are—it is a family, arguing with a coworker,
matter of projecting a more public aspect of yourself. As you know, the self you project
or talking to the cashier in a
varies from context to context, but each reflects the aspects of who you are as a person.
grocery store. What differences
As you create your public persona, consider a few factors that influence others’ percep-
and similarities can you imagine
tions of you. First, the speed at which you speak is one aspect of your persona. There is no
between those two personas? In
single, ideal speaking rate. Rather, your speaking rate should vary to fit your message. For
language use? Body posture?
example, speaking slowly and deliberately can be very effective if you are speaking about
Gestures? Facial expressions?
the way someone was killed and you want to highlight the gravity of the situation. At other
times, you may wish to speak more quickly—particularly for a lighter, more humorous
presentation. You may also vary your speed as you move from point to point, to emphasize
refers to the speed which someone
one item in particular.
speaks348 CHAPTER 14 Speaking in Public: Speech Delivery
If you watch television news, you will have noticed that news broadcasters speak
the variation in tone, rate, and
quickly. In comparison, people being interviewed often appear to be speaking too slowly,
pauses you use in speaking
and sometimes the news journalists cut them off. Because of the dominance of television
and the fast speech used in that medium, audiences are generally receptive to a speaking
rate that is faster than the one used in casual conversation.
the relative strength or weakness
You should also pay attention to your vocal variety. Vocal variety refers to the variation in
of someone's ability to speak
tone, rate, and pauses you use in speaking. It is important to vary the way you speak so that
loudly enough for an audience
in a given context you do not sound the same throughout your speech. Vocal variety will keep your audience’s
interest, and it will help them stay focused on your topic. You can also use vocal variety to
bring attention to particular points. If you use strategic pauses, for example, you can guide
looking at someone or an
your audience’s attention to specific points you wish to emphasize. Slowing down your speak-
audience directly, rather
ing rate can also capture your audience’s attention and focus them on a particular point.
than looking away
Keep in mind the importance of vocal volume, or vocal projection. You need to speak
loudly enough so that your audience can hear you. In large rooms with people sitting far away,
nonverbal communication sent
you will need to speak louder than if you are speaking in a small room to a small group of
by the body, including gestures,
people. If there is a microphone available, you will have to decide if you want to or need to use
posture, movement, facial
it. If you have difficulty projecting your voice, you may choose the microphone or stand close
expressions, and eye behavior
to your audience. If you have a big booming voice, you may choose to avoid the microphone.
Eye contact is another important element of creating your persona. Making eye contact
is one of the most direct ways to show your engagement with your audience, and it can lend
credibility to your presentation as well. As we saw in Chapter 4, the norm in mainstream
U.S. culture is to distrust people who do not look at us directly and to interpret this as a sign
of shyness or dishonesty. However, this rule does not apply universally. Some cultures—
some Native American and some Asian—do not interpret lack of eye contact this way: They
often interpret it as a sign of respect; therefore, you should consider your eye contact and
adapt it to the context in which you are speaking.
Gesturing and movement are also a part of your persona. This part of delivery, which
we introduced in Chapter 4, is known as kinesics. While you may not think that other
speakers consider their movements when preparing to speak, the more natural they appear,
the more likely it is that they have invested time in practice and deliberate staging. You
want your gesturing and movements to look as natural as possible. If they look unnatural
and too planned out, these gestures and movements
can distract the audience members and focus them
on your body movements rather than on your topic.
However, it is not very effective to stand stiffly behind
a podium. Some very experienced speakers move
from behind the podium when it is appropriate to
speak more directly to the audience. To ensure that
your gestures and movement are effective, practice
your speech (we will cover this in the next section).
Remember: You should consider the persona
you project even before you begin to speak.
Although you may think that your delivery begins
when you stand up to speak, you present your per-
sona well before that. In some cases, for example,
speakers are part of a panel in front of the audience,
or a single speaker is introduced by someone else. In
both cases, the speakers are constructing their per-
sonas while they wait to speak. Fidgeting, rolling the
eyes, yawning, chewing gum, being late, and other
nonverbal behaviors mayinfluence how the audi-
Your nonverbal communication
ence perceives you. Assume that you are “on stage” from the moment you walk into the
is an important aspect of your
room or come into contact with your audience until the moment you leave.
One of the best ways to ensure that your speaking persona is effective is to practice
your speech—the topic we turn to in the next section.Key Issues in Effective Speech Delivery 349
Practicing Your Speech
One of the most effective strategies in public speaking is practice. Once your speech is
prepared and once you have considered issues of delivery (anxiety, language, style, tone,
visual aids, time limits, delivery methods, and persona), stand up somewhere private
and speak as if you were in front of an audience. Then do this as many times as you
need to in order to be familiar with your speech and feel comfortable delivering it. The
bottom line at this stage is that it is essential to practice, practice, practice Practice in
front of a mirror. Practice in front of friends. Sometimes it is helpful to practice the
beginning of your speech, as Tamara does in It Happened to Me: Tamara, so that you can
start off easily and reduce your anxiety. You want to appear confident as you speak, and
confidence will come with fa-
miliarity. During your delivery,
be sure to maintain eye contact
IT HAPPENED TO ME: Tamara
with your audience. This will
help you connect with them as
I usually practice the beginning of my speech a little bit more than the middle or
you speak and will provide you
end—because if I do well at the beginning, I find that after a few minutes, I feel
with feedback during your
confident, I get into the rhythm, and I even relax a bit.
presentation, which may help
you adapt accordingly.
If your speech is extemporaneous, you may want to change the way that you phrase
particular points each time you practice. You can try out different ways of stating or
describing some topics. You can see what feels right or which examples should be changed.
By practicing, you help to refine your presentation—the language and tone you will use, as
well as the fine points of delivery. Practicing your speech can also help you get off to a good
start and relax a little as you give your speech.
As we noted earlier, practicing can help you overcome nervousness and make sure
that your speech meets the required time limit. It can also help you project natural
nonverbal gestures. Typically, the more familiar and comfortable you are with your
speech, the more natural will be your gestures; your goal in extemporaneous speaking is
to gesture as you would in conversation. When you present your speech to friends or
family members, ask them to comment on your gestures and movement as well as your
content. Often, new speakers engage in unconscious, repetitive movements, such as rock-
ing back and forth or fiddling with their hair, and they need someone to make them
aware of this fact.
By practicing, you can also focus on your signposting, your speech rate, and your eye
contact. In other words, you can work on projecting the type of public persona you desire.
Each time you practice your speech, you can focus on a different aspect—one time, your
gestures, one time, just the content, and so on—until you feel comfortable with the style
you have developed.
Be sure to time yourself when you practice your speech. You want to have a sense of
the length, in case you need to cut out something or expand on something else. Once you
have practiced a number of times, you will have a very good sense of approximately how
long the speech will be.
Although you may practice many times, your goal is not to memorize. A memorized
speech often sounds memorized, like a recording rather than a real human being. In
addition, if you work strictly from memory and you stumble over a word or phrase, you
may lose your place and find it difficult to resume your presentation. Instead, during
practice, focus on delivering a presentation that is enthusiastic, vibrant, and engaging. Each
time you practice, you may come out with different phrasing, different wording, different
movements, and so on. When you give your speech, yet another version may appear, but
this time, it will likely be a version you are comfortable presenting.
The public speaking process involves a lot of preparation and practice to help you
become a good speaker. (See Visual Summary 14.1: Key Issues in Effective Speech Delivery.)
But clearly, being a good speaker involves more than just speaking. An additional key issue
relates to the ethical concerns of speech delivery.Key Issues in Effective
SET THE TONE
CONSIDER LANGUAGE AND STYLE
INCORPORATE VISUAL AIDS
BE AWARE OF TIME LIMITS
CHOOSE A DELIVERY METHOD
PROJECT A PERSONA
PRACTICE YOUR SPEECH
VISUAL SUMMARY 14.1The Individual, Speech Delivery, and Society 351
THE INDIVIDUAL, SPEECH DELIVERY, AND SOCIETY
Successful speech delivery is the product of careful negotiation between you (the individ-
ual speaker) and society at large. As such, it is important to strive to build ethos, or credi-
artistic skills of a rhetor that
bility, and maintain it during your presentation. Ethos, according to the ancient Greek
philosopher, Aristotle, was one of three artistic proofs (means of persuasion that rely on
the speaker). The other artistic proofs are pathos, or emotion, and logos, or rationality.
the rhetorical use of emotions to
affect audience decision making
Ethos, Pathos, and Logos
Your ethos as a speaker is tied to your perceived credibility. Certain speakers may have
credibility even before beginning a speech, for ethos is not merely linked to speech content
rational appeals; the use of rhetoric
and delivery. Rather, ethos can be connected to an individual’s identity and perceived
to help the audience see the
persona (discussed earlier). Family background, for instance, is a source of ethos for some
rationale for a particular conclusion
speakers. The Kennedys are a family who derive ethos by virtue of their familial name and
longstanding celebrity in the political arena. While you may not necessarily believe the
Kennedys to be the most authoritative sources on all topics, members of the family
undoubtedly wield credibility because of their name. Many commercials and popular
advertisements take advantage of ethos in order to sell products. Gatorade, for example,
relies on Peyton Manning’s credibility as a champion quarterback in order to promote
product sales. By the same token, ethos may also be harmed by public notoriety. In the
wake of news of his affair, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford’s ethos was damaged,
causing significant fallout following his public apology. In a statement issued on June 24,
2009, Sanford declared, “I apologize to the people of South Carolina. There are many
people out there right now who are hurt, angry and disappointed with me, and rightfully
so. Over the time that I have left in office, I’m going to devote my energy to building back
the trust the people of this state have placed in me” (Gov. Sanford Issues Follow-Up
Statement, 2009). In other words, Sanford apologized and was hoping to begin the process
of rebuilding his image and his ethos.
Ethos, as previously mentioned, is connected to the concept of persona that we
discussed earlier. Because persona is a public identity, it is a social construction. It is a
product of communication by individuals and across media. For instance, when Senator
John McCain ran for president in 2008, he repeatedly referenced “Joe the Plumber” from
Ohio who sought to open a small business. By citing Joe, McCain attempted to create a
persona that was accessible and in touch with the needs of working Americans. McCain’s
running mate, then-Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who made repeated references to
“Joe Six-Pack,” similarly attempted to show an interest in and connection to working
While an individual may strive to present a particular persona, one he/she thinks the
audience will find engaging, a persona is subject to the audience’s interpretation. It is the
interplay between the individual and society that shapes how you, the speaker, are per-
ceived; a disconnect can occur between how you attempt to present yourself and how your
audience perceives you. For instance, in response to 2008 Republican vice presidential
candidate Sarah Palin’s repeated references to “Joe Six-Pack,” comedian and writer Tina Fey
performed a series of skits for the comedy variety show Saturday Night Live, poking fun at
the persona Palin sought to convey.
Ethos is also impacted by the way the speaker presents information to the audience—
that is, through organization or logos, or rationality. A logos-based approach capitalizes
on high-quality information to build a compelling argument. When giving a speech on
the dangers of processed foods, Jasmine, a public speaking student, announced that
according to the American Heart Association and the Centers for Disease Control,
approximately 145 million—almost 35 percent—of adult Americans are overweight
(Statistics you need to know, 2009; U.S. Obesity trends 1985–2008, 2009). Using these and
other striking statistics that connect diet to the rise in obesity, Jasmine used logos to make
her point about the impact of processed foods on health (Processes foods-the cause of
obesity, 2006). When an argument is presented in a way that is logical, it becomes accessi-
ble to audiences. The use of logos, in conjunction with ethos, can be particularly powerful352 CHAPTER 14 Speaking in Public: Speech Delivery
in an informative speech setting. When used effectively, an audience will develop a deep
understanding of the topic.
The third artistic proof, pathos, is typically most effective in persuasive settings and
will be discussed in greater depth in Chapter 16.
SPEECH DELIVERY AND ETHICS
Consider the following advice for delivering an ethical speech.
Use Language Sensitively
Avoid language that denigrates, demeans, or devalues other people and other topics. If it is
not relevant to your speech topic, you should avoid using pejorative terms that are likely to
offend others. This ethical guideline includes words that you know would be offensive in
referring to other people by race, gender, sexuality, religion, and so on. Using such terms
can turn an audience against you and your ideas rather quickly. Even if no members of a
particular group are in your audience, others may find derogatory references offensive.
Derogatory language does not only apply to people, but also to cultures, countries, and
historical events. As an ethical speaker, be sensitive to your use of language.
Use Visual Aids Carefully
When you use visual aids, consider the ethics of the visual images. What kinds of images
might distract the audience from the point of your presentation? Or turn the audience
against you? For example, some protesters have used photos of aborted fetuses. Is this ethi-
cal? Some photos show President Obama with a Hitler-like moustache. Is this appropriate
and acceptable? There is no clear rule regarding appropriateness, but some images may be
considered unethical by some audiences. You should consider the ethics of any visual aids
Respect Time Limits
Respect the time limits you are given when you speak. In some situations, this is an ethical
concern. For example, at many city council meetings, a number of people may wish to be
heard on a particular topic. If you are on a panel of speakers, you should not speak longer
than you are expected to speak. If you do go over your time limit, you are taking away time
from other speakers. If you take too much time, one or more of the other speakers may not
have the opportunity to speak, and you thus undercut the public deliberation at the city
council meeting or other venue.
Delivery is often viewed as synonymous with public speaking itself. Although delivery is
only one part of the speech-making process, it is a very important part. As you saw from
Mia’s personal experience at the beginning of this chapter, delivery can make a big impact
on an audience in ways that you may not intend. Also important to delivery are overcom-
ing anxiety and setting the tone of the presentation, which includes thinking carefully
about your language use and the style of your presentation. If you use visual aids in your
presentation, incorporate them in a way that does not distract from you or from your
topic. You will also need to choose a delivery method, determining whether the presenta-
tion calls for impromptu, extemporaneous, or manuscript delivery. Also, consider the
persona that you want to project by paying attention to your public image, and be aware of
the time limits set for the presentation. In order to perform at your best, you must practice,
paying attention to your signposting, your delivery, and your overall style. Finally, speakers
must uphold a level of ethics in their delivery by not using language that denigrates others,
choosing visual aids with care, and respecting time limits.Web Activities 353
appropriateness 340 impromptu speech 345 precise language 340
artistic proofs 351 jargon 342 speaking rate 347
clarity 340 kinesics 348 style 339
communication apprehension 336 logos 351 stylistic devices 342
delivery 336 manuscript speech 346 tone 339
ethos 351 metaphor 342 visual aids 343
extemporaneous speech 346 pathos 351 vocal projection 348
eye contact 348 persona 346 vocal variety 348
CHAPTER REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What is the appropriate tone for your presentation? How 4. What are the guidelines for using visual aids in a speech?
do you know?
5. Why should you pay attention to the time limits of a
2. What style should you strive for in your presentation? speech?
How might you craft that kind of style?
6. What are some ethical considerations in delivery?
3. What are some stylistic devices you might use in a speech?
1. Look for an announcement about a speaker on campus. speeches and focus on the delivery of the speakers. In this
Go to the presentation and focus on the delivery. What did kind of setting, what do you notice about the delivery and
you notice about the speaker’s delivery and style? What style of the speakers?
things did you see that you would like to emulate in your
3. Learn about techniques for dealing with communication
own speeches? What things did you notice that you would
apprehension. Do library research as well as interviews.
like to avoid in giving speeches?
Find out how others deal with their anxieties. Identify
2. Attend a political rally of any kind you like—TEA parties, some techniques that will help you deal with communica-
antiglobalization, health care reform, and so on. Watch the tion apprehension.
1. Go to www.youtube.com and type in the name of a them, which ones do you find interesting and helpful?
speaker. Watch his or her delivery and think about what Which ones have you heard speakers use?
you might emulate, as well as what you might avoid.
3. Go to www.whitehouse.gov and watch President Obama’s
2. Explore a number of rhetorical figures at: http://www.uky. weekly address or any other speeches. What do you notice
edu/AS/Classics/rhetoric.html. As you look through about his delivery and language use?