Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
1. In which part of the speech should the speaker especially slow down, pause as needed, connect with the listeners, and give emphasis to the main points and thesis?
2. How long can the speaker expect the listener to wait for a statement of the thesis before the listener loses interest and goes on to thinking about something other than the speech?
3. Mary's speech focuses on how her mother's actions shaped her personality. What is the best speech design for Mary's speech?
4. As a speaker, you should be cautious about using which kind of attention getter?
You've found a topic that excites you.
Thesis sentence: “Pets teach children life's lessons.”
- “Pets teach children to deal with birth, illnesses, accidents, and death.”
- “Caring for pets teaches children responsibility.”
- “Children with pets learn to respect other living things.”
2. Preview the main points at the beginning of your speech. Review the main points at the end of your speech. This follows the old advice, "Tell them what you are going to tell them. Then tell them. Then tell them what you told them." That is sound advice.
1. Write your thesis statement .
2. Select two or three main points that support the thesis. These are also presented as full sentences.
3. Preview the main points in your introduction and review them in your conclusion, i.e., "Today I'm going to give you three reasons why you should get your child a pet. . . ." (Give the three reasons. Explain them in the body of speech. Move to the conclusion.) . . . . "Please remember these three reasons for having a pet. . . ." (Repeat the three reasons.)
It's so simple. And it works. You have just made it easy for your listeners to follow you by giving them a map. Well done.
Friday, September 18, 2009
In class, we mentioned from Chapter 6 how useful media prompts can be in finding interesting and timely topics for a speech. The video bar in the right-hand column provides a perfect example. In fact, it provides visual support for the idea we used as an idea example in the previous blog—violence begets violence. Try always to be alert to the ideas, topics, and support flowing past you in the media. Again these are called media prompts.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Fuzzy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Focused . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
- present an idea
- provide support
- draw a conclusion
- Ideas clarify values.
- Support changes beliefs.
- Conclusions guide attitudes.
- Kids from privileged backgrounds get more breaks.
- It costs a lot to develop world-class talent.
- People with real talent get discovered early.
Researchers in psychology, politics, and persuasion suggest that attitudes are expressions of an intent or predisposition to act. If my present attitude or opinion is that its time for a change in America politics from the extreme right toward the left, then I am likely to vote for a Democrat in the next election. If my attitude about obesity is that the warnings are overblown, then I will continue to eat like I have and fail to protect my children against the dangers. Attitudes are part of the Values-Beliefs-Attitudes chain.
Values are our conclusions about the ideal world, how the world should be. Values are nearly fixed and highly resistant to change. Beliefs are our conclusions about how the world really is. Beliefs can be strengthened, modified, or dispelled by an infusion of additional relevant information. Attitudes are our inclinations to act on beliefs, given our values. Attitudes appear to be highly changeable. Attitudes are based on the momentary assessment of many factors bearing on a choice before us. The factors may be extremely complex and interactive. They may include all relevant values, all relevant beliefs, assessment of all incentives, disincentives, and obstacles, assessment of history and prophecy, levels of fear and self-confidence, hopes, dreams, desires, what we had for breakfast, and which way the wind is blowing. Based on those and many more factors processed instantaneously by our mental computers, we make our choices. With all that variability, it is no wonder that attitudes can change from moment to moment.
Having looked briefly at values, beliefs, and attitudes, it should be apparent that the keys to successful pubic speaking are the abilities to understand universal human values, form and dispel beliefs, and influence attitudes. In doing so, we help to shape listener choices.
Write down a value that is very important to you at the moment. Look back to the blog "Ain't No Big Mystery" for a partial list. The value you are writing down represents an ideal, one of the ways you conclude that things should be.
Now, next to that value write how you think things really are. If they fit the ideal, great. If not, how do they differ from the ideal? For example, if your value is human equality, you might write these beliefs:
Value: Human Equality
- More minorities are prosecuted and imprisoned for crimes than Caucasians.
- Fewer minorities go on to college.
- More minorities live below the poverty line.
Then write down your attitude, i.e., what you believe we should do about the conditions you believe to exist. For example,
Attitude: We should lobby for better enforcement of Equal Opportunity legislation.
Try this pattern with two or three values until you can see clearly how values, beliefs, and attitudes relate.
© Frank Richardson, 2009.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
popular video clip from www.megawoosh.com as seen on YouTube).
Unlike values, beliefs can be formed, modified, and dispelled at the cognitive level—the level of thought and reason. If values are instinctual feelings about the ideal world (how things should be), then beliefs are conclusions about how things really are. Beliefs result from the observations and conclusions we draw from personal experiences—what we see, read, and are told.
Usually, beliefs are formed tentatively. They strengthen or erode by the reception of additional relevant information. Beliefs become gatekeepers when they determine which values ascend or decline at the moment when a choice must be made.
For example, two people face off in a debate over abortion. Both value the sanctity of life. Both feel instinctually that every person has the right to freedom of choice. Yet, they differ in their opinions about legalized abortion.
One person believes that life begins at conception. The other believes that life begins at birth. Depending on which of those two facts (or interpretations of fact) the persons in the dispute believe, they may allow differing values to prevail at the moment of choice. The person who believes that life begins at birth will say, “The sanctity of life value does not apply here since the fetus is not truly living in the sense that it is an independent biological entity. Therefore, the prevailing value is freedom of choice—the right of the mother to choose what to do with her own body. She can abort the fetus (not a living thing) the same as she can choose to have a tooth pulled or a tumor removed. Like aborting a fetus, neither of those actions is killing an independent living entity.”
For the person who believes that life begins with conception, sanctity of life prevails at the moment of choice. Because the fetus is a living entity (or will become such), abortion is tantamount to murder. Sanctity of life trumps freedom of choice.
As we see in this example, the belief about when life begins allows one value to advance and prevail at the moment of choice and causes the other value to recede in relative importance. The values system remains intact. Beliefs keep the gate.
Think of a personal, social, or political issue that interests you. It might be healthy environment, gun control, border control, executive bonuses, obesity, universal health care, or any other. Try to identify two major competing values at stake in the controversy. What personal belief causes you to apply one value over the other in this particular issue?
Share your values assessment and gatekeeping belief in the comments below. We'll share it with your classmates.
© Frank Richardson, 2009.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Those are the big mysteries. However, why people act the way they act is no mystery at all. A long-time friend and Seattle psychiatrist, Owen E. Clark, M.D., once explained this to me, “People do what they do for the rewards they get from doing it.” In other words, you can look behind every behavior and find some important way in which the behavior rewards the doer. Even the behaviors they hate. Even the self-destructive behaviors. All behaviors offer some reward that the doer values at the moment of choice.
Here’s the big secret that dispels all mystery: values drive behavior. We are prone to act in ways that bring valued rewards.
Of course, we can all think of someone who seems to act contrary to expressed values. A man values family life. Yet, he embezzles from his employer, ends up in prison, and loses his family. Were values driving his behavior? Of course! Maybe not his family values, but other values that took priority at the moment of choice.
The reason the picture seems confusing is that our values systems are very complex. There are so many human values that every possible choice is potentially rewarding in some way. In this respect, we can say that values are always competing with each other. At any given moment, one value ascends (moves toward the top of our priority list) while others decline into positions of lesser importance. At a different moment, the order may reverse depending on what reward is being sought. Throughout life we attempt to clarify our values, sort them out, learn in what settings one value ascends and in what settings it declines. Future blogs will explain what an understanding of values has to do with public speaking. For now, please remember that values drive behavior.
Read the following list of values that seem to be universal (or nearly so). Notice which values might influence choices that you make.
Partial list of values:
Acceptance of fate, Achievement, Ambition, Art (music, literature) appreciation, Authority, Choice, Craftsmanship, Creativity, Curiosity, Devoutness, Equality, Family security, Freedom, Healthy environment, Honesty, Humility, Independence, Inner peace, Justice, Meaningful life, Personal health, Personal safety, Pleasure, Productivity, Recognition, Recreation, Respect for heritage, Self-respect, Sense of belonging, Social order, Success, Tolerance, Wealth, Work, World peace, Etc.
Chances are good that in the proper setting any one of these values might influence your choices.
© Frank Richardson, 2009.