Speech Study Guide

©2017 of 80 actually grew up, or of their familial heritage. Regardless of how an individual identifies with their ethnic heritage, it is still an influential force in their life and how they view the world. One of the most significant problems the world faces today does not only encompass racism, but ethnocentrism , which is the belief that one’s own ethnic heritage is superior to all other ethnic heritages. With the deep cultural divisions, which seem insurmountable, a speaker must respect differences in customs, practices, and beliefs which are founded in ethnic origins. In order to understand these differences, a speaker must research the audience’s backgrounds in regards to ethnicity before delivering a speech. With globalization, the world is quickly becoming more and more aware of cultural differences. Children may be born in one country and move to another with their parents or participate in a study abroad program. When someone comes from one culture, whether it is within the same country or between different countries, one can experience culture shock. Culture shock is the clashing of ideals, values, morals, beliefs, and customs from one culture to another. It is often associated with social anxiety and the inability to adapt completely to the receiving culture/country. Cultural differences are sometimes difficult to overcome. A speaker must also look at the culture of their audience. An audience comprised of individuals who are not native to the country will have different ideals than an audience who has never been outside of the country. Cultural sensitivity begins with the speaker recognizing their own culture may be different than that of their audience. When an honest and open exchange occurs between individuals of different cultures, cultural differences are lessened and both can inevitably learn something new. More than culture, religious differences can be difficult to surmount. Religious beliefs or a lack of religious beliefs greatly influence how an audience will evaluate and respond to a speech. Religion can also influence a general attitude toward political controversies. Some individuals of a religion will find one thing offensive or wrong but not another. Religious teachings also make a difference in the way people will respond to a speech. Those who have had more of a fundamentalist teaching may be more open to messages about tradition, while those of more liberal teaching may be more open to change. Even if an audience holds fundamentally different beliefs than a speaker does, it does not mean there cannot be effective communication between the two. Through honest and open communication, mixed with cultural sensitivities by both the audience and speaker, reaching a common ground on controversial topics can be accomplished. A speaker needs to take into account the location of the speech. If a speaker is approaching an audience from a rural background versus an urban one, the values of the audience will differ. Within the United States, certain geographical locations have certain tendencies and shared values. Those in the New York City area pride themselves on their sophistication and cultural diversity, whereas those on the West Coast pride themselves on their individualism. Those in the South pride themselves on safety and a laid-back way of living, while those in the Midwest are a mixture of many different ideals. When individuals move from one area to another, they may not be aware how their actions (deemed normal and acceptable where they are from) might be perceived differently in a different location. A speaker should research the geographical location of their audience, when possible, before delivering a speech. Achieve Test Prep Page 13

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