Speech Study Guide

©2017 of 80 2.3 Audience Effect When someone listens to a speech they will be affected in some way. The affect varies depending on what needs of the listener have been met. Abraham H. Maslow described the basic needs to help the speaker understand and develop tactics for listener involvement. These needs Maslow has identified are basic to the vast majority of humans and include physiological needs, safety needs, needs of belonging, esteem needs, and self-actualization needs (listed in order of most basic to least basic). Basic physiological needs for humans are food and drink, clothing, shelter, and sexual gratification. These needs need to bemet in order for us to feel comfortable and to avoid discomforts of pain, illness, injury, and other negative consequences. Many people have these needs met and are able to be engaged by an appeal to their “higher” needs (safety, belonging, esteem, and self-actualization needs). However, if an audience does not have basic physiological needs met, they will not be receptive to an appeal of higher needs until their basic needs are met. A speaker can anticipate if these needs have been met based on the culture and geographical location of their speech. Giving a speech about higher education programs to an area that has a reputation for not having ample food and proper shelter, will not be of concern to an audience until they have food on their table and their other basic needs are met. After an individual’s basic physiological needs are met, a speaker may address the personal safety needs of the listeners. Personal safety needs involve the human desire, regardless of race and culture, to be protected from dangerous, surprising, or unfamiliar situations which threaten personal safety. Within many societies there are organizations which help to ensure safety, such as police, firefighters, military personnel, the Food and Drug Administration, and more. Despite these organizations, unfamiliar and surprising situations still occur. Humans worry about their safety and the safety of their loved ones. This worry influences how an individual will respond to a speaker. In order to be ultimately effective, a speaker must take these concerns into account and ensure these needs are met, or that their topic will help to meet these needs, before a speaker can move to a “higher” need. The next highest need on Maslow’s pyramid is the concept of reinforcing the feelings of love, with a sense of belonging, or belonging needs. Belonging needs are thought about after safety needs are met and involve the human desire to be accepted, wanted, or welcomed into groups. Associations formed, such as, clubs, groups, and kinships, allow humans to meet their need to be accepted and be a part of a larger group. If an individual is part of a group that they believe represents who they are and their core values, the person may feel more powerful and prideful. A speaker will have more influence over the emotional involvement of their audience members if the listener believes that the speaker advocates a topic or proposal that will be of direct benefit to those whom they love, if the speaker’s topic will reduce the listener’s feelings of isolation, or promote the interests of groups the listener belongs to. Following the fulfillment of belonging needs, a listener needs to feel appreciated by others. Self- esteem needs constitute people feeling as though they belong, have worth, and are important. In addition, people want to be in control of their destiny and have others recognize them as good and important. If a speaker violates an audience member, the audience will perceive the speaker as non- Achieve Test Prep Page 17

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