Speech Study Guide

neither speaker nor audience can be purely objective, it is expected that a speaker be fair-minded. Fair-mindedness is the willingness to suspend personal biases and remain open to competing ideas. When conducting research, a speaker has to allow for the possibility that their research may lead to surprising conclusions, thus provoking a change in original beliefs or opinions. Once a topic is well researched, accounting for all possibilities of a topic, a speaker may be more confident in taking a well-reasoned stand or position. Good taste and sound judgment are closely related. Typically, it is advisable to avoid topics that are offensive or embarrassing to an audience. This is learned in the audience analysis phase. Using an audience-centered perspective is crucial to avoid these issues. While the speaker may find certain topics amusing, it is pertinent to change perspective and try to view the topic from the viewpoint of the audience members as well. With a change in perspective, the speaker may be able to understand how the audience will receive and respond to the speech. If a speaker finds something offensive, it is generally safe to assume that an audience will find it offensive as well. 3.5 The Purpose of a Speech All speeches, no matter the context, occur on an occasion , which encompasses the purpose of the speech and a setting of where it will occur. Depending on the goal of the speech, there are different types of general and specific purposes. There are three types of general purposes: informative, persuasive, and ceremonial purposes. Though most speeches are tailored for a specific response for an audience, there are general purposes to consider. At times these purposes are not typically planned before the speech but rather considered based on a specific audience. Some may not think about what a speaker wants from an audience, just what an audience wants from a speaker. When thinking about informative purposes speakers hope to garner understanding from their audience members. Informative speeches seek to help listeners understand something they did not before, or to understand a topic better. After a speech, most speakers hope that their listeners will not only have heard something new but have learned something new. This focus on learning will help a speaker avoid topics that may be controversial because they are searching for topics to add to the listener’s knowledge. One of the most common general purposes are persuasive purposes. Persuasion envelops everyone in almost every aspect of life. Life, in general, pulls each person in many different directions and influences behavior. Similar to informative speeches, persuasive speeches want something from the audience. Persuasive speakers do not want the audience to understand, but aim to influence beliefs, values, and actions. It requires the speaker to give the audience good reasons to accept the speaker’s claims. Humans are not always easily persuaded, thus the challenge presented to every speaker. The third general purpose is ceremonial purpose. These occasions offer many opportunities: community building, honoring an individual, celebrating, or paying tribute to a lost loved one.


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