Speech Study Guide

©2017 of 80 The first part of macrostructure is the introduction; introductions can be, and are, done in a multitude of ways. Typically, the most effective speeches begin with establishing common ground with an audience. Once this common ground is established, a speaker must be able to capture and hold an audience’s attention. The introduction also serves to outline the main points of the topic. The early minutes of a speech are important to establish credibility and appeal of a speaker. When a speaker establishes common ground, listeners tend to identify more with the speaker. Common ground may consist of sharing common values, problems, goals, or experiences. An audience who feels as though a speaker understands them is far more likely to respond positively to the speaker and their topic. Speakers may also choose to highlight the similarities between themselves and the audience. If a speaker is vastly different than a given audience, they may choose to focus on common goals of both the audience and speaker. Establishing common ground may help to engage the audience’s attention, making them eager to hear more. As with common ground, there are a plethora of ways to capture and maintain a listener’s attention. Telling an interesting story, whether it is emotional, humorous, puzzling, or intriguing, commands attention. Stories may be real or hypothetical and may reveal something of the speaker’s own personal experience. Rhetorical questions are also commonly used to help capture a listener’s attention. When a speaker asks a question, it is human nature to want to respond or listen for the answer, thus making rhetorical questions effective in maintaining an audience’s attention. A speaker may also use a memorable quotation or humor to capture attention. Orators, or speakers, must stress the relevance of their topic in order to maintain the attention of the audience. If an audience does not feel as though a speech is relevant to them, they will tune out. Audiences ask themselves, subconsciously or consciously, why they should care about what a speaker has to say. Effective orators take the time to establish the significance of their topic before delving into the body of the speech. In relation to relevance, a speaker establishes their credibility. When a speaker demonstrates expertise regarding their topic, this can be influential in establishing their credibility. Although credibility is ongoing throughout a speech, an introduction is especially critical to establish credibility. If an audience feels as though a speaker is not credible, no matter how important the speaker’s topic, the audience will not respond to the speech. Clarity of purpose and a thesis statement are vital to include in an introduction. A thesis statement is a single declarative statement that contains the central topic, purpose, and goal of a speech. Thesis statements should embody the idea a speaker wants their audience to understand and accept in order to accomplish a specific purpose. Purpose statements and thesis statements are directly related. A specific purpose leads a speaker to a thesis statement. A thesis statement should be clear and specific and encompass the overall point of the speech in one sentence. In essence, thesis statements should be focused and limited in their scope. There are common mistakes many people make with thesis statements. These include: • Writing thesis statements as a question or topical phrase • Not previewing the speech • Being too complex, resulting in difficulty following Achieve Test Prep Page 31

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