Speech Study Guide

Chapter Seven: Language, Style, and Listening

Objectives 1. Discuss what oral style is and its importance. 2. Know the different components or types of language. 3. Understand how to tailor language to a specific audience. 4. Differentiate between the components and types of listening and feedback. 5. Discuss why listening is important. 7.1 Styles Every speaker has a style regardless of the type of speech. Oral style refers to how people convey messages through spoken word. Effective oral styles differ greatly fromwritten styles, however when giving a speech, a speaker’s oral style is still more formal then everyday speech. The degree of formality required can be determined by the rhetorical situation (type, setting, and audience of the speech). In other words, a speaker should attempt to adapt their language to the purpose, the audience, and the occasion. Even if the situation is formal, a speaker must establish a relationship with the listener while reflecting a personal tone that encourages an audience to listen and respond accordingly to the speech and the speaker’s propositions. A speaker may use different types of language to convey style. When a speaker uses clear and appropriate speaking styles it can and will enhance a speaker’s ethos. Even the best of speeches can be undermined by poor stylistic choices. There are four primary characteristics that distinguish an effective oral style from an effective written style: • An effective oral style tends toward short sentences and familiar language. Audiences respond better to speeches they can understand the language of; if an audience has to look up definitions they are not likely to pay attention. • An effective oral style features plural personal pronouns. With the use of personal pronouns, such as “we,” “us,” or “our,” a sense of relationship is created with the audience. Personal pronouns also demonstrate a respect for the audience as participants in the rhetorical situation. The goal of the speaker is to create the perception of conversation with the audience, rather than presenting to or in front of the audience. • Effective oral style features descriptive words and phrases that appeal to the ear in ways that sustain listener attention and promote retention. Colorful adjectives and adverbs appeal to the senses. Rhetorical figures of speech capture the interests of the audience and motivate them to stay focused throughout the speech. • An effective oral style incorporates clear macro-structural elements. Typically, listeners only hear a speech once. As such, a speaker needs to intentionally articulate a preview of main ideas so listeners can place them firmly in their mind at the outset. Clear section transitions verbally signal when a speaker needs to move from one major idea to another.


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