Speech Study Guide

• Identify the goal and main points. Sometimes people’s thoughts are well organized and easy to follow. Other times, a listener must work to decode the speaker’s goal, main points, and some of the key details. Effective listeners ask, “What does the speaker want me to know or do?”, “What are each of the main points?”, and “What details explain or support each of the main points?”. • Ask questions. A question is a statement designed to clarify information or get additional details. Ethical listeners wait for the speech to conclude before asking questions. Some of these questions may eventually be answered; the ones that are not may be answered in a question and answer period, or guide a listener to research the question themselves. • Paraphrase silently. Paraphrasing is putting a message into a listener’s own words. • Observe nonverbal cues. Messages are interpretedmore accurately when observing nonverbal behaviors that accompany the words. One of the main responsibilities of a listener is to remember what a speaker had to say; this is the process of moving information from short-term to long-termmemory. Remembering may be difficult because listeners filter out information that does not appeal to the listener’s particular style. There are three techniques to improve memory: • Repeat the information. Repetition involves saying something mentally several times to help store information in long-term memory. • Construct mnemonics. A mnemonic device associates a special word or short statement with new and longer information. • Take notes. Note-taking is a powerful method for improving memory. It provides a written record that can be referred to later, and it allows the listener to take a more active role in the learning process. 7.8 Critique and Feedback When listening to a speech, listeners give critique to the speaker. Constructive critique is an evaluative response that identifies what was effective and what could be improved in a message. There are four guidelines to follow to give constructive critique: • Constructive critique statements need to be as specific as possible, referencing specific statements or points within the speech. If statements are too vague the speaker will not receive any constructive feedback. • Constructive critique statements begin with observations about what was effective or done well. Beginning with positive observations reinforces what the speaker did well. The goal of a critique is to help the speaker improve. • Constructive critique statements explain how and why the observed behavior affected the speech. Explaining critiques helps a speaker to understand how to improve. • Constructive critique statements are phrased as personal statements. The best constructive critiques are comprised of statements about a speech’s content, structure, and delivery. Content critique statements focus on the goal, main points, and supporting material used to develop them. Structure critique statements focus on the macrostructure (overall framework) and


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