Speech Study Guide

Chapter One: Ethical, Social, Demographic, and Theoretical Considerations of Public Speaking Objectives 1. Understand the ethical considerations and the five general standards: honesty, integrity, fairness, respect, and responsibility. 2. Discuss theoretical considerations, specifically rhetorical traditions, contemporary views, and classical views. 3. Apply social considerations in the speech setting. 4. Use activities to engage citizens. 1.1 Introduction to Public Speaking Public speaking, also termed oratory, is the process and act of speaking to a group of people in a structured, purposeful way in order to impart knowledge, influence, or entertain an audience. The audience may take many forms, some of which may include a group of coworkers, family members, or academia. Typically, one speaker is addressing an audience. Long revered as a civic right, public speaking has been shown to be essential for citizens of democratic civilizations to live a happy and fulfilling life. The advantages of public speaking are effective if citizens are able to engage in their right to speak in a public forum. This is known as civic engagement. Due to its empowering consequences, the ability and freedom to speak in public has advanced societies more than any other form of discourse. Effective public speaking gives a speaker confidence when dealing with important public issues. Such confidence can be witnessed in the conduction of business, public decision making, and in the acquisition and maintenance of power. Ancient civilizations saw the liberty of public speaking as a right, not a privilege, thus free speech is the hallmark of democracy. In addition to giving speakers confidence, public speaking empowers people to communicate ideas and opinions in a way that audience members can comprehend. An individual is more likely to share their opinions when they can express themselves clearly. Also, public speaking skills empower individuals to achieve career goals. One of the most sought-after skills of new recruits in a company is oral communication skills. Effective communication skills are a prerequisite for career success, or really, for success in any facet of one’s life. Public speaking is not only a defining characteristic of democratic societies throughout history, it is also one of the most ethically challenging. 1.2 Ethical Considerations Ethics reflect what individuals believe they should or should not think and do. Both the listener and the speaker expect the other to behave ethically. Generally, there are five collaborative ethical standards: honesty, integrity, fairness, respect, and responsibility. These standards are met in different ways.


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