Speech Study Guide

subjected to the forces of life experiences, personal values, religious beliefs, political biases, and expectations for social behavior. A speaker cannot erase their past or present feelings. However, a speaker should strive to be fair-minded. Ethical speakers attempt to maintain an open mind and not avoid or screen out initial information that may challenge the opinions of the speaker. One of the more difficult challenges speakers fail to remember is that they need to be open to the fact that the research for a speech may take them to a different conclusion than what his/her initial thoughts were. If a speaker falls into subjectivity they allow their personal views and beliefs to speak for themselves versus being objective, which allows research and evidence to speak for itself. Finally, a speaker must take into account the audience to measure their own taste and judgment of content. With different audiences, some topics may be offensive while others may be acceptable. Although audience adaptation will be explored further in a later chapter, for the purposes of ethics it is simple: a speaker looks at the general make-up of their audience to judge if their topic and content are too controversial. If a topic is too controversial, the audience will shut down and not absorb what the speaker is trying to accomplish. A speaker uses their own taste to judge how content will be received. Within ethical considerations, ethical proofs are incorporated. Since ancient times, theorists have recognized three broad categories or “modes” of proof: ethos, pathos, and logos. Ethos, or ethical proofs, refer to an audience’s perception of credibility of the speaker and his/her sources. Ethos is constituted by trustworthiness, competence, open-mindedness, and dynamism. A speaker’s ethos is shaped by the content, structure, and clarity of speech. Ethos and ethics are not the same, but are closely related. People normally tend to believe others that they hold in high regard. Pathos refers to arguments that appeal to the emotions of the audience. By appealing to the emotions of the audience, the speaker may be better able to convince the audience of a specific argument. Logos is the notion of constructing arguments to support the point of view of the speaker by the use of reasoning. 1.3 Theoretical Considerations Participation in democratic governments is at its most effective when a speaker develops effective and responsible oratory skills. These skills have dated back to ancient times and are often referred to as the rhetorical tradition . The three traditions of scholarship and teaching that focus on the knowledge and skills necessary for democratic citizenship are: • The tradition of rhetorical theory that dates back to ancient Greece and Rome • The tradition of rhetorical criticism, which emphasizes the critical inquiry of public oration in all its multifarious forms • The tradition of historical studies, which focuses on the teachings that may be learned from speakers, speeches, social movements, and persuasive campaigns of the past These traditions help define the ethics of speech in a democratic society and the ethical rules that must be kept in mind during the speech-making process. In tandem with the rhetorical, the classical tradition suggests an approach to public speaking which emphasizes the character of the speaker and


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