Glossary

Activity

The use of action words, physical or visual movement, or faster rate of speech to draw the audience’s attention.

Attention Getter

A device or technique used to gain the audience’s attention in the introduction or keep the audience’s attention during the course of a speech.

Contrast

An attention getting technique whereby supporting ideas are compared to emphasize difference.

Credibility

Refers to the audience’s perception of the speaker’s expertise, authenticity, and trustworthiness.

Definitional Speech

A type of speech in which the speaker attempts to explain or identify the essential qualities or components of concepts, theories, philosophies, or issues.

Demonstration Speech

A speech that shows listeners how some process is accomplished or how to perform it themselves.

Descriptive Speech

A speech that provides a detailed, vivid, word picture of a person, animal, place, or object.

Explanatory Speech

Also known as a briefing, the focus of this speech is on reports of current and historical events, customs, transformations, inventions, policies, outcomes, and options.

General Purpose

The speaker’s overall goal, objective, or intent: to inform, to persuade, or to entertain.

Humor

The use of amusing or comical facts, stories, or forms of expression to maintain an audience’s attention.

Information Overload

An overwhelming feeling of being faced with so much information one cannot completely process it.

Informative Speech

A speech in which the primary purpose is to provide the audience with information that they did not already know, or to teach them more about a topic with which they are already familiar.

Intensity

Supporting material that is characterized by a high degree of emotion, color, volume, strength, or other defining characteristic.

Novelty

Very recent or unusual supporting ideas.

WIIFM

An acronym that stands for “What’s in it for me?” This is the question that listeners ask themselves when they begin to listen to a speech. Listeners want to know; What does this speech have to do with my life? Is this information useful to me? Is the speaker talking about something I already know? Is the subject interesting? Why should I pay attention?