Stand Up, Speak Out

Public speaking in the twenty-first century is an art and a science that has developed over millennia. In a world that is bombarded by information, the skill set of public speaking is more important today than ever. According to an address given by Tony Karrer at the TechKnowledge 2009 Conference, the New York Times contains more information in one week than individuals in the 1800s would encounter in a lifetime. Currently, the amount of information available to people doubles every eighteen months and is expected to double weekly by 2015. In a world filled with so much information, knowing how to effectively organize and present one’s ideas through oral communication is paramount.

From audience analysis to giving a presentation, Stand Up, Speak Out: The Practice and Ethics of Public Speaking will guide students through the speech-making process. We believe that it is important to focus on the practical process of speech making because we want this book to be a user-friendly guide to creating, researching, and presenting public speeches. While both classic and current academic research in public speaking will guide the book, we do not want to lose the focus of helping students become more seasoned and polished public speakers. We believe that a new textbook in public speaking should first, and foremost, be a practical book that helps students prepare and deliver a variety of different types of speeches.

In addition to practicality, we believe that it is important to focus on the ethics of public speaking from both a source’s and a receiver’s point of view. In 2006 Pearson, Child, Mattern, and Kahl examined the state of ethics in public speaking textbooks. Specifically, the researchers used the National Communication Association (NCA) Credo for Ethical Communication to guide their study of ethics in public speaking textbooks. Ultimately, the researchers focused on eight specific categories of public speaking ethics content areas: freedom of speech, honesty, plagiarism, ethical listening, ethical research, hate words, diversity, and codes of ethics. As a whole, the top ten public speaking books varied in their degrees of exposure to the various ethical issues. We believe that using the NCA Credo for Ethical Communication as the basis for discussing ethics within this book in addition to the latest research in ethics and communication will help students see how ethics can be applied to the public speaking context. The emphasis on ethics in communication is very important across the field, so a public speaking textbook that completely integrates ethical issues instead of sidelining them will be a welcome addition. All four of the coauthors on this text have conducted research on the topic of communication ethics and written about how ethics is important in every facet of our communicative lives.

Overall, we believe that the combination of practicality and ethics will present a new perspective on public speaking that will be welcomed by the field. We believe this book will be both intellectually stimulating and realistically applicable.


Karrer, T. (2009, January 29). New work literacies and e-learning 2.0. Presentation given at TechKnowledge-09, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Pearson, J. C., Child, J. T., Mattern, J. L., & Kahl, D. H., Jr. (2006). What are students being taught about ethics in public speaking textbooks? Communication Quarterly, 54, 507–521. doi: 10.1080/01463370601036689