The true test for this chapter is in the actual presentation of the speech. Like voice and diction, understanding what makes a speech effective without practice is insufficient. Merely knowing the best form for a golf swing is useless unless put into practice; and practice reinforces the knowledge. Comprehending the rules for driving on the road is moot (and/or dangerous) if the rules are not obeyed in practice. The same is true for this chapter. Practice speaking will make you a more effective speaker!
A speech is poetry: cadence, rhythm, imagery, sweep! A speech reminds us that words, like children, have the power to make dance the dullest beanbag of a heart. – Peggy Noonan
- Develop a list of ten potential speech topics. For each topic, think of a setting in which a speech on that topic might be delivered. Next, determine what type(s) of delivery (manuscript, memorized, impromptu, extemporaneous) would be most appropriate for the topic and setting.
- What three aspects of vocal delivery do you believe are most important to a speaker’s credibility? Explain.
- How might a speaker’s accent affect the audience’s perception of him or her? Illustrate your answer with an example.
- What guidelines did you find most useful in the section about what to wear for your speech?
- How do you perceive speakers who do not make eye contact with their audience? What suggestions would you give these speakers to improve their eye contact?
- What type of equipment is available in the space(s) where you plan to give your speeches? What kinds of presentations can be used with this type of equipment?
- List three methods you would personally use to reduce your anxiety before your speeches.
- What piece of advice from the chapter did you find most useful?
- Practice Inflection: Gather some children’s books (aimed at ages 6-10) and read them aloud in class. Practice the use of inflection to indicate the punctuation, the energy, and the characters. Do not be afraid to seem foolish. Remember that this is how most children learn to read and speak.
- Pronunciation: Bring in several books or publications of a variety of types and disciplines. Scan through the text and find words that are unusual. Look them up in an online dictionary and see how they are pronounced. This could be turned into a game of “stump the speaker” guessing how each word is pronounced. It can also be used to point out some simple yet often mispronounced words.
- Projection: Stand in as large a circle as possible. Each person has a partner across the room. Partners introduce each other and carry a conversation over the noise of others doing the same thing. Do not shout. Keep it going for a few minutes (it will be loud), then quiz the partners about the conversation they had.
- Find a partner and work on any of the “Try This” activities in the chapter.