Effective Public Speaking
Effective Public Speaking

Effective Public Speaking

Lead Author(s): George Griffin and Contributors

Student Price: $63.00

Designed to teach the skills and build the confidence your students need to become effective public speakers.

This content has been used by 6,007 students

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Top Hat has reimagined the textbook – one that is designed to improve student readership through interactivity, is updated by a community of collaborating professors with the newest information, and accessed online from anywhere, at anytime.

  • Top Hat Textbooks are built full of embedded videos, interactive timelines, charts, graphs, and video lessons from the authors themselves
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Key features in this textbook

Effective Public Speaking gives students the confidence and competence in preparing and presenting speeches with real student videos, a comprehensive glossary, up to five in-class activities per chapter, and a full chapter on controlling speech anxiety.
Using Bongo for Top Hat, students can practice their oral communication skills and get feedback from instructors or their peers.
Built-in assessment questions embedded throughout chapters so students can read a little, do a little, and test themselves to see what they know!

Comparison of Public Speaking Textbooks

Consider adding Top Hat’s Effective Public Speaking textbook to your upcoming course. We’ve put together a textbook comparison to make it easy for you in your upcoming evaluation.

Top Hat

George Griffin, Effective Public Speaking, Only one edition needed


Stephen Lucas, The Art of Public Speaking, 12th Edition


Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach, 9th Edition


Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking Handbook, 5th Edition


Average price of textbook across most common format


Accessible on any device for lifetime access


Hardcover print text only


Hardcover print text only


Hardcover print text only

Always up-to-date content, constantly revised by community of professors

Content meets standard for Introduction to Anatomy & Physiology course, and is updated with the latest content

In-Book Interactivity

Includes embedded multi-media files and integrated software to enhance visual presentation of concepts directly in textbook

Only available with supplementary resources at additional cost

Only available with supplementary resources at additional cost

Only available with supplementary resources at additional cost


Ability to revise, adjust and adapt content to meet needs of course and instructor

All-in-one Platform

Access to additional questions, test banks, and slides available within one platform


Average price of textbook across most common format

Top Hat

George Griffin, Effective Public Speaking, Only one edition needed


Accessible on any device for life


Stephen Lucas, The Art of Public Speaking, 12th Edition


Hardcover print text only


Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach, 9th Edition


Hardcover print text only


Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking Handbook, 5th Edition


Hardcover print text only

Always up-to-date content, constantly revised by community of professors

Constantly revised and updated by a community of professors with the latest content

Top Hat

George Griffin, Effective Public Speaking, Only one edition needed


Stephen Lucas, The Art of Public Speaking, 12th Edition


Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach, 9th Edition


Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking Handbook, 5th Edition

In-book Interactivity

Includes embedded multi-media files and integrated software to enhance visual presentation of concepts directly in textbook

Top Hat

George Griffin, Effective Public Speaking, Only one edition needed


Stephen Lucas, The Art of Public Speaking, 12th Edition


Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach, 9th Edition


Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking Handbook, 5th Edition


Ability to revise, adjust and adapt content to meet needs of course and instructor

Top Hat

George Griffin, Effective Public Speaking, Only one edition needed


Stephen Lucas, The Art of Public Speaking, 12th Edition


Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach, 9th Edition


Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking Handbook, 5th Edition

All-in-one Platform

Access to additional questions, test banks, and slides available within one platform

Top Hat

George Griffin, Effective Public Speaking, Only one edition needed


Stephen Lucas, The Art of Public Speaking, 12th Edition


Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach, 9th Edition


Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking Handbook, 5th Edition

About this textbook

Lead Authors

George Griffin, Professor of SpeechKeiser University

George Griffin earned his degrees at the University of West Florida and Auburn University. He has been teaching college, business seminars and workshops for over 30 years, while still doing public speaking engagements for non-profit organizations. Currently, he is serving as the Professor of Speech at Keiser University, Orlando, and as Adjunct Professor at Stetson University. George is also the author of “STAGE FRIGHT! A Student-Friendly Guide to Managing the Jitters.”

Contributing Authors

Wade CorneliusNew Mexico State University

Kathryn DederichsUniversity of St. Thomas

Morgan GintherInstructional Designer at Texas A & M

Luke GreenSt. Cloud Technical and Community College

María Elena BermúdezGeorgia State University

Daryle NaganoEl Camino College

Wendy YarberryFlorida State College at Jacksonville

Allen DavisIndiana University

Jasmine RobertsOhio State University

Krista MacDonaldDoña Ana Community College

Explore this textbook

Read the fully unlocked textbook below, and if you’re interested in learning more, get in touch to see how you can use this textbook in your course today.

Chapter 4: Professional Introductions and Conclusions

Retired Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Capt. Jim Lovell, and Capt. Gene Cernan​ receive a standing ovation during the conclusion of their discussion during the legends of aerospace tour. [1]
“Begin at the beginning," the King said, very gravely, "and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” 
- Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Table of Contents

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the importance of introductions and conclusions
  • Identify the five main parts of a speech
  • Learn the three goals of introductions
  • Learn the list of introduction techniques
  • Be able to write effective purpose statements and preview statements
  • Identify the five goals of conclusions
  • Learn the list of conclusion techniques
  • Be able to write effective introductions and conclusions

Getting Started

Lonnie walked to the front of the classroom to begin his speech. He twisted his body a few times while looking down at the floor, then looked at his professor in the back of the room. “Are you ready, sir?” he asked hesitantly. The professor nodded that he could start at any time. Lonnie looked around at all the students in the class, then back down at his feet. A few seconds later, he looked at the professor and asked for a second time, “So, are you ready for me to get started?” His professor assured him once again that, indeed, it was time to start.

Lonnie then looked at the video camera used to record and evaluate speeches and asked, “Is the camera ready?” The professor patiently explained that, “Yes, Lonnie. I am ready. The camera is ready. The audience is ready.”

Finally, Lonnie began to speak. “Okay, well, um, today I want to, uh, talk to you all about our school’s football team…”

When it comes to giving a speech, as well as many other challenges in life, sometimes the hardest part is just getting started. In this chapter, you will learn how to start your speeches and how to end them the way professional speakers do. Once you’ve learned the techniques, the speechwriting process is not quite so intimidating.

Why Worry About Introductions and Conclusions?

We have been trained all of our lives to look for recognizable beginnings and endings. We remember bedtime stories beginning with “Once upon a time…,” and ending with “…happily ever after.” We recognize the intro and outro of our favorite songs. Speeches are no different. Our audience expects us to smoothly begin and effectively end our presentations. In many ways, the introduction and conclusion can mean the success or failure of the speech. Consider the primacy effect and the recency effect.

The primacy effect means that we tend to remember and be influenced by the information we received first. When you meet someone new, what is the first impression you get? It is often said that in a job interview, the hiring decision is made within the first 15 seconds – how applicants walk into the room and present themselves being the major factor.

The recency effect would seem to counteract that concept, by stressing that we tend to remember and be influenced by the information we received last. But when both effects are in place, it becomes obvious that we need to start our speeches strong and end them even stronger. In this chapter, we will examine the structure of the major parts of the speech, the goals of an effective introduction, followed by recommended techniques to accomplish those goals. Then we will learn the goals and effective techniques for constructing impactful conclusions.

Structure of the Speech

Most everyone knows the three main parts of a speech: the introduction, body, and conclusion. But actually, there are five important parts to the speech: the introduction, the purpose statement, the preview statement, the body, and the conclusion. Do you know how much of your speech should be devoted to each of these sections?


Approximately what percentage of a speech do you think should be dedicated to the introduction?


5 to 10%


10 to 15%


15 to 20%


20 to 25%

The general rule of thumb is that an introduction should take approximately 10% to 15% of the entire presentation. You can do the simple math in your head – if you are expected to deliver a 10 minute speech, your introduction should be 60 to 90 seconds. In many speech classes, the speeches are half that length, around 5 minutes, so the introduction is also half that length, from 30 to 45 seconds. No matter how long a presentation is, this simple rule applies. Is your speech 20 minutes long ? The introduction should be two to three minutes. An hour-long presentation? Nothing wrong with spending six to nine minutes on introductory material.

The conclusion, on the other hand, is about half as long as the introduction, or roughly 5% to 10% of the speech. So for the ten minute speech, develop 30 to 60 seconds for the conclusion. For the five minute speech, roughly 15 to 30 seconds is appropriate. In a twenty minute speech, the conclusion would be about one to two minutes. An hour long speech? Devote three to six minutes for the ending. The combination of the introduction and conclusion, therefore, takes up to 25% of the speech, leaving roughly 75% for the body.

Positioned between the introduction and the body are the two lesser known parts of the speech, the purpose statement and the preview statement, sometimes known as the partition. These consist of only one sentence each, and the sentences are short, concise, and always positioned between the introduction and the body.


The purpose statement of your speech should always be phrased as a question to your audience.





Writing Effective Introductions

In order to appreciate how introductions work, we need to first explain the goals we are trying to accomplish, followed by the professional techniques to use.

Introduction Goals

There are three main goals we are trying to accomplish in an introduction:

The first goal, grabbing the audience’s attention, might seem pretty easy. After all, when you step up in front of the class and start talking, won’t they automatically start listening to you? No. You need to earn their attention. Consider that every student in your class has some priority on their mind – usually their own speech! If they are scheduled to speak after you, they are probably nervously looking over their speaking notes as you are beginning. If they have already spoken prior to your speech, they are probably replaying their speech in their heads, reviewing their own successes and failures. In either case, you are not their priority!

Outside of speech class, audience members may not be thinking about giving a speech, but they still have their own personal life priorities weighing on their minds. Your job as a speaker is to get them to set their own concerns aside for just a few minutes and give you their attention. This is a definite challenge, but one you will learn to overcome.

As a second goal, consider the introduction as the relationship-building portion of your speech. You are introducing yourself as well as your topic to your listeners. Establishing goodwill simply means that you want to appear likeable. You want to be friendly, perhaps smiling, not offensive, abrasive or off-putting, so that listeners will want to know more about you and hear what you have to say.

Establishing rapport means that you are beginning a comfortable relationship with your audience, particularly by beginning the “give and take” between you. This might be accomplished by soliciting feedback in the form of a laugh from the audience, raised hands, spoken responses to your questions, or even simple nods of agreement to something you mentioned in your opening lines. The process of encoding and decoding (as explained in Chapter 1) has begun, as you attempt to break down barriers and grow closer to your listeners.

Establishing credibility in the introduction is a little different from citing research sources and evidence to support your positions; that will all come later in the speech. In the introduction, our goal is to let the audience know why we have chosen to speak on this particular topic – what is your special interest or involvement or knowledge of the topic at hand? What particular insights do you have into this topic that the rest of us do not? For example, depending on your speech topic, if your father taught you woodworking when you were young, or your grandmother taught you a secret family soup recipe, telling us about those experiences establishes your personal credibility. Some other members in the audience may also know something about woodworking or making soup, but they didn’t have your experiences.

Credibility should be established subtly, rather than in a heavy-handed way. For example, the captain of the college basketball team gave a speech that began with:

Click here to see the script for Video 4.01.

Now, did he have credibility? Absolutely. But by telling us how good he was in this manner, he basically destroyed his goodwill with the audience. The class was rolling their eyes and snickering about how much he loved himself. Suppose he had established his credibility in this way:

Click here to see the script for Video 4.02.

In this way, he establishes his credibility and his goodwill. Be careful not to turn your audience off by sounding like you’re bragging.

The third major goal is to lead the audience into your topic. In its simplest form this means that when you have finished your fully developed introduction and told the audience your purpose statement, they should be thinking, “Yeah, that’s what I thought this speech was going to be about.” Your introduction should not mislead the audience and then jar them when you reveal the true purpose of the speech. One student began her introduction by telling the audience about how Alzheimer’s disease had affected Ronald Reagan in his later years, and perhaps might have affected him while he still was serving as president. We were surprised when she then told us, “My purpose tonight is to inform you about the career of Ronald Reagan. We will start with his early years as a Hollywood actor, then look at his tenure as governor of California, and finally examine his eight years as President of the United States.” The audience was a little taken aback; yes, the introduction talked about Reagan, but we were sure the speech would’ve been more directed toward informing us about Alzheimer’s.

A classic classroom example came when a student gave a persuasion speech which opened like this:

Click here to see the script for Video 4.03.

The audience couldn’t help but laugh at that sudden change in direction that left them all puzzled. Actually, the student almost got it right. Just a little more development and it would’ve been a great introduction. He meant to go through the whole story as written, right up to discovering the raccoon knocking over the trash, but then say:

Click here to see the script for Video 4.04.

Had he just completed the concept, he would have had a very successful and effective introduction. Be sure to take advantage of that whole 10% to 15% to fully develop the introduction in order to accomplish all of the goals.

Now that you understand the goals we are trying to accomplish in a well-written introduction, the question becomes,”How can I do all that stuff?” Next we will learn a list of 13 different techniques used by professional speakers to grab attention, build a relationship with the audience, and lead them into the topic.


Which is the most important goal of a good speech introduction?


Grab the audience's attention


Establish rapport


Create goodwill


Show credibility

Professional Introduction Techniques

1. A Reference to the Occasion. This does not mean a reference to a time in the past, such as the day your grandmother taught you that secret recipe, but rather it refers to why you and the audience have gathered together, the occasion that is taking place in the ‘here and now.’ For example, if you attend a ceremony on Martin Luther King Day, it would be very common for the speaker to begin by mentioning that it is, indeed, Martin Luther King Day. If you attend a Veteran’s Day commemoration, the speaker might begin by mentioning that you’ve all gathered for Veteran’s Day. You can use this same technique in your classroom speeches, by commenting on the assignment of the day. If the assignment is to do a controversial persuasive speech, you might begin by mentioning that you had a hard time finding just the right topic that you felt strong enough to take a stand and advocate. This tends to work as an attention-getter because all the other students in the class probably went through the same struggle in topic selection as they prepared for this particular occasion.

2. A Reference to the Audience (by name or in general). You have probably attended a formal speech where the speaker begins by recognizing certain members of the audience by name ("It’s good to see you this morning, Dr. Jones. Glad to have you here today, Professor Smith,” etc.) We can do the same thing in our classroom speeches, by making specific references to other members in the class. For example, if you are the seventh speaker of the day, it would not be a bad idea to mention the names of some of the speakers that went before you, such as, “I’m sure you noticed how Vince prepared his speech about an environmental issue. And Maria decided to go more into a political discussion. And Crystal actually jumped into some of the religious controversies of the day. Well, my speech will go in a totally different direction than some of the current events that have been discussed so far…” By using this approach, you will definitely see Vince, Maria and Crystal look up and listen when they hear their names mentioned. And others in the room are also perked up as they listen to hear if you are going to mention them, too.

But a more popular way to use the reference to the audience is to bring up something that everyone in the audience has in common. The more you know about your audience, the better this can work for you. If you have an older audience, perhaps a group of retirees, you could safely ask, “I’ll bet you can all remember watching the Ed Sullivan show on Sunday nights, especially those nights when the Beatles or the Rolling Stones performed.” If you mention that concept to a younger audience, they will be lost unless they have watched it on YouTube. In your classroom, consider all the things you already know about the people in your audience. You know they are all college students. You know they have all gone through the registration process at your particular college, walked around the same campus, perhaps eaten in the same cafeteria or stayed in the same dorms. By looking around the class, you can determine the age bracket. They are all, at least temporarily, living in the same geographic location. Knowing all this, it is not too hard to find some common experience that you and the audience have shared. This technique draws you and the audience together, helping to establish that all-important rapport.


Imagine you need to present a speech to a group of local entrepreneurs. What references to the audience could you use? Write at least one example below.

3. A Reference to the Speaker (yourself). By and large, we are very nosy people. Consider the popularity of reality TV shows, or the placement of celebrity gossip magazines near the grocery store check-out lines. We are intrigued by getting a peek into someone else’s life. You will notice that when you talk about yourself to an audience in more general terms, you will receive polite and respectful attention. However, when you tell something truly personal or revealing about yourself, you will note how the audience gets silent and listens intently. Revealing something about yourself can be a great tool for establishing your credibility and, if in the process you make yourself appear vulnerable by revealing something private, there is a bond created between you and the audience. It is as if the audience feels, ”you must really trust us to share that with us.”

This does not mean that you are encouraged to tell every audience every intimate detail of your personal life, but there are times when it might be appropriate to open up. Recently, a student was paying tribute to her father in front of the class, and explained that her mother had died two weeks before Christmas. She told us how she wanted to drop out of school and just curl up in the fetal position and cry. But her father would not let her do that, and helped her go on with life while learning to live with her loss. The classroom was utterly silent as she spoke.

4. A Reference to Literature. At first glance, a reference to literature can sound stuffy and boring. You might think of Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter sonnets, the poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, or perhaps lifting a passage from one of the 3000 pages of Norton’s Anthology. But if you widen the definition of literature, you may realize that you use these references all the time in general conversation. When you mention the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz, Jack Bauer from 24, Walter White from Breaking Bad, or Christian Grey from Fifty Shades of Grey, these are all literature references. When you use quotes ranging from “We don’t need no stinkin’ badges” (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre), “Say hello to my little friend” (Scarface), “I’ll be back” (Terminator), or even “Yabba Dabba Do” (The Flintstones), you are referring to literature.

If you can find a passage in a book, a scene in a movie or TV show, or a song lyric that ties in with your topic, you can develop a creative introduction. You can quote, paraphrase, or describe the characters or scenes, explaining how they relate to your message.

Here is a sample of former President Obama using a reference to the movie The Departed to explain his relationship with Congress: 


Suppose you were writing a speech about the history of baseball. List three different references to literature that you might consider in your introduction.

5. (Safe) Questions to the Audience. Asking questions of the audience is an effective way to trigger a response, building the rapport between you and your listeners. You can ask rhetorical questions, in which you are not really asking for an answer out loud, but more inviting the audience to think about the question. You can ask for hands to be raised in response to your question, or, you can ask overt-response questions, which are designed to elicit an immediate response, out loud, from your listeners. But in all cases, ask “safe” questions.

A safe question is one that, no matter how it is answered, will not throw you off track in your speech.

It is often said that a good lawyer will not ask a question of a witness unless they already know what the answer will be, eliminating surprises. You don’t need to take it that far, but always ask questions that will allow you to keep control. For example, if you are speaking about cutbacks in school athletic budgets, which are restricting students who would like to play team sports but can’t afford the fees or the cost of uniforms, you could ask your audience the following questions:

Click here to see the script for Video 4.06.

The key is the speaker didn’t know in advance how many hands would go up, or what sports would be mentioned, but that doesn’t matter. As long as some hands go up, and some sports are mentioned, the speech stays on track; and with the size of a typical class of speech students, the odds are in your favor that those are safe questions.

Asking open-ended overt-response questions, on the other hand, could be a recipe for disaster. In one case, a student asked where the audience was on September 11, 2001. What the speaker didn’t realize was that one woman in the audience was a first responder in New York on 9/11. When she answered the speaker’s question, the entire audience turned to her for more details. The speech was essentially lost.

Remember, however, that one of the goals of the introduction is to lead the audience into the topic you are presenting. The use of the question is not just to get a response; as such, your questions should directly relate to the topic at hand to bring the listeners closer to the specific subject matter of the speech.

6. Quotations. In general, the best quotations are those that are unfamiliar to the audience. If the quotes are so familiar that the audience can recite them along with the speaker, they will not ignite interest. But quotes that make us think, “Really? So-and-so said that?” can grab an audience.

A favorite example came from a student delivering a demonstration speech on how to make home-brewed beer. He brought his equipment, the ingredients, and explained the process from start to finish. He opened his speech by saying:

Click here to see the script for Video 4.07.

Let’s pause our list of attention-getters long enough to clarify the need for full development of the introduction. If the student had used the above Franklin quote and then went directly to his purpose statement, “Tonight I’m going to demonstrate how to make home-brewed beer,” this would definitely not fill up 10 – 15% of the entire speech. It would barely fill 10 seconds. So is the answer to find a longer quote for the opener? No. The answer is to combine two or three different techniques into one complete, unique introduction. As an example, just reviewing the six techniques already discussed, the speaker could combine the quote with a safe question to the audience, followed by a reference to the speaker, and it would sound like this:

Click here to see the script for Video 4.08.

Search for ways to combine techniques that make your introduction different from anyone else’s.

7. Anecdotes. An anecdote is a short, but true, story that describes an incident and has a particular point to make when done. Despite the advice given in the above paragraph about combining techniques, an anecdote is an introduction technique that could be developed enough to stand alone and still meet all of the goals. An excellent example of this story-telling technique was this informative speech:

Click here to see the script for Video 4.09.

As you can see, a well-developed anecdote can take you right up to the purpose statement and preview statement, leading you right into the body of the speech.

8. The Imaginary Setting. The idea of a well-written and well-delivered imaginary setting is that the audience could forget they are sitting in a speech classroom and get totally engrossed in the scene being described. (The example used earlier about the raccoon knocking over the trash was an example of the imaginary setting.) This technique actually blends quite well with a brief anecdote. The story of Troy above was true, but it could be adapted as an imaginary setting like this: “Think back to when you were just a kid, going to school for the first time. How would you feel if this happened to you…?” The technique could be left here as the imaginary setting, or could shift to the anecdote by explaining, “Well, this is exactly what happened to a young boy named Troy…”

One creative student decided to invite her class to leave the confines of the classroom and join her on a ride to the beach:

Click here to see the script for Video 4.10.

While everyone in the class was pretending to drive along with her, she described a pickup truck full of kids pulling in front of them. She had everyone in the class waving at the imaginary kids, when suddenly, the truck hit a pothole in the road and the kids began to fly up in the air. At this point, two things happened all around the classroom – students began to swerve their imaginary steering wheels, and their feet starting moving as if coming off the gas and reaching for the brakes. One thing was obvious; the audience had forgotten they were sitting in speech class, and were completely involved in the imaginary story.

9. The Startling Statement. The idea of the startling statement is to say an opening line that shocks the audience enough to make them stop and wait for what comes next. The speaker creates an instant anticipation, with the audience waiting for the speaker to go on.

One student, for instance, had baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies for the class and was sitting in front of the room with her tin of still warm cookies, offering one to each student as they arrived. Needless to say, they were appreciated and disappeared quickly. But a little while later, the student got up to deliver her persuasion speech and said:

Click here to see the script for Video 4.11.

A few students started to giggle nervously; one student bravely said, “Well, whatever it was, they were good!” But everyone was waiting for her to go on and assure them that the cookies were safe (which they were).

You need to make sure, of course, that the startling statement is directly related to the topic to be presented. One creative student walked to the front of the room, paused, and shouted, “SEX!” He paused as everyone stopped and waited. “Now that I have everyone’s attention, let’s talk about the upcoming election…” Although he got a good laugh from the class, it didn’t really pull the audience into the topic very effectively.

10. Statistics. This technique seems almost counterproductive, as most people consider statistics to be dull and boring. So how can a speaker use something that is inherently boring as an attention-getter? Two rules must be followed to use statistics effectively: 

  • Round off the numbers so people will remember them
  • Create a mental picture of the statistics. (Statistics can also be a strong form of supporting material in the body of your speech, as we will discuss further in Chapter 8.)

In a speech regarding the law in Florida that prevents ex-felons from voting without the governor’s approval, the following example was used:

Click here to see the script for Video 4.12.

Everything in the above example is true, but the numbers were rounded off to make them easier for audience members to grasp and remember them.

When Ronald Reagan was president, he had the nickname “The Great Communicator,” as he was very effective at getting his message across. In the following clip taken from a Reagan State of the Union address, see how effectively he illustrates the concept of a trillion dollars of debt by both rounding it off and creating a picture in the mind (watch the video here from 2:24 mark to 2:55).

Or watch how Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream magnate, Ben Cohen, successfully combines the rounded off, if slightly outdated, statistics and the visualization effect in his Oreo cookie video.

11. Relate the Topic to the Audience. Audiences are rarely rude enough to ask out loud, but in the back of their mind is the nagging question, “Why should I be listening to this speech?” As speakers, we often feel the audience has an obligation to listen to us, and they are being disrespectful if they don’t. But it is our responsibility as speakers to make the audience want to listen.

All of the attention-getting techniques on this list are, in a way, trying to win over the audience by explaining why they should listen to your speech. But sometimes the best way to do that is to clearly and directly explain why this topic applies directly to these particular listeners. An audience of 18 to 20 year old college students might not have much interest in a speech about restructuring the Social Security system. But if the speaker points out that the Social Security system is in danger of running out of money in about 40 years – about the same time the audience will be thinking about retiring – they may realize this issue is not just for retirees, but it affects them as well.

One young woman in class had designed a speech to demonstrate how to apply makeup. She assumed that most of the women in the audience would be interested to see if she used different products or styling techniques, but how to gain the interest of the men in the class? She creatively designed the introduction aimed at drawing in the men:

Click here to see the script for Video 4.13.

Now, instead of being bored, the men in the class were thinking, “Oh, cool. We’re gonna get to see some secret stuff.” By relating the topic to the audience effectively you can draw in everyone in the crowd.

12. Arouse Curiosity. Have you ever been reading a novel late at night, telling yourself that you will go to bed when you finish reading this one chapter? But just as you get to the end, there is a twist in the storyline and you think, “Oh – well, maybe just one more chapter before bed...” Next thing you know you are still reading well into the night. That’s the power of arousing curiosity.

We can do the same thing in our introductions, making the audience wonder, “Where in the world are you heading with this?” Of course, when you get to the purpose statement and reveal the topic, it should all make sense.

One student carried a large shopping bag to the front of the room, filled with props for her demonstration speech. But rather than unpack and organize her supplies, she jumped right into her introduction by asking the audience:

Click here to see the script for Video 4.14.

Of course the class laughed, knowing they’d been lured in, but they gave undivided attention and were fully engaged.

13. Humor. There is an old school of thought about public speaking that a speech should always start off with a joke. This is an outdated concept. While the use of humor is indeed a perfectly good approach, which is why it is on the list of 13, it is listed last because there is no obligation to ever use it.

Some people are just not that adept at telling jokes, especially when they are a little nervous. Have you ever told a joke that you thought was great, but no one laughed? And with the sound of crickets echoing in your head, you want to go hide? Not a very powerful way to start a speech. Luckily, we have 12 other ways listed above to open our presentations, so it’s not necessary to use this one unless you feel very confident with it. And frankly, not every speech topic should begin with a laugh. Make sure the topic and the tone of your speech are appropriate for an opening laugh. You wouldn’t want to tell a joke at the beginning of a speech about date rape, for example.

But if you have an appropriate joke or humorous story that you want to start with, practice it over and over in front of friends. Make sure you have the timing right and make sure you can deliver the punch line effectively. Then boldly go for it!

Common Introduction Pitfalls

Don’t start by announcing your topic. Never start by saying, “Today my speech will be about…” Always develop the introduction, using the list of techniques, and lead your audience up to the topic, not completely revealing it until the purpose statement.

Don’t start with unnecessary filler words. Start strong, and avoid things like, “Okay, um, well uh, like all right…” Take a breath, pause, and say your opening lines the way you planned them.

Don’t start with an apology. Don’t tell an audience about the weaknesses in your speech. Never say things like, “I really didn’t have time to prepare for today…” or “I meant to bring some pictures for you today but I forgot them…” You lose credibility through apologies, and gain nothing. Remember, the audience doesn’t know what you had planned to do, so they don’t know what you forgot to do.

Don’t start with cliché openings. Clichés are tired old phrases that you have heard people use a hundred times. “I’m not really very good at public speaking…” or “Speaking off the top of my head…” or “A funny thing happened on my way here…” Start with a fresh, new line that sounds original and sincere.

Don’t introduce the introduction. Many beginning speakers will say things like, “Let me start by telling you a story…” or “I would like to start by telling you a quote from one of my favorite authors…” Rather than telling us what you are going to do, just do it! Start the story, or start the quote without any preface.

Save the body for the body. Beginning speakers have a tendency to start making all their arguments or main point in the introduction. A speaker who is advocating the legalization of marijuana, for example, might say, “No one has ever died from an overdose of marijuana. It’s much safer than alcohol or cigarettes. If fact, it has a lot of medical benefits….” Remember, all you are hoping to do in the introduction is to grab our attention, build a relationship with the audience, and lead us into the topic. That’s all. Save all the main points for the body.

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Time to Practice!

To develop your comfort and competence in public speaking, you will want to become fluent in using these different techniques. One way to do this is to simply think of a possible topic for a potential speech, then go down the list above creating a different opening for each technique. For example, suppose you were considering a speech about playing baseball. You might come up with:

Reference to the occasion: “I was having a difficult time coming up with a good topic for today’s speech. My nephew, who just started playing Little League, kept begging me to come out and play catch with him, but I told him, no, I really need to work on this speech! He kept pleading with me to come out and teach him how catch a ground ball – and that’s when it hit me…”

Reference to the audience: “I’ll bet everyone in here, at one time or another, has stepped up to the plate and tried to hit a ball with a bat. It might have been whiffle ball as a little kid, a softball game at summer camp, stickball in the streets of Philadelphia, or maybe even your high school baseball team. Remember those days?”

Reference to the speaker: “I remember the first time I ever played in a real baseball game. I was put in right field, since I was just a beginner...”

Reference to literature: “Do you remember that wonderful moment in the movie A League of Their Own, when Tom Hanks said, ‘There’s no crying in baseball!’ “

By using this practice of trying one technique after another, you will come up with some wonderful ideas and some awful ideas. You will love some, and be embarrassed by others. When you find the right combination to develop that perfectly unique opening, you will start looking forward to sharing the introduction with the audience. The more you use these approaches, the better your introductions will become.

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Pick a topic, and use your favourite techniques to come up with a possible opening.

The Purpose Statement and Preview Statement

After you have developed the complete introduction, now is the time to insert those two all-important sentences – the purpose statement and the preview statement. These are the sentences that tell the audience precisely what you are trying to accomplish and what will be included in the speech.

At this point, many students may be a bit confused. A common question is, “If these two sentences tell the audience what the speech is about and what is included in the speech, wouldn’t I have already covered that with the introduction? Isn’t that what I was doing during that opening 10% to 15% of the speech?”

Not exactly. Remember, the goals of the introduction are simply to grab attention, build a relationship with the audience, and lead them into the topic. Now is when you get specific as you reveal the details of your speech.

The purpose statement is designed to clearly state both the general and specific purpose of the speech in one brief statement. Keep it simple – this is much easier than it sounds. For example, what is the general purpose of a speech to inform? In broad terms, the purpose is simply to inform the audience about something. What is the general purpose of a speech to persuade? Again, in general you are planning to persuade or convince an audience on some topic.

So our purpose statement should clearly state that. “Tonight, my goal is to inform you about…,” or “Today I hope to convince you to…” Whatever the specific subject you wish to inform or persuade us about is the specific purpose of the speech. In other words, the specific purpose is the goal or desired outcome of the speech. If, for example, you are going to demonstrate to the class how to make homemade bars of soap, you might say, “Today I’m going to teach you (general purpose) how to make soap at home (specific purpose).

While this is similar to the thesis statement you might write for an essay in English Composition, a purpose statement is much more direct. Realize that in an essay, the reader has the luxury of going back and rereading the introduction if they missed it the first time. In oral communication, though, the audience only has one chance to catch your purpose so make sure it stands out clearly.

The preview statement, or partition, tells the audience what the main points of your speech will be, letting them know your agenda to make it easier for them to follow along. The preview statement always comes immediately after the purpose statement. In the example above of making soap, the complete purpose statement/preview combination might look like this:

Click here to see the script for Video 4.15.

The reason the preview statement is often referred to as the partition is that it serves as a divider – since you have already done the introduction, followed by the purpose statement/preview combination, you have completed all introductory material and are now ready to move into the body.

Writing Effective Conclusions

Just like we did when learning how to write effective introductions, let’s learn how to write effective conclusions by first reviewing the goals you are trying to accomplish, and then go over a list of techniques you can use.


One of the reasons a strong conclusion is so important is that the audience tends to remember the last thing they saw or heard. This is known as the _____ effect.

Conclusion Goals

Even though the conclusion is only about half as long as the introduction, that doesn’t make it any less important. Remember the recency effect – these are the closing moments of your speech, when you are trying to leave a strong lasting impression. In fact, we have even more things to accomplish in the conclusion than we did in the introduction in half the time.

The first goal, to signal the end of the speech, is simply a way to prepare the audience by indicating to them that you are about to wrap up the presentation. The audience should never be surprised by a sudden and abrupt ending, so forewarn them. The easiest way to do this is to start the conclusion by saying, “In conclusion…” or, “In summary…” or even, “So let’s take a look at what we’ve learned today…” Anything that lets the audience understand that you are winding down.

One word of caution – take care to never use these expressions anywhere in your speech except at the beginning of the actual conclusion. If you are finishing up one of your main points in the body and you say, “So in conclusion” or, “To sum this all up…” your audience will be confused and think the speech is over.

Establishing a sense of closure, or completeness, means to make sure you have answered all the questions you raised during the speech, and dotted all the “i’s” and crossed all the “t’s.” There should be no loose ends when you are finished.

Part of that completeness is to have a closing line that clearly identifies the end of the speech – there should be no doubt in the audience’s mind when they hear the last words that the speech is over. This is often referred to as the clincher, that last sentence or phrase that puts the finishing touch on the speech with a lasting impact.

Regarding leaving a positive impression of yourself, this is the counterpart of establishing goodwill in the introduction. Consider that the introduction was a way of establishing a positive relationship with the audience. The conclusion should solidify that relationship. In the same way that you began the speech with a friendly manner, end the same way so that the audience feels on friendly terms with you. It is seldom a good idea, for example, to end the speech shouting at the audience, as the audience might misinterpret where your anger is directed and feel distanced from you.

Often, an audience can get distracted and lose the flow and the intention of a speech. That’s why we need to reinforce the central idea of a speech. When you look at your speech overall, what is that one message that you want the audience to take home with them? If someone asked some of your audience members what your speech was about, what do you hope they will recall? Drive that point home in the conclusion so no one misses it.

And finally, one conclusion goal that is often overlooked is to leave the audience in the right mood. Consider that you have been controlling the mood of the room during your entire speech. You have tried to elicit feeling from them through your examples, stories, illustrations, etc. How do you want them to feel when you go sit down? Should they be excited? Contemplative? Somber? Imagine yourself saying your closing lines, finishing your speech and returning to your seat – what should the tone in the room be? Should they feel motivated? Challenged? Ready to volunteer? Now, plan on ending your speech on that note.


At the beginning of the conclusion, it is recommended to say something like, "In conclusion," "In summary," or "Let's take a look at what we've gone over today..." Phrases like these help accomplish the conclusion goal of __________ .

Professional Conclusion Techniques

Much like you should keep the 13 different Introduction Techniques handy for use in all of your speeches, this list of nine Conclusion Techniques will allow you to end your speeches effectively. Put this list in your toolbox, too!

1. Summarize the Key Points. As you will learn in Chapter 5, the body of your speech will be broken out strategically into several main points. When you reach the conclusion, a simple technique is to review and remind the audience of what those main points were. For example, a student from Uruguay, after informing the class about his home country, ended by saying:

Click here to see the script for Video 4.16.

It is sometimes said that in Public speaking we “tell them what we are going to tell them, then we actually tell them, and then we tell them what we just told them.” In a sense, when you consider the purpose statement and preview, followed by the body, and then the summary in the conclusion, we must plead guilty. But remember, this is the spoken word, not the written word. In an essay, that type of redundancy would be criminal. But in oral communication, repetition is reinforcement. Use it to drive home your central ideas.

2. Make a Prediction. Making a prediction at the end of your speech is not the same as predicting the future. You don’t need to bring out your Ouija board or Tarot cards. All this really means is, based on the information you just presented to the audience, what is going to come next?

For example, suppose you just taught your audience how to make a delicious dessert. You could predict, “So the next time your family gets together for a potluck dinner, if you bring this amazing dessert I’ll guarantee everyone will be asking you for the recipe. But let’s keep it our secret as to how easy it is to make.”

3. Quotations. This is one of several techniques that can be used either in the introduction or in the conclusion, or even in both. The same guidelines apply – look for unfamiliar quotes that reinforce the points you are trying to make with your speech. Well-known quotes can sound trite, but the unfamiliar quotes indicate that you did a little digging to find just the right words to close with, and they give your speech a sense of finality. For example, you could end with, 

Click here to see the script for Video 4.17.

but your audience members probably know that quote so well they could finish the quote for you. You could bring your speech to a close more effectively by using one of Kennedy’s more obscure quotes, such as: 

Click here to see the script for Video 4.18.

4. Anecdotes. Much like an effective anecdote can grab an audience’s attention in the introduction, a brief anecdote (a short, but true, story that describes an incident and has a particular point to make when done) at the end could effectively reinforce the main ideas of the speech in a way that the audience will remember.

If the speech topic is “the importance of a college education,” for example, the speaker might end by saying, 

Click here to see the script for Video 4.19.

5. (Safe) Questions to the Audience. Again, just like the questions in an introduction need to be “safe” questions, you don’t want to ask questions at the end that will cause you to lose control of the situation. After all, you’re almost done! Stay in charge until the very end. You can ask rhetorical questions that don’t require an out-loud answer, or hand-raising questions, such as, “Now that you see how easy it is to make this recipe, how many of you would be willing to try this at home?” Overt-response questions may not be your best choice, as they may alter your carefully planned ending or cause you to go longer than you’d planned. In short, ask questions that leave you in your comfort zone so you can end with confidence and finality.

6. Make a Reference Back to the Introduction. This is often a favorite technique because it can accomplish so many of the conclusion goals smoothly and effectively. The concept is simple – which of the 13 different introduction techniques did you use to open the speech? A statistic? A literature reference? An imaginary setting? Whichever technique you used, that idea probably only appeared in the introduction and wasn’t mentioned again in the body. So when you reach the conclusion, bring your speech full circle by reminding us of how you opened.

Earlier in the chapter, while learning how to use anecdotes to grab attention in the introduction, there was an anecdote about a young boy named Troy who struggled with dyslexia. That was a true story, but Troy was not mentioned again in the body of the speech. When the speaker got to the conclusion, he said:

Click here to see the script for Video 4.20.

The speaker made a conscious choice – he could have told us in the introduction that Troy was his son, and it would have established his credibility on the subject. But instead he held that information until the conclusion and pretty much met every conclusion goal with that simple revelation. By bringing back the story to finish, he signaled that he was ending, as well as gave us a sense of completeness. As for the positive impression of the speaker, when the class learned he was talking about his own son, everyone thought he must be a great dad to be that involved with his son’s education. The conclusion reinforced the central idea that dyslexia can be overcome and students can still be successful. And as for leaving us in the right mood, the whole room felt warm and fuzzy at the end.

7. The Dramatic Statement. This conclusion technique serves somewhat as the counterpart to the startling statement in the introduction; while the startling statement causes the audience to want to hear more, the dramatic statement leaves the audience feeling there is nothing more to say. You might think of the dramatic statement as the “Nailed it” or the “Drop the Mic” moment – you’ve said all there is to say, such as, “Since I started this speech, approximately 51 people have died due to smoking. Let’s stop this madness.”

8. An Appeal or Challenge. This technique is used when the speaker wants to stir the audience into action, to get them to do something about the topic that has just been presented. Ask for a commitment or challenge them to become involved. For example:

Click here to see the script for Video 4.21.


Click here to see the script for Video 4.22.

9. Humor. Much like in the introduction, the use of humor can be an effective way to wrap up a speech. You still need to practice the attempt at humor to make sure you have the timing down right, and that your attempt at humor is really funny. But realize that not every speech should be ended with a laugh. Consider goal number five of conclusions – Leave the audience in the right mood. You don’t want to inform your audience about a devastating famine and then end with a joke. Only use humor in your conclusion if it is in keeping with the tone of the speech in general. But if used appropriately, this can be an effective way to end.

One speaker was demonstrating to the audience how to measure out the timing while reading music. He ended by saying:

Click here to see the script for Video 4.23.

A well-written, well-developed conclusion often combines several of the various techniques to achieve the goals, just like we did with the introductions. Consider this well-written conclusion to an informative speech about Mickey Mouse:

Click here to see the script for Video 4.24.


Match the example with the correct conclusion technique


Let me end with a quick story that illustrates the importance of donating blood...


Reference to the introduction


At the beginning of this speech I told you about that important meeting Walt Disney had. Let me tell you how that meeting ended...




Raise your hand if you have ever seen someone at the bottom of the highway exit ramp with a sign that says "I'm hungry please help God Bless You?"


(Safe) Question to the audience


When doing a persuasion speech, it is always a good idea to save one more persuasive argument to be presented in the conclusion, just to drive your point home at the end.





Common Conclusion Pitfalls

Don’t Tell the Audience That You Are Done. Imagine you have just finished your speech exactly the way you’d planned it. You use that great closing line you planned, and – there is an awkward silence. The audience is just staring at you. You start imagining the sound of crickets in the distance. There will be a nagging little voice in the back of your head that says, “Oh no! They don’t know I’m done. Say something stupid!” And you will be tempted to comply by saying something like, “And that’s the end of my speech,” or, “So, I guess I’m done…” or something equally unnecessary. The only reason for that awkward silence is that the audience is being polite. They are just giving you a few seconds to confirm that you are really done before they start to applaud. Trust that the audience is filled with intelligent people, and they will figure out that when you have stopped talking, you have ended. You might want to smile, or nod slightly to the crowd, but there is no need to announce that you have finished. If you used a signal that the conclusion has begun, such as “in conclusion,” or “to sum this all up,” you can feel confident that the audience is well aware that you are about to end. Trust that your strong closing line will provide all the finality needed.

Don’t Ask, “Any Questions?” There is nothing wrong with engaging the audience in a question and answer session at the end of your presentation. You can even invite it by mentioning during the speech that there will be time for a few questions when you are done. However, don’t negate the impact of a well-designed conclusion by asking for questions as a closing line. Allow the audience to applaud for you. If you ask for questions in your closing line, you are pretty much creating an awkward moment, as the audience members are waiting to see if anyone has a question before they feel comfortable clapping for you. Graciously accept the applause you’ve earned and then stay in front of the audience for a moment to anticipate questions.

Don’t Fade Away – End Strong. A very common conclusion mistake is to start mumbling the closing lines as you start heading for your seat. Make sure you say every word you have planned from the front of the room, loud enough for everyone to hear. Remember, you are setting the mood for the audience. If you start heading for your chair before you’ve even finished the speech, they will think you really didn’t want to be there in the first place. (And although that might be technically true, don’t ever let your audience sense it!) Stay in speaker mode, front and center, until you have delivered every word of your speech.

Don’t Bring Up New Ideas. Often, a speaker will bring up one more argument or one more important point in the conclusion, even though that particular point wasn’t addressed in the body of the speech. Much like you should avoid stating your body points in the introduction, finish all of your body points before you start the conclusion. Your ending is the time for wrapping things up and summarizing, not for bringing up new ideas, arguments or proposals.

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By practicing and mastering these goals and techniques for both introductions and conclusions, you will feel much more prepared for your next speech and your audience will be impressed with your preparation. These are two key ingredients in developing your new skills. By developing strong purpose statements and preview statements, you will feel confident that the audience will comprehend the intentions of your speech, and will be able to follow along with you as you present your ideas. These are some of the first building blocks in developing both your competence and confidence in public speaking.

End of Chapter Checklist 

After reading this chapter, you should be able to say to yourself:

  • I understand the importance of introductions and conclusions
  • I can identify the five main parts of a speech
  • I understand the three goals of introductions
  • I know the list of introduction techniques
  • I am able to write effective purpose statements and preview statements
  • I can identify the five goals of conclusions
  • I know the list of conclusion techniques
  • I am able to write effective introductions and conclusions
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Video Scripts

Video 4.01

“I’m going to teach you all how to shoot the perfect jump shot. Why? Because I do shoot the perfect jump shot. That’s why I’m the highest scorer on the team and that’s why I’m the captain. If I could get the rest of the team to shoot like me, we’d have a better record. But at least I can show you guys…”

Click here to go back to video.

Video 4.02 

“When I was a kid, I was your typical ‘gym rat.’ I was always on the basketball court, flailing away with half-court shots and dreaming of becoming LeBron James. One day, the coach called me aside and said, 'Kid, if you ever want to get good at this game, you need a jump shot.' Then he showed me the basics. I spent hours and hours on the court practicing the techniques he showed me, and it paid off, to the extent that now I’m captain of our college team. So today I’m going to teach you what the coach taught me all those years ago, the basics of shooting the jump shot.”

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Video 4.03

“You’re sound asleep in the middle of the night, when suddenly you hear a sound that wakes you right up. You tiptoe out of your bedroom, grab a flashlight, but don’t turn it on yet as you silently search for the source of that sound. There it is again! You grab the nearest thing to swing, a golf club, and start heading toward the garage, where that noise is coming from. You sneak up to the garage side door, but can’t see anything outside in the dark. Finally, you count to three, raise the golf club, and flip on the flashlight in time to see a raccoon knocking over your garbage can. Well tonight, folks, my goal is to convince you that you need to keep a loaded gun in your house at all times to protect your family.”

Click here to go back to video.

Video 4.04

"It was just a raccoon – this time. But what if you had turned on that flashlight just as someone was about to break into your house, gun in hand, and you are standing there holding a golf club while your kids are asleep upstairs? Tonight, my goal is to convince you that you need to keep a loaded gun in your house at all times to protect your family.”

Click here to go back to video.

Video 4.06

"By a show of hands, how many of you played a team sport in high school? Keep your hands up for a moment.” (Speaker points to each member of the audience with a hand up) “What sport did you play?” (After all answer, the speaker continues.) “I want you all to think about all of the things you learned and gained from those experiences: discipline, teamwork, responsibility, the sense of accomplishment. Today’s students are being denied those experiences due to budget restrictions…”

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Video 4.07

“One of America’s founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, once said, ‘Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.’”

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Video 4.08

“One of America’s founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, once said, 'Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.' How many of you enjoy an ice cold beer? Maybe on a hot summer day, out by the pool, after mowing the lawn or during a football or baseball game? Sometimes a great beer just hits the spot, doesn’t it? Well let me tell you when I first fell in love with beer. Back when I was just a kid…”

Click here to go back to video.

Video 4.09

“Let me tell you about a little boy named Troy. Troy had just gotten old enough to go to school, and he was so excited, he couldn’t wait to be a 'big kid' like his brother and sister. On the first day of school, Troy was the first one up, the first one dressed, and had his new backpack on before his mom and dad were even out of bed. But Troy’s excitement didn’t last, because the teacher noticed that he was not learning as quickly as the other students. She moved him to the front row so he could see the board better, but that just made him self-conscious, and made other kids tease him. And worse, it didn’t help him learn. The teacher finally recommended to the parents to have Troy tested to see if he should be in a special education class. By this point, Troy hated school, as you might imagine, but his parents had him tested and found that he was definitely smart enough to be in that class. In fact, he was one of the smartest kids in there. The problem was a common learning disability known as dyslexia. So, today, I’m going to inform you about dyslexia. First, we’ll look at what it is, then how it is diagnosed, and finally, how to deal with it.”

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Video 4.10

“I was driving on the interstate to the beach last week, and rather than describe what happened, come along with me in your imaginary cars. (Student sits down in a chair and assumes a driving position.) Everyone, start your engines, grab the steering wheel, put it in drive, and let’s go! Give it a little gas or we’ll never get there – let’s get it up to about 70…”

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Video 4.11

“Before I start, did everyone get a cookie? Good. But…how well do you know me? Do you have any idea what I put in those cookies?”

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Video 4.12

“In the infamous 2000 presidential election, Bush v. Gore, the presidency of the United States was determined by 500 votes in Florida. What many people don’t realize is that there were 600,000 people in Florida who were not allowed to vote in that election due to a felony conviction at some time in their lives. Of those 600,000, a quarter million were Black men, who vote predominantly for the Democrats. There were another 60,000 Hispanic men in there, who also lean toward the Democrats. But none of them were allowed to vote because the governor of Florida in 2000, Jeb Bush, did not grant them that right. Of course, why would he, considering his brother was running for President as a Republican?”

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Video 4.13

“Guys, did you ever go to pick up your girlfriend for a date, and she says, ’Okay, just give me five minutes and I’ll be ready.’ So, you sit down and wait, and that five minutes turns into ten minutes, which turns into twenty minutes… and you start wondering, ‘What the heck is she doing back there?’ Well guys, tonight I’m going to pull back that secret curtain and invite you into the inner sanctum. Tonight I’m going to show you everything she is doing to make herself beautiful for that date with you.”

Click here to go back to video.

Video 4.14

“What is the most important thing in life? What is our main motivator? What is that one aspect of life that makes us want to get up, start our day, and go out and accomplish something? What is it that drives us? (Reaching into the bag, she pulled out a dollar bill.) Money? Is that what motivates us? Naw. (Throwing the dollar on the floor, she then pulled a large heart out of the bag.) Love? Is that what keeps us going every day? Nope. (Throwing the heart on the floor, she then pulled a D-cell battery out of the bag.) power! That’s it, right? We’re all striving for power? No, wrong again. No, the most important thing in life is more important than money, love or power. And tonight, I’m going to show you what it is. (Slowly, she reached into her bag with both hands as everyone in the class craned their necks to see what was in there. Then she gently brought out – her Mr. Coffee coffee maker.) It’s coffee! If you don’t have a great cup of coffee waiting for you in the morning, you have no reason to even bother getting out of bed and starting your day!”

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Video 4.15

“Today I’m going to teach you how to make soap at home. First, I’ll show you what supplies you will need, next I’ll show you the actual process, and finally I’ll give you some tips on wrapping the finished products for gift-giving.”

Click here to go back to video.

Video 4.16

“So in summary, I have just gone over some of the characteristics that, to me, make Uruguay a special part of who I am. I’ve shared with you the geography of my country, some of the important traditions, and the different foods that characterize my beautiful homeland.”

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Video 4.17

“So let’s remember the words of President Kennedy when he said, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,’” 

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Video 4.18

“There is an old Chinese proverb that says, ‘It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.’ Or as President Kennedy reminded us, ‘We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light the candle that can guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future.’”

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Video 4.19

“To bring this discussion to a close, let me tell you about my older brother, Edward. Eddie had only one more semester to go to earn his bachelor’s degree when he decided to drop out of college. I begged him to complete his degree so he would always have that diploma on the wall, but he was done with school. Without a degree, he wound up ruining his back through grueling warehouse work, and then starting all over when the factory was sold several years later. Let’s not make the mistake my brother did.”

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Video 4.20

“By the way, in case you’re wondering whatever happened to that young boy named Troy – well, now that my son has been diagnosed properly, he’s doing well. He is learning in class, he’s earned his self-confidence, and he’s excited about school again.”

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Video 4.21

“Now that you understand the importance of blood donation, you should know that the Big Red Bus will be in our parking lot Tuesday afternoon to accept donations. How many of you would be willing to join me to make this life-saving donation?”

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Video 4.22

“Now that you know how the Habitat for Humanity project works, you should know that we are building a home for a needy family about two miles from here. I am going to pass around a sign-up sheet. If you can donate a couple of hours of labor on this project this weekend, we could use your help…”

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Video 4.23

“To bring this speech to a close, I’d like everyone to stand up and clap out the timing with me. First, let’s clap a whole note with four beats: ONE (clap), two three four, ONE (clap) two three four… Good. Now let’s clap out half notes: ONE (clap) two THREE (clap) four, ONE (clap) two THREE (clap) four … Great! Now finally, let’s clap out quarter notes: ONE (clap) TWO (clap) THREE (clap) FOUR (clap), ONE (clap) TWO (clap) THREE (clap) FOUR (clap)…. Wonderful, and thank you all for that standing ovation!“

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Video 4.24

“In conclusion (the signal the end of the speech is coming), what started as a depressing ride back home for Walt Disney ended in a creation that took the world by storm (the ‘depressing ride’ was the anecdote used in the introduction – this is our technique number six, a reference back to the introduction). Tonight I have shared with you the history behind the mouse and the many obstacles that nearly blocked his road to stardom. I have also discussed his growth from the screen to other roles, including the role he played in WWII. And finally, I have expressed his importance as a universal symbol of good will (the summary, technique number one). Looking back on the success that his little creation had given him, Walt Disney gave Mickey Mouse perhaps one of the finest tributes a cartoon animal had ever received, ’I hope we never lose sight of one fact … that this was all started by a Mouse’ (a closing quotation, technique number three, for final impact).”

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Image Credits

[1] Image courtesy of Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kilho Park in the Public Domain.

Primacy Effect
The first impression. The first thing we see, hear, or experience has a lasting impression on us.
Recency Effect
The last impression. The thing we see, hear or experience most recently has a lasting impression on us.
Purpose Statement
One short, concise sentence that tells the audience the general and specific purpose of the speech.
Preview Statement
The sentence immediately following the Purpose Statement that tells the audience the main points that will be covered in the speech.
A sense of finality that provides a feeling or comfort or satisfaction.