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

McGraw-Hill

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

Pearson

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

Pearson

Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking Handbook, 5th Edition

Pricing

Average price of textbook across most common format

$63

Accessible on any device for lifetime access

$121.80

Hardcover print text only

$99.29

Hardcover print text only

$114.52

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

Customizable

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

Pricing

Average price of textbook across most common format

Top Hat

George Griffin, Effective Public Speaking, Only one edition needed

$63

Accessible on any device for life

McGraw-Hill

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

$121.80

Hardcover print text only

Pearson

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

$99.29

Hardcover print text only

Pearson

Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking Handbook, 5th Edition

$114.52

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

McGraw-Hill

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

Pearson

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

Pearson

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

McGraw-Hill

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

Pearson

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

Pearson

Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking Handbook, 5th Edition

Customizable

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

McGraw-Hill

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

Pearson

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

Pearson

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

McGraw-Hill

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

Pearson

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

Pearson

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 1: Welcome to Effective Public Speaking 

Movie star Douglas Fairbanks speaking in New York City in 1918 to help raise money for WWI. [1]
“Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.”
-Maggie Kuhn
“The world is waiting for your words…”
-Jenean McBrearty, Helmut Wolf

Table of Contents

Chapter Objectives

  • To understand the benefits of a public speaking course
  • To understand the goals of “competence and confidence”
  • To learn the four steps of developing a new skill
  • To learn the five levels of communication
  • To appreciate the various applications of public speaking skills
  • To fully understand the course and textbook expectations

Welcome to Your Interactive Text


Click here to see the script for the Introduction.

Introduction

The school chorus rehearsal was not going very well. By the end of the practice session, the choral director, frustrated and exasperated, stood before the group and said, “I can teach you how to read the music. I can teach you how to sing every note properly. But the most important question is, are you willing to stand up and sing?

Your teachers can give you all the tools for a good speech, but only you can get up and use them.​

One student who completely understood the concept of “stand up and sing” was Lucy. Lucy was registered to take speech in her very first semester of her freshman year. She was a very talented, extremely bright young lady who was also very timid and self-conscious. But she found that the lessons in speech class came naturally to her, and soon she was the star of the class. By the middle of her sophomore year, Lucy was on the rise on campus, getting involved in one organization after another. By the time Lucy was a senior, she had competed in two state-wide speech competitions, spoken at luncheons for the mayor and governor on behalf of her college and had successfully run for president of the student government. She always looks back and credits that freshman speech class with helping her “come out of her shell.”

Lucy embraced the lessons from her speech class and ran with them, utilizing every tip and technique she learned along the way. Her willingness to “stand up and sing” opened doors for her she hadn’t imagined. But what became of the other students in that freshman speech class? Did they learn the lessons and use them to be more successful as well? Or did they simply consider speech class a rite of passage, a necessary evil to be endured and survived, but certainly not to be used in the future?

Why Are You Taking This Class?

Click here to see the script to Video 1.01.

You may already be asking yourself that same question! For some students, this course is assigned as an unavoidable general education requirement. At many colleges, incoming students are required to take a basic course in public speaking. Other students may take the course as a requirement for their major, whether it is communication, business, marketing or another discipline that recognizes the importance of learning how to deliver effective presentations. Or perhaps this is a skill you have always wanted to develop, so you are taking the course as an elective. Whatever the reason that brought you to this course, please consider that this could be the most important class you take in college – affecting your college life, your career, and your public involvement (as we’ll discuss later in this chapter) – but only if you take it seriously and apply the course’s teachings to your own life.

One important lesson to learn is this: you cannot not communicate. You have no choice! You have no on/off switch for your communication; you cannot get up one morning and decide that you are not going to communicate today. As one respected, life-long communications professor once said, “There are only two ways we communicate with people: everything we do and say, and everything we don’t do and say.”

Consider going to a party and meeting someone you would like to get to know better. You ask for a phone number, and the other person says, “Why not give me your number, and I’ll call you?” Eagerly you give your number and watch as it’s programmed into their phone. But alas, the person never calls. Even though you never heard from them again, didn’t they send you a very loud message by never calling? If you email a friend about an urgent matter, and you end your message with the plea, “I need to get your answer right away,” but after several days have passed and you haven’t received a response – didn’t you receive a very clear message from their lack of a response?

Watch the following clip, then answer the question below.

Click here to see the script to Video 1.02.

Q1.01

Other than the content of the words themselves, what messages are you noticing from the speaker?


You may be wondering, “Why am I required to take this class? I don’t need to give speeches.” As you will see later in this chapter, the skills learned in this course will have many communication applications in your life. So, since you must communicate every single day of your life, whether you want to or not, the question becomes why not learn how to communicate to the best of your ability?

What Do You Hope to Gain from this Class?

Now that you are officially enrolled in a public speaking course, take a moment to honestly answer this question for yourself: when this class is all over, what do you hope to take away from it?

For most students, there are two main answers:

  • I want to be a better speaker
  • I want to overcome my nervousness in front of a crowd

In short, we all want to develop competenceand confidence, although not necessarily in that order. Once you learn the basics (the ‘tricks of the trade’), you’ll be surprised to discover that putting a speech together is no different from learning any other skill. It may be very difficult at first, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. And once you learn the processes and techniques, you will feel your sense of competence growing. When you add in experience and practice and you will gain the confidence as well. As you will learn, some degree of speech anxiety will always be with you, and it should. The key is for you to control the anxiety and not the other way around.

Competence and confidence are both key to good public speaking. Fortunately, both can be taught.​
Q1.02

In the above picture, is the student controlling his nervousness, or is the nervousness controlling the student? How can you tell?


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What is “Effective Public Speaking?”

The short definition of ‘effective public speaking’ is, “when you speak, something happens.” As you will learn throughout this textbook and this course, the art of public speaking is not about you, the speaker. It is not about your speech. It’s all about the audience. There is no reason to write, practice, or deliver a speech except to create some sort of impact on the audience. If a behavior changes, if a curiosity or interest is sparked, if a mind is opened to a new idea as a result of your presentation, you are an effective speaker.

To understand the difficulty of communicating clearly, accurately, and effectively, consider that communication consists of the shared use of symbols. A symbol is any action or object that is used to represent something else. For example, “$” is a symbol that represents money. A smile is a symbol. A shrug is a symbol. And words are symbols as well. When you hear the word “zebra,” you automatically visualize that black and white horsey-looking animal. You don’t envision a cantaloupe, because we have shared symbols and we’ve agreed on what each different symbol represents.

In much the same way, if everyone reading this textbook decided that from now on a textbook will be called “coffee,” well, as long as we all agree, there’s no problem. We’d understand when someone asks, “Did you read Chapter Three of the coffee?” Those who do not share our symbols would be lost in that conversation.

To be an effective communicator, therefore, means to choose symbols wisely, also known as the process of encoding. Encoding means to take a particular thought that you want to share, translate that thought into appropriate symbols, and send those symbols out to someone else. Encoding your thoughts into just the right symbols might include selecting the right words, the right gestures, the right vocal inflection, etc.

On the other side of the communication, the person who receives your symbols now needs to decode your message. Decoding means to receive that combination of symbols and translate it back into thoughts. If we select our symbols wisely and aim them at someone who shares our symbols, hopefully they will understand what we are trying to say. This process of encoding and decoding takes place constantly during communication as both parties try to be as accurate and efficient as possible.

When you consider what is involved in this process, it’s a wonder we ever have successful communication!


Watch the video clip below, and discuss how the speaker could have improved on the words and symbols she chose to use.

Click here to see the script to Video 1.03.

All of the authors on the writing team for this text are of one mind: we all want to help students develop their effectiveness, not their oratory. Very few students in your current class will go into a profession that requires great oratory. Some may become trial attorneys who need to be persuasive in front of a judge and jury. Some may pursue a life of public service, requiring the skill of delivering successful campaign speeches. Some may go into broadcasting, and spend a career behind a microphone or in front of a camera. No matter what your career choice, this public speaking course will be a very valuable foundation.

But for most of us, we will not be in the spotlight very often, standing on a brightly lit stage speaking to the masses. Whether you plan to be a pharmacist who needs to explain to a patient not to mix one medication with another, or a forensic scientist who may need to testify in court, or a sales representative trying to convince a potential client that your company is the right choice, you need to be an effective speaker. You may be studying to be an accountant, and thinking that accountants don’t need to make many public speeches on a day-to-day basis. But if an accountant is going over a client’s books and discovers that the company will be going broke in a few years without a change in the business plan – that accountant needs to be a persuasive, effective speaker in order get the warning across clearly and be of value to the client.

Q1.03

Name three different professions where communication skills are essential, but are not often highlighted, such as the pharmacist or accountant examples above. Give an example for each of when those communication skills would help.


One of the amazing side benefits of becoming an effective public speaker is the sense of empowerment. Once you realize that you have the talents and abilities to affect change, a new world will open up to you.

Consider the fact that public speaking is the most common fear in America. In survey after survey, people note giving a speech as something that scares them more than anything else, including death. At the end of this course, ask yourself the question, “If I just overcame this giant disabling fear that affects so many people, what else can I overcome? What can stand in the way of my success now?

Conquering a fear of public speaking will be beneficial in many areas of your life. [2]


The Steps of Developing a New Skill

Whenever you tackle a new skill, whether it is learning to play a musical instrument, learning to play a sport, leaning to drive a car, or learning to speak in public, you proceed through a four-step process:

  • Unconsciously Incompetent
  • Consciously Incompetent
  • Consciously Competent
  • Unconsciously Competent


Unconsciously Incompetent – Before we take on a new skill, most of us are completely ignorant of what it takes to do this skill successfully; we don’t even know what we don’t know! We may look at a guitar and think we’d like to make music, but how do we even begin? We see professional basketball players make free throw after free throw and wonder how they are able to do it. When you were first learning to drive a car, and wondering how people can remember all the things they need to do, you were at this Unconsciously Incompetent stage. Or we listen to a great speech and think, “Wow, I wish I could do that…” the fact is we don’t know where to start or even what questions to ask.

Consciously Incompetent – Once we learn what we are supposed to be doing in order to master our new skill, but we’re not yet capable of doing it, we are consciously incompetent. We know what should be done, but it’s just not working for us! I know that if I could just put my fingers on these three frets on the fingerboard of a guitar, I should be able to play a “C” chord, but it sounds awful! If I put my toes on the line just right, balance my weight, hold the basketball properly with the right release and follow through, I should be able to make free throws, but I can’t do it! When you know you need to be watching the traffic on either side of you and in front of you, and watching your side mirrors and rear view mirror, all the while controlling the steering wheel and gas and brake pedals (and possibly a clutch), you wonder how anyone can do all this stuff simultaneously and successfully get from point A to point B!

Consciously Competent – The first time you concentrate so hard that you are almost demanding that your fingers hold down the right strings in the right places and someone actually recognizes the song you are trying to play, you have reached the level of conscious competence. You know what needs to be done, and if you really put your mind to it, you can do it. When you suddenly make three or four free throws in a row and realize what that ‘groove’ feels like, or you successfully drive to the store and home realizing that, even if you have a headache from concentrating so hard, you did it – you are experiencing conscious competence.

Click here to see the script to Video 1.04.

Unconsciously Competent – When you are suddenly able to perform your new skill without even thinking about it, you have reached the level of being unconsciously competent. When you can play a popular song on the guitar while carrying on a conversation with someone at the same time, you are there. When you can step up to the free throw line, set your feet, grab the ball and sink two free throws without a doubt or a second thought, you are there. When you can drive across town while carrying on a conversation and adjusting the music at the same time, congratulations, you have reached Unconscious Competence.

With hard work and effort on your part, this course can help you reach level three, becoming Consciously Competent. You will know how to write a good introduction, develop a strong body, organize your thoughts and prepare a strong conclusion. It won’t come to you naturally; you will still have to work on it to make it come together effectively. But by the time this course ends, you will have the competence and confidence to know you can do this. If you continue to practice your newfound skills, you will see yourself occasionally reaching level four, being unconsciously competent. Your professor, for example, would probably have very little difficulty preparing and delivering a five or six minute speech, considering what they do for a living.


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Public Speaking vs. Conversation

One way to simplify public speaking is to think of it as just “talking while standing up.”

Click here to see the script to Video 1.05.

Imagine you are in class and have a question about the lecture notes being presented by the professor. Most likely, you would not be embarrassed to get the professor’s attention and ask a question to help you understand. And you would probably speak loud enough for everyone in the room to hear and understand you, even though the question is aimed at the professor alone. In that brief question-asking moment, you naturally and instinctively combined and used several public speaking techniques – you organized your thoughts in such a way that your question was clear and easy to understand. You also took into consideration everyone in the room, and tried to accommodate them.

Suppose you had to tell a friend some bad news. You would probably not go see your friend and just blurt it out. Most likely you would think about what you wanted to say first, and then plan out how you would work your way up to the bad news. You may even practice in your head exactly how to word the information to avoid unnecessarily hurting your friend.

These are all essential tools for effective public speaking – and you used them without even recognizing them!

When students are asked about the differences between giving a speech and having a conversation, they initially may think the two have very little in common – one is stuffy and formal, and the other is just talking with some friends. But remember, not all conversations are quite so casual. Sometimes an “audience” means a crowded auditorium, or a roomful of other students. But sometimes you are speaking to an audience of just one, or a few people.

Consider going for a job interview. This is certainly not a “speech,” but you definitely would want to be prepared with what to say. If you were going to meet with your professor or dean to challenge a grade you received, you would prepare exactly how to convincingly present your case. What about meeting your significant other’s parents for the first time? Not all conversations are laid back and unplanned, nor should they be.


In short, many of the things you will be learning about communication you already know at some level. This course will take your current conversational skills and develop them for a different application with improved results.

The Five Levels of Communication

Consider the following scenario:

A young college student has become very active in an important cause. He has joined a national organization, but would like to start a local chapter on campus. He spends several days going over in his head the various ways he can accomplish this project, accepting some ideas and rejecting others as he envisions his goal becoming a reality.

Finally, he calls his best friend and tells him he has something important on his mind and he needs some advice. So, they go to an all-night diner and drink endless cups of coffee while they discuss as many details as they can regarding the necessary steps. They decide to have a larger planning session, including maybe a dozen people or so, to discuss the project moving forward. They invite several friends, a couple of professors, and a few people from the community to participate. They reserve a room in the library, gather around a large conference table, and everyone speaks freely about what they can do to help get the project off the ground. They assign tasks and responsibilities, including distributing flyers announcing a large organizational kick-off meeting on the next Saturday night.

At that kick-off meeting, over a hundred students show up out of curiosity. The original organizer delivers an impassioned presentation to the crowd about the importance of the cause, and the need for localized action. He then challenges everyone to join up. By the end of the semester, they have an active student organization with hundreds of members. There are bi-weekly newsletters being sent out via the campus email system, a regularly updated blog and an active Twitter account to keep everyone connected.

This scenario plays out on campuses all across the country in one form or another. But this simple story illustrates all five of the levels of communication:

1. Intrapersonal Communication

2. Interpersonal Communication

3. Small Group Communication

4. Public Speaking

5. Mass Communication

Intrapersonal Communication refers to the way you communicate with yourself. It is the ‘mental conversation’ you have in your own head, as well as other means of self-communication. Some of the more obvious ways are things like leaving yourself a sticky-note or a self-directed email to remember to do a certain task. Other examples include keeping a personal diary or journal to document your thoughts and activities. Some well-organized people prepare a to-do list for the next morning in order to be as productive as possible.

Whether we write it down or not, we all have a never-ending internal conversation playing out in our head, which is a major part of intrapersonal communication. If you want to ask a question in class, you will probably take a few seconds to mentally prepare exactly how to ask the question for clarity, understanding and brevity before you raise your hand to get the professor’s attention. Maybe you are trying to decide where you stand on a particular issue, so you weigh all the pros and cons in your mind before reaching a conclusion. In our example above, the student who spent several days thinking about how to move forward to form a student organization was engaged in intrapersonal communication.

Intrapersonal communication is key for a good speech. Know what you want to say, and how you want to say it. [3]

When the hero of our story called his best friend and they met for a discussion over coffee, they were engaged in Interpersonal Communication. Interpersonal is generally considered the one-to-one, conversational communication we have with others. It could include the communication between friends or roommates. It includes the communication between people in a relationship, both the verbal and the nonverbal communication. Communication between you and a sibling, a co-worker, or just someone in a study group all fall into this category.

Having someone be a sounding board can help you solidify your speech. [4]

Note: There are several ways to keep from confusing “intra” and “inter” personal communications. Intramural sports, for example, are the games played by different groups but within a single campus, while Intermural or Intercollegiate sports are games between two different colleges. Or, an Interstate highway is one that connects two states together. But perhaps the easiest way (as pointed out by a speech student) is to remember that “Intrapersonal” includes the words, “a person,” indicating that there is only one person involved in intrapersonal communications.

In our scenario above, once the group of a dozen interested people sat down at a conference table together, Small Group Communication had begun. A common question that often pops up is, how many people are in a small group? When does a group become too large to be considered a small group? The group needs more than two people, obviously, to grow out of the Interpersonal phase, but after that the number of participants is pretty much undefined. The key factor is not the number of participants, but where the responsibility lies for communicating. In intrapersonal, the single person does all the communicating. In interpersonal, the responsibility for input is evenly shared between two people. In a small group, everyone is expected to speak out and participate; everyone needs to be involved in the discussion and decision-making process. You might have a leader of the small group, but the leader’s responsibility is not to do all the talking; rather it is to encourage everyone around the table to have their say.

When does a small group become a big one? And how does that change the way communication takes place? [5]​

Once the group of over a hundred students showed up and the main organizer began a presentation, Public Speaking, or one-to-many communication, began. Note that the responsibility to participate in the communication has shifted again – the main speaker in front of the crowd has the primary responsibility to provide information, and the audience is there in a receiver capacity. The audience will naturally be providing feedback to the speaker, which he will recognize and respond to, but the audience members are under no particular obligation to stand and address the crowd; they are welcome to sit and listen and then leave without speaking a word.

The final category, Mass Communication, is the sending of information to a much larger, more undefined and unquantified audience. For starters, consider the flyers that were distributed to advertise the upcoming meeting. Then, the blast emails, the blog and the Tweets. All of these communications are going to reach some people, but how many and who they are will probably remain a mystery. Highway billboards, newspapers, magazines, websites, television and radio broadcasts are all participating in Mass Communication.

You might think that because you have enrolled in a Public Speaking course, we will be concentrating only on the fourth level of communication, right? Wrong. Although we will be mainly learning how to present a strong, effective speech, part of the beauty of taking a course like this is that you will learn skills and techniques that will serve you well up and down the other four levels of communication as well. You will expand your critical thinking and organizational skills, which can help you in your intrapersonal decision-making. Reading and adapting to nonverbal cues, and adjusting your message accordingly, can aid in your interpersonal relationships. Learning how to verbally express your concerns and how to effectively structure an argument can improve your small group skills, and learning how to grab the attention of your listeners can be of obvious value when engaging in mass communication.

As an added bonus, even though you will be studying the speaking side of communication, you will spend a lot more time listening than you do speaking, both in this class and in life. Hearing something is considered a physical process, but actually listening is considered a mental process. In Chapter 6 we will discuss how to develop your listening skills in addition to your speaking skills.

The point of all this is to say that even though you will be learning how to prepare, write and deliver speeches, you are really going to be taking on an entirely new skill set with more applicability than you can imagine. And, unless your major is Communications or a related field, this may be the only class you will take to develop these skills.

Finally, many of the classes you take in college will reap rewards once you graduate and start your career, but the lessons learned in a public speaking class can be applied immediately, oftentimes before the course is even done.

Applications of Effective Public Speaking Skills

Q1.04

Think about how public speaking skills can apply inside of the classroom.

Name two classes that you have taken or plan to take that will probably require delivering oral presentations.


Q1.05

Think about how public speaking skills can apply outside of the classroom.

Name two situations (outside of college) where you may be expected, required or requested to stand and speak, either formally or informally.


The skills from this course can help you improve your grade point average. As you progress through school, many of your classes will require you to do oral presentations, and of course, those who are better speakers will earn better grades.

Click here to see the script to Video 1.06.


Being able to speak well in public will help you in many classes, and in many situations. [6]

This course can help you in the job market. When you are going out on job interviews, can you present yourself with confidence and composure? This class can help you appear more at ease and in control. Plus, in a competitive job market, communication skills are often considered as important as job experience. Once you have been hired for that position you desire, the ability to communicate effectively is among the most important skill sets for success, satisfaction and growth. Remember, the higher you move up the ladder of success, the more speaking will be required and expected of you. As Lee Iacocca, automobile executive with Ford and later Chrysler, put it, “You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can't get them across, your ideas won't get you anywhere.” So learn these skills now!

This course can help you be an involved citizen. Often, the local city council, county commission, or school board is considering an ordinance or policy that directly affects our lives and our families. Have you ever thought, “somebody needs to stand up and say something?” Well, that “somebody” is us, and this class can help you gain the confidence and ability to speak out when necessary. Often, speaking to a government body like these involves additional challenges. For example, a clock in front of the speaker counting down the two or three minutes allowed for public comments. Staring at a ticking clock while trying to communicate effectively can be quite a challenge.

Comfort in public speaking can allow you to be an advocate for important causes. What are other ways that public speaking can open doors? [7]​


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What to Expect from this Course & Textbook

Often, taking a class requires memorizing information the professor and the textbook provide and being able to regurgitate that information back on an exam. Not this class. In this course, you will be taught specific skills and techniques that lead to effective public speaking. Your job will be to learn those techniques and concepts, apply them to your own speech-making approach, and demonstrate in practice that you have learned how to use them.

A good comparison would be to look at this class as similar to a driver’s education course. Even if you haven’t taken a formal driving course, someone had to teach you how to drive. But you didn’t learn how to drive by reading a book about driving, you didn’t learn how to drive by listening to lectures about driving, and even if they showed you some of those graphic “Blood on the Highway” movies to scare you, those movies didn’t teach you how to drive. How did you learn? By doing it. Someone finally put you behind the wheel and told you to start the engine and put the car in gear. You pulled out on the road, cars whizzing by, and you thought, “Oh my god, I’m driving!” It was scary, but you survived.

This class is very similar. You won’t learn public speaking simply through reading the textbook (although this is a really good textbook!); you won’t learn public speaking only by listening to lectures (although no doubt you have a highly capable instructor for the course); and fortunately you won’t have to watch any scary movies. But you will have to get up in front of the class and speak – and just like driving, you will learn by doing. But remember, in this class you are in a safe zone; mistakes are okay. They can be corrected, and you can try again. Unlike driving, no one gets hurt if you make a mistake in this class.

By necessity, this class will have a more open atmosphere, breaking down barriers that exist in most other classes. In this class, you will be encouraged to share the things you are interested in while delivering Informative Speeches. You will learn what other people believe when they present Persuasion Speeches, and you will learn interesting things about your fellow students that would never come up during conversations in Algebra.


Click here to see the script to Video 1.07.

As already alluded to, this course will help you control, and even take advantage of, the nervousness that nearly everyone feels when they step up to give a speech. As you will learn in the next chapter, this speech anxiety is totally and completely normal. Do not feel inferior if you get nervous at the thought of giving a speech. If you were to poll your fellow students, asking, “Who thinks you are the most nervous person in the class?” probably half the class would raise their hands. Most textbooks only devote roughly one or two percent of the book to helping with speech anxiety, even though that is the area where most students ask for help. We have devoted an entire chapter to controlling those nerves.

Finally, this course will help you develop your critical thinking skills. You would be surprised at how many people can easily explain what they believe, but have a very difficult time explaining why they believe it. In Chapters 10 and 12, you will learn how to present persuasive arguments to support your particular beliefs, and in order to do that effectively, you will need to learn how to explain, first to yourself, why you believe what you believe.

We’ve made a lot of comparisons of this class so far – please endure one more. Consider this class similar to taking a beginner piano course. If, at the end of the course, you think, “Whew, I’m glad that’s over with,” and vow to never play the piano again, you just wasted a lot of your time in that class. But if you realized that it was enjoyable and rewarding to play the piano, you would probably continue long after the course had ended. That applies to a public speaking course as well. If you finish the class with the feeling of having just endured something awful, pledging to avoid public speaking from now on, we have failed you. However, if you finish this course with the confidence and competence to go out into the world and speak up, if you become the choir member willing to stand up and sing, you will be beginning a limitless new adventure.


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End of Chapter Checklist 

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

  • I understand the benefits of a public speaking course
  • I understand the goals of “competence and confidence”
  • I know the four steps of developing a new skill
  • I know the five levels of communication
  • I am beginning to appreciate the various applications of public speaking skills
  • I fully understand the course and textbook expectations
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Video Scripts

Introduction

Hi, my name is George Griffin, and on behalf of the authorship team I want to welcome you to “Effective Public Speaking: A Top Hat Interactive Text.”

Before you jump into this new and unique textbook experience, we wanted to give you an idea of what to expect.

First, all of the authors have tried to present the material in an easy to read, conversational tone – as if we were just sitting down talking to you about these lessons.

Our overall goal is to help you in two ways – we want to help you develop competence and confidence. In other words, when you finish this class you’ll know how to prepare and deliver a good speech, but you will also trust yourself, feel self-assured that “I can do this.”

One of the features we’ve included in the book is the addition of short little video clips to illustrate the lessons you are reading about. Now, please understand, these videos feature real students, not professional actors, or even theater majors. They are everyday students learning the art of public speaking just like you are. Sometimes they will stumble over their words or appear a little nervous, because they are! In fact, sometimes you might watch one of these clips and think, “Hey I could do better than that!” Well, Good! We want you to!

Overall, we hope you find this class, and this book, to be empowering. Developing this new talent can be a challenge, but you can do it. And you’ll be amazed at how many doors your new skill will open for you.

Enjoy!

Click here to return to video.

Video 1.01

  • I want to be a lawyer and public speaking is very important part of advocating.
  • I am soon to graduate and want to feel confident in my interviews.
  • I took this class because I want to be a stand up comedian.
  • I took this speech class because being able to communicate and translate progress and research increases productivity
  • I took this class because I want to connect better with other people.
  • My advisor put it on my schedule and honestly, otherwise, I wouldn't even be here.
  • I'm fine with one on one talking but when I get in front of people or even just a small group, I sometimes freeze up.
  • I took this class because my mom said it would be one of the most important classes I'll ever take.

Click here to return to video.


Video 1.02

I’m sure everyone in this room is familiar with the First Lady of southern cooking, Paula Deen. But how many of you are familiar with where she came from? I was lucky enough to stumble upon her original restaurant in Savannah, Georgia, back before Paula Deen was a big star on TV, so I got to watch as she became more and more famous.

First, although it’s hard to believe now, Paula Deen was originally a very shy woman, afraid of crowds of people. She was a divorced mother of two boys, trying to make a living by using the only talent she knew – cooking. She was known as “The Bag Lady,” because of her bag lunches and dinners that she cooked up at home and her sons helped out by delivering the meals.

The success of that small business helped her, and her two boys, open a small restaurant known as The Lady and Sons. And believe me, if you like Southern cooking, this place was heaven.

Click here to return to video.


Video 1.03

I come from Puerto Rico, and we love to eat and celebrate. When mi familia comes together, you can bet there will be lots of food and lots of music and lots to drink. When you get to the table, there are certain foods that will always be there. You can bet there will be Sandwichitos de Mezcla, as well as my favorite, Cerebrito, which literally translates into, “the little brain.”

Today, I’m going to show you how to make cerebrito – there are only three main ingredients: jamonilla, fresh from the can, a package of room temperature cream cheese, and pineapple preserves. And of course, some crackers to eat it with.

Click here to return to video.


Video 1.04

Over the last few weeks in this class, we’ve all had a chance to talk to each other and get to know each other pretty well. And I think I know what you are all thinking of me so far – Sure, he’s obviously intelligent. He’s good looking. And of course he’s charming. But – the question you all are probably wondering is…. Can he juggle? (student picks up tennis balls and starts juggling) YES! He can! And tonight I’m going to teach you all the basics of how to juggle.

Click here to return to video.


Video 1.05

Hey, I may not be an expert at this public speaking stuff, but I know how to write an introduction and to get the audience interested in my topic.

I know how to build an outline and to prepare some speaking notes.

I’ve learned how to do a good conclusion.

And I’m learning how to control my nerves.

If I really put my mind to it and put in the preparation and practice, I can pull off a pretty good speech.

Click here to return to video.


Video 1.06

The last event is the most anticipated event of Bermuda Heroes Weekend. It’s the Raft Up. Everyone gets on their boats and meets up in the aqua blue waters of Bermuda, and just has a good time. People eat, swim, tan, whatever you want to do. It’s the most fun event of the weekend.

Click here to return to video.


Video 1.07

Sometimes in life we go, you know, worrying about all these different diseases mainly the big ones, like cancer, diabetes, things like that but we tend to forget about the silent killers. And one of those is atherosclerosis, which is the build up of plaque in the arteries. Sometimes people think they can eat whatever they want and get away with it but things like this can hurt you in the long run. Quick story, my grandpa thought he could eat whatever he wanted. He ate fried chicken, a lot of fried foods. He ended up have plaque build up in his arteries and he had a massive heart attack. Luckily, he survived. Here's a demonstration about what atherosclerosis is. Imagine this bottle as your arteries, pumping through your body and a lot of plaque tends to build up it in. When the plaque builds up there is less blood flowing through which could cause you bodily harm. And this is what it would look it, slow dripping and slow moving which is not what we want. Now here is what a real artery should be. Free flowing and being able to pump as much blood as your body needs.

Click here to return to video.


Image Sources

[1] Image courtesy of Paul Thompson in the Public Domain.

[2] Image courtesy of Unsplash in the Public Domain.

[3] Image courtesy of Anton Petukhov​ under CC BY 2.0.

[4] Image courtesy of criminalintent under CC BY-SA 2.0.

[5] Image courtesy of Harless Todd, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Public Domain.

[6] Image courtesy of krystleblair under CC BY 2.0.

[7] Image courtesy of Los Angeles District under CC BY-ND 2.0.


Interactive - adj.
Unlike standard paper textbooks, this book requires action and input from you, the reader.
Competence - noun
Competence means gaining the knowledge of how to write and deliver a speech.
Confidence - noun
Confidence is the willingness to actually get up and DO your speech.
Symbol - noun
A word, gesture, picture, etc., that is used to represent an object or idea.
Encoding - verb
The process of putting your thoughts and ideas into “code” by choosing just the right combination of symbols, preparing you to send your message to others.
Decoding - verb
The process of receiving a message from someone else and translating their “coded” message into your own thoughts and understanding.
Empowerment - noun
Giving the ability, skills, talent and the power to accomplish great goals.
Intrapersonal Communication
Conversations that you are having with yourself, including the decision-making processes we go through in our every day life.
Interpersonal Communication
The conversations and relationships we have one-on-one.
Small Group Communication
Three or more people working together on a common goal, project or problem.
Public Speaking
This is the traditional format of “giving a speech,” with one person responsible for speaking to many others.
Mass Communication
In simple terms, communication aimed at masses of people rather than a more specific, targeted audience.
Critical Thinking
A way of thinking through a problem or issue using objective evidence and logic to reach a conclusion.