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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Public Speaking: The Basics

University of Pittburg

Presenting a good speech requires practice and knowledge. There are a few basics to get started.
Approaching the Speaking Situation: Audience, Occasion, Purpose
Structuring The Speech
Argument: Claims, Reasons, and Evidence
Oral Discourse and Extemporaneous Delivery

Approaching the Speaking Situation: Audience, Occasion, Purpose

Communication, both spoken and written, is always addressed to an audience, a set of listeners or readers you are intending to convey information to or have some effect upon. Public speaking differs from written communication in that the audience is present, gathered for some occasion. That occasion has norms and expectations that a speaker must recognize. Finally, a public speaker has some purpose, something they are trying to accomplish or set in motion. Good public speaking always accounts for these three components.

Audience. Speakers communicate differently to different audiences. To take a simple example, people tell their grandmothers about their new “significant other” in a different way than they tell their best friend. Similarly, people speak about trees differently with their high school biology teacher than they do with their younger siblings; and speakers often need to make arguments about public policy differently to Republicans than to Democrats. Two main questions guide audience adaptation in a speaking situation: Who are they? What qualities about them are relevant?

Who are they? Distinguishing general from specific audiences is useful. A general audience is everyone who will hear the speech or read the paper. A specific audience, on the other hand, is that subset of the general audience who the speaker particularly wants to reach, or to reach in a different way than the rest of the group. In an audience with varying degrees of knowledge on a subject, for instance, a speaker might want to pitch their comments primarily to non-experts (while at the same time not saying anything that a specialist would find objectionable). In the classroom, students may be speaking to the entire group but making a special effort to address the professor's expectations.

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Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

You enter the car showroom looking for a vehicle. The first thing the salesperson will do is make sure you have something to drink, perhaps something to eat, and that that you are comfortable (thus the well lit showrooms with seating and tables). They are meeting your basic physiological needs.

The showroom and lot appear safe, good lighting, lots of people around, an island of safety in which to shop for a car or truck. The dealership is meeting your need for safety and security.

The salesperson calls you by name, discussed your family and "theirs", and if appropriate touch (handshake, shoulder and so forth).

The esteem level comes when you get behind the wheel. Their job is to talk you up and get you a vehicle you will love that will also enhance you self esteem and image. Does the vehicle give you confidence, make you feel successful, gain you the respect of others or earn you respect from those you wish to look up to or respect you?

Self Actualization is an issue beyond what anyone else can do for you. The explanation varies by field, by interpretation, by context. In a way if you feel good about yourself and if the vehicle meets your needs at the highest level it may contribute to your self-actualization. A person may feel self actualized with a used car, or a bicycle for that matter.

This in a nutsell is Maslow. A pyramid, not a triangle, built on a foundation that must be strong and with each new level needing to be on a sound foundation for the levels above to be strong and successful.

Most of the world lives at the bottom two levels. Most of the educated industrial world lives in the botom four levels. The top level is very difficult to achieve, if even possible.

The following is from:

Self-actualization is the summit of Maslow's motivation theory. It is about the quest of reaching one's full potential as a person. Unlike lower level needs, this need is never fully satisfied; as one grows psychologically there are always new opportunities to continue to grow.
Self-actualized people tend to have motivators such as:
  • Truth
  • Justice
  • Wisdom
  • Meaning
Self-actualized persons have frequent occurrences of peak experiences, which are energized moments of profound happiness and harmony. According to Maslow, only a small percentage of the population reaches the level of self-actualization.

Click here for further details, explanation and examples of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.