Lecture 2
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Lecture 2. Selecting a Topic and Purpose Analyzing the Audience. Two broad categories of potential topics for your speeches:. 1) subjects you know a lot about 2) subjects you want to know more about. Subjects you know a lot about:. A. unusual experiences; B. special knowledge

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Lecture 2

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Lecture 2

Lecture 2

Selecting a Topic and Purpose

Analyzing the Audience


Two broad categories of potential topics for your speeches

Two broad categories of potential topics for your speeches:

  • 1)subjects you know a lot about

  • 2) subjects you want to know more about


Subjects you know a lot about

Subjects you know a lot about:

A. unusual experiences;

  • B. special knowledge

    or expertise;


Subjects you want to know more about

Subjects you want to know more about:

  • Subjects…

  • a. you already have some knowledge or expertise but need additional research;

  • b.untouched at all but you want to explore;

  • c. about which you hold strong opinions and beliefs;

  • d. you care deeply --- national or international concerns.


Brainstorming for topics

Brainstorming for topics:

  • 1)personal inventory;

  • 2)clustering;

  • 3) reference search;

  • 4) internet search;


Determining the general purpose

Determining the general purpose:

a.to inform: enhance the knowledge and understanding of your listeners --- to give them information they did not have before; to explain

b. to persuade: change or structure the attitudes or actions of your audience --- to win over your listeners to your point of view: to exhort


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  • Determining the specific purpose:

  • states what the speaker wants the audience to know as a result of the speech


Tips for formulating the specific purpose statement

Tips for formulating the specific Purpose Statement:

  • 1)a full infinitive phrase, not as a fragment;

  • Ineffective: calendars

  • More effective: To inform my audience about the four major kinds of calendars used in the world today.


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  • 2) a statement, not as a question;

  • Ineffective: Is the U.S. space program necessary?

  • More effective: To persuade my audience that the U.S. space program provides many important benefits to people here on earth.


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  • 3) avoid figurative language:

  • Ineffective: To inform my audience that yoga is extremely cool.

  • More effective: To inform my audience how yoga can improve their health.


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  • 4) one distinct idea:

  • Ineffective: To inform my audience about the use of hot-air balloons and to help reduce air pollution;

  • More effective: choose one.


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  • 5) not too vague or general:

  • Ineffective: To persuade my audience that something should be done about medical care.

  • More effective: To persuade my audience that the federal government should adopt a system of national health insurance for all people in the U.S.A.


Phrasing the central idea

Phrasing the central idea:

  • The central idea is a concise statement of what you expect to say, also called thesis statement, subject sentence, major thought, usually expressed as a simple, declarative sentence that refines and sharpens the specific purpose statement.


Topic american prison system

Topic: American prison system;

  • General purpose: To inform;

  • Specific purpose: To inform my audience of the three major problems facing America’s prison system.

  • Central idea: America’s prison system suffers from three major problems: overcrowding of inmates, lack of effective rehabilitation programs and high expense to taxpayers.


Topic alternative fuel vehicles

Topic: Alternative-fuel vehicles;

  • General purpose: To persuade;

  • Specific purpose: To persuade my audience that the federal government should speed up efforts to develop alternative-fuel vehicles.

  • Central idea: Developing alternative-vehicles will help reduce American dependence on foreign oil and will help reduce air pollution.


Different purposes for a same topic

Different purposes for a same topic:

  • Topic: School buses:

  • Informative: To inform my audience of the dangerous conditions of many school buses in the U.S.

  • Persuasive: To persuade my audience that the federal government should impose stronger safety standards for school buses in the U.S.


Analyzing the audience

Analyzing the Audience

  • Audience-centered (identification ):

  • remain true to yourself and speak ethically while adapting your message to the needs of a particular audience


The psychology of audience

The psychology of audience:

  • Egocentric:

  • people pay closest attention to messages that affect their own values, their own beliefs, their own well-being.


Demographic audience analysis

Demographic audience analysis

  • age,

  • gender,

  • sexual orientation,

  • religion,

  • group membership;

  • racial, ethnic or cultural background


Other variables to consider

Other variables to consider:

  • occupation,

  • economic position,

  • social standing,

  • education,

  • intelligence,

  • and place of residence


Situational audience analysis

Situational Audience analysis

  • Size;

  • Physical setting;

  • Audience’s interest, knowledge & attitude;

  • Perception of the speaker;

  • Disposition toward the occasion.


Getting information about the audience

Getting information about the audience

  • observation and conversation

  • Interview;

  • Questionnaire:

  • ---fixed-alternative questions

  • ---scale questions

  • ---open-ended questions


Adapting to the audience

Adapting to the audience

  • audience adaptation before the speech:

  • --- assessing

  • --- adjusting

  • audience adaptation during the speech:

  • --- time allotment

  • --- reaction to feedback


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