Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

1.3 Characteristics of a speaker`s/signer`s style and tone/register that attract or alienate an audience are identified with reference to the particular effect of each feature in creating audience response.

ryanrori December 28, 2020

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A good listener tries to understand thoroughly what the other person is saying. In the end he may disagree sharply, but before he disagrees, he wants to know exactly what it is he is disagreeing with.”

-Kenneth A. Wells,

Manner of Public Speaking

Your arguments are not likely to be persuasive if they are not presented well; how you argue is nearly as important as what you argue.

There is no ideal manner of speaking; style should be personal; affecting another’s style or manner may make you appear insincere or unnatural; the best presentation style is one that will help you to communicate most naturally; some people are naturally more adept at public speaking; they are witty, charming, relaxed, attractive; they can easily appear to have a conversation with a large audience; be careful not to be mechanical; be emphatic but not ecstatic (emphatically wrong); there are various elements of speaking style (tone, diction, gestures, etc.); identify problems that you may have; and settle on your own most effective speaking style; these are skills that everyone can work on; especially if you have problems speaking clearly, tend to mumble or speak too quickly, or gaze at your feet;

Presence; engage, attract and maintain the attention of your audience; consider the size of the room; flamboyant gestures; booming tone of voice (voices carry); this may include contrast, listening carefully to how others speak; altering your style accordingly; direct your voice to the audience and your opponents, not the wall.

Word Choice; use clear language; avoid jargon (debate vocabulary) that may intimidate the uninitiated; speak as if you were having a conversation with the audience; words that are meant to clarify may have the effect of confusing the audience; try not to abbreviate words while speaking (even if you abbreviate them in your notes).

Clear organisation; often there seems to be a lot to say (and write) in a short period of time; although you may write notes in shorthand (abbreviating phrases that occur frequently), try not to use abbreviations while speaking; it may be more precise analytically to use sub-points, but they sometimes come at a cost to the audience.

Pace and Tone; you may consider varying the pace of your speech, speaking more quickly at times to express urgency, or more slowly in order to give emphasis to important words or ideas; but avoid falling into a sing-song cadence; use your voice to convey confidence, enthusiasm, interest and sincerity. Avoid Speedy Delivery; when speaking speed increases, listening comprehension decreases; try to speak at a normal conversational pace during your speech. Pause to Breathe; pause to breathe during the speech; this will help you to relax and collect your thoughts.

Volume (Don’t Speak Too Loudly); arguments must be heard; avoid letting their volume trail off; loudness may express importance; softness may express sensitivity; don’t mumble or speak very quickly.

Eye Contact; use your eyes to capture (and measure) the attention of the audience; you are trying to convince them to believe what you are saying; don’t look only at your notes; try to know your arguments well enough to be able to speak without relying on them; don’t stare off into the room; customs on eye contact may vary; try to make eye contact with the people in the first few rows in the beginning; this will help you to imagine that the audience is smaller (but don’t speak softly, or the people in the back won’t hear you); then speak to your audience by focusing your eyes first towards the middle of the room then the back and sides in order to include everyone in the audience.

The underlying assumptions, points of view and subtexts in spoken/signed texts are identified and challenged when appropriate to clarify understanding, remove bias and/or sustain interaction. 

“Challenging assumptions is the most important key to success in our educational, business and personal lives, as well as an integral part of the positive social and environmental change that must be made as we enter the new millennium.”

Wendy Priesnitz

Definition of assumption:

  1. The act of assuming, or taking to or upon one’s self; the act of taking up or adopting.
  2. The act of taking for granted, or supposing a thing without proof; supposition; unwarrantable claim.
  3. The thing supposed; a postulate, or proposition assumed; a supposition.

We live in a culture where we cannot possibly know everything there is to know.  In order to survive we must make assumptions about many things.  When we go to a grocery store we shop with the assumption that the store we are in will be similar to the store we were in last week.  When we walk down the pavement we assume that we won’t be in the path of automobile traffic.  These are very basic assumptions and in the grand scheme of things don’t have much of an impact.