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eCore Public Speaking Textbook (COMM 1113)

This guide serves as the primary text for COMM 1113 in eCore.

Audience Analysis

Audience analysis- examining and looking at your audience first by its demographic characteristics and then by their internal psychological traits

Demographic characteristics- the outward characteristics of the audience

Stereotyping- generalizing about a group of people and assuming that because a few persons in that group have a characteristic, all of them do

Totalizing- taking one characteristic of a group or person and making that the “totality” or sum total of what that person or group is

Heterogeneous- a mixture of different types of people and demographic characteristics within a group of people

Homogeneous- a group of people that are very similar in many characteristics

Psychographic Characteristics- the inner characteristics of the audience; beliefs, attitudes, needs, and values

Beliefs- statements we hold to be true

Attitude- a stable positive or negative response to a person, idea, object, or policy

Values- goals we strive for and what we consider important and desirable

Needs- important deficiencies that we are motivated to fulfill

Researching Your Speeches

Primary Research- new research, carried out to acquire data first-hand rather than from previously published sources to answer specific questions or issues and discover knowledge

Primary Sources- information that is first-hand or straight from the source; information that is unfiltered by interpretation or editing

Secondary Sources- information that is not directly from the firsthand source; information that has been compiled, filtered, edited, or interpreted in some way

Periodicals- works that are published on a regular, ongoing basis, such as magazines, academic journals, and newspapers

Peer-review- a review process in which other scholars have read a work of scholarly writing (usually articles, but sometimes books) and evaluated whether it meets the quality standards of a particular publication and/or discipline

Supporting Your Speech Ideas

Probative- having the quality or function of proving or demonstrating something; affording proof or evidence

Hypothetical Narrative- a story of something that could happen but has not happened yet

Define- to set limits on what a word or term means, how the audience should think about it, and/or how you will use it

Stipulated Definition- a definition with clearly defined parameters for how the word or term is being used in the context of a speech

Kinesthetic- issues related to the movement of the body or physical activity

Organic- feelings or issues related to the inner workings of the body

Statistics- the collection, analysis, comparison, and interpretation of numerical data, understanding its comparison with other numerical data

Mean- the mathematical average for a given set of numbers

Median- the middle number in a given set of numbers

Mode- the number that is the most frequently occurring within a given set of numbers

Testimony- the words of others used as proof or evidence

Expert- someone with recognized credentials, knowledge, education, and/or experience in a subject

Peer testimony- any quotation from a friend, family member, or classmate about an incident or topic

Perception- how people organize and interpret the patterns of stimuli around them

Attention- focus on one stimulus while ignoring or suppressing reactions to other stimuli


Language- any formal system of gestures, signs, sounds, and symbols used or conceived as a means of communicating thought, either through written, enacted, or spoken means

Euphemism- devices often used to make something unpleasant sound more tolerable

Abstract Language- language that evokes many different visual images in the minds of your audience

Literal Language- language that does not use comparisons like similes and metaphors

Figurative Language- language that uses metaphors and similes to compare things that may not be literally alike

Simile- a figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind (specifically using the terms “like” or “as”), used to make a description more emphatic or vivid

Metaphor- a figure of speech that identifies something as being the same as some unrelated thing for rhetorical effect, thus highlighting the similarities between the two

Clichés- predictable and generally overused expressions; usually similes

Imagery- language that makes the recipient smell, taste, see, hear, and feel a sensation; also known as sensory language

Jargon- language used in a specific field that may or may not be understood by others

Slang- a type of language that consists of words and phrases that are specific to a subculture or group that others may not understand

Assonance- the repetition of vowel sounds in a sentence or passage

Alliteration- the repetition of initial consonant sounds in a sentence or passage

Antithesis- the juxtaposition of contrasting ideas in balanced or parallel words, phrases, or grammatical structures

Parallelism- the repetition of grammatical structures that correspond in sound, meter, or meaning

Anaphora- the succession of sentences beginning with the same word or group of words

Hyperbole- intentional exaggeration for effect

Irony- the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect

Appropriateness- how persons and groups should be referred to and addressed based on inclusiveness and context

Ethnic Identity- a group an individual identifies with based on a common culture

Informative Speaking

Informative Speech- a speech based entirely and exclusively on facts and whose main purpose is to inform rather than persuade, amuse, or inspire

Irrefutable- a statement or claim that cannot be argued

Opinion- a personal view, attitude, or belief about something

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