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Fundamentals of Oral Communication
SC105

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SC105, FUNDAMENTALS OF ORAL COMMUNICATION

Instructor: Dr. L. Underberg
Office: Grauel 217
Hours: MW: 9-10; T: 11-12; Th: by appointment
MS: 2800
Phone: 2514 (office); 334-7692 (home)

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Course Purpose

This course is designed to provide you with an understanding of the nature and relevance of public address.

"Fundamentals of Oral Communication" will provide you with the training necessary to sharpen your abilities in the presentation, construction and critical evaluation of messages. This objective is accomplished 1) through the presentation of speeches in class, 2) discussions of the techniques of speech construction and delivery, and 3) practice evaluating of the performances of others. This course will acquaint you with the theory behind effective oral communication practice – a knowledge base that should equip you to participate productively in the public dialogue as both a consumer and producer of communication.

This course will develop your proficiency in:


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Required Material:

DeVito, Joseph A. The Elements of Public Speaking, 6th Edition, New York: Longman, 1997.


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General Requirements for Speaking Assignments

Speeches: This term, you will be required to prepare and present a minimum of three individual speeches. A substantial portion (60%) of your grade in this course will be based on your speaking performance. Speech grades will focus on your in-class presentations and submission (AT THE START OF CLASS TWO MEETINGS PRIOR TO THE BEGINNING OF EACH SPEECH ROUND) of a complete speech outline and bibliography for each project. Both the speech and your outline should demonstrate your ability to effectively incorporate the theoretical material covered in class into an actual presentation. Descriptions of the speech assignments and criteria for evaluation will be discussed well in advance of the speaking day. Time rarely permits make up speeches and absence on an assigned speaking day may result in no credit for the assignment. (Note that there is a risk involved in missing a speech day since make-ups will only be allowed when their scheduling does not interfere with other classroom activities.) On those rare occasions when makeups are possible, there will be a grade reduction (per class period) for speeches given late in which no substitute speaker was located. PLEASE note that responsibility for providing a substitute rests with the student.

You will be expected to use the extemporaneous mode of speaking in all assignments. This means that the speaker uses notes and careful advance preparation (usually speaking from an outline) but does not prepare exact wording or memorize the speech in advance. Assigned speeches vary in length from 4 to 8 minutes. In addition, each speaker must sustain a minimum of 2-3 minutes of question/answer conversation following each speech (this dialogue time is not reflected in the time limits recorded in the assignment descriptions). All oral projects must be completed in order to receive course credit. Each of your speeches should deal with a different subject area (subjects should be related to categories from the University Studies program, i.e., human institutions or national systems.


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Areas of Evaluation on Speaking Assignments

A description of each assignment is provided by your instructor. If specific requirements provided by your instructor vary with those suggested in exercises in the text, follow those provided in class.

The graded speaking assignments are structured to correspond to the readings you have completed. The more material we have covered in reading and discussion, the greater the number of areas you will be responsible for in your speeches. In other words, each speech might be considered a comprehensive examination testing your ability to apply what you have read up to that point to a public speaking performance. The speeches get progressively longer and more complex as the course progresses.

SPEECH TYPE

CATEGORIES (From Readings) EMPHASIZED IN EVALUATION

Expository Speech

Topic Selection
Credibility
Organization
Use of Visual Aids

Speech of Appraisal

All of the above plus:
Adaptation
Introduction/Conclusions
Use of Outside Support

Policy Speech

All of the above plus:
Physical and Vocal Delivery
Motivating an Audience/Reasoning
Word Choice

Bibliographies should be included with outlines as assigned. Form should follow an acceptable method of documentation (for example, the MLA or APA style). Sources of information and all quotations must be clearly identified. University sanctions concerning plagiarism will be strictly enforced. All speeches and outlines must originate with the student making the presentation. Anyone violating this guideline will automatically fail the assignment.


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Evaluation/Participation: Active participation in classroom exercises, group projects, and the evaluation of speeches are vital in this course. Although primary emphasis is given to your individual speeches, your ability to objectively evaluate the performance of others and to constructively contribute to class discussions will influence your grade. Your class participation grade is based on contribution to in-class discussions, quality of your written evaluations of others, responsiveness to the speeches of classmates, and quality of your work on any additional activities that may be assigned by your instructor. A substantial portion (50%) of this grade will be based on your completion of a written analysis of a significant rhetorical work and your discussion of that evaluation in class.


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Quizzes/Exam: To test your comprehension of material in the text a series of brief unannounced quizzes will be given. These quizzes will be listing/short answer tests, given at the start of class covering the reading required for that session. There will be a comprehensive exam at the conclusion of the term. The total from quizzes and exams will constitute 20% of your grade.

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Grading
:

Expository Speech

20%

Speech of Appraisal

20%

Policy Speech

20%

Evaluation/Participation (evaluation of others, completion of assigned projects, contribution to class discussions and completion of an outside criticism assignment, the latter counts as of your grade in this category

20%

Quizzes/Final Exam*

20%

Total:

100%


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Letter
Grade

Point
Equivalent

Total Points
Required for a
Grade in this range

     A+

100 500

     A

95 475

     A-

92 460

     B+

87 435

     B

85 425
     B- 82 410
     C+ 77 385
     C 75 375
     C- 72 360
     D+ 67 335
     D 65 325
     D- 62 310
     F 50 250

* Your quiz and test grades will be entered as a score reflecting the cumulative total of correct answers over the course of the semester.

Questions about grades, evaluations, etc., must be raised within one week after the grade was given.


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Attendance/Late Assignment Policy:
Regular attendance is expected. An important part of improving public communication skills comes from listening to, evaluating, and discussing the presentations of others. Regular attendance in class is necessary for the following reasons:

a. If you are absent on a day you are assigned to speak, you may receive no credit for the assignment.

b. On days when other class members are scheduled to speak, it is important that they have an audience.

c. Since written work, quizzes, or in-class projects completed on the day of your absence are either discussed at the time of completion or as "time sensitive" projects, makeups are often impossible.

For an absence to be considered "excused" you must provide appropriate documentation. However, an absence that is excused does not free you from responsibility for completing required work. In the event of an unavoidable absence you need to make appropriate arrangements in advance (i.e., getting lecture notes, notifying your instructor, finding a substitute if the absence falls on an assigned speaking day).


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Class Schedule

Date 

Classroom Activity/Topic

Reading Due

Jan

20

Introduction to Course
Present Speeches of Introduction

Unit 1
22 The Public Speaking Process
25 Discuss Expository Speech Assignment
Subject Selection
Expository Speech Handout
Unit 6
27 Subject Selection Continued
Organizing the Speech
Unit 12
29 Using Visual Aids Unit 9
Feb 1 Communication Apprehension
Outline for Expository Speech Due
Unit 3 (recommended)
3 Ethics/Credibility Unit 23
5 To be announced
8 Presentation: Expository Speech Group 2 Speaks; Group 1 Evaluates
10 Presentation: Expository Speech Group 2 Speaks; Group 1 Evaluates
Group 3 Speaks; Group 2 Evaluates
12 Presentation: Expository Speech Group 3 Speaks; Group 2 Evaluates
15 Presentation: Expository Speech Group 4 Speaks; Group 3 Evaluates
17 Presentation: Expository Speech Group 4 Speaks; Group 3 Evaluates
Group 1 Speaks; Group 4 Evaluates
19 To be announced
22 Presentation: Expository Speech Group 1 Speaks; Group 4 Evaluates
24 Discuss Expository Speech
26 Audience Adaptation Units 10 & 11
Mar 1 Audience Adaptation continued
3 Attitude Change
Discuss Speech of Appraisal Assignment
Discuss Criticism Assignment
Unit 20
Speech of Appraisal and
Rhet. Crit. Handouts
5 View "Checkers" Speech
8 Use of Supporting Material Unit 8
10 Use of Supporting Material continued
Crafting Introductions and Conclusions
Outline for Speech of Appraisal Due
Unit 13 (recommended)
12 Discuss "Checkers" Speech
22 Presentation: Speech of Appraisal Group 3 Speaks; Group 1 Evaluates
24 Presentation: Speech of Appraisal Group 3 Speaks; Group 1 Evaluates
Group 4 Speaks; Group 2 Evaluates
26 To be announced
29 Presentation: Speech of Appraisal Group 4 Speaks; Group 2 Evaluates
31 Presentation: Speech of Appraisal Group 1 Speaks; Group 3 Evaluates
Apr 7 Presentation: Speech of Appraisal

Group 1 Speaks; Group 3 Evaluates
Group 2 Speaks; Group 4 Evaluates

9 To be Announced
12 Presentation: Speech of Appraisal Group 2 Speaks; Group 4 Evaluates
16 Discussion of Speech of Appraisal
19 Stock issues for Policy Speakers
Discuss Policy Speech Assignment
Policy Speech Handout
21 Motivation and Audience Response Unit 22
23 Delivering the Speech Unit 17, Unit 18
26 Delivery continued
Word Choice
Outline for Policy Speech Due
Unit 16
28 Reasoning/Logical Fallacies Unit 21
30 Presentation: Policy Speech Group 4 Speaks; Group 1 Evaluates
May 3 Presentation: Policy Speech

Group 4 Speaks; Group 1 Evaluates
Group 1 Speaks; Group 2 Evaluates

5 Presentation: Policy Speech Group 1 Speaks; Group 2 Evaluates
7 Presentation: Policy Speech Group 2 Speaks; Group 3 Evaluates
10 Presentation: Policy Speech

Group 2 Speaks; Group 3 Evaluates
Group 3 Speaks; Group 4 Evaluates

12 Presentation: Policy Speech Group 3 Speaks; Group 4 Evaluates
14 Review for Final Exam


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Misconceptions About Speaking In Public

The following represent common yet misleading beliefs about public speaking. Review these generalizations and be prepared to discuss how accepting them could impede your progress as a public speaker.

  1. Effectiveness in speech can not be learned.
    Do some people just seem to have a knack for it?

  2. Good speech content is enough to assure audience response.
    Does simply knowing the subject well guarantee an effective speech?

  3. It is not what you say but how you say it.
    Do all ideas sound good and true as long as speakers utter them in dynamic or interesting ways?

  4. To be a good public speaker, you must adopt an artificial style.
    Must speakers imitate highly regarded models of public speaking in order to be effective?

  5. To learn public speaking is to master delivery skills.
    Is it enough for students of public speaking to learn to gesture and shift tones of voice?

  6. Public speakers must play roles.
    Must students of public speaking give up their unique personal styles when they give speeches in public?

  7. No real exchange of ideas occurs in communication classrooms.
    Must speeches given in class treat only "safe" or "trivial" topics in a non-challenging manner?

  8. A speech is simply an essay presented orally.
    Is there a difference between reading and listening?
    Is there a difference between writing and talking?

  9. A class in public speaking will eliminate the nervousness I feel when speaking in public.
    Is this objective realistic or desirable?


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Differences Between Oral And Written Communication

The following is a list of some of the key differences in oral versus written style. Discuss how each item presents unique assets and/or drawbacks for the public speaker relative to the writer. As part of your discussion, give careful consideration to what specific means the speaker might use to maximize assets and minimize drawbacks.

1) Time of encoding (putting thoughts into words).

2) Self monitoring by communicator.

3) Immediacy of communicator/audience relationship.

4) Degree of permanence of the communication.

5) Methods of contrast/emphasis available to the communicator.

6) Time of decoding (the audience translation of words to ideas).

7) Influence of situation/occasion on both communicator and audience.

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CRITERIA

GRADE A OR B

GRADE C

GRADE D OR F

Time

Within assigned limits Within assigned limits Not within limits

Purpose

Clear and specific Clear Vague or absent

Topic

Interesting/Engaging Appropriate Not appropriate to

audience/situation

Introduction

Attention-getting
Related to listeners
Previews content
Previews structure
States strong speaker qualifications
Sets focus
Attention-getting
Related to listeners
Previews content
States speaker
qualifications
Fails to engage the audience, note speaker qualification or effectively preview content

Assertions (Main Points)

Maximum of five
Minimum of two
Clearly stated
Compelling and memorable
Maximum of five
Minimum of two
Clearly stated
Five or more
Only one
Vague or confused
Not evident

Support

Appropriate
Varied in type
Specific and vivid
Sources cited
Source qualifications clear
Sources expert
Sources believable
Visuals clear, large, labeled, used effectively
Applicable
At least 2 types
Specific
Sources cited
Source qualifications
clear
Visuals adequate
Not relevant
Majority 1 type
Vague/General
Extensive paraphrase
Incomplete citations
Sources lack credibility
Visuals absent or distracting

Organization

Clear transitions
Appropriate pattern
Clear subordination
Internal previews & summaries
Transitions used
Discernible pattern
Subordination evident
Summaries used
No transitions
No evident pattern
Confusing subordination
No evident structure

Conclusion

Clear summary
Clear and forceful
Upbeat
Summarizes
Clear
Summary vague
Drags out and/or drops off
Abrupt

Delivery

Rate moderate/varied
Vocal variety extensive
Active gestures and movement
Direct eye contact
Clear command of terms used - language is precise, vivid and forceful
No mispronunciations
Very fluent/confident
Rate moderate
Vocal variety
Uses gestures and
movement
Makes eye contact
1-2 mispronunciation
Fluent, clear language use
Fast/slow rate hurts
comprehension
Lacks vocal variety/
distracting
Lacks visual variety/ distracting
Avoids eye contact
Frequent mispronun. of key terms, language unclear

NOTE: As the categories above show, a C is an "average" grade and may be considered a mark of technical merit assigned to speeches meeting the basic requirements of each assignment. To earn an A or B, the speaker must go beyond the minimum standards.

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Expository Speech

The following guidelines apply to informative speeches of description, definition, and demonstration. Consult the class outline and text for specifications regarding the "direction" of speech development for this project. Informative speeches should be from 4-6 minutes in length with an additional 1-2 minute discussion period following the presentation.

Description of Assignment

Prepare and present an informative speech on a subject about which you are qualified to speak. The speech topic should be interesting and important to your audience, and appropriate to the occasion. The speech must utilize visual aids (either demonstrative or descriptive). Remember, these are informative speeches, and in them you are to clarify a point of view, process, idea, condition, event, place, or object. The crucial test for an informative speech is: does it have as the sole object the presentation of clear, correct, new and balanced information?

Standards of Evaluation

Adaptation - The subject should be timely, informative in nature, and adapted to the interests and/or qualification of speaker and be relevant and interesting to the audience.

Content - Use of visual aids should follow guidelines in the text. All visual or demonstrative support should be appropriate to the subject and occasion, relevant to the subject, engaging and informative to the audience and should complement rather than detract from the oral presentation. Any additional supporting material used in the speech should be credible, accurate, and used to convey information which would be new or different to the audience.

Organization - Introduction should relate the subject to the interests of the audience. Development of the speech should be apparent with 3 to 5 main points relating to a clear thesis statement. The use of transitions, previews, and internal summaries to maintain clarity is expected. Conclusion should either summarize speech, re-establish the relationship between subject and audience, or both.

Language - Avoid the use of unfamiliar or ambiguous terms.

Delivery - A maximum of 3 4x6 notecards may be used. Delivery should be extemporaneous.

Outlines - Should be submitted 2 class periods before the start of the expository speech round and should contain an annotated bibliography of outside sources and list of visual aids to be used. Follow the specifications given in class and in the text for outline construction.

Suggestions: (1) Select a topic that you know something about that is of interest to the audience, that is worthwhile and useful, and that lends itself to visual/demonstrative speech focus. (2) Short-cut procedures by doing them ahead of time. (3) Use visual aids such as special equipment, pictures, models, replicas, and objects. Do not use the blackboard. (4) Remember that explaining a diagram is not a demonstration nor do visual aids "speak for themselves." (5) Don’t let visual or demonstrative aspects of your presentation interfere with continuous oral presentation. (6) Describe and illustrate all steps and procedures. (7) Explain any unusual or technical terms. (8) Plan your presentation carefully and rehearse it in advance. Enliven the subject matter by using examples, quotations, illustrations, stories, analogies, and humor.


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Speech of Appraisal

Description of Assignment:

Prepare and present a 5-7 minute speech concerning an important (significant, worthwhile) subject. The appraisal speech is a persuasive speech in which you take a stand in favor of or against a particular idea, theory, person, state of affairs, etc. Speeches of this type are often referred to as speeches of evaluation, speeches of judgment or speeches of praise/blame. Since the speech is persuasive in nature, you should utilize all the rhetorical skills at your disposal to influence the feelings of others on the subject. In particular, you should demonstrate a grasp of the psychological process of persuasion by seeking identification with the audience, as you invite a cognitive as well as affective response.

This speech should meet the basic requirements of message construction, i.e., effective introduction and conclusion, clear organizational pattern (with a manageable" number of main points) structured around an explicit thesis, adequate supporting material, and careful consideration of the audience being addressed.

The speech should be delivered extemporaneously with a maximum of three 4 x 6 notecards.

In addition to the presentation time limits, the speaker is expected to lead a discussion following the speech (minimum of 2 minutes).

Standards of Evaluation:

Adaptation - awareness of listeners, adaptation to conditions, subject matter suited to the audience, occasion, and time limits.

Interest - getting and holding attention of audience.

Content of message - sufficient examples, analogies, visual aids, statistics, testimony, factual data to support each assertion. Emphasis on the quality of the reasoning. Support should be drawn from at least 3 published outside sources.

Organization - includes introduction that has attention-getting material, points out general scope and significance of topic, establishes relation of topic to particular audience, identifies common ground. Clear thesis sentence with a preview of all main points. Adequate internal summaries and transitions to make organizational plan and progress evident to listeners. Conclusion may review main points, restate thesis, relate topic to particular audience, and/or make final (behavioral) request.

Language - clarity, appropriateness, economy, originality, vitality.

Delivery – will be given modest attention however it will be important that stylistic aspects of your presentation are appropriate to the subject, convey a sense of your own interest in the selected topic, and can engage/motivate the audience.

Outline – should be submitted 2 class periods prior to the start of the praise/blame speech round. An annotated bibliography should be included with the outline.

* Hint: In this speech, adaptation and research/support of ideas become important areas of evaluation. It would be a good idea to select a subject that lends itself to use of "high quality" outside support. Often, national or international issues receive more coverage in published sources and are thus an advantage to the speaker.


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Policy Speech

Description of Assignment

Prepare and present a 6-8 minute (with an additional discussion period of at least 2 minutes following) speech of conviction dealing with an important (significant, worthwhile) topic. Your goal is to employ all the rhetorical skills and persuasive techniques at your disposal to change the beliefs, attitudes, opinions, and behavior of as many listeners as possible. Your objective is to gain a commitment from your audience to a specific course of action or policy.

Policy speeches should meet all of the guidelines for effective informative speaking: i.e., adequate introduction and conclusion, clear (explicit) organizational pattern around a thesis sentence and three to five main points, adaptation of the topic and treatment to the particular audience being addressed, adequate supporting material for all assertions, and extemporaneous delivery. In addition, the speaker should demonstrate an understanding of the psychological processes of persuasion by appealing to shared cored values.

A major emphasis in this speech will be on adequate development of supporting reasons which help make each main point credible to the listeners. Supporting materials from at least four different sources should be used to develop the ideas. Special emphasis should be given to the citation and qualification of sources of evidence used in the speech.

A complete outline must be submitted on the date indicated in class and should include an annotated bibliography of the sources you intend to use in your speech. A maximum of 4 4X6 notecards may be used.

Standards of Evaluation

Adaptation - awareness of listeners, adaptation to conditions, friendliness, subject matter suited to the audience, occasion, and time limits.

Interest - getting and holding attention of audience.

Content of message - sufficient examples, analogies, visual aids, statistics, testimony, factual data to support each assertion. Emphasis on the quality of the reasoning. Support should be drawn from at least 4 different, credible outside sources.

Organization - includes introduction that has attention-getting material, points out general scope and significance of topic, establishes relation of topic to particular audience, identifies common ground. Clear thesis sentence with a preview of all main points. Adequate internal summaries and transitions to make organizational plan and progress evident to listeners. Specific provisions of your solution should be clearly described and supported. Conclusion that reviews main points, restates thesis, relates topic to particular audience, and makes final (behavioral) request.

Stock issue coverage – is a content and organizational issue. Speaker is expected to effectively engage the "stock policy issues" of harm, inherency, solvability, and disadvantage.

Language - clarity, appropriateness, economy, originality, vitality.

Physical delivery - sincerity, alert posture and bodily movement, helpful facial expression, effective gestures, direct eye contact without excessive reliance on notes.

Vocal delivery - variety of pitch, volume, and rate; adequate loudness; fluent and distinct sound production; and conversational quality.

Outlines should be submitted 2 class periods prior to the start of the policy speeches and should contain an annotated bibliography of outside sources. Follow the specifications given in class and in the text for outline construction.


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Outline Supplement

One of the most persistent problems for beginning speakers is the structuring of the body of the speech. This is often reflected in both outlines and actual presentation.

It may be helpful for you to think of your speech as an extended argument in which your primary claim (behavioral objective, specific speech purpose) must be supported by the most compelling reasons you are able to locate (main points). This means that main points must be stated in a way that makes them as memorable and persuasive as possible (i.e., clear, direct, complete statements are needed as main points).

Consider the following pattern:

OBJECTIVE:
I want to convince you that the dangerous erosion of the social safety net must be halted.
(because)
I. Past Policy
II. Present Actions
III. Future Prospects

Obviously, as an argument, this structure is not informative or compelling. There is ambiguity in the structure. Remember, your audience may only recall the main points and in the above pattern it is doubtful that even the best of explanations could overcome the damage done by the ambiguity inherent in the organization.

A more productive approach would be the following, which follows the type of organization used in the previous example:

 

OBJECTIVE:
I want to convince you that the dangerous erosion of the social safety net must be halted.
(because)
I. In the past, support for the "less fortunate" reflected the moral commitment of the   government to its citizens.
II. Current restrictions result in unnecessary anguish for millions of Americans
III. The deprivation that will result from proposed cutbacks will lead to revolt

Naturally, the points above are debatable, but they do illustrate the importance of descriptive main points. The pattern above presents a claim and easily understandable arguments which specifically support it. When doing substructure for main points, follow the same procedure. Consider them claims and subpoints are the reasons you present in their support.

It is important to avoid the use of brief ambiguous labels as main points. When you have outlined the speech, take a look at the structure and make sure that:

1) You express the exact response you desire from your listeners. Generally, this is a single claim; don't confuse it with a preview.

2) The main points provide reasons that support your thesis. As outlined, they should stand on their own as logical statements supporting your objective. Trust your judgment on this--on paper they should look logical, compelling, and in viewing them there should be no doubt in the reader's mind what your main objective is and why you believe it (main points). For clarification, look at the two previous examples. The first pattern is unclear but in the second the reader can, even with the limited information available, understand the argument.


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Rhetorical Criticism Project

General Description

Select a significant public address and in a 4-6 page paper analyze the speech in terms of its historical, social, and artistic merit. You (along with others assigned to analyze the same speech) will be responsible for leading a class discussion over the assigned speech. Although the length of the speeches will vary, we will typically devote 30-50 minutes to each project (including viewing of the video tape of the assigned speech that you have secured from the library).

Grading Criteria Written

Your critique will be assessed in terms of 1) the quality of outside sources used (i.e., historical, biographical, etc.), to support your appraisal, and 2) the degree to which you are able to use the selected speech to clarify the standards for speaking discussed in text or this class.

Consider looking at the following areas:

Procedural Items

Papers must be typed.

Papers must be submitted to the instructor 1 class period prior to classroom viewing of the assigned speech.

Though the evaluation group may work together on the oral portion of this assignment, your written work must be an individual endeavor.

Papers must contain a bibliography of outside sources used – make sure that all quoted material is clearly identified in your paper.

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Download Evaluation Forms (Microsoft Word document)

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Updated: January 20, 2004