Preparing the Introduction
At this stage of preparation, you are well enough prepared to consider the introduction that you will use.
Because the introduction is critical in establishing your relationship with your audience, it is worth investing the time to compare different openings. Try working on two or three different introductions; then pick the one you believe will work best for your specific audience and speech goal.
How long should the introduction be? Most introductions range from 5 to 10 percent of the speech, This, for a five minute speech (approximately 750 words) to is words is appropriate; for a thirty-minute speech, an introduction of two to four minutes is appropriate. Your introduction should be long enough to put listeners in a frame of mind that will encourage them to hear you out without being so 10000 that it leaves to little time to develop the substance of the speech. Of course, the shorter the speech, the shorter the introduction.
Goals of the Introduction
For any speech, a good introduction will get attention and lead into the content of the speech. A good introduction may also establish credibility, set the tone for the speech, and create a bond of goodwill between speaker and audience. Let’s look at each of these goals in more detail.
Getting attention An audience’s physical presence does not guarantee that they will listen to your speech. Therefore, your first goal is always to create an opening that will win the listeners attention. You can arouse their interest by providing them with a reason they need to know the information you will be presenting. In the next section, we discuss several types of attention getting devices you may use.
Leading into content Audiences want to know what the speech is going to be a t, so it is alt? important to forecast your organization in the introduction, instance, a speech on campaigning, after your attention, you may say, In this speech, I’ll explain the four stages of a political campaign. A clear forecast of the main points is appropriate unless you have some special reason for not revealing the organization.
Establishing your credibility Regardless of your topic or goal, your audience may wonder why they should pay attention to what you have to say. Although credibility is built and maintained throughout the speech, if you have any thought that your audience may not recognize your credentials for speaking on this topic, it IS a good idea to say something about your earning the right to talk on this topic. For instance, when Erin starts her speech on the volleyball spike, her audience is likely to feel more comfortable with her as an authority if she mentions that she is a member of the women’s varsity volleyball team.
Setting a tone A humorous opening will signal a light haired tone serious opening signals a more thoughtful or somber tone. A speaker who starts with a rib-tickling ribald story is putting the audience in a lighthearted, devil may care mood. If that speaker then says, Now let’s rum to the subject of abortion (or nuclear war or drug abuse), the audience will be confused and the speech may be doomed.
Creating a bond of goodwill In the first few words, you often establish how an audience will feel about you as a person. If you are enthusiastic, warm, and friendly and give a sense that what you are going to talk about is in the audience’s best interest, the audience will feel more comfortable spending time listening to you.
Types of Introductions
Ways to begin a speech are limited only by your imagination. In very short speeches-the kind you will be giving this term you will want to focus on getting attention and leading into the content of the speech. You can get your audience’s attention with a startling statement, a question, a story, a personal reference, a quotation, or a suspense opening. Any of these devices can be adapted to both short and longer speeches.
Startling statement One excellent way to grab your listeners attention and focus on the topic quickly is to open with a startling statement that will override the various competing thoughts in your listeners minds. This example illustrates the attention-getting effect of a startling statement.
If I pointed a pistol at you, you would be justifiably’ scared. But at least you would know the danger to your life. Yet every day we let people fire away at us with messages that are dangerous to our pocketbooks and our minds, and we seldom say a word. I’m talking about television advertisers.
Today I want to look at our choices in how we can go about letting our feelings about advertising be heard.
In just seventy six words about thirty seconds-this introduction grabs attention and leads into the speech.
Rhetorical question Asking a rhetorical question, a question seeking a mental rather than a vocal response, is another appropriate opening for a short speech. Here a student begins her speech on counterfeiting with three short questions.
What would you do with this twenty-dollar bill if I gave it to you? Take your friend to a movie? Treat yourself to a pizza and drinks? Well, if you did either of these things, you could get in big trouble this bill is counterfeit.
Today I want to share with you the extent of counterfeiting of American money worldwide and what our government is doing to curb it.
Again, a short opening (seventy words, less than thirty seconds) gets attention and leads into the speech.
Story If you have a good story that gets an audience’s attention and is really elated to the goal of the speech, you probably have an unbeatable opening. Because many good stories are rather long, they are often more appropriate for speeches with time limits of ten minutes or more. However, you will occasionally find or think of a story that you can abbreviate that is just right for your speech (Ettinger, 2000, p. 727).
Last summer, Buffalo Bills quarterback Doug Flute was watching the final game of the Women’s World Cup soccer match on TV with his 12-year-old soccer playing daughter, Alexei. During the match, the hugely successful advertisement for Gatorade featuring superstar Michael Jordan and U.S. Team star Mia Ham came on, at which time Alexei asked, Dad, who’s the guy with Mia 7.
My optimistic belief is that perceptions are in the eye of the beholder and role models like Mia are setting the stage for a new world view.
Although Ettinger’s opening was well over 150 words, this 89-word revision would work well for a five- to seven-minute classroom speech.
Personal reference Although any good opening should engage the audience, the personal reference is directed solely to that end. In addition to getting attention, a personal reference can be especially effective at engaging listeners as active participants in a speech. A personal reference opening like this one on exercise may be suitable for a speech, of any length.
Say, were you panting when you got to the top of those four flights of stairs this morning? I’ll bet there were a ‘few of you who vowed you’re never going to take a class on the top floor of this building again. But did you ever stop to think that maybe the problem isn’t that this class is on the top floor? It just might be that you are not getting enough exercise.
Today I want to talk with you about how you can build an exercise program that will get you and keep you in shape, yet will only cost you three hours a week, and not one red cent.
Quotation A particularly vivid or thought-provoking quotation makes an excellent introduction to a speech of any length. You will need to use your imagination to relate the quotation to your topic so that it yields maximum benefits. For instance, in the beginning of her introduction, notice how Suzanne Morse, Director of the Pew Partnership for Civic Change (2001), uses a quotation to get the attention of her audience.
A few years ago, one of America’s foremost philosophers, Yogi Berra, remarked to his wife on a trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, We are completely lost but we are making good time. I am afraid Yogi’s observation may be true for more than just his navigational skills. For Americans, our direction on the important social issues of the day finds us lost but still driving.
As we think about strategies for change needed for America’s third century, we must go in new directions.
Suspense If you can start your speech in a way that gets the audience to ask, What is she leading up to? you may well get them hooked for the entire speech. The suspense opening is especially valuable when the topic is one that the audience ordinarily might nor he willing to listen to if the speech were opened less dramatically. Consider the attention-getting value of this introduction.
It costs the United States more than $116 billion per year. It has cost the loss of more jobs than a recession. It accounts for nearly 100,000 deaths a year. I’m not talking about cocaine abuse-the problem is alcoholism. Today I want to show you how we can avoid this inhumane killer by abstaining from it.
Notice that by purring the problem, alcoholism, at the end, the speaker ages the audience to try to anticipate the answer. And because the audience may well be thinking narcotics, the revelation that the answer is alcoholism is likely to be that much more effective.
Outlining the Conclusion
Shakespeare said, All’s well that ends well,” and nothing could be truer of a good speech. A conclusion has two major goals: (1) to wrap up the speech so that it reminds the audience of what you have said and (2) to hit home so that the audience will remember your words or consider your appeal. Even though the conclusion will be a relatively small part of the speech seldom more than percent (thirty five to forty words of a five minute speech) it is worth the time and effort to make it effective.
Speakers select the type of conclusion for their speeches Oil the basis or the speech goal and the likely appeal to the audience. To determine how you will conclude your speech, tryout two or three conclusions, then choose the one thus believe will best reinforce your speech goal with your audience. You want to master four basic types of conclusions: summary, story, appeal to action, and emotional impact conclusions.
By far the easiest way to end a speech is to summarize the main points. Thus, the shortest appropriate ending for a speech on the warning signs of cancer would be, So remember, if you experience a sudden weight loss, lack of energy, or blood in your urine or bowels, you should see a doctor immediately. Such an ending restates the key ideas the speaker wants the audience to remember. Summaries are appropriate for either informative or persuasive speeches.
Effective speakers often summarize to achieve the first speech goal wrapping up the speech so that it reminds the audience of what they have said. But effective speakers are likely to supplement their summaries with material designed to words or consider their appeal. The other types of conclusions presented here can be used to supplement or replace the summary.
Story like, Of. anecdotal, material that reinforces the message of the speech works just as well for the conclusion as for the introduction. In his speech on banking, Edward Crutch field (1980) ends with a personal experience, showing that bankers must be ready to meet competition coming from any direction.
I played a little football once for Davidson a small college about 20 miles north of Charlotte. One particularly memorable game for me was one in which I was blindsided on an off tackle trap. Even though that was 17 years ago, I can still recall the sound of cracking bones ringing in my ears. Well, 17 ampersand 3 operations later my back is fine. But, I learned something important about competition that day. Don’t always assume that your competition is straight in front of you. It’s easy enough to be blindsided by a competitor who comes at you from a very different direction.
Story like conclusions will work for either informative or persuasive speeches.
Appeal to Action Conclusions
The appeal to action is a common way to end a persuasive speech. The appeal describes the behavior that you want your listeners to follow after they have heard the arguments. Notice how Heather Ettinger concludes her speech on Shattering the Glass Floor (2000) with a strong appeal to action.
We have to stop thinking someone else will change the world, We’ve got to get it that we’re the ones.
As you drive home tonight, remember to lift while you climb and outstretch that hand to help another woman, another girl. Let’s shatter the glass floor. Let’s be women donors who are leaders of fundamental change.
By their nature, appeals are most relevant for persuasive speeches, especially when the goal is to motivate an audience to act.
Emotional Impact Conclusions
No conclusion is prioress impressive than one that drives home the most important points with real emotional impact. Consider the way Richard Lamm (1998), of the Center of Public Policy and Contemporary Issues, ends his speech on examined assumptions with a powerful emotional appeal for unity.
Diverse people must unify or they have conflicts. Melting pots that don’t melt become pressure cookers. A country is not a rooming house where we just live while we make our living. What is the social glue that holds diverse people together? Beware of Pyrrhic victories. Listen to John Gardner. If a community is lucky,; and fewer and fewer are, it will have a shared history and tradition. It will have story its legends and heroes and will retell those stories often. It will have symbols of group identity a name, a flag, a location, songs and stories in common which it will use to heighten its merciless sense of belonging. To maintain the sense of belonging and the dedication and commitment so essential to community life, members need inspiring reminders of shared goals and values.
Like the appeal, the emotional conclusion is likely to be used for a persuasive speech where the goal is to reinforce belief, change belief, or motivate an audience to act.
Regardless of the type of speech or how long or how short it will be, list your sources on the outline alphabetically by last name of author or by category with items listed alphabetically in each category: books, magazines, newspapers, electronic databases, experience, observation, and interviews.
1. Books. For a book, write the name of the author (last name first), the title of the book, the chapter or the article if the book is a collection of chapters and articles written by different people, the place of publication and the publisher, and the publication date. For example.
Tobin, David L. Coping Strategies Therapy for Bulimia Nervosa.
Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2000.
Janzen, Rod, Five Paradigms of Ethnic Relations, pp. 63-72, in Larry.
Samovar and Richard Porter, Eds., Intercultural Communication, 8th ed.,
Belmont, CA: Wads worth Publishing, 1997.
2. Magazines, Ac]demic Journals, and Newspapers. For such periodicals, write the name of the author (last name first) if one is given, the title of the article, the name of the magazine, journal, or newspaper, the date, and the page number. from which the information was taken. Here are some examples.
Quinn, Jane Bryant, Should You Be Worried? Newsweek, August 17, 1998, 40-42.
Flanigan, Andrew j & Metzger, Miriam. Internet Use in the Contemporary Media Environment. Human Communication Research, (Jan. 2001),153-181).
DiFilippo, Dana, Year round Schools Gaining Popularity, The Cincinnati Enquirer, August 1,1998.
3. Electronic Databases. When you take material from the Web or some other electronic source, try to include as much documentation as possible so that a person could find what you have cited. Here is an example.
Effects of E on Mood and Cognition. Listed in April 2001.
4. Experience and Observation. If you are drawing from your own experience or observation, list the nature of that experience qr observation. Here are two examples.
Work experience: Fegel’s Jewelry, senior year of high school, 1999-2000.
Observation: Visited Schoenling Brewery, April 22, 2000. Spent an hour on the floor observing the use of various machines in the total process and employees’ responsibilities at each stage.
5. Interviews. If you have conducted an interview, list the name of the person, the person’s position, and the date of that interview.
Interview with Bruno Mueller, diamond cutter at Fegel’s Jewelry, March 19,2001.
Completing the Outline
Now that you have all the parts, it is time to put everything together in complete outline form. Use this checklist to be sure you have an outline that will be fustian useful to you as you move into adaptation and rehearsal.
1. Have I used a standard set of symbols to indicate structure? Main points usually are indicated by Roman numerals, major subdivisions by capital referrers, minor subheadings by Arabic numerals, and further subdivisions by lowercase letters.
2. Have I written main points and major subdivisions as complete sentences? Complete sentences help you to see (1) whether each main point actually develops your speech goal and (2) whether the wording makes your intended point. Unless the key ideas are written out in full, it will be difficult to follow the next guidelines.
3. Do main points and major subdivisions contain a single idea? This guideline ensures that the development of each part of the speech will be relevant to the point. Thus, rather than.
1. The park is beautiful and easy to get to.
divide the sentence so that both parts are separate.
1. The park is beautiful.
II. The park is easy to get to.
The two-point example sorts out distinct ideas so that the speaker can line up supporting material with confidence that the audience will see and understand its relationship to the main points.
4. Does each major subdivision relate to or support its major point. This principle is called subordination. Consider the following example.
I. Proper equipment is necessary for successful play.
A. Good gym shoes are needed for maneuverability.
B. Padded gloves will help protect your hands.
C. A lively ball provides sufficient bounce.
D. And a good attitude doesn’t hurt.
Notice that the main point deals with equipment A, B, and C (shoes, gloves, and ball) relate to the main point. But D, attitude, is not equipment and should appear somewhere else, if at all.
5. Are the total words in the outline limited to no more than one-third the total number of words anticipated in the speech? An outline is only a skeleton of the speech, not a manuscript with letters and numbers. The outline should be short enough to allow you to experiment with methods of development during practice periods and to-adapt to audience needs during the speech itself. An easy ,way to judge whether your outline is about the right length is to be sure that it contains no more than one-third the number of words in the actual speech. Because approximate figures are all you need, to compute the approximate maximum words for your outline, start by assuming a speaking rate of 160 words per minute. (Last term, the speaking rate for the majority of speakers in my class was 140 to 180 words per minute.) Thus, using the average of 160 words per minute, a three- to five minute speech would contain roughly 480 to 800 words, and the outline should be 160 to 300 words. An eight to ten minute speech, roughly 1,280 to 1,600 words, should have an outline of approximately 426 to 533 words.
Now that we have considered the various parts of an outline, let us put them together for final look. The outline in illustrates the principles in practice. The commentary in’ the right hand column focuses on each guideline we have considered.
A speech is organized with an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
First, organize the body of the speech. Begin by writing a thesis sentence based on the speech goal. When you have the potential main points, select the ones you will use. Main points are written as complete sentences that are specific, vivid, and written in parallel language.
A speech can be organized in many different ways depending on the type of speech and the nature of the material. Some of the most common organizational patterns are time, topic, and logical reasons.
Main points are embellished with .supporting material. A useful process is to begin by listing the potential material, then subordinating the material in a way that clarifies the relationship between and among sub points and main points.