Divide a sheet of paper into two columns. Label one column “Characteristics of an Effective Public Speaker.” Label the other column “Characteristics of an Ineffective Public Speaker.” In...

  1. Divide a sheet of paper into two columns. Label one column “Characteristics of an Effective Public Speaker.” Label the other column “Characteristics of an Ineffective Public Speaker.” In the columns, list and briefly explain what you believe to be the five most important characteristics of effective and ineffective speakers.

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Public speaking, like any form of communication, requires certain shared interests between speaker and listener. In this particular mode of rhetoric, several “canons” are employed when the communication is effective and when it leads to actual change in behavior or attitude.

First, the effective strategies: (1) the physical attributes of the communication – the pleasant and appropriately strong or gentle sound of the voice, the appealing appearance of the speaker, the ambience or atmosphere of the venue, etc.-- must all be in place. (2) Next, the opening utterance (in fact, even the announced title/subject of the speech) must draw the listener in to the topic. (3) After the first arresting, intriguing, challenging statements (not necessarily in declarative voice – questions, suppositions, etc. often work better), the speaker must present what is called “the declaration of structure,” by which is meant a brief “map” of how the journey from thesis to conclusion will be arranged/designed. This feature, early in the utterance, allows the listener to anticipate the argument’s structure and therefore to follow the unfolding of the evidence. (4) Next, in vocal “paragraphs,” the public speaker must adhere to the announced structure, citing evidence not only authoritatively but convincingly, neither exaggerating nor understating the “struts” that hold up the thesis position. (5) Finally, the speaker must summarize the evidence and restate the conclusion in undeniable terms.

     Now the “errors” in public speaking: (1) an unclear, ambiguous stance on the question in controversy. If the speaker does not make perfectly clear which side he/she is arguing, the audience will mentally retreat from the argument, losing immediate interest in the outcome. (2) Second, the speaker should not digress from the point to make jokes or otherwise “perform” himself/herself. (3) Another mistake some speakers make is assuming the audience members are as interested in the topic and argument as the speaker. So in order not to lose their attention the speaker must reword the thesis statement without altering the intent of the speech. (4) Throughout the delivery the speaker must avoid the Manichean fallacy (oversimplifying the debate by committing the “either-or” fallacy). (5) Finally, the public speaker should not malign the opposing viewpoint by deriding or otherwise insulting those who hold an opposing view.

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rachellopez's profile pic

rachellopez | Student, Grade 12 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Characteristics of an effective public speaker

  1. Eye Contact: A public speaker needs to be looking at their audience because it shows confidence. You know that a speaker knows the material and they are prepared to speak to the people.
  2. Project your voice: You want to be loud enough for everyone to hear you if you are in a big area. A loud voice will also make it seem as though you aren't nervous (even if you are)
  3. Well written speech: You obviously need a speech that has good evidence and support that also relates to your audience. If you don't have an entertaining yet informative speech no one will take you seriously.
  4. Clear opinion: You have to make your opinion towards the topic known. A well written speech will include a counter argument, but you have to be clear what side you represent.
  5. Passion: When someone is talking about something they love or are passionate about, people can see it. You will speak a certain way and you will strongly show your opinion. Others will see this and can be easily swayed towards what you think.

Characteristics of an ineffective public speaker

  1. Looking down: Again, eye contact is important. You can't be looking down at notes or at the floor. You have to look at your audience.
  2. Speaking quietly: Your audience has to hear what you are saying; you can't mumble.
  3. Hesitating: When people are nervous they tend to say words such as um, so, like, and yeah. You want to show confidence and eliminate these words from your speech.
  4. Fidgeting: If you are up in front of people playing with your hair or your note cards it is showing you are nervous. No matter how nervous you are, you don't want to show the crowd that you are because it takes away from your speech.
  5. A badly written speech: The most important thing, as I said before, is a great speech. If you have a bad thesis with no support no one will have a reason to agree with you and... it's just bad.

Hope this helps :)

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taangerine | Student, Grade 12 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

When it comes to public speaking, an effective public speaker would be:

  1. Clear. The statements made during your speech should be clear and understood by the audience. 
  2. Confident. If you are confident with what you want to say, the words should flow out of you smoothly

On the controversy, an ineffective public speaker would be: 

  1. Nervous. When you are nervous, you tend to start fidgeting and stuttering. The audience will then be more attentive on your actions instead of what you are trying to effectively deliver in your speech.
  2. Furthermore, it is not good to talk very bluntly about your opinion. There would be no passion in your speech, and make you lose your audience's attention. 

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