Why speeches crash: 5 common nosedives

Crash

Every speech is unique, as is every speaker. But the problems that cause speeches to crash are amazingly consistent. I have listened to over 24,000 speeches in my life. Probably 80 percent of the “bad” speeches resulted from one of the following problems. Continue reading “Why speeches crash: 5 common nosedives”

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The components of confidence

Confidence
Photo by Flickr user gerriet

I’ve noticed the last few years that students seem to bring a slightly higher degree of beginning presentation skills into the classroom. I suspect this comes from growing up surrounded by hundreds of cable channels and YouTube.

It has even reached the point where the old saw about public speaking being the number one fear is no longer true. I thought perhaps it was, indeed, a steady trend of increasing confidence. If so, this semester doesn’t fit the trend. In fact, students have generally had more trouble with the second speech round than the first speech round. Continue reading “The components of confidence”

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Creative Commons resources

I tell students about a couple of places that are good for finding visual aid material on the Web that will not get them into trouble regarding licensing. Sean Aune goes several better than “couple” in his article, 30+ Places To Find Creative Commons Media. You’ll find resources for sound (including music), photos and other graphics, and videos, all available under a Creative Commons license.

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So who am I today?

The temptation is great in this day and age to open a bio template and adapt it to whatever the current bio request may be. After all, most of us have numerous copies of vita-type info sitting around on hard drives, and it’s easy to just drop one in and adapt it. The Digital Storytelling course seems to me, in part, to be about rethinking how we communicate in the current technological reality, and so I wanted to not yield to that temptation. Continue reading “So who am I today?”

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New category for speech ideas

I’ve added a new category that, over time, will grow to be a substantial part of this blog. Some sources offer good starting points for developing speech ideas, especially ideas that are “off the beaten path.” Post in this category point to these. Most, if not all, of these sites are chosen because they do not fit the predominate assumptions of our time and are likely to be contrarian as a result.

For instance, most people assume, based on media coverage, that there are basically only two political positions: liberal and conservative. In reality, political ideas exist in a much more complex matrix than a mere bipolar spectrum can comprise. A site such as Nolan Chart not only makes this clear, but also offers resources for exploring ideas not only of interest to peers in a speech class, but also outside the usual conversation.

It is not our purpose to advocate any particular position, but rather to enable effective advocacy by students, which is furthered by going outside the mainstream to surface and examine assumptions that otherwise would not even be noticed as assumptions.

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Writing for audio gives speech insights

Producers of audio material (for example, educational or motivational CDs) have a writing task not unlike that faced by speakers. They seek to prepare for the delivery of solid information in a conversational manner. Because of that, Brian Clark’s post concerning “Four Copywriting Techniques for Engaging Podcasts and Audio Presentations” comprises useful ways of thinking about a speech and “writing” it.

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The myth of government source reliability

When we teach speech students about evaluating sources, we usually tell them that government figures are more reliable than others. We teach journalism students the same thing. Maybe the operative word here is “more” and “than others.”

The greater lesson, perhaps, is to be skeptical of anything that any source tells you until you see the original data and understand how it was gathered and what it means.

As FOXNews reports in The Myth of 90 Percent, a “fact” that has been floated around by a whole bunch of government officials and passed on uncritically by a number of media outlets is just flat wrong, i.e., the “fact” that 90% of the guns used in Mexican crime comes from the United States.

It’s not just a little wrong. It’s a lot wrong. A more accurate way to look at the facts is this: about 17% of recovered weapons used in a crime in Mexico could be traced to the U.S. Continue reading “The myth of government source reliability”

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