Class #2: Introduction to rhetoric and the Impromptu Speech

Three main topics for today:
  1. What is rhetoric?  (Chapter 1)
  2. What are the requirements for the impromptu speech?  (From handbook)
  3. Topics and strategies. (Chapter 5)

What is rhetoric?

Public speaking, why?

from 5 -- General goals for the class

Definition of Rhetoric

what is the public forum/ a rhetorical situation? (9)
history as public space and secondary audiences (9)
vs. speaking in a literal forum (the Roman Rostra (and on wikipedia with picture 1, picture 2 and digital recreation with with rostra 360 Quicktime), where place provides the context for a speaker's content; the ethos of space.

"a situation in which people's understanding can be changed through messages" (13)

The four criteria in our book's definition of the public sphere are as follows:
  1. affects people collectively
  2. cooperative action necessary
  3. decision requires subjective judgment
  4. a decision is required (soon-ish)
How different from "great dramatic or literary works" (12)?

Why are we interested in a rhetorically well-functioning student body?
democracy normalization
"Large numbers of people see no point in participating in the public forum because they think they are powerless to effect any public change" (12).  Discuss.
"Without a well-cultivated public forum, the two alternatives are autocratic rule and anarchy." (another anarchy link)

"Four basic factors that determine the success of any rhetorical situation" 14
  1. Audience
    1. secondary audiences and speech consequences (etc, etc, etc, etc)
    2. some pointers for ensuring you have a receptive audience on 20-22
  2. Occasion
    1. ceremonial -- ritualistic/performative ("present")
    2. deliberative -- about undecided ("future")
    3. forensic -- about lessons from what has already been done ("past")
  3. Speaker (ethos)
  4. Speech (~logos & pathos)

facts vs. opinions


A quick introduction to the impromptu speech

Example impromptu-assignment style topics from chapter 1:
health care
security on campus walkways at night 13
campus construction (19)

Emphasis is on organization...
Attention grabber
Preview of points
Transition to Point 1
Point 1 (with transition)
Point 2 (with transition)
Point 3 (with transition)
Review of points
Action item/restatement of thesis with your intended take-home message for your audience clearly stated
Closure device (the mirror image of an attention grabber, often related)

... and timing.
8-10 min prep
Intro -- 45 sec
Points -- 45, 45, 45 (2:15 total)
Conclusion -- 30-45

3:30-3:45 min total.

Activity Part 1
  1. Come up with a topic of local importance
  2. Outline why you buy in to the importance of this topic.
  3. Outline why you think we will buy in to this topic.
Share those topics with each other in your small groups.

Strategies for planning and developing your speeches

How to develop and plan your speech:

First, determine your speech topic.

Next, determine your speech's general purpose using the seven choices, below (106).
  1. Providing new info
  2. Agenda setting
  3. Creating positive or negative feeling
  4. Strengthening or...
  5. Weakening commitment
  6. Conversion (other goals are partial goals... do pool analogy... but this locks action.  Um, sales.)
  7. Call to action
Specific Purpose -- your general purpose, but cut to exhibit the current situation

Craft your thesis statement (116)

Identify issues.
Think about the specifics required for your argument (Toulmin).  Flesh them out.

Book example (115-6):
topic: Cheating at the university
general purpose: To provide new information
specific purpose: To inform listeners of widespread cheating on this campus
thesis statement: Far more students engage in cheating than most of us think.
possible issues to explore:
  1. How many is "far more"?  Who are "most of us"?  How do we know?  What's the authority?
  2. What is the definition of "cheating"?  To what extent must cheating happen to be included in my definition?
  3. Is cheating on our campus different than others?  What makes our cheating worthy of my audience's time?
  4. Challenge assumptions -- What makes cheating worth the resources needed to combat it?

Activity Part 2
  1. Pick a topic from part 1 of this activity that isn't yours.
  2. Now make a "talking points" or presentation outline (pgs 267-271 of your book) with your intro, 3 points, and a conclusion
  3. Prepare to present your presentation outline to the class.

For next class:

Read Ch 8, 9, and "Presentation Outline" section from Ch 10 (267-271)
Fill out and return the student information form on page xiii of your handbook.
Bring in newspaper article of issue with local interest for our next class.