Critique Of A Public Speech Essay

Personal Narrative: Speech Self Critique

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Personal Narrative: Speech Self Critique


During my demonstration speech, I was affected by my speech anxiety. Some of the viewable symptoms were the shaking of my hands and also the stuttering of speech. I was able to control myself and relax after I started getting into my information. I did use some of the suggested relaxation techniques to relieve my anxiety. Before I got up to speak I thought confident of myself to help give me courage and confidence.
While watching my video I did notice that I was able to understand and clearly know what the main point was. I spoke in a clear and a tone loud enough for everyone to hear. The speech was organized very well, so one idea or thought flowed to the next. I don’t think I need to change anything in regards to my central idea being clear. I was satisfied with that part of the speech.
I happened to notice that I did use verbal pauses during transitions. When I would go from one topic to the next I would use the word “um.” This was very apparent when I was viewing the video of myself. I would like to be able to complete a speech without having to use any verbal pauses. I typically would use these pauses after I got done completing with a particular topic. I would say that this is one of my major problems with giving a speech. Now that I can see exactly how much I use them, I can change that in the future.



I did use some hand gestures in my speech. For the first few minutes I did not use them, but as I moved through my material and got into the actual demonstration some hand gestures were used. I also noticed in the video that I was not always watching the audience. I use to think that I made good eye contact, but after watching the film I really only glanced at the audience. I believe that I could make significant improvement in this part of my speeches. While I was up in front of the class I thought that I was looking out at the audience more then what I actually did.
I was very satisfied with the volume of my speech.

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I spoke clear and everyone in the class could clearly understand what I was saying. I did trip up on a few words, but overall it was very clear and pronounced.
Going into the speech I wanted to leave a very good conclusion. I was very satisfied with my ending; I think I had everyone thinking about juggling after I was done. I could even bet someone went back home and tried to juggle.
It did seem different to see myself performing a speech. I have never had this opportunity before. This gave me a good view of myself from the audiences’ point of view. Now I am able to see how I actually perform and how I can improve for future speeches. This has given me a new look at how my speeches are performed and what I need to improve them for future speeches.




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Jane Goodall Speaking Critique

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On February 2, 2002, Dr. Jane Goodall appeared at Clemson University to speak to the students and public. I will attempt to evaluate her performance as a public speaker. Specifically, I will begin by describing the setting and audience for the event. I will then identify the ways in which Dr. Goodall would be described as an effective public speaker in the context of the textbook, Excellence in Public Speaking. I will then analyze the aspects of her performance that the textbook might have considered lacking. Finally, I will devote a few words to my personal opinion of the effectiveness of Dr. Goodall’s presentation.
Naturally, a speaker of Dr. Goodall’s prominence was expected to draw quite a crowd. She was speaking at the Brooks center, which, although large, was not expected to have the necessary capacity for all the people who wanted to attend the event. Clemson students got first chance at the tickets, and when the box office opened at 6:30, the line already extended half a mile down the sidewalk. I was fortunate/foresighted enough to pay a Clemson freshman to start standing in line for me at 4:00, so my seat was perfectly centered in the auditorium, seven rows from the front.
The hour-long presentation was ultimately concerned with rallying support for the Jane Goodall Institute and its “Roots and Shoots” program. Not surprisingly, the audience was comprised almost exclusively of admirers of Dr. Goodall’s work. Due to the shortage of seating in the Brooks center, the live audience consisted primarily of Clemson students and professors. Apparently there was overflow seating in other buildings; the people who couldn’t fit in the Brooks center were provided with a closed-circuit television broadcast of the presentation.
Dr. Goodall’s “attention-getter” was easily the most unique I’ve seen. She walked onto the stage, silently organized her notes, then held her head back and began hooting like a chimpanzee (having worked with chimps for some forty years, she does an uncannily accurate impression). She then smiled beatifically and announced, “that’s chimpanzee for ‘Hello’.” Not a soul in the audience doubted her word.
Essentially, in one action, she got the audience’s attention, introduced herself, and established credibility (though given her reputation, credibility did not really need to be established). Dr. Goodall quickly segued into a personal story about how she couldn’t have achieved anything without the unwavering support of her mother, establishing an emotional rapport with the audience – almost saying “It’s okay, I’m not better than you, you could just as easily be as remarkable a person as you seem to think I am.

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” This was to become an important part of her message later in the speech.
The next twenty minutes or so were exactly what the audience had hoped to hear: stories of Dr. Jane Goodall and her chimpanzees. Each of her stories invariably related to the importance of respecting nature, but also served an important rhetorical purpose. By telling these stories, Dr. Goodall not only maintained the audience’s interest; but she also built support for the “sales pitch” at the end of the speech. Everything she said up to this point could be considered “getting the audience’s attention” in the context of a persuasive speech.
Perhaps then it was no surprise when, toward the end of the speech, Dr. Goodall spoke of the damage humans have done to the environment. As the textbook would phrase it, she “highlighted the need” for environmental reform. She then explained how the Jane Goodall Institute was committed to repairing our damaged environment, “proposing a satisfying solution.” She told inspirational stories (including many props: a whooping crane feather, a child’s toy monkey, and so forth) about people and animals that had found hope, either in her work or through the Institute’s. This was a particularly effective way to help the audience “visualize the solution”; the personal examples gave her emotional appeals a patina of intellectual support. Finally, she prompted the audience to action: “Join the Jane Goodall Institute! Participate in the Roots and Shoots program! If nothing else, buy this candy bar with the cute chimp picture on the wrapper!” Again, the textbook would have commended her technique. In fact, Dr. Goodall improved upon the textbook approach by setting such a fine example in her personal life: her ethos was perhaps the most powerful persuasive tool she had available. Her “call to action” consisted of a powerful message to stay hopeful, combined with the unspoken plea to try and do as much for the world as she herself had done. Because she had initially established an emotional rapport with the audience, this message was particularly effective.
Finally, to wrap up the speech, Dr. Goodall again tilted her head back and whooped a different chimp song – this one she translated as “Good Night”. This tied perfectly back into the attention getter at the beginning of the speech, and left a pleasing sense of completeness to her message. The audience responded with an enthusiastic standing ovation.
In spite of her talent as a public speaker, the textbook would have criticized Dr. Goodall’s presentation on a few points.
First, the speech lacked an internal preview. Dr. Goodall’s speech was extremely free flowing – it was practically conversational in tone. The audience was expecting her to talk about certain subjects, certainly, but Dr. Goodall never outright stated what subjects those would be. Likewise, the speech lacked a complete summary statement – while Dr. Goodall recapitulated her hope that the audience would join her institute, she didn’t summarize every major point of the speech.
On a few occasions, Dr. Goodall seemed to lose her train of thought. Once or twice she even went so far as to utter an “uh”; the majority of the time, however, she simply fell silent or filled in a word with which she was obviously unsatisfied. In the smooth-flowing context of her speech, these events were even more jarring than usual.
The final negative criticism I can offer is that Dr. Goodall occasionally broke from the ethos of humility that she had previously established with the stories about her mother. According to “Balance Theory,” this made it more difficult to agree with her message – the first hint of insincerity severely harmed her credibility. Perhaps it is one of the great ironies of ethos that the grander the reputation, the more easily damaged it can be. When describing how toxic the Earth’s environment had become, her tone frequently became didactic. Her exhortations to contribute to the Jane Goodall Institute reminded me of the “Save the Children” commercials, with an orphaned chimp in place of the little girl with flies in her eyes.
In spite of these criticisms, I was personally very impressed by Dr. Goodall’s presentation. She kept a large audience’s rapt attention for an hour or more. Her speech was both entertaining and inspirational. Even a grumpy old cynic like myself couldn’t help but be moved by the sincerity of her emotional appeals. While she did not follow the exact formal speech specification laid out in the textbook, she managed to present a coherent and thought-provoking lecture. Considering her age, compounded with the fact that she is away from home 300 nights per year promoting her cause, any shortcomings in her delivery could easily be forgiven – possibly even attributed to fatigue.
Jane Goodall’s message of hope for the future, combined with her Institute’s actions in support of this message, would be welcome regardless of the quality of her speaking presentation. Perhaps it is the power of this message that so compelled me personally. Everybody in the auditorium walked out with a silly grin – convinced that they could, indeed, take on the world and make it a better place. Certainly, Dr. Goodall is one of the most skilled public speakers I have had the privilege of seeing in person. With some luck, maybe her message will take root and actually effect some change. If nothing else, she has truly demonstrated the power of the well-spoken word.



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