A written assignment for audience adaptation

This can be done with any speech assignment during the semester. It is easy to alter to better fit your assignments.

This reaction paper has two steps and can be a great help in preparing for your speech. Part 1: Write a survey pertaining to your topic that you will distribute in class on _______. Page ____ of the textbook has a sample survey. The survey should contain 5-7 questions and be a mixture of fixed-option, scale and open-ended questions. You should put your own name on the survey, but do not ask those filling out to give their names or irrelevant demographic information. Part 2: After you have collected the surveys, review the responses and incorporate the audience feedback into your speech. On or before _______, you should submit a copy of your survey to the instructor and compile a short paper that answers the following questions:

  • Describe each question and why you asked it;
  • Overview your results for the questions;
  • Describe how you will or did use the survey results to change and improve your speech;
  • If doing this survey again, what would you do differently?

I allow the students who choose to do a survey to use it as a source in their speeches as well. This works particularly well with persuasive speeches as the speaker has an opportunity to assess the audience’s view on their topic. A sample survey of some kind is available in most textbooks, but you could also provide one online if needed. On the day students complete the surveys, I also let them know they are free to skip any questions that make them uncomfortable.


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About teachingpublicspeaking

I believe public speaking can go from most dreaded class to favorite class. I'm a former public speaking college instructor who spent years seeking out activities, assignments and examples to make the class interactive as well as educational -- they are collected here. I welcome suggestions for additions.

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