Introductory speech assignment

Stories are a great choice for the introductory speeches because I have noticed that even the most anxious of students are able to share a story with their classmates. I make sure to do this assignment during the second week of class and keep the points low so there is less pressure.

When going over the assignment with the students, I let them know it will be graded based on PAL — Presentation, Assignment and Language. The “assignment” component — did you meet the assignment guidelines? — is weighted most heavily.

Here is how the assignment is described to students:

  • Goal: Introductory speeches provide students an opportunity to “get their feet wet” with public speaking early in the semester by telling a personal story with just a few course points at stake. In addition, sharing personal histories gives students an opportunity to learn about their audience before their major speeches.
  • Requirements: Time: 2 minute speech. Assigned topic: A story from your life that relates to a proverb.  Notecards: 1 permitted, up to 25 words. Visual aid: Optional. Speaking date will be assigned using speaker’s first name.
  • Grade: 25 points.
  • Recommendations: This is an opportunity to share either a serious or humorous story from your life which can serve to instruct others. The course web site contains links to possible proverbs to choose. The grade for this assignment is based on whether the speech fit the assignment criteria (a proverb related to a personal story); the use of creative, detailed and appropriate language; and an extemporaneous delivery.

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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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