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Web resource for delivery

The blog at Ethos3 gives five tips for a more authentic delivery. These are the types of tips that I encouraged for students because they are perfect for the classroom setting, and are becoming more acceptable in other settings as well.

The article also links to a CBS Moneywatch article on the same topic with additional tips. Neither article is very in-depth on the topic, but they provide a nice list of suggestions and the rationale for why they work.

I like to have as much literature to back me up as possible when I tell students “Don’t memorize,” “Tell stories” and “Respond to the audience while you speak.” These articles back that up.

The CBS article also contains a list of references to Harvard Business Review. Unfortunately, the links are broken but it may be possible to find the articles (which will likely require a subscription or have a charge) and the book through another means by using the reference information.

Link to Ethos3 blog
Link to CBS MoneyWatch article


Quote for ethos

To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; to be credible we must be truthful.

— Edward R. Murrow, legendary news reporter

Quote about audience adaptation

“One of the greatest strengths you can bring your audience is to not have it all together.”

— Renee Swope, author/speaker

3 Truths About Your Audience

Great reminders for students about the audience from Alex Rister at Creating Communication:

Creating Communication

In “8 Core Truths About People,” Geoffrey James gives us some essential truths that help us work and communicate better with people.  Three of these tips can apply directly to your presentation audience.

Audiences Need Story

James says, “People think in stories.  Ever since first humans sat around the first campfire, they’ve been enthralled by stories because stories give meaning to events and facts that otherwise would seem random.  Therefore, weave facts into a narrative in order to attract and hold more customers, employees and investors” (Source).  I know this to be true in my everyday life because of how long stories stick with my students.  For example, we watch Benjamin Zander’s TED Talk on the first day of class.  A day, a week, a month later, my students can still recall the stories Zander told in his presentation.

It doesn’t matter if your presentation topic is logical…

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Google can brin…

Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.

– Neil Gaiman

Web resource for delivery or organization

Terry Gault of The Henderson Group has done a guest post called “How to Avoid the 10 Most Common Rookie Mistakes in Public Speaking” at’s Presenter’s Guide.

The post contains a funny slideshow (above), which includes graphics, photos and movie clips. The additional text includes links to several other resources. One of these, also by Gault, answers a question that students often ask: “What the heck do I do with my hands?!?”

This would be an excellent link to provide to students at on your class site. The list could be developed into an in-class activity or out-of-class assignment asking students to react to the suggestions, for example to discuss which they find to be most and least important, and how they can use them in their own speeches.

Link to article

Advice for high school students

Teacher Ryan Gaskill summarizes the advice that he gives to high school students about their in-class presentations in this blog post. It is written directly to high-school students.

This five-point list would be good to share with students before their presentations either in class or online. It would be helpful not only for speech teachers, but also classes where students may give only a single oral presentation.

Link to article

In-class exercise for research and evaluating sources

Public speaking textbook author Joe DeVito suggested this in-class activity for maximizing research time and evaluating sources:
Find more entries on his blog here:

“Credible Hulk” photo

Pinterest has made accessible fun photos that could be used to make a point in class. I’ll post some of these as I find them.

The “Credible Hulk” would be a memorable reminder for students about the need to cite sources and do thorough research.

The importance of citing sources

The importance of citing sources

One persistent challenge I faced while teaching public speaking was convincing students of the need to cite their sources and how to do it properly. My syllabus contained strong point deductions for giving a speech with no sources and the deductions increased with each speech. This gave them at least one compelling reason to remember to use sources. Other than that, I mentioned the importance of sources early and often — starting with the second day of class and a discussion of ethos. Many textbooks put the discussion of ethos toward the end, but it is more effective to cover early in class to provide the “whys” of much of the advice to come in the first unit.

During the persuasive speaking unit, I used a running example of a speech about legalizing drugs and how it would be put together. I created and presented this example of an effective source citation.

The importance of citing sources