What is Oratory/Public Speaking?
Speaking or oratory is the art or practice of making a speech before
an audience. In group or club events, there are many opportunities
to make speeches. People who speak effectively are more likely to
become leaders. Training in effective public speaking is a keep
part of training for leadership in any field of activity.
is its Purpose?
is often the primary medium for presenting and selling products
or ideas. Being able to verbally communicate effectively to other
individuals or to groups is essential in school, business, as well
as your personal life.
who have a specific purpose and are successful in attaining it are
said to be effective. If they try to inform, they are effective
when the members of their audience understand the facts. If they
try to persuade members of the audience to agree to do something
or to change their opinions, the speakers are effective when members
of the audience decide to take the action or when the do change
their minds. If speakers try to entertain the audience, they are
effective when the audience show by applause or laughter that they
are enjoying the speech.
will always be a need for people who can effectively make presentations
and speak to others. Knowledge and skills in this area often helps
advance a career or improve a business. Also, if a person is good
or really enjoys public speaking, they may even choose speaking
as a profession.
Do I Do It?
with students the reasons for writing and practicing formal speech.
The easiest and perhaps most effective way to do this is to have
them brainstorm or list on paper five occasions where they might
now (or in the future) be asked to give a speech.
great warm-up activity is called Table Topics. This is impromptu
speaking where random topics are placed on small pieces of paper
into a box. Students in turn come up and choose a topic from the
box and then speak for one minute about it. Students are timed and
if the time is exceeded, the timer lets the speaker know that the
time is up by starting the audience clapping. See the list of Possible
Middle Years Table Topics.
that you have warmed students up to the need for preparing a speech,
it’s time to get them busy with the actual task of writing
a speech. See the list of four points of Writing
a Formal Speech.
and Writing the Speech :When students have given careful
thought to their subject, their audience, their own personality,
and the occasion, they are ready to plan and write the speech itself.
- Students should first select their general purpose. Do they
wish to present factual information only, or to inform? Do they
wish to change beliefs or actions, or persuade? Or do they wish
to amuse, or to entertain? With their general purpose in mind,
they should prepare a brief statement of their specific purpose
main ideas - The next step should be to select the main ideas,
or main divisions, of the subject as stated in the specific purpose.
In informative speeches, the main ideas should define the specific
purpose by answering the questions who? what? where? when? why?
and how? In persuasive speeches, the main ideas ought to be the
principal reasons for the desired belief or action. In entertaining
speeches, the main ideas should be the divisions of the subject
that can be amusing to the audience.
material - After selecting the main ideas, they should choose
supporting material. This includes such things as description,
narration, comparisons, examples, testimony, statistics, visual
aids (charts, diagrams, demonstrations, slides, maps, motion pictures,
photographs, samples, or working models), and repetition (restatement
of important ideas to increase the chance that they will be remembered).
The selection of main ideas and supporting material completes
the body (main part) of the speech.
- Students should next plan the introduction. This usually has
two parts, the opening and the statement of the specific purpose.
In the opening, speakers catch the attention of their audience
and arouse interest in their subject. They can do this by telling
a joke or story, or by providing a fact or statistic. They may
refer to an event, or to the present occasion, place, or audience
(with humor or congratulations). They may quote something or ask
a question. In their statement of specific purpose, they tell
the audience precisely what they intend to do in their speech
and what value this topic has for the audience.
- Next comes the preparation of a conclusion. In informative speeches,
this part should be a summary of the main ideas and specific purpose.
In persuasive speeches, the conclusion should combine a summary
with a final appeal to the audience to accept the arguments offered.
Entertaining speeches usually end on a point of great amusement,
without any type of formal conclusion.
- After all these steps, the students should prepare an outline.
An outline is simply a listing of the ideas to be elaborated upon
in the order in which they will occur.
the speech: Students may deliver their talks directly from
the outline, or they may use the outline as the basis for a written
speech. Skilled speakers usually prefer to speak from the outline,
without writing the whole speech down.
that is delivered from an outline, without being memorized, is said
to be delivered extempore, or extemporaneously. Extempore speeches
should not be confused with impromptu speeches. These types of speeches
are made without any previous preparation, often without notice.
students are properly prepared, they should feel at ease in front
of an audience. They should relax and speak in a natural voice.
They should stand erect, make eye contact with individuals in the
audience, and speak loudly enough to be heard easily. In addition,
speakers should vary the pitch and volume of their voice and their
rate of speech to avoid being singsong or dull.
Can I Adapt It?
is often considered to be a middle years activity. However, public
speaking skills can and should be started at a much younger age
level. For grades 3 to 6, consider storytelling as an adaptation.
Students might choose an existing story to retell in their own words
or they could tell as story that they have written. For Kindergarten
to grade 2, the basic recitation of a small poem makes a great entrance
and exposure to public speaking.
assist students in choosing their topic, brainstorming and webbing
are excellent strategies. If you wish to channel or restrict the
choice of topics – consider having students write a speech
about an adventure they have experienced.
evaluation of Oratory is desired, it should be divided into two
parts: content and delivery.
emphasis should be on delivery as an effective delivery is the most
important goal of the speech making or storytelling process. Formal
evaluation for younger grades (i.e. Kindergarten to grade 3) is
not recommended. Students might simply be acknowledged for their
participation in the form of a certificate.
to Write and Deliver Effective Speeches by Judith A. McManus,
Arco, (July, 2002)
Elements of Speechwriting and Public Speaking by Jeff Scott
Cook, Longman, (September, 1996)
to Write and Give a Speech by Joan Detz, St. Martin's Press,