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Certainly life without purpose is tragic because the fulfillment of purpose is the ultimate value of an individual’s life, and time is the currency traded for profit. From time to time, I evaluate myself by asking what steps I have taken toward serving humanity and what fruit I have produced as a foretaste of heaven upon the earth.
Your seed must be placed in the proper environment and diligently nurtured for it to produce fruit that will be a blessing to the world. Remember that your purpose, which is your divinely implanted potential, cannot be invented; rather, it must be discovered. Many times, parents tell their kids, “You can be whatever you want to be in life,” and this happens to be untrue because kids try different things and find out that they really are not capable of doing whatever they try. My father-in-law just past away, it was touching to see how many lives he influenced and how many cared about him at his funeral. A visionary leader and an insightful teacher of the Word of God, with a personal goal to empower people at all cost to live a victorious life in God!
This is a€?Finding a Purpose and Selecting a Topica€?, chapter 6 from the book Public Speaking: Practice and Ethics (v. This content was accessible as of December 29, 2012, and it was downloaded then by Andy Schmitz in an effort to preserve the availability of this book. PDF copies of this book were generated using Prince, a great tool for making PDFs out of HTML and CSS. For more information on the source of this book, or why it is available for free, please see the project's home page. DonorsChoose.org helps people like you help teachers fund their classroom projects, from art supplies to books to calculators. Finding a speecha€™s purpose and topic isna€™t as complex or difficult as you might believe. Examine the basics of informative speech topics and some common forms of informative speeches. Examine the basics of persuasive speech topics and some common forms of persuasive speeches. Examine the basics of entertaining speech topics and some common forms of entertaining speeches. Ever since scholars started writing about public speaking as a distinct phenomenon, there have been a range of different systems created to classify the types of speeches people may give. These typologies or classification systems of public speeches serve to demonstrate that general speech purposes have remained pretty consistent throughout the history of public speaking. The first general purpose that some people have for giving speeches is to informA general purpose designed to help audience members acquire information that they currently do not possess.. Leta€™s look at a real example of how an individual can accidentally go from informing to persuading. Knowledge sharingThe process an individual goes through when information, skills, or expertise is delivered in some form to other persona€™s who could benefit from having that information, those skills, or the expertise. People are motivated to share their knowledge with other people for a variety of reasons.Hendriks, P. Oa€™Hair, Stewart, and Rubenstein identified six general types of informative speech topics: objects, people, events, concepts, processes, and issues.
The third type of informative speech involves explaining the significance of specific events, either historical or contemporary. The following text represents an informative speech prepared and delivered by an undergraduate student named Jessy Ohl. In 1977, a young missionary named Daniel Everett traveled deep into the jungles of Brazil to spread the word of God. While all languages are unique, experts like Noam Chomsky have argued that they all have universal similarities, such as counting, that are hard-wired into the human brain. Daniel Everett is now a professor of linguistics at Illinois State University, and he has created controversy by calling for a complete reevaluation of all linguistic theory in light of the PirahA?. First, while globalization has reached nearly every corner of the earth, it has not been able to penetrate the PirahA? natives in the slightest.
The lack of artwork illustrates the second vital part of PirahA? culture: an emphasis on reality.
Since his days as a missionary, Everett remains the only Western professor able to translate PirahA?.
Second, Noam Chomskya€™s famous universal grammar theory includes the observation that every language has a means of counting. Third, and the biggest surprise for researchers, is the PirahA?a€™s apparent lack of recursion.
Although the PirahA? dona€™t care what the outside world thinks of them, their language and world view has certainly ruffled feathers. The second general purpose people can have for speaking is to persuadeThe process an individual goes through attempting to get another person to behave in a manner or embrace a point of view related to values, attitudes, or beliefs that he or she would not have done otherwise..
The reasons behind persuasive speech fall into two main categories, which we will call a€?pure persuasiona€? and a€?manipulative persuasion.a€? Pure persuasionOccurs when a speaker urges listeners to engage in a specific behavior or change a point of view because the speaker truly believes that the change is in the best interest of the audience members.
Manipulative persuasionOccurs when a speaker urges listeners to engage in a specific behavior or change a point of view by misleading them, often to fulfill an ulterior motive beyond the face value of the persuasive attempt., on the other hand, occurs when a speaker urges listeners to engage in a specific behavior or change a point of view by misleading them, often to fulfill an ulterior motive beyond the face value of the persuasive attempt.
As wea€™ve mentioned in the preceding sections, persuasion can address behaviorsa€”observable actions on the part of listenersa€”and it can also address intangible thought processes in the form of attitudes, values, and beliefs.
When the speaker attempts to persuade an audience to change behavior, we can often observe and even measure how successful the persuasion was. When it comes to persuading people to alter beliefs, persuading audiences to change core beliefs is more difficult than persuading audiences to change dispositional beliefs. The following speech was written and delivered by an undergraduate student named Jessy Ohl. With a declining population of around 6,000, my home town of Denison, Iowa, was on the brink of extinction when a new industry rolled in bringing jobs and revenue.
Denison is one of 110 communities across the country to be revolutionized by the production of corn ethanol. Now, if you have heard anything about the problems of corn ethanol, it probably dealt with efficiency. If you werena€™t aware of the environmental or moral impacts of corn ethanol, youa€™re not alone. First, at the federal level, our government must end the ridiculously high subsidies surrounding corn ethanol. On the personal level, we have all participated in the most important step, which is being knowledgeable about the true face of corn ethanol.
Today, we examined the problems of corn ethanol in America and discovered solutions to make sure that our need for energy reform doesna€™t sacrifice our morality. There are three basic types of entertaining speeches: the after-dinner speech, the ceremonial speech, and the inspirational speech.
A ceremonial speech is a type of entertaining speech where the specific context of the speech is the driving force of the speech.
The final type of entertaining speech is one where the speakera€™s primary goal is to inspire her or his audience. The following speech, by an undergraduate student named Adam Fink, is an entertainment speech.
Graduates, we are not here to watch as our siblings, our parents, friends, or other family walk across this stage.
Honorees, in the words of Michael Scott, only slightly altered, a€?They have no idea how high [we] can fly.a€? Right now you are surrounded by future politicians, film critics, producers, directors, actors, actresses, church workers, artists, the teachers of tomorrow, musicians, people who will change the world. In one of his speeches this year, President Barack Obama said, a€?Generations of Americans have connected their stories to the larger American story through service and helped move our country forward.
Hebrews 10:23a€“25 reads, a€?Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
There are three general purposes that all speeches fall into: to inform, to persuade, and to entertain.
Imagine youa€™re giving a speech to a group of prospective voters supporting a specific political candidate. Imagine that youa€™ve been asked to speak at a business luncheon and the host has asked you to keep it serious but lighthearted.
Demonstrate an understanding of how a topic is narrowed from a broad subject area to a manageable specific purpose. One of the most common stumbling blocks for novice public speakers is selecting their first speech topic. When we use the word a€?constrainta€? with regard to public speaking, we are referring to any limitation or restriction you may have as a speaker.
Furthermore, the speaker may have been asked to speak for an hour, only to show up and find out that the event is running behind schedule, so the speech must now be made in only thirty minutes. The second major constraint that you need to consider as a speaker is the type of audience you will have. The lasta€”but by no means least importanta€”major constraint that you will face is the time frame of your speech. Instead, narrow your topic to something that is more realistically manageable within your allotted time. Once you know what the basic constraints are for your speech, you can then start thinking about picking a topic. Narrowing your topic to something manageable for the constraints of your speech is something that takes time, patience, and experience. You may think that your topic is now sufficiently narrow, but even within the topic of Anatolian art, there are smaller categories: pre-Hittite, Hittite, Uratu, and Phrygian periods of art.
Can I reasonably hope to inform or persuade my audience in the time frame I have for the speech?
After responding to these questions, you now have a range of areas that are unique to you that you could realistically develop into a speech. We wanted to note these interesting facts about our personal lives to illustrate the fact that each and every one of us has done unique and interesting things in our lives that could make really interesting and informative, persuasive, or entertaining speeches. If youa€™re still just stumped after conducting a personal inventory, the next recommendation we have for helping you find a good topic is to use a finding aid.
It is important to realize that your goal in looking at best-seller lists is not to choose a book to serve as the topic of your speecha€”unless youa€™ve been assigned to give a book review!
In addition to numerous sources for best sellers, there are also a number of polling organizations that regularly conduct research on the American public.
The next great ways to find interesting topics for your speeches are watching television and listening to the radio.
As for listening to the radio, talk radio is often full of interesting possibilities for speech topics. As with the best-seller list, it is important to realize that your goal is not to use a given television or radio program as the basis for your speech, much less to repeat the exact arguments that a talk radio host or caller has made. If you find yourself really stumped, there are even a handful of websites that specialize in helping people, just like you, find speech topics.
Using the Internet is a great way to find a topic, but youa€™ll still need to put in the appropriate amount of your own thinking and time to really investigate your topic once youa€™ve found one that inspires you. The last way you can find a great topic is to conduct a simple poll of your audience to see what their interests and needs are. The second type of poll you may conduct of your potential audience is what we call a needs analysis.
The formal process for conducting a needs analysis is threefold: (1) find a gap in knowledge, (2) figure out the cause, and (3) identify solutions.
Take a broad subject area and then use two of the different finding aids to see what types of topics appear.
For an upcoming speech in your public speaking class, create a simple survey to determine your audiencea€™s needs.
Once you have chosen your general purpose and your topic, ita€™s time to take your speech to the next phase and develop your specific purpose.
Ask Yourself “What Do I Love To Do?”     What do you absolutely, truly enjoy doing in your professional life?
Along with your purpose is potential (gifts, talents, and abilities) you are supposed to work out in service to your generation. If you study seeds, you will find that a seed contains in itself all that is needed for it to produce a plant. Like every seed, if your gifts, talents, and abilities are not placed in the proper environment, they will remain dormant. Your occupation in life should be centered on the discovery and nurture of the seed of purpose within you because life is hard and unfulfilling outside of your purpose. I trained as a computer engineer in college because I had an interest in that field, but as I worked in the profession, I knew it was going to take work to build a career in this field.
See the license for more details, but that basically means you can share this book as long as you credit the author (but see below), don't make money from it, and do make it available to everyone else under the same terms.
However, the publisher has asked for the customary Creative Commons attribution to the original publisher, authors, title, and book URI to be removed. You may know that you have been assigned to deliver a speech, but finding a purpose and topic seems like a formidable task.
Technically speaking, a purpose can be defined as why something exists, how we use an object, or why we make something. Aristotle talked about three speech purposes: deliberative (political speech), forensic (courtroom speech), and epideictic (speech of praise or blame).
Modern public speaking scholars typically use a classification system of three general purposes: to inform, to persuade, and to entertain. Simply put, this is about helping audience members acquire information that they do not already possess. For example, you could deliver a speech on a specific battle of World War II or a specific presidential administration. While this speech is written out as a text for purposes of analysis, in your public speaking course, you will most likely be assigned to speak from an outline or notes, not a fully written script.
However, he soon found himself working to translate the language of a remote tribe that would ultimately change his faith, lead to a new profession, and pit him in an intellectual fistfight with the world-famous linguist Noam Chomsky. So as National Public Radio reported on April 8, 2007, without the ability to count, conceptualize time or abstraction, or create syntax, the PirahA? have a language that by all accounts shouldna€™t exist. Exploration of the PirahA? could bring further insight into the understanding of how people communicate and even, perhaps, what it means to be human. According to the India Statesman of May 22, 2006, all PirahA? understanding is based around the concept of personal experience. His research has discovered many things missing with the language: words for time, direction, and color. Now, this isna€™t meant to imply that the people are uncivilized or stupid, but instead, they are minimalist. However, as reported in the June 2007 issue of Prospect Magazine, the PirahA? only have words for a€?one, two, and MANY.a€? This demonstrates the PirahA?a€™s inability to conceptualize a difference between three and five or three and a thousand. And while civilization hasna€™t been able to infiltrate the PirahA?, it may ultimately be the PirahA? that teaches civilization a thing or two, which brings us to implications on the communicative, philosophical, and cultural levels. When we speak to persuade, we attempt to get listeners to embrace a point of view or to adopt a behavior that they would not have done otherwise. We call this form of persuasion manipulative because the speaker is not being honest about the real purpose for attempting to persuade the audience. Is the speaker attempting to persuade the audience because of a sincere belief in the benefits of a certain behavior or point of view? For example, after a speech attempting to persuade the audience to donate money to a charity, the charity can measure how many donations were received.
An attitudeAn individuala€™s general predisposition toward something as being good or bad, right or wrong, negative or positive, and so on. BeliefsPropositions or positions that an individual holds as true or false without positive knowledge or proof.
If you find a topic related to dispositional beliefs, using your speech to help listeners alter their processing of the belief is a realistic possibility.
As with our earlier example, while this speech is written out as a text for purposes of analysis, in your public speaking course, you will most likely be assigned to speak from an outline or notes, not a fully written script. However, as the Canadian Globe and Mail of July 23, 2007, reports, the industry that saved Denison may ultimately lead to its demise. Ethanol is a high-powered alcohol, derived from plant matter, that can be used like gasoline. As the Christian Science Monitor of November 15, 2007, notes, it takes a gallon of gasoline or more to make a gallon of ethanol.
The journal Ethanol and Bio-diesel News of September 2007 asserts that the production of corn ethanol is pushing natural resources to the breaking point. According to the US Grains Council, last year, 27 million tons of corn, traditionally used as food, was turned into ethanol, drastically increasing food prices. The Financial Times of May 27, 2007, reports that the narrative surrounding corn ethanol as a homegrown fuel is so desirable that critical thinking is understandably almost nonexistent.

On June 24, 2007, The Washington Post predicted that subsidies on corn ethanol would cost the federal government an extra 131 billion dollars by 2010.
Instead, leta€™s take the excitement around alternative fuels and direct it toward the right kinds of ethanol.
However, with big business and Washington proclaiming corn ethanola€™s greatness, we need to spread the word.
Iowa is turning so much corn into ethanol that soon the state will have to import corn to eat. Whereas informative and persuasive speech making is focused on the end result of the speech process, entertainment speaking is focused on the theme and occasion of the speech. The fundamental goal of an entertaining speech is audience enjoyment, which can come in a variety of forms. The after-dinner speech is a form of speaking where a speaker takes a serious speech topic (either informative or persuasive) and injects a level of humor into the speech to make it entertaining.
Inspirational speeches are based in emotion with the goal to motivate listeners to alter their lives in some significant way.
Each of us is graduating; we are preparing to leave this place we have called home for the past few years.
Depending on what your ultimate goal is, you will start by picking one of these general purposes and then selecting an appropriate speech pattern that goes along with that general purpose. It is important to remember that your purpose in an informative speech is to share information with an audience, not to persuade them to do or believe something. Speakers who attempt to persuade others for pure reasons do so because they actually believe in what they are persuading an audience to do or think.
Although there may be informative or persuasive elements to your speech, your primary reason for giving the speech is to entertain the audience. Which type of informative speech do you think would be the most useful (objects, people, events, concepts, processes, and issues)?
Which type of persuasive speech do you think would be the most useful (change of behavior, change of attitude, change of value, or change of belief)? Which type of entertainment speech do you think would be the most useful (the after-dinner speech, the ceremonial speech, or the inspirational speech)? Generally, your public speaking instructor will provide you with some fairly specific parameters to make this a little easier. Whether in a classroom situation or in the boardroom, speakers are typically given specific instructions that they must follow. Having prepared sixty minutes of material, the speaker now has to determine what stays in the speech and what must go.
As mentioned earlier, there are three general purposes: to inform, to persuade, and to entertain. As discussed in the chapter on audience analysis, different audiences have different political, religious, and ideological leanings. For speaking purposes, the context of a speech is the set of circumstances surrounding a particular speech. In speeches that are under ten minutes in length, you must narrowly focus a topic to one major idea. You might choose to inform your audience about Social Security disability benefits, using one individual disabled person as an example. For example, if we take the subject area a€?art,a€? we can break it down further into broad categories like art history, art galleries, and how to create art. One of the biggest mistakes that new public speakers make is not narrowing their topics sufficiently given the constraints.
At the top of the funnel are the broad subject areas, and your goal is to narrow your topic further and further down until just one topic can come out the other end of the funnel. We often start by selecting a broad area of knowledge and then narrowing the topic to one that is manageable for a given rhetorical situation. Show how youa€™ve gone from a large subject area to a manageable specific purpose based on the constraints given to you by your professor.
These lists often contain various subdivisions including fiction, nonfiction, business, advice, or graphic novels. The point is that while all these lists indicate what people are reading, you can use them to find out what topics people are generally interested in right now. Not only are these organizations good for finding interesting research, but generally the most recent polls are an indication of what people are interested in understanding today. The evening news, the History Channel, and the National Geographic channel can all provide ideas for many different speech topics. Many of the most prominent talk radio shows have two or three hours to fill five days a week, so the showsa€™ producers are always looking for interesting topics.
We are not advocating stealing someonea€™s ideasa€”you need to do your own thinking to settle on your speech topic.
While the Internet may not always provide the most reliable information, it is a rich source of interesting topics.
A needs analysisA set of activities designed to determine your audiencea€™s needs, wants, wishes, and desires. When we analyze our own experiences, interests, knowledge, and passions, we often find topics that others will also find interesting and useful.
Various finding aids have their positives and negatives, so we recommend investigating several different finding aids to see what topic ideas inspire you. When the speakera€™s topic is immediately useful for the audience, the audience will listen to the speech and appreciate it. A specific purposeA statement starting with one of the three general purposes (to inform, to persuade, or to entertain), but is then followed by a specification of onea€™s audience, the actual topic a speaker has chosen, and the basic objective the speaker hopes to accomplish with the speech. Plus, you’ll have the support of those around you who want to encourage you to be who you really are. So, wouldn’t it be better to take one action each day that will get you closer to who you were meant to be? In 90 days, Deborah has helped clients locate careers they love, find intimate relationships, and have their needs met by family, friends, and co-workers just by asking. The cemetery is a place where there have been millions of destinies laid to rest without the opportunity of expressing the fullness of their God-given potential. It is important for you to make good use of your time, because each second that passes by without making an investment in purpose is time wasted and value to humanity lost. Given the right conditions, it will become a seedling, which, when nurtured, will eventually grow into a plant that will eventually bear fruit. The fruits produced have seeds in themselves, and if they are planted, there will be multiple trees. Some seeds have the ability to last for years outside of the proper conditions, yet they will remain as potential plants that never became plants.
Your abilities must be trained and developed, and the fruits of your purpose must be served to your world.
Pursuing a career in the computer engineering field, if I was diligent, would have produced good results, but I don’t think I would have been fulfilled.
You may have enjoyed some level of manifestation of goodness and fruitful living, but there is always a greater level you can enjoy when you are living a life of purpose. There is so much room for development and improvement in life that each person’s unique purpose will be of utmost importance to the advancement of humanity.
You may also download a PDF copy of this book (61 MB) or just this chapter (2 MB), suitable for printing or most e-readers, or a .zip file containing this book's HTML files (for use in a web browser offline). After you read this chapter, youa€™ll understand how to go about finding interesting topics for a variety of different types of speeches.
Cicero also talked about three purposes: judicial (courtroom speech), deliberative (political speech), and demonstrative (ceremonial speecha€”similar to Aristotlea€™s epideictic). In an informative speech, the purpose of the speech is to explain to your audience what the program is and how it works. In fact, understanding and exchanging knowledge is so important that an entire field of study, called knowledge management, has been created to help people (especially businesses) become more effective at harnessing and exchanging knowledge. Such topics could include recounting an individuala€™s achievements and explaining why he or she is important in history.
The first type of process speech helps audience members understand how a specific object or system works. As New Scientist Magazine of January 2008 explains, Everetta€™s research on a small group of 350 people called the PirahA? tribe has revealed a language that has experts and intellectuals deeply disturbed. Everett told the New Yorker of April 16, 2007, no group in history has resisted change like the PirahA?. If something cannot be felt, touched, or experienced directly then to them, it doesna€™t exist, essentially eliminating the existence of abstract thought. But more importantly, PirahA? also lacks three characteristics previously thought to be essential to all languages: complexity, counting, and recursion. It is characterized in Christine Kenneallya€™s 2007 book, The Search for the Origins of Language, as the fundamental principle of all language and the source of limitless expression. By examining the culture, language, and implications of the PirahA? tribe we are able to see how this small Brazilian village could shift the way that we think and talk about the world.
A persuasive speech can be distinguished from an informative speech by the fact that it includes a call for action for the audience to make some change in their behavior or thinking.
For example, you may decide to give a speech on the importance of practicing good oral hygiene because you truly believe that oral hygiene is important and that bad oral hygiene can lead to a range of physical, social, and psychological problems. Ultimately, this form of persuasion is perceived as highly dishonest when audience members discover the ulterior motive. Or is the speaker using all possible meansa€”including distorting the trutha€”to persuade the audience because he or she will derive personal benefits from their adopting a certain behavior or point of view? The following is a short list of various behavior-oriented persuasive speeches wea€™ve seen in our own classes: washing onea€™s hands frequently and using hand sanitizer, adapting onea€™s driving habits to improve gas mileage, using open-source software, or drinking one soft drink or soda over another. According to the Omaha World Herald of January 8, 2008, our reliance on foreign oil combined with global warming concerns have many holding corn ethanol as our best energy solution.
Since the Dust Bowl, traditional farming practices have required farmers to a€?rotatea€? crops. The March 7, 2007, issue of The Wall Street Journal explains that lower supplies of corn needed for necessities such as farm feed, corn oil, and corn syrup have increased our food costs in everything from milk to bread, eggs, and even beer as much as 25 percent. To start thinking critically about corn ethanol, we need to examine solutions on both the federal and personal levels. The Economist of June 2, 2007, reports that other materials such as switch grass and wood chips can be used instead of corn. And while my hometown of Denison has gained much from corn ethanol, we all have much more to lose from it.
An entertaining speech can be either informative or persuasive at its root, but the context or theme of the speech requires speakers to think about the speech primarily in terms of audience enjoyment. Some novice speakers will attempt to turn an after-dinner speech into a stand-up comedy routine, which doesna€™t have the same focus.Roye, S. Florence Littauer, a famous professional speaker, delivers an emotionally charged speech titled a€?Silver Boxes.a€? In the speech, Mrs. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one anothera€”and all the more as you see the Day approaching.a€? Let us not leave this place as enemies but rather as friends and companions. Speakers who persuade others for manipulative reasons do so often by distorting the support for their arguments because they have an ulterior motive in persuading an audience to do or think something. You may be assigned to tell about an event that has shaped your life or to demonstrate how to do something.
In both of these instances, the speaker is constrained as to what he or she can say during a speech.
If youa€™ve been told that you will be delivering an informative speech, you are automatically constrained from delivering a speech with the purpose of persuading or entertaining. As such, choosing a speech topic for an audience that has a specific mindset can be very tricky. There are countless different contexts in which we can find ourselves speaking: a classroom in college, a religious congregation, a corporate boardroom, a retirement village, or a political convention. For example, in a ten-minute speech, you could not realistically hope to discuss the entire topic of the US Social Security program. In the previous section, we started demonstrating how the narrowing process works, but even in those examples, we narrowed subject areas down to fairly broad areas of knowledge.
Although we have now selected a specific period of art history in Anatolia, we are still looking at a five-hundred-year period in which a great deal of art was created. Given these parameters, take yourself through the narrowing process from subject area (business) to a manageable specific purpose. For example, The Gallup Organization regularly conducts polls to find out Americansa€™ perceptions of current political issues, business issues, social issues, and a whole range of other interesting information.
You can certainly use ideas from the media as contributions to your speech; however, if you do this, it is only ethical to make sure that you correctly cite the show where you heard about the topic by telling your audience the title, station, and date when you heard it. Some insightful individuals have posted long lists of possible topics for your next speech right on the Internet.
When you ask potential audience members about their interests, ita€™s not hard to quickly find that patterns of interests exist in every group.
The goal of this activity is to demonstrate how taking a very broad topic can be narrowed down to a more manageable topic using finding aids.
Remember, the goal is to find out what your audience needs, not necessarily what you think your audience needs. Mistakes are a great way to uncover your purpose because you have the opportunity to find out what you like and don’t like.
It could be as simple as making a phone call, sending an email, or doing some research on the Internet. You were given the potential to cultivate it until it bears fruit, by which you will make an impact in your world of influence. It contains the remains of men and women who had books in them that were never written, stories that were never told, music that was never composed, plays that were never dramatized, sermons that were never preached, inventions that were never produced, and the list of unrealized potential goes on. I recently read the story of two thousand–year-old Judean date palm seeds that were excavated from the site of Herod the Great’s palace in Masada, Israel, between 1963 and 1965. I say that the greatest thing that can happen to an individual is for such a person to discover his or her purpose at an early age.
As a matter of fact, I have since learned that your college education is simply a means to an end. A person can choose to be whatever he or she wants to be in life, but he or she won’t be greatly successful at anything unless it is in line with his or her God-given purpose. Remember, the goal in life is to establish heaven upon the earth, and each one of us has a role to play to fulfill this. The most important characteristic of informative topics is that the goal is to gain knowledge. If, however, you start encouraging your audience to participate in the vaccination program, you are no longer informing them about the program but rather persuading them to become involved in the program. Some speakers, who are famous themselves, will focus on their own lives and how various events shaped who they ultimately became.
There are countless historical events that many people arena€™t familiar with and would find interesting.
Ohl uses informative strategies to present the information without trying to persuade her audience.
The London Times of January 13, 2007, notes that with only eight consonants and three vowels, speakers rely on the use of tone, pitch, and humming to communicate. For example, suppose a physician who also owns a large amount of stock in a pharmaceutical company is asked to speak before a group of other physicians about a specific disease. Unless your speech assignment specifically calls for a speech of manipulative persuasion, the usual (and ethical) understanding of a a€?persuasive speecha€? assignment is that you should use the pure form of persuasion. In all these cases, the goal is to make a change in the basic behavior of audience members. If you believe that dress codes on college campuses are a good idea, you want to give a speech persuading others to adopt a positive attitude toward campus dress codes.
Although core beliefs often appear to be more exciting and interesting than dispositional ones, you are very unlikely to alter anyonea€™s core beliefs in a five- to ten-minute classroom speech. But despite the good intentions of helping farmers and lowering oil consumption, corn ethanol is filled with empty promises. But with corn ethanol being so profitable, understandably, farmers have stopped rotating crops, leading to soil erosion, deforestation, and fertilizer runoffa€”making our soil less fertile and more toxic. And on July 6, 2011, The New York Times reported on ethanol made from corn cobs, leaves, and husks, which leaves the corn kernels to be used as food. Overall, entertaining speeches are not designed to give an audience a deep understanding of life but instead to function as a way to divert an audience from their day-to-day lives for a short period of time. Maybe youa€™re introducing an individual who is about to receive an award, giving a toast at your best frienda€™s wedding, or delivering the eulogy at a relativea€™s funeral. Littauer demonstrates how people can use positive comments to encourage others in their daily lives.

As with our earlier examples, while this speech is written out as a text for purposes of analysis, in your public speaking course you will most likely be assigned to speak from an outline or notes, not a fully written script.
In the words of one of my mentors, the Australian film director, screen writer, and producer Baz Luhrman, a€?Do one thing every day that scares you.a€? Keep yourself on your toes. Let us come back next fall for our first reunion, the Zero Class Reunion hosted by the wonderful and amazing workers in the alumni department. If an audience finds out that youa€™ve been attempting to manipulate them, they will lose trust in you. Whatever your basic parameters, at some point you as the speaker will need to settle on a specific topic.
Typically, we refer to four primary constraints: purpose, audience, context, and time frame. In most public speaking classes, this is the first constraint students will come in contact with because generally teachers will tell you the exact purpose for each speech in the class.
Unfortunately, choosing what topics may or may not be appropriate for a given audience is based on generalizations about specific audiences. In each of these different contexts, the expectations for a speaker are going to be unique and different. There are countless books, research articles, websites, and other forms of media on the topic of Social Security, so trying to crystallize all that information into ten minutes is just not realistic. Myers, one of the original architects of Social Security.See, for example, Social Security Administration (1996).
So leta€™s take one of the broad areas from the art subject area and keep narrowing it down to a manageable speech topic. One famous Phrygian king was King Midas, who according to myth was given the ears of a donkey and the power of a golden touch by the Greek gods.
Leta€™s look at four of them: best-seller lists, organizations that tally information, media outlets, and the Internet. Often just looking at the Gallup Organizationa€™s website can help you find very interesting speech topics. If youa€™re listening to talk radio and hear an interesting topic, write it down and think about using it for your next speech. Both websites link to hundreds of blogs you could peruse, searching for a topic that inspires you.
You can find out about interests by either formally handing people a questionnaire or just asking people casually. The purpose of a needs analysis is to find a gap in information that you can fill as a speaker. You can have people try to accomplish a task or just orally have them explain a task to you, and if you find that they are lacking youa€™ll know that there is a possible need. Your purpose in life will bring you happiness and true happiness comes from contributing to other people’s lives and making a difference for someone else. Your purpose will be realized one step at a time until one day you find that you are living it. Problems of humanity need to be fixed, and God continually uses men of purpose to bring heaven’s solution to humanity. Don’t get me wrong—there is a time to relax, play, and go on vacations, but life is not about that; rather, it should be about preoccupation with purpose. For example, we know if an acorn is planted and nurtured, it will turn out to be an oak tree. Therefore, it is imperative that we pay attention to the potential and qualities that are within.
Whatever training you received should be used as a stepping stone toward the fulfillment of your purpose. It is in the same place of purpose that you experience multiplied increase in your ability to influence multitudes.
We will also discuss how to select a topic, what to do if youa€™re just drawing a blank, and four basic questions you should ask yourself about the speech topic you ultimately select. For this specific chapter, we are more interested in that last aspect of the definition of the word a€?purposea€?: why we give speeches. Augustine of Hippo also wrote about three specific speech purposes: to teach (provide people with information), to delight (entertain people or show people false ideas), and to sway (persuade people to a religious ideology).
One of the most common mistakes new public speaking students make is to blur the line between informing and persuading. Every year, millions of people attend some kind of knowledge sharing conference or convention in hopes of learning new information or skills that will help them in their personal or professional lives.Atwood, C. Dottie Walters is most noted as being the first female in the United States to run an advertising agency. There is a very specific set of steps that a bill must go through before it becomes a law, so there is a very clear process that could be explained to an audience. Distaste for all things foreign is the reason why the people have rejected technology, farming, religion, and even artwork. During his work as a missionary, Everett was amazed to find that the natives had no interest in the story of Jesus once they found out that he was dead. Recursion is so vital for expression that the Chicago Tribune of June 11, 2007, reports that a language without recursion is like disproving gravity. But his findings do show that more critical research is needed to make sure that our understanding of language is not lost in translation. Instead of informing the group about the disease, the doctor spends the bulk of his time attempting to persuade the audience that the drug his company manufactures is the best treatment for that specific disease. Core beliefsBeliefs that people have actively engaged in and created over the course of their lives.
In fact, The Des Moines Register of March 1, 2008, concludes that when ethanol is made from corn, all of its environmental and economic benefits disappear.
Louis Post Dispatch of April 12, 2007, reports that the amount of corn used to fill one tank of gas could feed one person for an entire year. The government could use the money paid in subsidies to support this kind of responsible production of ethanol. Here you will find informational materials, links to your congressional representatives, and ways to invest in switch grass and wood ethanol.
This is not to say that an entertaining speech cannot have real content that is highly informative or persuasive, but its goal is primarily about the entertaining aspects of the speech and not focused on the informative or persuasive quality of the speech. In each of these cases, the speech and the purpose of the speech is determined by the context of the event and not by the desire to inform or persuade. Notice that the tenor of this speech is persuasive but that it persuades in a more inspiring way than just building and proving an argument. Finally, ladies and gentlemen of the class of 2009, welcome to your commencement day here at Concordia University, Saint Paul, this, the finest university in the galaxy, nay, universe.
In fact, I remember getting dragged along to my older brothersa€™ and sistersa€™ graduations, all 8,000 of thema€”at least it seems like there were that many now. In this section, wea€™re going to look at some common constraints of public speaking, picking a broad topic area, and narrowing your topic. In the workplace, a supervisor may assign a subordinate to present certain information in a meeting.
For example, maybe youa€™re going to give a speech at a local meeting of Democratic leaders. The topics that may be appropriate in front of a religious group may not be appropriate in the corporate boardroom. Art, business, history, physical sciences, social sciences, humanities, and education are all examples of subject areas.
For this example, leta€™s say that your general purpose is to inform, you are delivering the speech in class to your peers, and you have five to seven minutes.
As such, there is an interesting array of art from the period of Midas and its Greek counterparts representing Midas.
Once you get what’s not working out of the way, you can make room for the good stuff. You probably take these things for granted, not recognizing them for the special, significant and unique gifts they actually are. When something that strong is in your heart, it’s only a matter of time before you discover what it is. Even the time we spend socializing and relaxing should have its purpose clearly defined in the fulfillment of our overall purpose.
We don’t know whether it will grow to be sixty feet high or fifty feet high or if it will take seventy years or one hundred years to be fully grown.
Likewise, your purpose never manifests and bears fruits because time has passed but because it has been cultivated and nurtured. The benefits of discovering your purpose at an early age is that you can then choose a degree program that will be a benefit to the fulfillment of your purpose. Because your purpose comes from within, the drive to continue is contained in the discovery of purpose, and  you are able to keep on applying yourself in the area of your calling.
It is in walking in purpose that you rise as an entity to be reckoned with because you are a source of restoration and replenishment to what’s missing in the lives of many humans.
Finally, we will explain how to use your general purpose and your chosen topic to develop the specific purpose of your speech. All these systems of identifying public speeches have been attempts at helping people determine the general purpose of their speech. When a speaker starts encouraging people to use knowledge in a specific way, he or she is no longer informing but is persuading.
For some, the personal sense of achievement or of responsibility drives them to share their knowledge (internal motivational factors). In addition to her work in advertising, Dottie also spent a great deal of time as a professional speaker. The how-to-do speech, on the other hand, is designed to help people come to an end result of some kind.
The PirahA? psyche is so focused on the present that the people have no collective memory, history, written documents, or creation myths. With oil prices at 100 dollars per barrel, our nation is in an energy crisis, and luckily, the production of ethanol can be a major help for both farmers and consumers, if done correctly.
According to National Public Radioa€™s Talk of the Nation of February 10, 2008, corn ethanol emits more carbon monoxide and twice the amount of carcinogens into the air as traditional gasoline.
Really, ita€™s right up there with South Harlem Institute of Technology, the School of Hard Knocks, and Harvard.
We have been fortunate enough to see more change in our time here than most alumni see at their alma mater in a lifetime. In these kinds of situations, when a speaker is hired or assigned to talk about a specific topic, he or she cannot decide to talk about something else. You may think that all Democrats are liberal or progressive, but there are many conservative Democrats as well. Topics appropriate for the corporate boardroom may not be appropriate at a political convention.
When selecting a topic, start by casting a broad net because it will help you limit and weed out topics quickly. At this point, we could create a topic about how Phrygian and Grecian art differed in their portrayals of King Midas.
If you start asking your fellow club members and other local business owners if there are any specific problems their businesses are currently facing, you will probably start to see a pattern develop. Informally, you may ask people if they have problems with something specific like writing a business plan or cooking in a wok. One of the mistakes that people make is assuming that all gaps exist because of a lack of information. Destiny is a journey that originates from purpose, and it must be carefully mapped out to produce good results.
Your attraction to a certain line of work because of the professional prestige, income, or perks is not necessarily a pointer to your purpose. Others are driven to share knowledge because of the desire for recognition or the possibility of job enhancement (external motivational factors). The first type of informative speech relates to objects, which can include how objects are designed, how they function, and what they mean. She often would tell the story about her early years in advertising when she would push around a stroller with her daughter inside as she went from business to business trying to generate interest in her copywriting abilities. The point is to make sure that an informative speech is talking about the event (who, what, when, where, and why) and not attempting to persuade people to pass judgment upon the event or its effects.
This informative speech topic is probably the most difficult for novice public speakers because it requires walking a fine line between informing and persuading.
They are unable to even remember the names of dead grandparents because once something or someone cannot be experienced, they are no longer important.
For example, if you value protecting the environment, you may recycle more of your trash than someone who does not hold this value. I remember sitting here in these very seats, intently listening to the president and other distinguished guests speak, again saying welcome and thank you for coming. If you assume that all Democrats are liberal or progressive, you may end up offending your audience by making such a generalization without knowing better. We now have a topic that is unique, interesting, and definitely manageable in five to seven minutes.
While you may not be an expert on the topic initially, you can always do some research to see what experts have said on the topic and pull together a speech using that research. The only problem that can occur with the informal method is that you often find out that people overestimate their own knowledge about a topic. Knowledge sharing is an important part of every society, so learning how to deliver informative speeches is a valuable skill. For example, a student of one of our coauthors gave a speech on the design of corsets, using a mannequin to demonstrate how corsets were placed on women and the amount of force necessary to lace one up.
In our experience, the how-to speech is probably the most commonly delivered informative speech in public speaking classes. If you attempt to deliver this type of speech, remember the goal is to be balanced when discussing both sides of the issue. If you value family history and heritage, you may be more motivated to spend time with your older relatives and ask them about their early lives than someone who does not hold this value. Imagine, for example, that you were asked the question, a€?Can gorillas speak English?a€? While you may never have met a gorilla or even seen one in person, you can make instant judgments about your understanding of gorillas and fairly certainly say whether you believe that gorillas can speak English.
Although hailed as a magic bullet, corn ethanol could be the worst agricultural catastrophe since the Dust Bowl. They referred to the university as the finest university in the nation or world, and last but not least they all greeted the people in attendance. The film montages hundreds of statistics together, laying down the ground work to tell viewers that we are approaching a crossroad. Obviously, the best way to prevent yourself from picking a topic that is inappropriate for a specific audience is to really know your audience, which is why we recommend conducting an audience analysis, as described in Chapter 5 "Audience Analysis". When examining the category of Middle Eastern art, the first thing youa€™ll find is that Middle Eastern art is generally grouped into four distinct categories: Anatolian, Arabian, Mesopotamian, and Syro-Palestinian. Someone may think they know how to use a wok even though theya€™ve never owned one and never cooked in one.
For example, people may have learned how to drive a car in a driver education class, but if theya€™ve never been behind the wheel of a car, theya€™re not really going to know how to drive.
Instead, you could inform your audience about a historical or contemporary hero whose achievements are not widely known. Every time I would come up with something new to keep myself awake, daydreams, pinching my arms, or pulling leg hair; I was a very creative individual.
Again, if youa€™re like us, until we started doing some research on the topic, we had no idea that the historic art of the Middle East was grouped into these specific categories.
Whether you want to discuss theories related to business, sociology, psychology, religion, politics, art, or any other major area of study, this type of speech can be very useful in helping people to understand complex ideas. This series of books covers everything from the pros and cons of blogging to whether the United States should have mandatory military service. I would like to personally thank my classmates and colleagues sitting around me for slapping me every time I even thought about dozing off.
Let us remember these things, the flooding of the knoll, Ultimate Frisbee beginning at ten oa€™clock at night, and two back-to-back Volleyball National Championship teams, with one of those championship games held where you are sitting now.
Lastly, when you determine that the major cause of the need is informational, ita€™s time to determine the best way to deliver that information. I encourage all of you to walk out of this place with flashes of the old times flickering through your brains.

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