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COM 202 deck for University of Rhode Island Public Speaking course.

oratory or rhetoric

the basic definition of public speaking.


the outdoor marketplace or public square in ancient Greece where speakers would comment on public affairs.


today's version of the agora; the public space where today's public speaking occurs.

forensic oratory

speech given in legal contexts.

deliberative oratory

speech given in legislative or political contexts.

epideictic oratory

speech delivered in special ceremonies; i.e. celebrations or funerals.

canons of rhetoric

5 parts of speech: invention, arrangement, style, memory and delivery.


adapting speech information to the audience in order to make your case.


organizing the speech in ways that are best suited to the topic and audience.


the way the speaker uses language to express the speech ideas.


practice of the speech until it can be artfully delivered.


the vocal and non-verbal behavior you use when speaking.

dyadic communication

a form of communication between two people, usu. in a conversation.

small group communication

involves a small number of people who can see and speak directly with one another.

mass communication

occurs between a speaker and a large audience of unknown people; receivers of message are not present with the speaker or are part of such an immense crowd that there is little or no interaction between speaker & listener.

public speaking

speaker delivers a message with a specific purpose to an audience of people who are present during the delivery of the speech.


AKA the sender; the person who creates a message.


process of organizing the message, choosing words and sentence structure, and verbalizing the message.


the recipient of the sender's message.


process of interpreting the sender's message by the receiver.


the audience's response to a message; can be conveyed both verbally and non-verbally.

audience perspective

trying to determine the needs, attitudes, and values of your audience before you begin speaking.


the content of the communication process; thoughts and ideas put into meaningful expressions.


the medium through which the speaker sends a message.


any interference with the message.

shared meaning

mutual understanding of a message between speaker and audience.

rhetorical situation

circumstance, which calls for a public response.


the language, beliefs, values, norms, behaviors and even material objects that are passed from one generation to the next.


the belief that the ways of our own culture are superior to those of other cultures.

cultural intelligence

"being skilled and flexible about understanding a culture, learning more about it from your ongoing interactions with it, and gradually reshaping your thinking to be more sympathetic to the culture and to be more skilled and appropriate when interacting with others from the culture." - Thomas and Inkson


something to speak about.

audience analysis

a highly systematic process of getting to know your listeners relative to the topic and the speech occasion.

general speech purposes (3)

1. to inform; 2. to persuade; 3 to mark a special occasion.

specific purpose

declarative sentence stating what you expect the speech to accomplish.

thesis statement

clearly expresses the central idea of your speech; what you want to achieve with the speech.

supporting material

illustrates the main points by clarifying, elaborating, and verifying the speaker's ideas.


serves to introduce the topic and the speaker and to alert audience members to your specific speech purpose..


contains the speeches main points and subpoints.


restates the speech purpose and reiterates how the main points confirm it.

public speaking anxiety (PSA)

fear or anxiety associated with either actual or anticipated communication to an audience as a speaker.

pre-preparation anxiety

feeling anxious the minute they know they will be giving a speech.

preparation anxiety

anxiety felt during research of the topic, organizing ideas, etc.

pre-performance anxiety

anxiety felt during rehearsal/practice of giving the speech.

performance anxiety

anxiety felt during the delivery of the speech.


mental imaging in which a speaker vividly pictures himself or herself giving a successful presentation.

feedback loop

continual flow or circular response between speaker and listener.


the conscious act of recognizing, understanding, and accurately interpreting the messages communicated by others.

selective perception

a listening style in which the receiver responds to messages that only interest him or her, the phenomenon that people often pay the most attention to things they already agree with and interpret them according to their own predispositions.


Greek; means "through words".

dialogic communication

sharing of ideas and open discussion through words.

active listening

focused, purposeful listening.

listening distraction

anything that competes for attention that you are trying to give to something else.

external listening distraction

anything in the environment that can cause a distraction.

internal listening distraction

thoughts and feelings, both positive and negative that intrude on our attention.

defensive listening

listener decides either that they won't like what the speaker is going to say or that they know better.

critical thinking

the ability to evaluate claims on the basis of well-supported reasons.

valid generalization

supported by different sources, but it does not make claims beyond a reasonable point.


unsupported conclusions.


a charge, trust, or duty for which one is accountable.


the study of moral conduct; how people should act toward one another.


Greek; meaning "character".

speaker credibility

is gained when speaker is well prepared, honest, and respectful towards their audience.


our most enduring judgments or standards of what's good and bad in life, or what's important to us.

First Amendment

US Constitution; "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech.."

free speech

the right to be free from unreasonable constraints on expression.

fighting words

speech that provokes people to violence.


speech that can be proved to be defamatory.

reckless disregard for the truth

you can be legally liable if it can be shown that you knew that what you were saying was false, but said it anyway.


verbal attack.

conversation stopper

speech designed to discredit, demean, and belittle those with whom one disagrees.

rules of engagement

the ways we relate to one another in the public arena.


ensuring your listeners feel "worthy, honored, or respected as individuals.


signals that speaker's incorruptibility; she or he will avoid compromising the truth for the sake of personal expediency.


a combination of honesty and dependability.


"treating people right".

heckler's veto

drowning out a speaker's message with which you disagree.


generalizing about an apparent characteristic of a group and applying that generalization to all of its members.

hate speech

any offensive communication - verbal or non-verbal - that is directed against people's racial, ethnic, religious, gender, or other characteristics.


when you make a genuine effort to see all sides of an issue and to be open-minded.


the passing off of another person's information as one's own.

wholesale plagiarism

"cut-and-paste" material from sources into your speech and represent it as your own.

patchwrite plagiarism

copying material into your speech draft from a source and then changing or rearranging words and sentence structures here and there to make the material appear as if it were your own.

direct quotations

statements quoted verbatim from a source.


restatement of someone else's ideas, opinions, or theories in your own words.

common knowledge

information that is likely to be known by many people, but such information must truly be widely disseminated.


legal protection afforded original creators of literary and artistic works.

public domain

anyone may reproduce the source's work.

intellectual property

ownership of an individual's creative expression.

fair use

permits the limited use of copyrighted works without permission for the purposes of scholarship, criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, and research.

audience-centered approach

selecting the speech topic to making decisions about how you will organize, word, and deliver it.


abandoning your own convictions or cater to the audience's whims.


general evaluations of people, ideas, objects, or events.


the ways in which people perceive reality.

perspective taking

trying to uncover the audience's feelings and expectations (or disposition) towards the speech.


looking for ways to establish a common bond.

captive audience

audience which is required or obligated to observe the speech.


statistical characteristics of a given population.

target audience

those individuals whom you are most likely to influence in your direction.

generational identity

the specific generation with which audience members can relate.

socioecononmic status (SES)

includes income, occupation, and education.


our social and psychological sense of ourselves as males or females.

sexist language

language that casts males or females into roles on the basis of sex alone.

gender stereotypes

oversimplified and often severely distorted ideas about the innate nature of what it means to be male or female.

persons with disabilities (PWD)

sight, speech, visual impairments, or learning/comprehension disabilities of some members of your audience.


a social community whose values and style of communicating may or may not mesh with your own.

individualistic cultures

tend to emphasize the needs of the individual rather than those of the group.

collectivist cultures

personal identity, needs and desires are viewed as secondary to those of the larger group.

uncertainty avoidance

the extent to which people feel threatened by ambiguity.

high-uncertainty avoidance cultures

tend to structure life more rigidly and formally for their members.

low-uncertainty avoidance cultures

more accepting of uncertainty in life and therefore allow more variation in individual behavior.

power distance

the extent to which a culture values social equality versus tradition and authority.

linear-active cultures

approach tasks systematically, preferring to do one thing at a time, and in organized fashion.

multi-active cultures

tend to do many things at once, are people-oriented, and extroverted.

reactive cultures

people rarely initiate discussions or actions, preferring to listen to what others have to say first.


face-to-face communication for the purpose of gathering information.


designed to gather information from a pool of respondents.

closed-ended questions

designed to elicit a small range of specific answers supplied by the interviewer.

fixed alternative questions

contain a limited choice of answers, such as "yes", "no", or "sometimes".

scale questions

also called "attitude scales"; measure the respondent's level of agreement or disagreement with specific issues.

open-ended questions

designed to allow respondents to elaborate as much as they wish.

informative speech

to increase the audience's understanding and awareness of a topic.

persuasive speech

to effect some degree of change in the audience's attitudes, beliefs, or even basic values (the latter being the hardest to change).

special occasion speeches

includes: speeches of introduction, speeches of acceptance, speeches of presentation, roasts and toasts, eulogies, and after-dinner speeches.

word association

"brainstorming" to come up with ideas.

topic map

visual used to connect and link together ideas.

specific speech purpose

the goal of the speech.

thesis statement

the theme or central idea of the speech stated in a single, declarative sentence.

supporting material

memorable examples, narratives, testimony, facts and statistics.


used to illustrate, describe, or represent things.

brief examples

offer a single illustration or point.

extended examples

offers multifaceted illustrations of the idea, item, or event being described.

hypothetical example

when you need to make a point about something that could happen in the future if certain things occurred.


tells tales, both real and imaginary, about practically anything under the sun.


brief stories of interesting and often humorous incidents based on real life.


firsthand writings, eyewitness accounts, and opinions by people, both lay and expert.

expert testimony

testimony from professionals who are trained to evaluate or report on a given topic.

lay testimony

testimony by non-experts to support materials.


quantified evidence that summarize, compare, and predict things, from batting averages to birthrates.


simply a count of the number of times something occurs.


quantified portion of a whole.


describes information according to its typical characteristics.


the arithmetic average; sum of scores divided by the number of scores.


the center-most score in a distribution or the point above and below which 50 percent of the nine scores fall.


the most frequently occurring score in the distribution.


to selectively present only those statistics that buttress your point of view while ignoring competing data.


selecting information to illustrate or prove your points.

primary research

first-hand research/surveys conducted by you.

secondary research

the vast world of information gathered by others.


a searchable place in which information is stored.

See more

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