Friday, October 12, 2012

The Speech Teacher's Sermon In the Classroom

Coming to terms with Public Speaking

And seeing the multitudes, Public Speaking Professor went up into the classroom and when his LCD projector had warmed up he opened his mouth and taught them saying:
Blessed are the poor in preconceptions: for theirs is the Kingdom of Learning 
Blessed are they that weep: for they express pathos
Blessed are the moral: for they express ethos
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after valid sources: For they shall find them in the library. 
Blessed are the respectful: for they shall obtain the respect of their audience 
Blessed are the pure in citation: for they shall see A’s. 
Blessed are the syllogism-makers: For their logic shall result in an A. 
Blessed are ye when your classmates and even your professor shall revile you and persecute you and make all manner of rebuttals against you for your argument’s sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for you have found a topic worth discussing. 
Ye are the makers of speeches, yet if the speech lacks valid sources, wherewith shall it be spoken. It is thenceforth good for nothing but to be given a “D” and even erased from your hard-drive. 
Ye are the movers of minds. A great movement does not begin standing still. Nor does action happen within a bushel basket; but occurs when it is out in the open. So let your floor movements include the whole room, that you may make eye contact with everyone and not have your body hidden by a podium. 
Think not that I come to destroy Aristotle or Cicero, but to apply them. For verily I say unto you as long as people express themselves in language, Arrangement and Artistic Proof will not pass away. Whosoever shall say that contemporary technology negates classical rhetoric shall be the least among great speakers: but whosoever uses contemporary media to apply them, shall be called the new Martin Luther King Jr. 
For I say unto you, that except your public speaking exceed the eloquence of the politicians on CSPAN, you shall not obtain a better grade in my class than a “C.” 
You have heard it said from Dale Carnegie “Begin thy speech with a joke for it shall set thee and thy audience at ease.” Yet I say unto you, that this is a bastardization of Cicero and that the Narratio of a speech need not be humorous, but should move the emotions of thy audience where thou wilt. Therefore if thou speakest of painful subjects use not inappropriate humor. In so doing you will alienate and anger thy audience and you cannot move them. 
It hath been said, “whosoever copieth from one source committeth plagiarism, but whosoever copieth from many sources doeth research.” Yet I say unto you, whether from one source or from many, unless a student cite aloud the sources, plagiarism is committed and he shall be cast out of school. 
Again, you have heard it said “Alcohol and tobacco kill, whereas marijuana hurts no one.” Yet I say unto you that this is a non-sequitor and the student who says such shall be as guilty of fallacy as the student who compares the politician to Hitler. 
Ye have heard it said: “expose the other side’s hypocrisy, and thou needst not defend thine own arguments.” Yet I say unto you, an accusation of others is not a defense of thyself.” Instead put forward the goodness of thine own arguments and let thy enemy’s argument fail against it. 
Ye have heard it said that when you rise up to speak, thou shouldst be thyself. Yet I say unto you, unless one improves ones delivery, appearance and style, thy speech shall not be seen as important by thine audience and they shall not be moved. 
Take heed that ye do not give a speech without including other’s ideas: otherwise ye shall seem a mere opinionated buffoon. 
Therefore when thou speakest find valid sources who share your beliefs. That way when others argue, they argue not with you, but with the great knowledge and wisdom of those you cite. 
And when thou speakest, be not bound to thy podium. For the human eye is attracted to movement and thou shalt keep thy audience’s attention better if thou walkest about during thy speech. 
So when thou speakest, speak not as one who has not arrangement, but rather speak like this 
Begin with an Exordium that states thy thesis and explains thy credibility
Next give a Narratio which builds in emotion
Preview thy main points in thy Partito
Then explain each of these points in detail, citing sources throughout thy Confirmatio.
Explain what other points of view are common and why you do not hold them in thy Refutatio.
End with a call to the audience to move their minds in thy Peroratio
Moreover, when thou speakest do not as the failing students do and write the speech the night before it is due. Rather, prepare in advance and practice outloud, for when one practices in private, one shall receive one’s reward in public. 
Wait not until thy senior year to take Public Speaking. For you shall need to give presentations in thy major classes and shall do poorly in thy attempts. 
The greatest connection thou makest is in thy eye contact. Yet if thou readest thy speech how will you look at your audience! 
No speech can have two theses. Either one point will be made and not the other or neither one point will be made nor the other. One cannot speak on both the history and rules of baseball. 
Therefore I say unto you, take no thought about thy embarrassment in front of an audience. For I tell you the truth, even great speakers are nervous when coming before an audience. But I tell you the truth, even Abraham Lincoln in giving the Gettysburg Address felt fear as he stood before his auditors. Yet, who among you does a good job at what does not worry you? Instead, focus on moving thy audience and with or without nervousness, they shall be moved. 
Therefore, do not worry about worrying. Sufficient is the worry you will have before thy audience. 
Judge not the other students’ speeches, for thou art not yet qualified to tell them if their job is good or bad. Yet, if thou hast simple ideas for improvement, discuss them in class that all may be edified. 
Give not a speech which is not well researched, neither give a speech is unrehearsed. For the validity of thy argument and thine own morality shall be called into question. 
Ask if you do not understand the assignment. Read the textbooks and other ancillary materials. For your Professor is judged by the number of students who continue to graduation after this class and has no desire to see you fail. 
Therefore, in all things, the way you would like to see a speech given, give that kind of speech.
Unless thou believest that thy audience would be better for having heard your speech than if they did not, thou hast not chosen a good enough topic. 
Beware of bad advice that comes to us from people not trained in oral rhetoric. For although many mean well, many will tell you to do things that are not conducive to good presentations. Instead, see my lectures as a model for thine own speech, for if thou speakest as I speak, thou wilt get at least a “B.” 
Not everyone who stands before an audience is a public speaker. Only the one who follows all five canons of Invention, Style, Arrangement, Memory and Delivery can truly be said to give a speech. 
Therefore, whosoever heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will give unto that person good grades. Then if at some point the GPA droppeth due to life’s difficulties, the student will remain in good academic standing. But whosoever heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them not, shall be a student who receives low grades. Then if at some point the GPA droppeth due to life’s difficulties, that student shall be suspended for failure to make academic progress. Such a student shall have no college degree, but must still pay back the student loan.
And it came to pass, when the Speech Professor had ended these sayings, the students were astonished at his doctrine. For he spoke as one who’d actually studied the subject, and not as a writer of self-help books.

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