Review Questions and Activities

Review Questions

  1. For each of the characters described below, what types of informative speeches might each person be called upon to give in her or his personal and professional life? List as many as you can think of for each.

    1. Stacy is an emergency room physician and medical school professor. She also serves on the board of directors for a local college. For recreation she enjoys rock climbing.
    2. Rick is an animal control officer who volunteers his time at both the animal shelter and the local Habitat for Humanity group. He is in a bowling league with other city employees.
    3. Akiko is in insurance sales and volunteers in the math classroom at her children’s middle school. As a hobby, she collects and sells antiques.

  2. Early in the module, the importance of credibility was discussed. Can you think of any presentations you heard where you DID NOT feel that the speaker had credibility? What did the speakers do and/or say to make you think they lacked credibility? If you were to give these speakers advice on how to improve their credibility, what would you say?
  3. The chapter states that speakers need to be objective, credible, knowledgeable and that they need to make the topic relevant to the audience. Rank these responsibilities in order from most to least important, and then explain your ranking.
  4. Imagine you are giving an informative speech on ______________ [you fill in the blank]. How would you apply each of the five attention getting techniques—intensity, novelty, contrast, activity and humor—in your speech? Make note of at least one idea for each technique.
  5. After you have selected a topic for your informative speech, answer the questions below to help determine ways to orient your topic to your audience. Questions adapted from Ulloth and Alderfer, (1998b, pp. 61–62).

    1. How much information does your audience already have about your topic?
    2. What social or cultural influences of audience members might affect their reaction to your topic?
    3. How can your topic be made interesting if the audience has no knowledge or apparent interest in it?
    4. Are there any mental, physical, or emotional factors in the audience that may affect their response to your speech?
    5. What do you want your audience to understand after you have delivered your speech?

Answers to song lyrics question on page 8:

Mystery Artist: Pink Floyd “Money” from Dark Side of the Moon


1. The list directly below includes a number of potential sources for your informative speech (Walters, 1995; Ulloth & Alderfer, 1998; Slutsky & Aun, 1997). Using this list for ideas, which of these potential sources could be used in the research process for each of the following speech topics?

Speech Topics

Tattoos Action figure collecting Free local activities
Making great BBQ Music piracy Auctions
Bruce Lee Decorating on a budget Creating a web site

Source of Interesting Materials

  • Libraries
  • Bookstores
  • Used book stores
  • Video stores
  • Music stores
  • Reference books
  • Phone books (use for experts and specialized businesses)
  • Schools and colleges (where your topic is taught or researched)
  • Magazines and newsletters

  • Trade associations and publications
  • Special interest clubs and groups
  • People selling products and services
  • Research departments of television stations and newspapers
  • Objects related to the subject
  • Museums
  • Computer search engines and data bases (on and off campus)
  • Other sources (e.g. specialized stores, friends, colleagues, educational videos)

2. Use the list of potential informative speech topics below to complete the steps of this activity.

  1. Which of the topics listed below might also be used for a persuasive speech?
  2. For each of the four different types of informative speeches (Definitional, Descriptive, Explanatory, Demonstration), identify three topics that would be appropriate to use for each type of speech.
  3. At this point, you should have twelve topics listed—three each under each type of speech. Now, take one topic from each of the four groups and generate a specific purpose statement and three potential main points. You will have four different speeches, each with their own specific purpose and main points.

Potential Speech Topics

  • Adventure vacations
  • The Alamo
  • Alternatives to chemotherapy
  • Boating safety
  • Building a pond
  • Changing the oil in your car
  • Characteristics of successful managers
  • Cultural changes resulting from 9/11

  • Diamond selection
  • Ghandi’s achievements
  • Hospice care
  • Hot air balloons
  • How a meteor killed the dinosaurs
  • How to set up a wireless network
  • Illicit drug policy
  • Matching dog breeds with owners

  • Orchids
  • Ramadan
  • Robots for the home
  • Space vacations
  • Using Power Point effectively
  • Unemployment and the economy
  • What to do when your identity is stolen

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