Review Questions and Activities

Review Questions

  1. What is the purpose of a special occasion speech?
  2. Discuss the influence of epideictic speaking on what we know about special occasion speaking today.
  3. Generate a definition and purpose for each type of special occasion speech.
  4. Compare and contrast presenting an award with receiving an award.
  5. What do you think are the most important guidelines for an effective after-dinner speech?
  6. Why is it a good idea to keep a special occasion speech short (whenever possible)?
  7. What does it mean to “finesse the obvious” in a special occasion speech?
  8. What should be the main purpose of humor in a special occasion speech? What steps can you take to use humor effectively?


  1. Find a partner and construct a role play of an awards event. One partner will prepare a speech presentation for a fictitious award, and the other partner will prepare a speech accepting the fictitious award. Give the two speeches back-to-back for the class.
  2. Find a sample commencement address online (You can consult the list of web resources listed on the chapter home page). Bring a copy of the address to class and determine which of the following components below are contained in the sample.

    1. Is celebratory in nature
    2. It marks a milestone on graduates’ lives
    3. Provides a call to action for its audience
    4. Gives practical and/or memorable advice
    5. Draws attention to social or political issues of the day
    6. Lays out paths the audience can take beyond graduation
    7. Addresses tools for change needed to make an individual impact
    8. Illustrates factors that contribute to a good life

  3. In class, get into small groups (about 3 to 5 people) and brainstorm a list of famous people—alive or dead—who can be the subject of a commemorative or tribute speech. For each individual listed, generate at least two characteristics that should be acknowledged in the speech.
  4. Suppose you are called upon to give a toast or tribute speech to someone you believe is not deserving. You can think of a fictitious or real person. Discuss how you would go about preparing and delivering this speech. Also discuss how you would still be true to your own principles as well as conduct yourself in an ethical and professional manner.
  5. Suppose you have a guest coming to speak to your class. Prepare a speech of introduction for this person. What are this person’s attributes? What would be the topic of this person’s guest lecture, and how would you incorporate that into your speech?

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