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COM 1110 Lecture 2

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Lecture Two: Public Speaking and History Hello, welcome to lecture two for COMM 1110. This lecture is about the place of public speaking in history. Let me say that Lectures two, three, four, and five all relate to chapter 1 of the text. Make sure you have your study guide in front of you. When I talk about "the ancients," I am referring to Plato and Aristotle from the the time of the Golden Age of Greece, about 400 BC. Aristotle was Plato’s student, but they did not agree on many things. I also mean Cicero and Quintillian, who were Romans several hundred years later. We are looking at what the writers of the classical period – about 400 BC for the Greeks and about the time of Christ for the Romans –said about communication. Their view of communication focused on public speaking and persuasion, which they called “rhetoric.” (spelled). That word is often used in a negative way, but it shouldn’t be. It means the study of the effective use of written and oral persuasion. Furthermore, public speaking is an art form with long historical significance. If you read chapter 1, you will find this mentioned. Public speaking is a skill everyone can learn to some extent. Now that doesn’t mean that does not mean that when this class is over you will be an orator like Dr. Martin Luther King, but I believe everyone can learn to stand in front of people and express their ideas clearly. I want you to think of public speaking as a process of asking (through research and audience analysis) and answering questions in a structured, predetermined format. That is what you do in a speech. First, they saw it as essential to participating as a citizen in a free society. In the Greek democracy, a citizen did not just get the opportunity to participate in the law courts and the decisions of the city; he (always men at that time) HAD to participate. They believed that a citizen must be able to defend his ideas and think critically about the ideas of the others. Public speaking is not just for the individual; it is for the community. Public speaking was dependent on two things. First, Quintillian defined rhetoric as the good man speaking well, so public speaking is dependent on the character of the speaker. When Quintillian said that, he meant a good man who worked for the good of his community. Sometimes in the traditional class, I have students brainstorm to answer some questions, and one of the questions is “Who are some communicators you would like to emulate?” By that I mean, those speakers have characteristics you would like to have. I often have students put on the list: Jesus and Hitler. I tell the students that first, they have never really heard those two people speak—they have read the words of Jesus in the Bible, and they have seen propaganda films of Hitler. But as far as Hitler is concerned, he was not a good man speaking well. A student will say, “But he was effective, he got people to do what he wanted!” That does not fit the idea of a good man speaking well. The study of public speaking is also dependent on knowing about human nature, behavior, and situations. Sometimes speech class will seem like psychology class. There are many similarities. The ancient scholars of rhetoric also based it on the practice of answering key questions, called topoi or commonplaces. They had a list of 24 questions that a speaker had to answer and understand before speaking to an audience. Don’t worry. We will only have two main questions. We’ll discuss that later. We have much to be thankful for to the first students of public speaking, or rhetoric, but one more is that they contributed the idea of the five canons of rhetoric. This is not cannon, but canon, which means laws or rule. The first one is invention. Invention is the discovery of what needs to be said to this particular audience at this particular time for this particular purpose. You might want to stop the video to write that down. Public speaking is very focused on the audience, the situation or time, and the purpose. The second canon of rhetoric is disposition, which means organization. We will see that organization of your ideas in the speech is very important. The third canon is style, which does not have to do with fashion. It has to do with the level of language that the speaker uses. Is the language flowery and descriptive, or technical and precise, or very common and everyday? Some types of speeches, like a eulogy, would use descriptive language, but others would not. The fourth canon is memory. At that time students would memorize famous speeches of historical figures to learn to copy their skills. We do not do that very much anymore. The fifth canon is delivery, which of course has to do with the nonverbal communication of the speech. That is what we notice first and what often concerns us. Monotones and lack of eye contact are good examples. The five canons of rhetoric are important because this is still the way we teach public speaking. As we go through the textbook you will see that the first chapters are about invention, then there are chapters are about organization, and so on. Thank you, that is the end of this lecture.

Video Details

Duration: 12 minutes and 40 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: All rights reserved
Producer: Randy Ware
Director: Randy Ware
Views: 60
Posted by: jmcentyre on Jul 5, 2012

This lecture covers Public Speaking and History.

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