Public Speaking


No Wikipedia? Really?
Speech: Informative
Webpage Assessment Exercise
Deer In Headlights
Effective Email: "hey mary i msd clas cuz i overslpt"
I need a BREAK!

A Proposition of Policy Speech makes a persuasive argument about a course of action regarding a controversial topic of social or public concern.  

This speech requires you to use all that you’ve learned this semester. It is also the most difficult type of speech to deliver, in that you may be asking your audience to change long held beliefs and opinions.


Now, you get to take the soapbox, and argue about what keeps you awake at night, or yelling at the television.

Your speech will take a position and make an argument about both a problem and the solution. You will use your opinion, yes, but it will have become a learned opinion, as a result of your research and reading. You must cite 4 outside sources to demonstrate your credibility.

A Proposition of Policy Speech:

--answers the Question: should a particular course of action be taken;

--argues for or against solution(s);

--includes the word “should;”

--may include a Proposition of Fact Speech;

--may ask for audience to passively agree;

--may ask for audience to take immediate action.


In general, you are persuading us that a serious problem needs our attention (with evidence about its causes and effects), and that you have found a solution (may be yours alone or yours and a combination of your expert sources; does not need to solve the problem entirely).

In this speech you will first make us miserable with the PROBLEM – then – you create our need to hear of the SOLUTION.

Think of policy speeches in terms of Need, Plan, and Practicality.

Carry those issues into your ORGANIZATION:

Organization Strategy One:

I. Problem

II. Solution

Organization Strategy Two:

I.                   Problem

II.                Causes

III.             Solution

Organization Strategy Three:

Monroe’s Motivated Sequence

Attention (in the intro)

I.                   Need

II.                Satisfaction

III.             Visualization

IV.            Action

Organization Strategy Four:

Comparative Advantages

--use when the audience already agrees with you about the causes and effects of the problem;

--focus on debating the strengths of competing solutions.


How is the Proposition of Policy Speech SIMILIAR TO the Proposition of Fact Speech?

You are making an argument about a public or social problem. Experts debate and disagree, and you are joining that conversation. You are not informing the audience; instead you take a position and argue.

WHY do I have to Interpret Facts?

Isn’t a fact –well--a fact? When people disagree, isn’t it really just a matter of one not knowing the truth?

Consider two medical doctors–each went to the same medical school, received the same scores on state boards, and has comparable positions at local hospitals. Yet, one believes that life begins at birth (pro-choice); while the other believes that life begins at conception (pro-life). When experts disagree about facts (and values), we have propositional arguments, in which facts are used to support claims, and the facts themselves are often in dispute. In this speech, you will make an argument about a serious problem, addressing the effects and causes of the problem.

The areas of controversy for your topic will be found in the causes and effects of the problem. Each topic, however, will have different areas of controversy. For example most agree about the effects of juvenile crime or unemployment, but we might disagree about the causes. 

Make sure you distinguish between primary and secondary causes. For juvenile violence you will admit that there are other causes than those you’ve selected, but your causes are more important (primary) than the others (secondary)

I Smart people disagree with my position. Should I ignore them? Joke about them?

NO–you want to acknowledge that smart people disagree with you. Then, respectfully demonstrate how they are incorrect in their conclusions. Anticipate objections in your speech. Your surveys and research should guide you.

JDemonstrate Rhetorical sensitivity — the speech should be about the audience’s relationship to the subject, and only secondly, about your relationship to the subject. Use pronouns "you", "yours", "our" "we." Ask the audience to imagine themselves in the examples you use. Use rhetorical questions to shape the audience’s thinking.

MDon’t use all of the research you have found — only the very strongest information should appear in your speeches.

C Use all three types of evidence:




@ Demonstrate Clear Organization


Attention Getter

Reveal Topic

Credibility statement

Preview Statement

Body — the bulk of your speech.

Your Main Points match your preview; Transitions separate Main points

Conclusion-signals the end, recap matches preview



==Time: 6-8 minutes

==Delivery: Extemporaneous

==Mode: Persuasive

==Cite 4 sources DURING the speech

==TYPED Outline must be handed in on the day of the speech, BEFORE you may give your speech.


Be sure you REVIEW the Checklist from the Informative Speech!


Oh NO, I still can’t get started….What should I do???

After you have researched the topic, and you are overwhelmed with materials, you need to take a step backward and ask yourself these two very general Questions:

What is my Specific Purpose? To persuade my audience that _____ is a serious problem.

What is my Central Idea?

_______ is a serious problem because it has _____ effects, and is caused by _________, and requires ___________ as a solution.




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