07 Oct Touchstone 2: Special Occasion Speech
12173ASSIGNMENT: For this touchstone, you will write a 3–5 minute special occasion speech on a topic of your choice. The speech can be for any context, but the purpose must be to commemorate an occasion. See the following list of example occasions for inspiration.
Step 1: Select a Special Occasion Topic
Your speech should be for a special occasion. You may use a special occasion from the list above, or choose one of your own. Consider the following brainstorming techniques as you generate your speech topic:
• Word Association
• Distilling Your Ideas
• Doing a Little Homework
Refer back to the following lessons for support:
• Special Occasion Speeches(attached)
• Choosing and Developing a Good Topic(attached)
Step 2: Consider Purpose, Thesis, and Audience
Identify your purpose, thesis, and audience. Imagine your audience and how you would want to convey your message to this audience.
After you determine your topic, you should refine it into the general purpose and specific purpose by asking yourself what you hope to accomplish with your speech and what you hope your audience will take away with them.
As you plan your speech and consider the purpose, ask yourself the following questions:
• What do you want your audience to know?
• What do you want your audience to think?
• What do you want your audience to feel?
• What do you want your audience to do?
Your thesis statement should clearly articulate the purpose and main points of your speech. Defining a thesis is essentially constructing the structural outline of your speech. When you have defined a thesis, you have essentially articulated to yourself what your speech will say, what position you will take up, and what the speech’s purpose is.
As you plan your speech and consider the thesis, ask yourself the following questions:
• What is the most important message of your speech?
• Why should/will your audience care about your message?
When planning your special occasion speech, it is important to know about the audience and to adapt the message to the audience. You want to prepare an audience-centered speech, or a speech focusing on the audience.
The audience is the target of your speech, and effectively communicating your theme to them is the goal of good public speaking. As such, you should always keep the audience in mind both before and during your time on stage.
As you plan your speech and consider the audience, ask yourself the following questions:
• What is the correct context for the speech? Where and when will it be given?
• Who is the audience and what are their characteristics?
• Why has the audience come to hear the speech?
• What are the interests of the audience?
• What does the audience know about your topic?
• What is the audience’s point of view on the topic?
• How will the audience likely react to your speech?
Step 3: Create Notes
Create notes or bullet points that you can refer to while presenting your speech. You should not read your speech word-for-word from your notes.
Step 4: Use Clear Language
Ensure that the language you use is consistently clear and appropriate to the audience, which helps the audience connect with you and your topic. Explain any technical jargon you use where necessary. Cognitive psychologists and linguists suggest that word choice has significant framing effects on the perceptions, memories, and attitudes of speakers and listeners.
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