COM 101-Cherpas


INTRODUCTORY SPEECH (25 points for speech and 5 points for working notes)


For this first presentation, talk about YOU! There are two options:

  1. The three to five items speech: Choose three to five items that represent you, your life, your story.

  2. Guess What Happened on my Birthday speech: Using an article or story from the day you were born, tell us who you are.


Assignment--Option 1: three to five items speech


The three to five things can be anything you want, within reason. Of course, select items that will not make any audience members uncomfortable. Also you cannot bring live animals or any form of weapon due to college policy.)  If you are a mountain biking fanatic, your bike might be too big to bring, but you could bring your gloves, extensions, or logo to represent your interest in the sport.  Disc golfers could bring discs; those with strong relationship ties could bring photos of friends, family members, and others; a chocoholic could bring M&Ms; workaholics might opt for a badge worn on the job; music lovers might bring CDs; and so on.  Adhere to the 2 Ė 3 minute time frame. This requires practice and timing yourself, as well as editing and revising. Plan ahead! If you attempt to improvise in front of the audience, you will increase your anxiety and your presentation will suffer. Select items that best describe you, your life, your values, and your time. Look at this speech as an opportunity to tell about yourself and the things you are proud of, that you invest time in, that make you laugh, that make you happy, and that fill your life with meaning.


Assignment--Option 2: Guess what happened on my birthday speech.


Go to the library and look through a newspaper (and perhaps magazines) from the day you were born. Select one or more articles, advertisements, photographs, editorials, or other items that relate to your life in some meaningful way. Take notes on the titles and dates (and writersí names if needed) of the papers or magazines. To avoid plagiarism, note the titles and dates of items used when you give your speech. Using this material as a point of departure, construct a speech that explains some aspect of your personality, background, beliefs, or aspirations. In addition, gear your speech to the interests of the audience. How can you best grab the attention of your listeners within the first few seconds of your speech? Think about the demographic make-up of our class and appeal to their needs and interests.


Preparation: This section uses the three to five items option as an example. Jot notes on why each item describes you and on stories or funny things that any of the items bring to mind. Review your notes to see if a pattern forms: is there a relationship, some common ground, among the items? If so, you can use that in planning your introduction and conclusion. If there is not an overall theme in your life, pick the idea or story behind one item that is most interesting and star that.


The ideas and things you choose might summarize your philosophy of life, but they could instead be lighthearted. For example, one student chose Mountain Dew, a picture of her boyfriend, and Extra gum. The common element was that she was addicted to these things. Her life involved all three of these items every day, and she genuinely felt that without them, she wouldnít be complete. 


After selecting the items and getting a sense of what each item means to you and their relationship to each other (if any), organize your presentation. The material and ideas youíve gathered so far will form the body of your speech and may also provide ideas for your introduction and conclusion. Below is an overview of what the introduction, body, and conclusion should include for this speech. Use that order: introduction first, body in the middle, and conclusion last. The examples below are written word for word, but when you prepare your notes, use just key words and phrases. Avoid writing your speech word for word because a script may encourage you to read to listeners rather than speaking to them. In the examples below, the speakerís notes would include just the colored headings, words, and phrases.


I.  Introduction

Step 1óattention getter: The first words out of your mouth should be about the common relationship the items have and the type of person they represent. In the sample speech, the student began by saying, "I am an addict. I . . . am an addict. I have addictions. Without these addictions, I wouldnít be the person I am today. I am not proud of these addictions, but, nevertheless, they define who I am." Obviously, she was creative in her opening because the listeners did not know what she was addicted to yet. This is an example of getting the audienceís attention through shock.


Other ways to get your listenersí attention include telling a story, using a quotation

(which you would write word for word to ensure accuracy and for which you would

give the source to avoid plagiarism), playing part of a song, reading a few lines of a

favorite lyric, asking a question of the audience, and so on.

Step 2ópreview. Next, list the items youíre going to share. In the sample speech,

the speaker said, "My three addictions in life are Mt. Dew, a picture of my boyfriend

Stewart, and Wintergreen Extra gum." From here, move to the body of your



II.  Body: This part provides the audience with the bulk of your speech. You could show each item and then explain its significance, or explain each itemís relevance to you and then show it.


Step 1. Introduce the first item and explain what it stands for and what it means to you.  In the sample speech, she said, "Mt. Dew is probably the thing Iím addicted to most since itís the first thing I embrace in the morning, and itís the thing that keeps me going all day." At this point, she pulled the soda out of her sack and set it in front for everyone to see.


Step 2. The speaker used a nice transition to the next item: "Speaking of things that  keep me going all day, my Wintergreen gum does just that. Extra advertises that itís the gum that lasts extra, extra longójust the thing I need during the long days I put in at school." After saying this, she pulled out the gum.


Steps 3-5. Continue until you have finished discussing each item.


III.  Conclusion: Conclude by emphasizing your main idea: tell how the items youíve discussed sum you up. In the next unit, we will work on strong endings, but for this first major speech, you could simply end there, or you could add a quotation, brief anecdote, a bit of humor (if that fits with your speech topic), or refer back to your attention getter. In the sample speech, the speaker said, "Youíve all seen a glimpse of the life I lead as an addict. Again, Iím not proud of being addicted to Mt. Dew, Stewart, or gum, but itís the life I lead because of where I am in my life right now. At least I can admit that Iím an addict." This ending is simple, restates the idea of addiction (brought up in the introduction), and restates the items without being too repetitive. The goal at this point is to avoid ending by saying, "Iím done now," or "Thatís my speech," or "My time is up," or "Thanks for listening." Itís a nice clean ending.


See the evaluation form for specific standards your speech should meet.


At this point, visual and verbal aspects of your presentation are the most important.


The evaluation form also includes a few vocal skills.


Use an extemporaneous mode of delivery. Prepare and practice, striving for a natural, almost conversational effect, as opposed to a memorized style.


Notes (5 points): due right after you give your speech Speak from brief notes written in key words and phrases on cards or on a single sheet of paper, with handwriting or typing that is large enough to read at a glance.  Do not read from a speech that is written out word for word. If you have a full manuscript in front of you, it may tempt you to read rather than talking directly to your audience.


COM 101

Evaluator _________________________



Speaker ________________ Topic ____________________


Visual Skills                                                                                                       ______ points/10

approach: poise, pause before speaking

eye contact

posture and gestures

facial expression

avoidance of nervous mannerisms

exit: poise, pause before leaving


Vocal Skills                                                                                                         ______ points/5



avoid fillers

avoid monotone


Verbal Skills                                                                                                       ______ points/10

topic: appropriate to audience and assignment (three to five items or what happened on my birthday)

introduction: attention getter and preview



time frame: 2 Ė 3 minutes


TOTAL POINTS   (30 points)
27-30 = 4.0   21-22 = 2.0 ____ speech/25 points
____ notes/5 points
____ total/30 points
26 = 3.5   20 = 1.5
24-25 = 3.0   18-19 = 1.0
23 = 2.5   0-17 = 0.0


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