Category Archives: public speaking

Using TV ads to discuss fallacies in public speaking

Every teacher of public speaking discusses fallacies or errors in reason to inform students of what not to do in their speeches. Common fallacies include bandwagon, red herring, false analogy, slippery slope, fallacy of false cause, either-or, etc. As a way to show the commonality of fallacies, I embedded various advertisement clips into this post. Can you spot the fallacy in each of the below videos?

[Note: This is an educational exercise, not a statement of support for or against the message aired in each of the below clips.]

What are some additional commercials you would include?



Filed under classes, public speaking

A tribute to high school….items

Last week I played the below YouTube clip for students in my public speaking course. It is the commencement address delivered in 2009 by comedian Eugene Mirman. If you have 5 minutes, you won’t regret watching it. After we discussed the necessary tie-ins with his speech and public speaking, we continued down high school lane to pull ideas and examples for additional portions of the lecture.

With the high school graduation ceremonies in full gear, I thought a tribute to the season fitting. Yet the focus of this post is not memories from high school verbatim, yet an homage to the the things I can still wear from high school. (I could supply an endless lists of items that I don’t use/ can’t wear from high school.)

5. My high school ring. (Granted, it may have to be on a chain around my neck, but hey, it’s on.)
4. My gym shorts. (Really. The beauty of wearing a large t-shirt with it is that people can’t see the belly hanging over the top. Who doesn’t enjoy an elastic waistband?)
3. Earrings. (Hoops, studs, and crosses are always in style. Somewhere.)
2. Nail polish. (The bottles might be different, but the color is still cool.)
1. Sunglasses. (Everything old is new again.)

Granted, some of these items I wouldn’t wear outside the confinements of my house, but I can still wear them. What are some items you can still wear from high school? Or better yet, what are some items you wish you could still wear from high school?

Comments Off on A tribute to high school….items

Filed under personal thoughts, public speaking

Some thing I don’t like, but must accept.

This was the topic for the weekly speech given by students in my public speaking course today. It was rather interesting to hear not only the students response to this topic, but the explanation for their choice as well. I won’t share all of them, but below are some of the things students in the class don’t like, but must accept.

  • Foods that make you fat
  • Death
  • Taxes
  • Their height
  • Current automobile
  • Current distance from the beach

Which do you agree with? What is some thing you don’t like, but must accept?

1 Comment

Filed under classes, public speaking

Taking college course in the summer is like…..

Today my public speaking students gave a short 1 1/2 to 2 minute speech using the theme “Taking college classes in the summer is like…” Students focused on time and content. Below are some of the analogies they devised.

  • Like ripping off a band-aid. It hurts.
  • Attending basic training for the military.
  • Planning a wedding in a month. You’re going to be frazzled and have some sleepless nights, but it’ll be worth it.
  • Being stuck in traffic in Atlanta. You know it’s going to happen, so just suck it up.
  • Having a temporary job. You know you need the extra cash, or in this case, college credit.
  • Unloading trucks for 12 hours. You don’t look forward to it, but the money is good.
  • Being back in high school because you have class everyday.

What was/is taking summer classes in college like for you?

Comments Off on Taking college course in the summer is like…..

Filed under classes, public speaking

Looking for additional speech topic ideas

Due to the length of class time allotted during short term, I decided to include weekly speeches this go around in the public speaking course. These speeches are designed to be straight forward, quick, and hopefully fun. This will serve several purposes based on current course content and overall understanding of concepts. For example, the first weekly speech students delivered was around the theme “If my life was a movie, my theme song would be….” It’s short, entertaining, and designed to get them comfortable being in front of the class for a designated time frame. A minute to a minute and a half was designated to this theme.

Below I’ve included a few additional weekly speech topics the course will use over the next five weeks, but I’m looking for some more. Who doesn’t like variety? So if you have some interesting speech topic ideas, please comment. I’d love to add them to my current repertoire. Topics should be short and sweet and that can be discussed within 1-3 minutes. Here are some additional topics I’m considering:

  • Describe yourself in six words.
  • What’s your pet peeve?
  • A notable quote.
  • Attending college in the summer is like….
  • My dream vacation would be….
  • One thing you don’t like, but must accept.

What additional topics would you add to this list?

1 Comment

Filed under classes, public speaking

10 Commandments for Listening

When I discussed the chapter on Listening earlier this semester with my Public Speaking students, I decided to do something different- let them develop the code of conduct for listening during speeches, along with appropriate consequences. The students devised the “10 Commandments for Listening” in the PowerPoint below. Of course there are consequences for breaking the commandments and I allowed the students to develop those as well. One student wanted “eternal damnation” as the consequence for breaking a commandment, but the group decided on the following instead:

  • 1st offense: You are first to speak during the next set of speeches
  • 2nd offense: In addition to the first consequence, you recieve 2-3 points off your speech

What are your thoughts on the groups “10 Commandments for Listening.” Anything you would add?

And yes, they have stuck to these all semester. There haven’t been any complaints from violaters either.


Filed under classes, public speaking