HOW SPEECH IS LEARNED
If you were typical, at about the age of one you first spoke
single words, then two-word combinations and later short
phrases. By the time you were two, you had a vocabulary of
from twenty five to two hundred words. When you reached
four, you spoke in full sentences, and by the time you entered
the first grade, you had a vocabulary of about eight thousand
words and communicate with four thousand of them. At
some point during this period your speech habits and you
attitude about self were influenced by others: friends of your
parents. Your own friends, babysitters, teachers, role models
and the like. If you were fortunate, the results were good
speech habits and good self-concept.
Significant others are those
people we respect, whose opinions
are particularly important to us. If
significant others see us being
intelligent, competent and caring,
chances are we will see ourselves in
the same way.
Self concept is not static; it
Self-concept refers to the perception you have of
yourself in regard to your physical appearance,
intelligence, personality, strengths and
weaknesses. This self-perception has also been
influenced by the way you think others see you.
You develop an image of your-self not only by
how you view your own behavior, attitudes,
values and beliefs but also because of the way
others have reacted to you both verbally and non-
a) Be willing to change.
b) Be willing to forgive yourself
c) Set realistic goals
d) Develop your uniqueness
e) Stand up for what you believe
f) View yourself in the proper
THE IDEAL SELF
The ideal self is the kind of person you would most
like to be. This refers to the kind of qualities or
characteristics you would like to possess, qualities
that would make you a more substantive person.
Keep in mind it is important to view ideal self
honestly so who you would like to be is realistic and
attainable. While you can certainly improve your
personal appearance through exercise, dieting,
appropriate dress and careful grooming, it is
unrealistic to assume that you can make yourself
into a Hollywood star. Certainly, improving your
ability to communicate with others in a more open-
minded, positive and empathic way will go a long
way toward improving your self-image.
THE WAY OTHERS SEE YOU
Equally as important as the way you see yourself and the
person you’d like to be is your idea of how others see you.
Much of your self-perception developed as you were growing
up. These responses from others could lead you to form a
rather negative concept of yourself, resulting in low self-
esteem. On the other hand, had these significant others
depicted you as the talented brother, the smartest child in the
family, the gifted singer, or the ultimate high school
quarterback, the result would have been a strengthening of
Keep in mind, too that the reaction of the others to us can be
interpreted differently. Sometimes, the same reaction might
enhance the self-esteem of one person, yet lower the self-
esteem of another.
In each of these situations, it is quite likely that the outcome was
the result of you behavior. You expected to do a poor job on your
first speech so you prepared halfheartedly and didn’t bother
practicing. You knew you would do poorly on the test, didn’t study
adequately, and failed. On the other hand, because you thought
you’d enjoy the dance you approached it with enthusiasm and
confidence, which made you fun to talk to and dance with. And
because you thought you’d meet new and interesting people in class
your attitude caused others in class to respond to you positively and
enthusiastically as well.
Another kind of self-fulfilling prophecy occurs when we are
influenced to believe or act in a certain way because of the opinions
of significant others. The track star who breaks the state record
because his coach “knew” he could do it, or the patient who
recovers from an incurable illness because her doctor told her she
would, are each example of how someone can be influenced by the
expectations of an importance other..
THE COMMUNICATION ACT
a) A simple speech situation can be summarized as
b) A speaker wishes to communicate an idea
c) The speaker encodes the idea in a message
d) The message is sent through a channel to an
e) The audience receives and decodes the message
f) The audience responds to the message
In the model above, the process of communication begins with a speaker who wishes to
communicate an idea or some ideas. The image that the audience has of the speaker affects the
message. Those in audience who perceive a speaker as being a person of competence, integrity,
and goodwill are most likely to believe what the speaker says.
The second element in the communication process is the message. In order to insure that the
listener attends to the message and understands it, the speaker must encode it in language that is
both interesting and clear. Emphasis, variety and descriptive language help make material
interesting. Words that are specific and familiar help to make a message clear.
The channel is the means through which a message is transmitted. In the speaking situation the
channel can involve all of the senses through which each member of the audience receives the
information. Messages can be transmitted through hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting and touching
channels. A speaker can choose words that appeal to the audience’s five senses, can include
sensory aids in the message or can add nonverbal to the message to make it more meaningful.
Without an audience, communication does not tae place. A person stranded on an island can put a
note in a bottle or stand on the shore screaming for help. However, unless someone reads the note
or hears the screams, nothing will have been accomplished. This emphasizes the fact that all
communication by a speaker must be audience centered. Unless a message is encoded with a
specific audience in mind, it is liable to fail.
In the final analysis, the success or failure of a communication is determined by audience
response. The title of this book, speaking with a purpose, underlines the fact that in order to be
successful when communicating, the speaker’s purpose to inform, to entertain, or to persuade-
must be achieved. Therefore, the success or failure of a communication is measured by whether or
not those in the audience are informed, entertained, or persuaded.
a) You fail to hear your instructor announce a quiz for
the next class period because you were daydreaming
b) You miss much of what your new girlfriend’s father
tells you because of his heavy Polish accent
c) You can’t decipher a message on your answering
machine because of telephone static
d) You fail to understand a lecturer on computer
literacy because of the technical terminology used
by the speaker
e) Your girlfriend starts crying when you ask her if
she’s gained some weight.
a) External Noise
b) Internal Noise
c) Bias Toward Speaker
d) Emotional Reaction
f) Faking Attention
h) Improper Note Taking
WAYS TO IMPROVE LISTENING
a) Prepare To Listen
b) Avoid Distractions
c) Identify The Central Idea
d) Identify The Main Points
e) Think Along With The Speaker
f) Take Effective Notes
a) Write Down Only Important Ideas
b) Write Legibly
c) Keep Up
d) Use Your Own Words
e) Be Brief
f) Don’t Erase
g) Don’t Worry About Spelling
h) Date Your Notes
i) Expand Your Notes
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