Write concisely by eliminating redundant
words, phrases, and clauses.
REDUNDANT: He used a baseball slightly deformed in shape to
create a curve in the pitch. (Deformed already
refers to shape.)
CONCISE: He used slightly deformed baseball to create a
curve in the pitch.
REDUNDANT: Susan, who is just a beginning horseback rider,
over-exaggerates the height of her jumps.
(Exaggerate means “overstate.”)
CONCISE: Susan, who is just a beginning horseback rider,
exaggerates the height of her jumps.
REDUNDANT: My friend, who loves to play musical instruments,
enjoys playing the guitar, the piano, and the
trumpet. (Enjoys playing and the rest of the
sentence convey a love of playing musical
CONCISE: My friend enjoys playing the guitar, the piano, and
When possible, reduce wordy phrases and clauses to
REDUCING WORDY STRUCTURES
Wordy Phrase He spoke from an objective viewpoint.
Concise He spoke objectively. (Phrase reduced to a single-word modifier.)
Wordy Phrase Mr. Bloom will send roses to his wife.
Concise Mr. Bloom will send his wife roses.
(Phrase reduced to a noun and modifier.)
Wordy Phrase Michael is an excellent singer, and he is also a member of the orchestra.
Concise Michael is both an excellent singer and a member of the orchestra.
(Clause reduced to part of a compound complement.)
Wordy Clause At the door was a man who was selling magazines for charity.
Concise At the door was a man selling magazines for charity. (Clause reduced to a
Wordy Clause Nicholas II, who was the czar of Russia, was overthrown during the
revolution of 1917.
Concise Nicholas II, czar of Russia, was overthrown during the revolution of 1917.
(Clause reduced to an appositive.)
Wordy Clause For biology experiments, we need specimens that are fresh.
Concise For biology experiments, we need fresh specimens. (Clause reduced to a
Using Figures of Speech
Using Similes. A simile uses the
words like or as to link two
different items on the basis of
certain shared qualities.
Use similes to emphasize the
shared qualities of otherwise
SIMILE: Like a wave of
brush fires, droves of army
ants swept across hundreds of
acres of grasslands.
SIMILE: The umbrella
turned inside out as limply as a
Using Analogies. An a analogy is an
extended comparison which develops and
explains the various points of similarity
between the things compared.
Use analogies to clarify an
item, experience, or set of circumstances
by likening it point by point to another.
ANALOGY: A free fall toward earth
is like descending rapidly in a glass
elevator. If you lose sight of the
structures holding the glass
walls, and if you ignore the feel of the
floor through your shoes, you will have
some sensation of what it is like to
float in space, the pull of
gravity is your only reality.
Use personification to endow an inanimate
object with human traits for either
humorous or vivid effects.
PERSONIFICATION: The welcoming
hands of sunlight touched my
shoulders, and I looked up.
PERSONIFICATION: The old train
wheezed into the station and
Speaking and Listening Skills
Communication is a two-way process.
Communication is also a complex process.
An interview is a kind of
communication in which one
person has a definite
purpose for speaking with
One person, the
interviewer, speaks to
interviewee, for the
purpose of obtaining
Conducting an interview requires
careful preparation, management, and
Conducting an Interview
CONDUCTING AN INTERVIEW
1. Research the topic that you need information about.
2. Learn about the interviewee’s background and expertise. This
will help determine what questions to ask.
3. List the questions you want to ask the interviewee. Ask only
those questions that cannot be answered from other sources.
1. Come prepared to the interview with paper and pencil and/or
tape recorder to record the interviewee’s responses.
2. Arrive promptly and greet the interviewee by introducing
yourself and explaining the purpose of the interview.
3. Encourage the interviewee to express his or her ideas freely, but
keep the conversation related to the interview topic.
4. End the interview when your questions have been answered and
you have the information you need. Thank the person.
1. If you conducted the interview as part of your research for a
school report or speech, send a copy of your report or speech to
2. Include a letter that shares the outcome of the interview such as
favorable comments by the audience. Close the letter by
expressing your thanks for the person’s assistance.
Group discussion takes place when
three or more people meet to work
together for a specific purpose or to
achieve a common goal.
Large groups often use parliamentary
procedure to conduct meetings in a
direct and democratic manner.
Group Discussion and Parliamentary
Recognizing Different Kinds of
A group discussion is formed to
achieve a specific common goal.
A round-table discussion involves a small group whose goal is
to share information or to inform those taking part.
A committee is a small group of a larger organization whose
goal is to discuss specific ideas and perform certain tasks. A
leader keeps the discussion on tack. A secretary or recorder
takes notes from which a report is made to the organization.
A panel is a group of several informed people whose goal is
to share ideas with an audience. Members may meet before
the discussion to work out each speaker’s strategy, the
amount of time each can speak, and whether the audience
A symposium is a group of people each of whom delivers a
short prepared speech on the topic under discussion. Each
member is an authority on a particular aspect of the topic.
There may be a discussion among members after the
speeches are given. Audience participation may follow.
Four major kinds of Discussion
A group discussion should focus on a topic that is timely, interesting, and
one the members are involved with and prepared to discuss.
PLANNING A GROUP DISCUSSION
1. Hold a prediscussion meeting to determine the discussion
topic. The topic should be timely and interesting.
2. Define the topic precisely. After it is defined, phrase the topic
as a question, not a statement.
3. Make an outline of points to be discussed. Include a history of
the problem, alternatives, or solutions, and possible action to
4. Research the topic by reading, thinking, and getting as much
information as possible before the discussion.
Duties of a Discussion Leader
LEADING A DISCUSSION
1. Introduce members of the group to each other and to the audience if one is present.
2. Introduce the topic. Phrase it as a question.
3. Invite and encourage all members to speak freely, especially a member who is silent.
4. Keep participation balanced by tactfully diverting discussion from a member who is talking
too much to one who has said less.
5. Keep the discussion on track. Summarize for the group after they have completed major
parts of the discussion.
6. Watch the time limit. Move on to a major point not yet covered to speed things up.
7. Conclude the discussion by summarizing main ideas. Allow time for any member to add
summary points or opinions.
Participation. Members of a discussion group should
remember the following:
1. Do not monopolize the discussion. Be brief in your
statements and stay on track.
2. Keep the discussion goal in mind even if you are
opposed to it.
Parliamentary procedure guarantees
that the rights of the majority and minority
are respected and that a meeting is conducted
in an orderly way.
Using Parliamentary Procedure
PRINCIPLES OF PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE
1. One issue at a time can be debated and voted on. If an issue is
not voted on, it must be disposed of in some way before
members can consider another issue.
2. The decision of the majority rules. A simple majority consists of
more than one half of the people voting on an issue.
3. Minority rights are protected in part by allowing those in the
minority to present their views and to change the minds of
those in the majority.
4. Every member has a right to speak or remain silent, to vote or
not to vote.
5. Open discussion of every issue is protected so that members
can vote in an informed way in an informed way on every issue.
A two-thirds vote is needed to limit debate or to end it
Rules of Order. Parliamentary rules of order specify
the way the business of a meeting is conducted and
also the duties of the chairperson. The rules are fully
outlined in a book called Robert’s Rules of Order, but
the main rules are given here.
1. The chairperson or presiding officer must decide if a
quorum is present. A quorum is the agreed-upon
number of persons that must be present to hold the
meeting, say one-third of the active membership of
2. The meeting follows certain steps called the order of business. The
order of business is listed in an agenda that the presiding officer
has prepared. The chairperson brings up each item on the agenda
at the meeting. The chairperson also helps maintain order during
the meeting and sees that the members are heard impartially.
STEPS FOR CONDUCTING A MEETING
a) Call to order
b) Roll call
c) Reading and approval of minutes from last
d) Reading of reports of officers
e) Reading of reports of committees
f) Consideration of old (unfinished) business
g) Consideration of new business
3. The business of a meeting is
conducted through the making of
motions. A motion is a formal
suggestion or proposal by a member
that something be discussed and
STEPS FOR CARRYING OUT A MOTION
1. A member asks to be recognized by the chairperson and introduces the motion by saying, “I move
2. Some other member must “second the motion, that is, agree to its introduction for discussion.
3. The chairperson restates the motion so that all members will clearly know what has been proposed for
4. Discussion of the motion begins; members may agree, disagree, explain, or attempt to change the
5. When the chairperson feels that the motion has been thoroughly discussed, he or she asks the
members if they are ready to vote. If two-thirds of the members agree, discussion is ended.
6. The chairperson restates the motion which may now include an amendment, a change in the original
motion; such an amendment would be included only if a majority present had voted to include it
during the discussion.
7. The chairperson asks the members to vote.
8. The chairperson announces the result of the vote by saying, “The motion carried” if the majority
favored the motion or “The motion is lost” if the majority was against the motion.
Recognizing Different Kinds of Speeches
Choose the kind of speech you
will give by considering both the purpose
of the speech and your audience.
An expository speech uses facts to
explain an idea, a process, or an object.
A persuasive speech uses opinion
supported by facts to persuade the
audience to agree with the speaker’s
position or to take some action.
An entertaining speech offers the
audience something to enjoy. Humor can
offer variety or emphasis when it is part
of another kind of speech.
An extemporaneous speech requires the
speaker o rely on knowledge and
speaking skills to speak without a
formally prepared manuscript.
1. Research the subject using the library or other sources, especially if the speech is expository or persuasive
2. Consider interviewing authorities on the topic.
PREPARING AN OUTLINE
1. Begin with any necessary background material.
2. Arrange information in a logical sequence.
3. Include major points and supporting details.
PREPARING NOTE CARDS
1. Use only a few small index cards.
2. Print all information in the order used in the outline.
3. Write beginning and ending statements.
4. Rely mainly on key words and phrases to jog your memory.
5. Letter and indent all details under the ideas they support.
6. Use underlining and capital letters to make important information stand out.
PRACTICING YOUR SPEECH
1. Study outline and note cards until you know the material.
2. Be aware of the verbal form of language you are using, such as the pitch, and loudness of your voice, the rate at
which you speak, and pronunciation of words.
3. Be aware of the nonverbal forms of language you are using, such as the way you move, posture, facial expressions,
gestures, and appearance.
DELIVERING YOUR SPEECH
1. As you stand in front of your audience, try to establish eye contact with several people.
2. Look over your note cards to refresh your mind before speaking; and refer to them only if needed as you speak.
Evaluate a speech in a way that offers benefits to the speaker and to yourself.
Evaluating a Speech
CHECKLIST FOR EVALUATING A SPEECH
What was said?
1. What type of speech was given—expository, persuasive, entertaining, or extemporaneous?
2. Did the speaker introduce the topic clearly, develop it well, and end in a conclusive fashion?
3. Did the speaker support main ideas with appropriate details?
How was it said?
1. Did the speaker approach the platform confidently and establish eye contact with the
2. Did the speaker’s gestures and movements confirm or contradict his or her own words?
3. Did the speaker project his or her voice loudly enough?
4. Did the speaker vary the pitch of his or her voice?
5. Did the speaker vary the rate of his or her speaking?
6. Did the speaker pronounce all words clearly and correctly?
The Nature of Debate
Debate is a formal public discussion in which opposing sides use reasoned
argument to arrive at a decision with one side of the winner.
State the Proposition.
Example: Resolved, that the current ten-month school
year be lengthened to eleven months.
Two Sides of Debate
The affirmative upholds the
proposition by demanding that the
status quo, the present situation, be
changed. The affirmative has the
responsibility of proving that a
problem exists and that its plan will
work better than any other to solve
the problem. This responsibility for
proving the proposition is true is called
the affirmative’s burden of proof.
The negative presents
arguments to disprove or refute the
attacks on the status quo made by
the affirmative. The negative has
the responsibility of proving that
the present system or status quo is
satisfactory or that the plan the
affirmative proposes is not
Preparing to Debate
Prepare debate by analyzing the
proposition, preparing sound evidence and
reasoning, and working with you partner to build
Analyze the Proposition
ANALYZING THE PROPOSITION
1. Are there any problems being created by the status quo?
2. What, other approach, if any, is available to solve the problems? Is
the approach feasible? Practical? Too costly?
3. Are there any disadvantages to another solutions
4. Why is the proposed solution the best of those offered?
1. Induction is reasoning from specific instances to general
principles. Induction relies on evidence –
facts, statistics, examples – that point to a logical conclusion.
EVIDENCE: Statistics show that seatbelts save lives.
EVIDENCE: In 1985, states with seat-belts laws had
fewer traffic accident fatalities.
CONCLUSION: Therefore, all states should have seat-belt
2. Deduction is reasoning from general principles to specific
instances. It is a way of applying known principles to new
evidence to arrive at a logical conclusion. Deduction uses a
form of reasoning called syllogism. A syllogism uses three
statements – a major premise, a minor premise, and a
conclusion. An example on the following page uses a
MAJOR PREMISE: All dinosaurs are extinct.
MINOR PREMISE: The brontosaurus is a dinosaur.
CONCLUSION: The brontosaurus is extinct.
Methods of Reasoning
3. Cause and effect is a method of reasoning showing
that one condition or event is brought about by
another. You may start with the cause and reason to the
effect, showing that one event will cause another event.
You may also reason from effect to cause, showing first
an effect and then its cause.
CAUSE TO EFFECT: Mortgage rates have increased.
As a result, fewer young
couples can afford to buy their
EFFECT TO CAUSE: Fewer young couples can afford
to buy their first house because
of the increase in the mortgage
Build a Case. In debate a case is a team’s total
argument on a proposition. After you have analyzed
the proposition and gathered strong evidence, you
are ready to build a case. Work with your partner to
build a brief or a complete outline of your case. One
way to do this is to gather all your evidence cards and
write an outline from them. Another way is to use the
cards as an outline by numbering the individual
pieces of evidence on each card in the order you plan
to present them.
Holding a Debate
In a debate each team must present a strong case and
refute the oppositions’ arguments as well.
First Affirmative Speaker
1. States the debate proposition
2. Defines key terms
3. Shows the need for change in the status quo
Second Affirmative Speaker
1. Presents the affirmative side’s plan for change
2. Shows advantages of the plan
3. Summarizes the affirmative’s case
First Negative Speaker
1. Confirms or redefines the affirmative’s definitions
2. Refutes the affirmative’s argument about a need for change
Second Negative Speaker
1. Attacks the affirmative’s plan
2. Refutes the advantages of the affirmative’s plan
After the affirmative and negative sides have
presented their arguments, they begin
rebuttals. Rebuttals give each side a chance to
refute the opposition’s arguments and to
answer objections to its own case. During this
part of a debate, the order of the speakers is
reversed so that the negative speaks first. This
is done so that the affirmative has an
opportunity to make both the opening and the
Improving Your Listening Skills
Learn to take mental and written notes on
main ideas and major details as you listens.
LISTENING FOR MAIN IDEAS
1. Listen carefully to the beginning statements of the
speaker and to the points the speaker emphasizes,
repeats, and enumerates.
2. Visualize the main ideas. Restate them in your own
3. Decide whether the speaker’s examples, definitions,
facts, and statistics support the main ideas you have
LISTENING FOR MAJOR DETAILS
1. As you listen, ask yourself what makes each main idea
true. Keep the details that answer that question in
2. Try to predict details the speaker will mention.
3. Try to link the main ideas and supporting details into
some sort of visual pattern
we will discuss open your books to
today’s lecture covers let’s look first at
a point to be made of major importance
make note of remember that
let me repeat I want to stress
Change in Direction
next turning now to
let us move on to however
on the other hand even though
for instance the following reasons
for example in support of
namely that is to say
finally in conclusion
in the last point in summation
in brief all in all
Nonverbal Language. In addition to verbal signals, a speaker may
alert you to maid ideas, changes in direction, and the conclusion by
movements and gestures. A speaker often reinforces words by
speaking more loudly, raising an arm, approaching the audience,
allowing down, or speeding up.
1. Have your notebook and pen or pencil ready. Label the top of each page
with the date, subject, and topic.
2. Write down only main ideas and supporting details in your own words.
Underline main ideas.
3. Write down anything that the speaker says is important or is something you
will need to know.
4. Write notes in short phrases, using abbreviations and symbols.
5. Summarize sections of notes with a main idea statement to make it easy to
find when you review.
STEPS TO HELP YOU UNDERSTAND DIRECTIONS
1. Prepare to concentrate.
2. Visualize each step in the directions. Ask yourself questions about how you
would follow the directions.
3. After hearing the directions, repeat them mentally.
4. Ask to have the directions repeated if they are unclear.
5. Take notes if the directions are long and complicated.