Creating Understanding

Use a Variety of Support Material

There a variety of types of support material which can be used to illustrate or prove points you make. The following kinds of materials are commonly used to support assertions in speeches:

example — a concrete instance of the point you are making
testimony — direct quotation or paraphrase of a credible source used to prove or illustrate a point
statistics/surveys — quantitative information which proves or illustrates a point.
definition — providing a dictionary or personal meaning for an unfamiliar or technical word.  e.g., “A tariff is a tax placed on imported goods.”
narration — A narration is a small story used in a speech or essay (usually appealing to the “mind’s eye,” told in chronological order).
analogy – a comparison of the unfamiliar to the familiar.
description/explanation — describing why your point is valid in your own words, usually in vivid concrete language
Audio/Visual aids — anything the audience can see or hear (other than your words) which helps you make a point.

Good speeches REQUIRES that you have support for every point (assertion) you make. However, it is also valuable to use as many different types of support material as you can. A speech that is mostly statistics or only explanation is almost certainly going to be less interesting to the audience than a speech which includes stories, quotations, analogies, and examples as well as statistics or explanation. In fact, overuse of explanation is a very common weakness in speeches.

A variety of support types not only helps keep listener interest, it also builds your credibility. Research shows that speakers who use many kinds of support are judged to be more knowledgeable than those who don’t and are regarded as better speakers.
Use Support Material Effectively

Merely having a variety of good support material doesn’t guarantee that the audience will understand or be convinced of your point. You must use support well!

by Lee McGaan. last updated 3/3/2000

Communication Model the basic principle of communication

The source is the person or group or organization sending out the message/information.

The medium: The message is given out in some sort of medium – this is the means by which the message is sent.

The Receiver – the person, group or organization that is receiving the information.

Feedback – The source will not know whether the communication that they have sent has been successful unless they receive some feedback in the form of some action or changed behavior.

But this model is idealistic as communication is rarely as simple as this model would suggest. There are lots of different types of medium to send a message in and the way that the receiver perceives the message might be very different to that which the sender intended. Have you ever received a text message from a friend that you thought meant something different to what your friend intended?

When messages are sent, the source has to try to understand what they are trying to say. This might be interpreted differently by the receiver. Messages are said to experience ‘noise’ along the way – the more noise there is, the less likelihood there is of the message being received properly. This represents a barrier to communication.

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Meaning cannot be understood without understanding of: words, thoughts and things.

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Everyone defines words differently and without understanding this important concept, one will experience a lot of miscommunication in their life.

SYMBOL– is the word that calls up the referent through the mental processes of the reference.

REFERENT–  the definition of the word

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