Public Speaking (Summer 2019)/Impromptu Self-Analysis

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Like many other arts, the best public speakers are highly self-reflective about their skills. We all have certain strengths and areas that need improvement. These self-analyses are designed to help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. It is often difficult to distance yourself from your speech in order to reflect on it critically, but you must.

You will write a short analysis of your speech (200-300 words).

By writing self-analyses, students should refine their abilities to:

  • critically analyze all aspects of speech composition and delivery.
  • distinguish between weak and strong support.
  • identify unclear speech arrangement and identify possible solutions.
  • diagnose delivery problems and propose remedies.

Procedure and Submission[edit]

After the each speech (with the exception of the advocacy), you will receive a copy of the video. You should watch this video a couple of times with the rubric and take notes. Then write a short reflection (200-300 words) and submit it in the text box below.

Arrangement and Structure[edit]

Organize your self-reflection in three sections.

  1. What do you think you did well?
  2. What didn’t go as well as you had planned?
  3. What will you do differently the next time you give a speech?

In writing your self-analysis, please do not focus exclusively on your delivery (as is the tendency in such self-reflections). A speech is everything going on between you and that audience—physical behaviors are important, but are only one part of the much larger communication transaction. Think about how you are explaining your evidence to that audience, or how you are modulating your tone.

Cite specific passages from your speech to support your critical claims. If you say that you had good transitions, provide an example of where you had a good transition. If you say that you needed more evidence, discuss a point that lacked sufficient evidence.

Your paper should be written in paragraph form (not a bullet point response). You should actually analyze your speech; do not simply write a single sentence observation about each aspect of your speech. This is a unique opportunity to see your speech as others saw it. Don’t be too hard on yourself, but view this as another step in your ongoing improvement as a speaker.

Sample Paper[edit]

What I liked[edit]

I felt my argument incorporated a significant amount of logos. I thought that I was quite fair to the environmentalist position and provided enough evidence to prove that these were actual concerns they held. In order to address these concerns, I responded to each concern in my second main point. I didn’t argue that these concerns about nuclear energy were wrong, but that technology had reduced each of the three main threats posed by nuclear energy. I also liked the way I walked around during my speech, although next time I want to be more deliberate and practice walking at key points, phrases, or pauses.

What needed work[edit]

There were a number of things that I would change if I were to deliver this speech again. Each point could have used more evidence. I thought my additional benefits section was strong, but it would have been stronger if I had provided more information about how nuclear energy is better for the environment than fossil fuels. I don’t think I needed more statistics, but some examples would have helped make this issue easier to visualize. Some things I didn’t like about my delivery were that I said things that I told myself REPEATEDLY not to say, such as “You should support me.” When I watched myself on the video, I noticed that I quickly caught myself saying such things, and had to correct myself.

Next steps[edit]

All in all, this was a strong speech, but for my next speech, I want to work more on developing and delivering parts of the speech that summarize the evidence more. Also, this speech was logos intensive. I would like to be able to incorporate more ethos and pathos into my speeches.