Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Lit 1: Guide Questions for Analyzing the Elements of a Short Story

Plot/ Structure
Does the story have an introduction or does it start in medias res?
What are the actions or events of the narrative?
Are the episodes in chronological order? If not, why not?
Are any later incidents foreshadowed early in the story?
Are flashbacks used to fill in past events? If so, why?
What elements create suspense in the plot?
Where is the climax pop up (most intense action or point of highest emotional interest)?
Do events seem realistic or unrealistic (romantic or fantastic)?
Are conflicts resolved at the end of the story?
Is there a surprise ending?

Facts: Name, age, gender, appearance, family situation
Social background: Education, job, language
Does the character develop (change or learn something) in the story?  How? Why?
Aspects of character: Intellectual abilities, attitudes towards life, attitudes towards other people, moral ideas, temperament
How is the character presented? Directly through the narrator? Indirectly through behavior, thoughts or speech?
What is the author's attitude to the character? Are we meant to sympathize with the character or criticize him/ her?

Where: Geographical location, social environment, nature
When: Historical period, the season of the year, the time of the day, time span, flashbacks
Does the setting create a specific atmosphere?
Does the setting reveal anything about the feelings of the characters or the narrator(s)?
Does the place of action remain the same, or is there more than one physical setting?
Is the setting described in detail or hinted at?

Narrator/ Point of View
Is it a first person narrator or a third person narrator?
Is the narrator reliable or unreliable?
Is the narrator omniscient?
Is the narrator´s point of view limited or unlimited?
Does the narrator comment on the action/ the characters, or is he neutral?

Images and Symbols
Are there words in the text that seem to mean more than we usually expect them to mean, i.e. are there any symbols?
What does the symbol represent?
What is the writer trying to make us see or understand?
Does the writer use metaphors or similes? If yes, to what effect?
How would you describe the choice of words and their arrangement (the style) in this work? Does the author call attention to the way he or she uses words, or is the style inconspicuous?
What are the various connotations (shades of meaning, or emotional suggestions) of key words in this work?
If dialect or colloquial speech is used, what is its effect? Is the level of language appropriate for the speaker or characters in the work?
Are there statements or actions in this work that are presented ironically (that is, there is a discrepancy between appearance and reality, or between what is said and what is intended)?
Is the style consistent throughout the work or does it shift to a different style (more formal or less formal, for example)?
Is the style suitable for the subject and theme of the work?  Does it contribute to the meaning of the whole or hinder the reader's understanding?

What is the central idea of the text?
What attitude to life is expressed in the story?
Are there symbols, images, and descriptive details in the text that suggest the theme(s)?
Does the title of the story indicate anything about the theme(s)?

What is the link between the title, the characters, and the cause of events?
Does the title create expectations about the text?
Does the title suggest an interpretation? 


Friday, April 10, 2015

Notes on The Content of Your Speech


To make your title interesting, here are some tips:

  • Use numbers
  • Use interesting adjective such as Effortless, Painstaking, Fun, Free, Incredible, Essential, Absolute, and Strange
  • Use a unique rationale such as Reasons, Principles, Facts, Lessons, Ideas, Ways, Secrets, and Tricks
  • Use what, why, how, when, who, or where
  • Make an audacious promise

Topic: Shopping for Clothes
Title with How: How To Shop for Clothes
Title with Number: 6 Tips to Shop for Clothes
Title with Adjectives: 6 Easy Tips To Shop for Fashionable Clothes
Title with promise: 6 Easy Tips To Shop for Fashionable Clothes without Breaking the Bank

  • The introduction is not your opening.
  • It is also not your bio.
  • The introduction should be made by you, but should be delivered by the master of ceremonies.
  • It should say something briefly about you and your speech.
  • The introduction should answer three questions:
  1. Why this subject?
  2. Why this speaker?
  3. Why now?
  • Also consider:
  1. Who is your audience?
  2. Why are they attending?
  3. What is their investment to attend?
  4. What do they expect to learn from your talk?
  5. What do they already know about you and the topic you'll be speaking on?
  • It is much better to have someone else state your professional credentials and present evidence of legitimacy or credibility. 
  • This not the time to be modest about your accomplishments. 
  • Make it clear to the Master of Ceremonies that you will bring or, better yet, send ahead of time your introduction. 
  • Your introduction should be tailored to the audience, never use a previous introdcution without a little revising. 
  • A good introduction is often delivered as if the introducer wrote it. 
  • Always bring an extra copy of your introduction.
  • The last sentence should build the audience's excitement.
  • The opening has two functions:  (1) to capture the audiences attention and (2) to inform the audience what you will talking about. 
  • Here are some tips that you can use to grab your audience's attention:
    • Open with a question
    • Present a famous quote
    • Start with a story or anecdote
    • Present a special talent
    • Use a visual
    • Make a declarative statement or alarming statistic
    • Paint a word picture
    • Suspense/Surprise
    • Use something timely in your opening
    • Do something unusual
    • Use Vivid language
  • Don't start immediately and smile before speaking.

The content of your speech must be able to:
  • Educate
  • Entertain
  • Explain
The following are some tips when writing the content of your speech:
  • Keep it simple
    • Discard extraneous phrases, jargon and everything else that confuses
    • Ask yourself, "So what?" "What has that got to do with me?"
  • Keep in mind
    • Good writing in specific writing
    • Good speaking contains specifics
  • Language
    • Avoid words that put down someone's ethnicity, religion, physical attributes, or sexual orientation
    • Use proper English
To make sure that what you have included in your content is necessary, you can answer the following question:

When my audience reflects on my presentation, what will they remember?
  1. __________________________
  2. __________________________
  3. __________________________
Make sure that your answers match your content. This activity is also helpful when you are still writing the content of your speech.

  • The final part of a speech is the conclusion.
  • The conclusion has two elements: the summary and the closing.
  • If there is a question and answer session, this must be done before the conclusion.
  • Your closing can take several forms, and should always be relevant to your talk.
    • Call to action
    • Challenge
    • Humor
    • Quotation or Story
    • Switching Delivery Styles
    • Tying the closing to the Opening
    • Use the title of the speech

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Comm 3: Visual Aids

What Is the Visual Message?

     As the old saying tells us, "one picture is worth a thousand words." People find a speaker’s message more interesting, grasp it more easily, and retain it longer when it is presented visually as well as verbally. Save time – use visuals! Show the audience with images; don’t just tell them with words.

Effective Visuals:              The images we show the audience.
Explaining Visuals:           The words we use to guide the audience through the visuals

Why Is the Visual Message Important?

     The visual message is important because even if you stumble over sentences, mispronounce words, or get the numbers wrong, the audience will still understand.

     Visual aids offer several advantages. The primary advantage is clarity. If you are describing a certain object, you can make your message clearer by showing the object or some representation of it.

     Another advantage of visual aids is interest. The interest generated by visual images is so strong that visual images are now routinely used in many areas, not just in speech-making. A generation or so ago, most college textbooks were rather dry—page after page of words.

     Still another advantage of visual aids is retention. Visual images often stay with us longer than verbal ones.

     In fact, when used well, visual aids can enhance almost every aspect of a speech. One study showed that an average speaker who uses visual aids will come across as better prepared, more credible, and more professional than a dynamic speaker who does not use visual aids.

What are the Different Kinds of Visual Aids?

  • Objects
  • Models - is an object, usually built to scale, that represents another object in detail.
  • Photographs
  • Drawings
  • Graphs - are a good way to simplify and clarify statistics. Audiences often have trouble grasping a complex series of numbers. The most common type is the line graph. A line graph uses one or more lines to show changes in statistics over time or space. The pie graph is best suited for illustrating simple distribution patterns. The bar graph is a particularly good way to show comparisons between two or more items.
  • Charts - are visual aid that summarizes a large block of information, usually in list form.
  • Slides and videotapes
  • Computer-Generated Graphic - a diagram, chart graph, or the like created with the aid of a computer.
  • Transparencies - are visual aids drawn, written, or printed on a sheet of clear acetate and shown with an overhead projector.
  • Multimedia Presentations - are speeches that use computer software to combine several kinds of visual and/or audio aids in the same presentation.
  • The Speaker - sometimes you can use your own body as a visual aid—by showing how to perform sign language for the deaf, by demonstrating the skills of modern dance, by doing a magic tricks, and so forth

How to Prepare  and Use Visual Aids?

     Whether you are creating visual aids by hand or designing them on a computer, there are six basic guidelines you should follow to make your aids clear and visually appealing.
  1. Prepare your visual aids in advance.
  2. Keep visual aids simple.
  3. Make sure visual aids are large enough.
  4. Avoid using chalkboards.
  5. Display visual aids where the audience can see them.
  6. Avoid handouts - once visual aids get into the hands of your listeners, you are in trouble. At least three people will be paying more attention to the aid than you—the person who had just had it, the person who has it now, and the person waiting to get the next one. By the time the visual aid moves on, all three may have lost track of what you are saying.
  7. Display visual aids only when discussing them.
  8. Talk to your audience, not to your visual aid.
  9. Explain visual aids clearly and concisely.
  10. Practice with your visual aid.
How to Create Effective Slides?

Many speakers now employ presentation software for their visual aid. When using such programs, you need to think through your presentation outline carefully before designing your visuals.
1. Use slide text to emphasize key points, not to convey your entire message.
  • Limit each slide to one thought, concept, or idea
  • Limit the content of each slide to 20 or 25 words—with no more than five or six lines of text containing about 3 or 4 words per line
  • Avoid full sentences or blocks of text
  • Phrase items in parallel form to simplify reading
  • Use the active voice
  • Avoid long sequences of text-only slides; mix in visuals to hold viewer attention
2. When designing slides take note of these design principles: consistency, contrast, balance, emphasis, convention, and simplicity.

Color The use of color in visuals can account for 60% of an audience's acceptance or rejection of an idea.
Background The simpler and quieter the background is the better.
Foreground The foreground contains the text and graphic elements. Photos or artwork in the foreground can either be decorative or functional. For decorative elements, use them sparingly.
Fonts Choose fonts that are simple and are simply to read. Choose font sizes that are easy to read from anywhere from the room. Use 24-36 font size, and if possible test your font size in the venue if it is large enough.

*Design inconsistencies confuse and annoy audiences; don’t change colors and other design elements randomly throughout your presentation.

3. Today’s presentation software offers many options; however, use these elements with care and make sure they support your message.
  • Functional animation involves motion that is directly related to your message, such as a highlight arrow that moves around the screen to emphasize specific points in a technical diagram.  In contrast decorative animation, such as having a block of text cartwheel in form off screen does not have any communication value and can easily distract audiences.
  • Choose subtle slide transitions that ease the eye from one slide to the next.
  • Hyperlinks and action buttons let you build flexibility into your presentations. A hyperlink instructions your presentation software to jump to another slide in your presentation, to a website, or to another program entirely. Hyperlinks can also be assigned to preprogrammed  actions know as action buttons.
Components of Your Presentation
  1. Title slide – you can make a good first impression with one or two title slide, the equivalent of a report’s cover and title page
  2. Agenda and program details – these slides communicate the agenda for your presentation and any additional information the audience might need
  3. Navigation slides – these are necessary for longer presentations. Navigation slides tell your audience where you are going and where you’ve been. As you complete each section, repeat the agenda slide but indicate which material has been covered and which section are you about to begin.

Comm 3: Posture

How Not To Do It
  1. The Pendulum - swaying from side to side is poor speech posture because it communicates that you are also swaying back and forth between ideas in your mind.
  2. The Leaning Tower of Pisa - leaning to one side is poor speech posture because it is too relaxed, and makes the audience feel that you aren’t serious about your speech.
  3. The Stargazer - Looking up the ceiling while a speech is poor eye contact because it shows that you aren’t well prepared and don’t know what to say.
  4. The Surfer - Moving your shoulders and upper body around as you speak is poor speech posture. It makes the audience feel that you are not calm and confident about your message.
  5. The Hula Dancer - swinging your hips back and for and from side to side is poor speech posture because it shows that you are nervous and not comfortable with your message.
  6. Washing Your Hands - rubbing your hands together as if you were washing them or playing with something in your hands is poor speech posture because it shows that you are nervous.
  7. The Birdwatcher - looking out the window or staring at the back of the room is poor eye contact for a speech because it makes the audience feel that you are not interested in them.
  8. The Soldier - standing stiffly at attention with your feet together and your hands at your sides is poor speech posture because it makes you look nervous and uncomfortable in your role as speaker.
Making a good first impression is important. Even before you say your first word, your posture and eye contact should show the audience that you are calm, well-prepared, confident and ready. If you begin with good posture and good eye contact, it will be easy for you to maintain a positive body language throughout your speech.

Posture and Eye Contact Checklist

  1. Set your feet. Place your feet shoulder-width apart. Balance your weight evenly on both feet. This posture is stable and shows self-control and confidence. This is a firm foundation to build a speech upon.
  2. Set your hands. Hold your hands together keep them about waist high in front of you. This posture focuses attention on your upper body and face and is an easy position to gesture from.
  3. Eye contact. Look at your audience for three seconds before you begin. Look at several people in the audience.  Communication begins with the audience begins when you make eye contact. The three-second wait lets you collect your thoughts before you begin.
  4. Presentation voice. Take a deep breath. Begin speaking in a voice louder and lower than usual conversation voice. Speaking loudly release nervous energy and speaking in lower voice makes you sound confident.

Comm 3: What Makes a Good Public Speaker?

      A popular expression states that the best leaders are the best followers. Therefore if you want to become a good speaker you must be, first, a good listener. So what makes a good listener?

     Many students hear their teacher giving a lecture but are not listening to a single word their teacher is saying. Notice the big difference between the word “hearing” and “listening.” Hearing is a physiological process wherein the ear receives sounds while listening is a conscious mental act of interpreting the sounds for a meaning or message. Hearing something means you are being passive in the communication process, but when you listen you take an active role, enabling you to give accurate feedback. Now the same can be said about seeing and watching. You can see that the TV is on, but you are not watching the TV show; or you can see that there is a person on stage, but you are not watching the speaker. The point here is that in order for you to assess a speaker effectively, you need to listen, simple as that. And when you know what worked and what didn’t, you can apply what you’ve learned when it’s your time to speak.      
The Different Components of a Speech

What to Say?

     The first major component of your speech is your content; this refers to what you are mentioning in your speech. Your content will depend on your purpose. If your purpose is to inform, then the contents of your speech must be truthful, valid, and informative. If your purpose is to persuade, then the contents of your speech must ethical, logical, and thought provoking. 

     The content is the soul of your speech. This means that no amount of theatrics or presentation skills will make a poorly-written speech into a great one. Hence, it is essential to give yourself the time to go through the proper writing process so that you can make a coherent, concise, and complete speech. 

How to Say It?

     Delivery is the second component of your speech. It encompasses the methods, techniques, and objects you employ as speaker to help you effectively convey the contents of your speech to your audience. If the content of the speech is the soul, the delivery is the body. The delivery is what the audience sees and hears. Therefore, an audience will not be able to appreciate a speech, though well-written, when badly delivered.

What Is a Good Delivery?

     The best public speakers strike a fine balance between being methodical and being natural. Planning every move or gesture will make you look robotic and insincere to the audience. On the other hand, hardly practicing any of your moves or gestures will make you look unprepared. 

     Unfortunately, speech delivery is not a science; it is more of an art. There is no set of rules that will work for everyone and in every situation. What you will be learning about delivery will not be enough to make you an effective public speaker. In other words, no amount of studying and memorizing the techniques from public speaking books or courses can substitute for experience.

     Delivery is composed of three parts: speaking method, the speaker’s voice, and nonverbal communication.

The Different Methods Delivery
Reading a Manuscript

Video 1: Tips on effective manuscript reading (courtesy of DrexelSpeechClass, Youtube)

     This method means that you will be bringing a complete copy of your speech for you to read to your audience. Although some would say that this method is the easiest since memorization is not required, it does have some drawbacks. Speakers who use this method may end up misreading words, pausing in the wrong parts, speaking in a monotone, forgetting to glance at the audience, or getting lost in text. In short, some speakers who read a manuscript end up just merely reading to their audience and not speaking to them.  In other words, using this method would still require for you to practice delivering the speech.
Reciting from Memory

     This method is no longer popular especially with students as it has proven to be their public speaking waterloo. How many times have you seen a student orating a melodramatic piece about asking for a piece of bread only to stop midway because he or she could no longer recall the next line?

     Many speakers do not consider this method practicable. Reciting from memory will likely impress your audience, but if you have not memorized your speech well enough, you will end up using all your concentration on trying to remember the words. Another disadvantage is that the method makes it hard for you to ad lib. The term, short for ad libitum (at one’s pleasure), is used commonly in drama and it means to improvise. In public speaking, ad libbing gives the speaker the freedom to add something or to make some changes to his or her speech during delivery. To ad lib does not necessarily mean extra content. Simple things like pausing longer or even skipping some sections of your speech are good examples of ad lib.
Video 2: Tips for memorizing a speech (courtesy of SmartMemoryPower, Youtube)

Speaking Impromptu

     This method means delivering a speech with little or no preparation. If you consider impromptu speaking a nightmare then you are not alone. Many avoid such a situation; sadly, impromptu speaking is a part of modern life you cannot avoid.

     When faced with the challenge of speaking impromptu, the first thing you need to do is to manage your nerves. Remind yourself that the audience is your friend. They know how difficult it is to speak in impromptu, and no one will expect a perfectly-organized and delivered speech. Once you start to speak, maintain eye contact with your audience and concentrate on controlling the pace of your speaking. Help your audience (and yourself) to keep track of your ideas by using expressions such as “my first point is . . .second . . . in conclusion . . .”  Stating your points clearly and concisely helps you to come across as organized and confident.

Video 3: Tips for effective impromptu speaking (courtesy of Toastmasters, Youtube)

Speaking Extemporaneously

     In this method, the speaker uses a set of notes or an outline to serve as a guide for the speech. Speaking extemporaneously is the preferred method by many public speakers because the speaker is not required to memorize the speech at the same time he or she is not dependent on a copy of the speech. The set of notes or outline helps the speaker to remember what next to say or organizes his or her thoughts. Spontaneity is another advantage of the method as the exact wording of the speech is chosen at the moment of delivery.

Video 4: Tips for extemporaneous speaking (courtesy of dalemercer, Youtube)

What is the Speaker’s Voice?
Video 5: Homeless man with golden voice gets another second chance (courtesy of Associated Press, YouTube)

     Alas not everybody is gifted with a golden voice. Nonetheless you can learn to control your voice so that it does not become a distraction, preventing your audience from getting your message. The following are the aspects of voice you should learn to control:

1. Volume – the loudness or softness of the speaker’s voice.
2. Pitch – highness or lowness of the speaker’s voice.
3. Rate – refers to the speed at which a person speaks. 
4. Pauses – a momentary break in the vocal delivery of a speech.
5. Vocal Variety – is the changes in a speaker’s rate, pitch, and volume.
6. Pronunciation – is the accepted standard of sound and rhythm for words in a given language.
7. Articulation – is the physical production of particular speech sounds.

Video 6: Different types of tone (Empowernet International, Youtube)

What is Nonverbal Communication?

     Nonverbal communication is communication that occurs as a result of appearance, posture, gesture, eye contact, facial expressions, and other non-linguistic factors. Here are the major aspects of nonverbal communication that will affect the outcome of your speeches.

Personal Appearance 
     “Don’t judge a book by its cover;” however, you can definitely judge a speaker by his or her appearance. Personal appearance does not refer to the facial features or physical built of the speaker. Not everyone is as genetically gifted as Brazilian supermodels do. Personal appearance refers to the speaker’s clothes and grooming. Although a strong delivery can easily overcome poor fashion choices or a lack of grooming, dressing and grooming appropriately to the occasion gives a favorable first impression, making the audience more receptive to your message.

Bodily Action

     The best speakers learn to control mannerisms that can be distracting for the audience. This is the reason why you should always practice first in front of a video camera or in front of your friends. With the video recording or with your friends' feedback, you can identify movements (or the lack of) you unconsciously do that are potentially distracting. You should also be aware of the pace of your movements; too slow can make your speech boring, and too fast can create an impression that you are nervous. 


Video 7: Hand gestures that can be insulting in other countries (courtesy of PimsleurApproach, Youtube)

     Gestures are motions of a speaker’s hands or arms during a speech. The primary rule for gestures is the same for bodily action; it should not be distracting. They should appear natural and spontaneous, help clarify or reinforce your ideas, and be suited to the audience and occasion.

Eye Contact

     Eye contact is the direct visual contact with the eyes of another person. Looking at your audience is an easy way of establishing credibility. Having eye contact with your listeners sends a message that you are sincere. However eye contact is not enough; how you look at them is also important. A blank, fierce, or bewildered stare will not translate well with the audience. Also it is important not to gaze at only one section of the audience, as you will be alienating the rest.

 Video 7: Tips on eye contact (courtesy of Emporwernet, Youtube)