Public Speaking Glossary

The following is a glossary of terms commonly used in relation to public speaking and by professional speakers.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A
abstract
A summary of a magazine or journal article, written by someone other than the original author.
abstract words
Words that refer to ideas or concepts.
acceptance speech
A speech that gives thanks for a gift, an award, or some other form of public recognition.
acronym
A word composed of the initial letters or parts of a series of words.
active listening
Giving undivided attention to a speaker in a genuine effort to understand the speaker's point of view.
ad hominem fallacy
An attempt to discredit a position by attacking the people who favor it.
adrenaline
A hormone released into the bloodstream in response to physical or mental stress.
after-dinner speech
A brief, often humorous, ceremonial speech, presented after a meal, that offers a message without asking for radical changes in attitude or action.
agenda-setting function
The work of informative speaking in raising topics to attention and creating a sense of their importance.
agreement
The third stage in the persuasive process requires that listeners not only accept the speaker’s recommendations but remember their reasons for doing so.
alliteration
Repetition of the initial consonant sound of close or adjoining words.
amplification
The art of developing ideas by finding ways to restate them in a speech.
analogical persuasion
Creating a strategic perspective on a subject by relating it to something about which the audience has strong positive or negative feelings.
analogical reasoning
Reasoning in which a speaker compares two similar cases and infers that what is true for the first case is also true for the second.
analogous color scheme
Colors adjacent on the color wheel; used in a presentation aid to suggest both differences and close relationships among the components represented.
analogy
A connection established between two otherwise dissimilar ideas or things.
animation
The way objects enter and/or exit a PowerPoint slide.
antithesis
A language technique that combines opposing elements in the same sentence or adjoining sentences.
appreciative listening
Listening for pleasure or enjoyment.
appreciative phase
Phase of listening in which we enjoy the beauty of messages, responding to such factors as the simplicity, balance, and proportion of speeches and the eloquence of their language.
arguments
Arrangements of proofs designed to answer key questions that arise in persuasive designs.
articulation
The physical production of particular speech sounds.
assimilation
The tendency of listeners to interpret the positions of a speaker with whom they agree as closer to their own views than they actually are.
atlas
A book of maps.
attitude
A frame of mind in favor of or opposed to a person, policy, belief, institution, topic, etc.
audience-centeredness
Keeping the audience foremost in mind at every step of speech preparation and presentation.
audience demographics
Observable characteristics of listeners, including age, gender, educational level, group affiliations, and sociocultural backgrounds, that the speaker considers when adapting to an audience.
audience dynamics
The motivations, attitudes, beliefs, and values that influence the behavior of listeners.
autocratic leader
A leader who makes decisions without consultation, issues orders or gives direction, and controls the members of the group through the use of rewards or punishments.
award presentation
A speech of tribute that recognizes achievements of the award recipient, explains the nature of the award, and describes why the recipient qualifies for the award.
awareness
This first stage in the persuasive process includes knowing about a problem, paying attention to it, and understanding how it affects our lives.

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B
balance
Achieving a balance among the major parts of a presentation.
bandwagon
A fallacy which assumes that because something is popular, it is therefore good, correct, or desirable.
bar graph
A graph that uses vertical or horizontal bars to show comparisons among two or more items.
begging the question
Assuming that an argument has been proved without actually presenting the evidence.
beliefs
Ideas we express about subjects that may explain our attitudes towards them.
bibliography
A list of all the sources used in preparing a speech.
Bill of Rights
The first ten amendments to the United States Constitution.
biographical aid
A reference work that provides information about people.
body
The middle part of a speech, used to develop the main ideas.
body language
Communication achieved using facial expressions, eye contact, movements, and gestures.
bookmark
A feature in a Web browser that stores links to Web sites so they can be easily revisited.
boomerang effect
An audience’s hostile reaction to a speech advocating too much or too radical change.
brainstorming
A method of generating ideas by free association of words and thoughts.
brief example
A specific instance illustrating a more general idea.
briefing
A short, informative presentation given in an organizational setting.
bulleted list
A presentation aid that highlights themes by presenting them in a list of brief statements.
burden of proof
The obligation facing a persuasive speaker to prove that a change from current policy is necessary.

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C
call number
A number used in libraries to classify books and periodicals and to indicate where they can be found on the shelves.
call the question
A motion that proposes to end the discussion on a motion and to bring it to a vote.
catalogue
A listing of all the books, periodicals, and other resources owned by a library.
categorical design
The use of natural or traditional divisions within a subject as a way of structuring an informative speech.
causal order
A method of speech organization in which the main points show a cause-effect relationship.
causal reasoning
Reasoning that seeks to establish the relationship between causes and effects.
causation design
A pattern for an informative speech that shows how one condition generates, or is generated by, another.
central idea
A one-sentence statement that sums up or encapsulates the major ideas of a speech.
ceremonial speaking
(ceremonial speech) Speaking that celebrates special occasions. Common forms are speeches of tribute, inspiration, eulogies, toasts, introduction, making and accepting awards, and the after-dinner speech. Their deeper function is to share identities and reinforce values that unite people into communities.
channel
The means by which a message is communicated.
chart
A visual aid that summarizes a large block of information, usually in list form.
chronological design
Pattern of speech organization that follows a sequence of important events in relating the history of a subject or predicting its future.
chronological order
A method of speech organization in which the main points follow a time pattern.
claims
Conclusions that go beyond factual statements to make judgments about their subjects.
cliché
A trite or overused expression.
clip art
Pictures and symbols that represent common objects, processes, and ideas.
clutter
Discourse that takes many more words than are necessary to express an idea.
co-active approach
A way of approaching reluctant audiences in which the speaker attempts to establish goodwill, emphasizes shared values, and sets modest goals for persuasion.
cognitive restructuring
The process of replacing negative thoughts with positive, constructive ones.
collaborative problem solving
In group communication, an approach that gathers participants from separate areas of the public or private sectors for their input on a problem.
commemorative speech
A speech that pays tribute to a person, a group of people, an institution, or an idea.
communication apprehension
Anxiety or fear experienced before and during public speaking.
communication environment
The setting in which communication occurs, including both physical and psychological factors.
comparative advantages order
A method of organizing persuasive speeches in which each main point explains why a speaker's solution to a problem is preferable to other proposed solutions.
comparative design
A pattern for an informative speech that relates an unfamiliar subject to something the audience already knows or understands.
comparison
A statement of the similarities among two or more people, events, ideas, etc.
comparison and contrast
An informative speech design that points out similarities and differences between subjects or ideas.
competence
The speaker’s appearance of being informed, intelligent, and well prepared.
complementary color scheme
Colors opposite one another on the color wheel; used in a presentation aid to suggest tension and opposition among various elements.
comprehensive phase
Phase of listening in which we focus on, understand, and interpret spoken messages.
comprehensive listening
Listening to understand the message of a speaker.
computer-assisted presentation
The use of commercial presentation software to join audio, visual, text, graphic, and animated components.
concept
A belief, theory, idea, notion, principle, or the like.
concrete words
Words that refer to tangible objects.
confusion of fact and opinion
A misuse of evidence in persuasive speaking in which personal opinions are offered as though they were objective facts, or facts are dismissed as though they were mere opinion.
connective
A word or phrase that connects the ideas of a speech and indicates the relationship between them.
connotative meaning
The emotional, subjective, personal meaning that certain words can evoke in listeners.
consensus
A group decision that is acceptable to all members of the group.
constructive listening
The role of the listener in the creation of meaning. Involves discovering the speaker’s intention, tracing out the implications and consequences of the message, and applying the message to one’s life.
contrast
A statement of the differences among two or more people, events, ideas, etc.
contrast effect
A tendency by listeners to distort the positions of a speaker with whom they disagree and to interpret those positions as even more distant from their own opinions than they actually are.
conversational quality
Presenting a speech so it sounds spontaneous no matter how many times it has been rehearsed.
coordination
The requirement that statements equal in importance be placed on the same level in an outline.
creating common ground
A technique in which a speaker connects himself or herself with the values, attitudes, or experiences of the audience.
credibility
The audience's perception of whether a speaker is qualified to speak on a given topic.
crescendo ending
A conclusion in which the speech builds to a zenith of power and intensity.
criteria
Standards on which a judgment or decision can be based.
critical listening
The careful analysis and evaluation of message content.
critical thinking
Focused, organized thinking about such things as the logical relationships among ideas, the soundness of evidence, and the differences between fact and opinion.
critique
An evaluation of a speech.
cultural gridlock
Occurs when the cultural differences in a group are so profound that the varying agendas, priorities, customs, and procedures create tensions that block constructive discussion.
cultural sensitivity
The respectful, appreciative awareness of the diversity within an audience.
culturetypes
Terms that express the values and goals of a group’s culture.

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D
debate
The clash of opposing ideas, evaluations and policy proposals on a subject of concern.
decoding process
The process by which the listener determines the meaning of the speaker’s message and decides the speaker’s intent.
deductive reasoning
A form of thinking that begins with a generally accepted truth, connects an issue with that truth, and draws a conclusion based on the connection.
definition
A translation of an unfamiliar word into understandable terms.
deliberation
Allowing all sides to express their opinions before a decision is made.
delivery cues
Directions in a speaking outline to help a speaker remember how she or he wants to deliver key parts of the speech.
demagogues
Political speakers who try to inflame feelings without regard to the accuracy or adequacy of their claims in order to promote their own agendas.
demographic audience analysis
Audience analysis that focuses on demographic factors such as age, gender, religious orientation, group membership, and racial, ethnic, or cultural background.
denotative meaning
The dictionary definition or objective meaning of a word.
derived credibility
The credibility of a speaker produced by everything she or he says and does during the speech.
description
A statement that depicts a person, event, idea, and the like with clarity and vividness.
designated leader
A person who is elected or appointed as leader when the group is formed.
dialect
A speech pattern associated with an area of the country or with a cultural or ethnic background.
dialogue group
A group assembled to explore the underlying assumptions of a problem but not necessarily to solve it.
direct quotation
Repeating the exact words of another to support a point.
discriminative phase
Phase of listening in which we detect the vital sounds of spoken communication.
disinformation
Communication that offers what appears to be information, but that actually deceives listeners and impedes their understanding.
dissolve ending
A conclusion that generates emotional appeal by fading step by step to a dramatic final statement.
dyad
A group of two people.
dynamism
The impact made on listeners when they perceive a speaker as confident, decisive, and enthusiastic.

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E
egocentrism
Holding the view that one’s own experiences and thoughts are the norm.
either-or
A fallacy that forces listeners to choose between two alternatives when more than two alternatives exist.
electronic brainstorming
A group technique in which participants generate ideas in computer chat groups or by email.
emergent leader
A group member who emerges as a leader during the group's deliberations.
empathic phase
Phase of listening in which we suspend judgment, allow speakers to be heard, and try to see things from their points of view.
emphatic listening
Listening to provide emotional support for a speaker.
empirical
A form of thinking that emphasizes the close inspection of reality.
enactment
The fourth stage of the persuasive process in which listeners take appropriate action as the result of their agreement.
encoding process
The process by which the speaker combines words, tones, and gestures to convey thought and feelings to the audience.
enduring metaphors
Metaphors of unusual power and popularity that are based on experience that lasts across time and that crosses many cultural boundaries.
enunciation
The manner in which individual words are articulated and pronounced in context.
ethical decisions
Sound ethical decisions involve weighing a potential course of action against a set of ethical standards or guidelines.
ethics
The branch of philosophy that deals with issues of right and wrong in human affairs.
ethnocentrism
The belief that one's own group or culture is superior to all other groups or cultures.
ethos
The name used by Aristotle for what modern students of communication refer to as credibility.
eulogy
A speech of tribute presented upon a person’s death.
event
Anything that happens or is regarded as happening.
evidence
Supporting materials used to prove or disprove something.
example
A specific case used to illustrate or to represent a group of people, ideas, conditions, experiences, or the like.
expanded conversational style
A presentational quality that, while more formal than everyday conversation, preserves its directness and spontaneity.
expert testimony
Testimony from people who are recognized experts in their fields.
explanations
A combination of facts and statistics to clarify a topic or process mentioned in a speech.
extemporaneous speech
A carefully prepared and rehearsed speech that is presented from a brief set of notes.
extemporaneous presentation
(extemporaneous speaking) A form of presentation in which a speech, although carefully prepared and practiced, is not written out or memorized.
extended example
A story, narrative, or anecdote developed at some length to illustrate a point.
eye contact
Direct visual contact with the eyes of another person.

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F
facts and statistics
Items of information that can be used to illustrate and prove points made by the speaker. When expressed numerically, such information appears in statistics.
factual example
An illustration based on something that actually happened or that really exists.
fair use
A provision of copyright law that permits students and teachers to use portions of copyrighted materials for educational purposes.
fallacy
An error in reasoning.
false cause
An error in causal reasoning in which a speaker mistakenly assumes that because one event follows another, the first event is the cause of the second. This error is often known by its Latin name, post hoc, ergo propter hoc, meaning 'after this, therefore because of this.'
faulty analogy
A comparison drawn between things that are dissimilar in some important way.
feedback
The audience’s immediate response to a speaker.
figurative analogy
A comparison made between things that belong to different fields.
figurative language
The use of words in certain surprising and unusual ways in order to magnify the power of their meaning.
filtering
Listening to only part of a message, the part the listener wants to hear.
fixed-alternative questions
Questions that offer a fixed choice between two or more alternatives.
flawed statistical comparisons
Statistical reasoning that offers fallacious conclusions by comparing unequal and unlike situations.
flow chart
A visual method of representing power and responsibility relationships.
font
A complete set of type of the same design.
formal outline
The final outline in a process leading from the first rough ideas for a speech to the finished product.
frame of reference
The sum of a person's knowledge, experience, goals, values, and attitudes. No two people can have exactly the same frame of reference.
free-rein leader
A leader who leaves members free to decide what, how, and when to act, offering no guidance.

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G
gazetteer
A geographical dictionary.
gender stereotyping
Generalizations based on oversimplified or outmoded assumptions about gender and gender roles.
general encyclopedia
A comprehensive reference work that provides information about all branches of human knowledge.
general purpose
The broad goal of a speech.
generic 'he'
The use of 'he' to refer to both women and men.
gestures
Motions of a speaker's hands or arms during a speech.
global plagiarism
Stealing a speech entirely from a single source and passing it off as one's own.
good form
A primary principle of structure, based on simplicity, symmetry, and orderliness.
goodwill
The audience's perception of whether the speaker has the best interests of the audience in mind.
graph
A visual aid used to show statistical trends and patterns.
graphics
Visual representations of information.
great expectation fallacy
The mistaken idea that major change can be accomplished by a single persuasive effort.
groupthink
Occurs when a single, uncritical frame of mind dominates group thinking and prevents the full, objective analysis of specific problems.

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H
habitual pitch
The level at which people speak most frequently.
hasty generalization
An error in reasoning from specific instances, in which a speaker jumps to a general conclusion on the basis of insufficient evidence.
hearing
The vibration of sound waves on the eardrums and the firing of electrochemical impulses in the brain.
hidden agenda
A set of unstated individual goals that may conflict with the goals of the group as a whole.
hypothetical example
An example that describes an imaginary or fictitious situation or event.

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I
identification
A process in which speakers seek to create a bond with the audience by emphasizing common values, goals, and experiences.
ideographs
Words that convey in a compressed way a group’s basic political faith or system of beliefs.
imagery
The use of vivid language to create mental images of objects, actions, or ideas.
immediacy
A quality of successful communication achieved when the speaker and audience experience a sense of closeness.
implied leader
A group member to whom other members defer because of her or his rank, expertise, or other quality.
impromptu speech
A speech delivered with little or no immediate preparation.
inclusive language
Language that does not stereotype, demean, or patronize people on the basis of gender, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or other factors.
incremental plagiarism
Failing to give credit for particular parts of a speech that are borrowed from other people.
inflections
Changes in the pitch or tone of a speaker's voice.
information cards
Records of facts and ideas obtained from an article or book used in research.
informative speech
A speech designed to convey knowledge and understanding.
informative value
A measure of how much new and important information or understanding a speech conveys to an audience.
initial credibility
The credibility of a speaker before she or he starts to speak.
inoculation effect
Preparing an audience for an opposing argument by answering it before listeners have been exposed to it.
integrity
The quality of being ethical, honest, and dependable.
interference
Anything that impedes the communication of a message. Interference can be external or internal to listeners.
internal preview
A statement in the body of the speech that lets the audience know what the speaker is going to discuss next.
internal summary
Reminding listeners of major points already presented in a speech before proceeding to new ideas.
introduction
The first part of a speech, intended to gain the audience’s attention and to prepare them for the rest of the presentation.
invalid analogy
An analogy in which the two cases being compared are not essentially alike.
inversion
Changing the normal order of words to make statements memorable and emphatic.
invisible Web
The multitude of Web databases and other resources that are not indexed by search engines.

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J
jargon
The specialized or technical language of a trade, profession, or similar group.

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K
key-word outline
An outline that briefly notes a speaker's main points and supporting evidence in rough outline form.
kinesics
The study of body motions as a systematic mode of communication.

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L
lay testimony
Information that is derived from the firsthand experience of ordinary citizens.
leadership
The ability to influence group members so as to help achieve the goals of the group.
likeableness
The quality of radiating goodness and goodwill and inspiring audience affection in return.
line graph
A graph that uses one or more lines to show changes in statistics over time or space.
listener
The person who receives the speaker's message.
listening
Paying close attention to, and making sense of, what we hear.
literal analogy
A comparison made between subjects within the same field.
logos
The name used by Aristotle for the logical appeal of a speaker. The two major elements of logos are evidence and reasoning.

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M
magnification
A speaker’s selecting and emphasizing certain qualities of a subject to stress the values they represent.
main motion
A proposal that would commit a group to some specific action or declaration.
main points
The major points developed in the body of a speech.
maintenance needs
Communicative actions necessary to maintain interpersonal relations in a small group.
malapropisms
Language errors that occur when a word is confused with another word that sounds like it.
manuscript speech
A speech that is written out word for word and read to the audience.
marking
Adding a gender reference when none is needed-e.g., "a woman doctor."
master of ceremonies
A person who coordinates an event or program, sets its mood, introduces participants, provides transitions, and may also present awards.
maxims
Brief and particularly apt sayings.
mean
The average value of a group of numbers.
median
The middle number in a group of numbers arranged from highest to lowest.
memorized text presentations
Speeches that are committed to memory and delivered word for word.
mental dialogue with the audience
The mental give-and-take between speaker and listener during a persuasive speech.
message
Whatever a speaker communicates to someone else.
metaphor
An implicit comparison, not introduced with the word 'like' or 'as,' between two things that are essentially different yet have something in common.
metasearch engine
A search aid that sends a researcher's request to several search engines at the same time.
mirror questions
Questions that repeat part of a previous response to encourage further discussion.
mode
The number that occurs most frequently in a group of numbers.
model
An object, usually built to scale, that represents another object in detail.
monotone
A constant pitch or tone of voice.
Monroe's motivated sequence
A method of organizing persuasive speeches that seek immediate action. The five steps of the motivated sequence are attention, need, satisfaction, visualization, and action.
motion
Formal proposal for group consideration.
motivated sequence design
A persuasive speech design that proceeds by arousing attention, demonstrating a need, satisfying the need, visualizing results, and calling for action.
motivation
Internal forces that impel action and direct human behavior toward specific goals.
mountain graph
A variation of a line graph in which different colors are used to fill in the areas above and below the line(s).
move to amend
A parliamentary move that offers the opportunity to modify a motion presently under discussion.
multimedia presentation
A speech that uses computer software to combine several kinds of visual and/or audio aids in the same talk.
multisided presentation
A speech in which the speaker’s position is compared favorably to other positions.
myth of the mean
The deceptive use of statistical averages in speeches.
mythos
A form of proof that connects a subject to the culture and tradition of a group through the use of narratives.

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N
name-calling
The use of language to defame, demean, or degrade individuals or groups.
narrative
A story used to illustrate some important truth about a speaker’s topic.
need
The first basic issue in analyzing a question of policy: Is there a serious problem or need that requires a change from current policy?
non sequitur fallacy
A deductive error occurring when conclusions are drawn improperly from the premises that precede them.
nonverbal communication
Communication based on a person's use of voice and body, rather than on the use of words.

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O
object
Anything that is visible, tangible, and stable in form.
onomatopoeia
The use of words that sound like the subjects they signify.
open-ended questions
Questions that allow respondents to answer however they want.
optimum pitch
The level at which people can produce their strongest voice with minimal effort and that allows variation up and down the musical scale.
oral report
A speech presenting the findings, conclusions, decisions, etc., of a small group.
order
A consistent pattern used to develop a speech.

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P
panel discussion
A structured conversation on a given topic among several people in front of an audience.
parallel construction
Wording an outline’s main points in the same way in order to emphasize their importance and to help the audience remember them.
parallelism
The similar arrangement of a pair or series of related words, phrases, or sentences.
paraphrase
To restate or summarize an author's ideas in one's own words.
parliamentary procedure
A set of formal rules that establishes an order of business for meetings and encourages the orderly, fair, and full consideration of proposals during group deliberation.
participative leader
A leader who seeks input from group members and gives them an active role in decision-making.
patchwork plagiarism
Stealing ideas or language from two or three sources and passing them off as one's own.
pathos
The name used by Aristotle for what modern students of communication refer to as emotional appeal.
pause
A momentary break in the vocal delivery of a speech.
peer testimony
Testimony from ordinary people with first-hand experience or insight on a topic.
periodical database
A research aid that catalogues articles from a large number of journals or magazines.
personalize
To present one's ideas in human terms that relate in some fashion to the experience of the audience.
personification
A figure of speech in which nonhuman or abstract subjects are given human qualities.
persuasion
The art of convincing others to give favorable attention to our point of view.
persuasive speech
A speech designed to change or reinforce the audience's attitudes, beliefs or actions.
pictographs
On a chart, a visual image symbolizing the information it represents.
pie graph
A graph that highlights segments of a circle to show simple distribution patterns.
pitch
The position of a human voice on the musical scale.
plagiarism
Presenting another person's language or ideas as one's own.
plan
The second basic issue in analyzing a question of policy: If there is a problem with current policy, does the speaker have a plan to solve the problem?
positive nervousness
Controlled nervousness that helps energize a speaker for her or his presentation.
post hoc fallacy
A deductive error in which one event is assumed to be the cause of another simply because the first preceded the second.
postpone consideration
(move to postpone consideration) A motion that defers discussion until some specified time when necessary information will be available.
practicality
The third basic issue in analyzing a question of policy: Will the speaker's plan solve the problem? Will it create new and more serious problems?
precision
Using information that is closely and carefully related to the specific purpose and context of a speech; particularly important when a topic varies widely in application.
preliminary bibliography
A list compiled early in the research process of works that look as if they might contain helpful information about a speech topic.
preliminary tuning effect
The effect of previous speeches or other situational factors in predisposing an audience to respond positively or negatively to a speech.
preparation outline
A detailed outline developed during the process of speech preparation that includes the title, specific purpose, central idea, introduction, main points, subpoints, connectives, conclusion, and bibliography of a speech.
prepersuasive function
The way in which informative speaking shapes listeners’ perceptions, preparing them for later persuasive speeches on a topic.
PREP formula
An outlining technique for an impromptu speech: state a point, give a reason or example, and restate the point.
presentation
The act of offering a speech to an audience, integrating the skills of nonverbal communication, especially body language, with the speech content.
presentation
A PowerPoint file containing all the slides for a given speech.
presentation aids
Supplemental materials used to enhance the effectiveness and clarity of a presentation.
prestige testimony
Information coming from a person who is highly regarded but not necessarily an expert on a topic.
preview
The part of the introduction that identifies the main points to be developed in the body of the speech and presents an overview of the speech to follow.
principle of closure
The need for a satisfactory end or conclusion to a speech.
principle of proximity
The idea that things occurring together in time or space should be presented in the order in which they normally happen.
principle of similarity
The principle that like things should be grouped together.
probes
Questions that ask an expert to elaborate on a response.
problem-cause-solution order
A method of organizing persuasive speeches in which the first main point identifies a problem, the second main point analyzes the causes of the problem, and the third main point presents a solution to the problem.
problem-solution design
A persuasive speech pattern in which listeners are first persuaded that they have a problem and then are shown how to solve it.
problem-solution order
A method of speech organization in which the first main point deals with the existence of a problem and the second main point presents a solution to the problem.
problem-solving small group
A small group formed to solve a particular problem.
procedural needs
Routine 'housekeeping' actions necessary for the efficient conduct of business in a small group.
process
A systematic series of actions that leads to a specific result or product.
pronunciation
The use of correct sounds and of proper stress or accent on syllables in saying words.
proof
An interpretation of evidence that provides a good reason for listeners to agree with the speaker.
proxemics
The study of how human beings use space during communication.

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Q
qualifiers
Words that suggest the degree of confidence a speaker has in the conclusion of his or her argument.
question of fact
A question about the truth or falsity of an assertion.
question of policy
A question about whether a specific course of action should or should not be taken.
question of value
A question about the worth, rightness, morality, and so forth of an idea or action.
quoting out of context
Quoting a statement in such a way as to distort its meaning by removing the statement from the words and phrases surrounding it.

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R
rate
The speed at which a person speaks.
reasoning
The process of drawing a conclusion on the basis of evidence.
reasoning from principle
Reasoning that moves from a general principle to a specific conclusion.
reasoning from specific instances
Reasoning that moves from particular facts to a general conclusion.
receiver apprehension
Fear of misinterpreting, inadequately processing and/or not being able to adjust psychologically to messages sent by others.
recency
Ensuring that the information in a speech is the latest that can be provided.
red herring fallacy
The use of irrelevant material to divert attention.
reference work
A work that synthesizes a large amount of related information for easy access by researchers.
reflective-thinking method
A five-step method for directing discussion in a problem-solving small group.
refutative design
A persuasive speech design in which the speaker tries to raise doubts about, damage, or destroy an opposing position.
reinforcer
A comment or action that encourages further communication from someone being interviewed.
reliability
The trustworthiness of information critical to the credibility of a speech.
reluctant testimony
Highly credible form of supporting material in which sources of evidence speak against their apparent self-interest.
reluctant witnesses
Those who offer reluctant testimony; i.e., they speak against their apparent self-interest.
repetition
Reiteration of the same word or set of words at the beginning or end of successive clauses or sentences.
research interview
An interview conducted to gather information for a speech.
research overview
A listing of the main sources of information that could be used in a speech and of the major ideas from each source.
residual message
What a speaker wants the audience to remember after it has forgotten everything else in a speech.
responsible knowledge
An understanding of the major features, issues, experts, latest developments, and local applications relevant to a topic.
rhetorical questions
Questions that have a self-evident answer, or that provoke curiosity that the speech then proceeds to satisfy.
rhythm
The pattern of sound in a speech created by the choice and arrangement of words.
Robert’s Rules of Order
The authoritative, traditional "bible" of parliamentary procedure.

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S
sans-serif font
A typeface with straight edges on the letters.
scale questions
Questions that require responses at fixed intervals along a scale of answers.
search aid
A program used to find information on the World Wide Web.
search engine
A search aid that indexes Web pages and checks them for sites that match a researcher's request.
second
A motion must receive a "second" before group discussion can proceed. Assures that more than one member wishes to have the motion considered.
self-awareness inventory
A series of questions that a speaker can ask to develop an approach to a speech of introduction.
sequence chart
Visual illustrations of the different stages of a process.
sequential design
A pattern for an informative speech that presents the steps involved in the process being demonstrated.
serif font
A typeface with rounded edges on the letters.
sexism
Allowing gender stereotypes to control interactions with members of the opposite sex.
sexist language
The use of masculine nouns and pronouns when the intended reference is to both sexes, or the use of derogatory emotional trigger words when referring to women.
signpost
A very brief statement that indicates where a speaker is in the speech or that focuses attention on key ideas.
simile
An explicit comparison, introduced with the word 'like' or 'as,' between things that are essentially different yet have something in common.
simplicity
A desirable quality of speech structure. Suggests that a speech have a limited number of main points and that they be short and direct.
situation
The time and place in which speech communication occurs.
situational audience analysis
Audience analysis that focuses on situational factors, such as the size of the audience, the physical setting for the speech, and the disposition of the audience toward the topic, the speaker, and the occasion.
skills training
Developing abilities and attitudes that help speakers control and transform communication apprehension into a positive factor.
sleeper effect
A delayed reaction to persuasion.
slide
A single frame in a PowerPoint presentation.
slippery slope fallacy
The assumption that once something happens, an inevitable trend is established that will lead to disastrous results.
small group
A collection of three to twelve people that assemble for a specific purpose.
social leadership behavior
Occurs when leaders focus upon building and maintaining positive, productive relationships among group members.
source cards
Records kept of the author, title, place and date of publication, and page references for each research source.
source citation
Parenthetical reference in a speech outline to sources listed in full under Works Consulted.
spare "brain time"
The difference between the rate at which most people talk (120 to 150 words a minute) and the rate at which the brain can process language (400 to 800 words a minute).
spatial design
A pattern for an informative speech that orders the main points as they occur in physical space.
spatial order
A method of speech organization in which the main points follow a directional pattern.
speaker
The person who is presenting an oral message to a listener.
speaking outline
A brief outline used to jog a speaker's memory during the presentation of a speech.
special encyclopedia
A comprehensive reference work devoted to a specific subject such as religion, art, law, science, music, etc.
specific purpose
The speaker’s particular goal or the response that the speaker wishes to evoke.
speech of acceptance
A ceremonial speech expressing gratitude for an honor and acknowledging those who made the accomplishment possible.
speech of demonstration
An informative speech aimed at showing the audience how to do something or how something works.
speech of description
An informative speech that creates word pictures to help the audience understand a subject.
speech of explanation
A speech that is intended to inform the audience about abstract and complex subjects, such as concepts or programs.
speech of inspiration
A ceremonial speech directed at awakening or reawakening an audience to a goal, purpose, or set of values.
speech of introduction
A ceremonial speech in which a featured speaker is introduced to the audience.
speech of presentation
A speech that presents someone a gift, an award, or some other form of public recognition.
speech of tribute
A ceremonial speech that recognizes the achievements of individuals or groups or commemorates special events.
speech to gain immediate action
A persuasive speech in which the speaker's goal is to convince the audience to take action in support of a given policy.
speech to gain passive agreement
A persuasive speech in which the speaker's goal is to convince the audience that a given policy is desirable without encouraging the audience to take action in support of the policy.
sponsoring organization
An organization that, in the absence of a clearly identified author, is responsible for the content of a document on the World Wide Web.
stage fright
Anxiety over the prospect of giving a speech in front of an audience.
statistics
Numerical data.
stereotypes
Generalized pictures of a race, gender, or group that supposedly represent its essential characteristics.
stereotyping
Creating an oversimplified image of a particular group of people, usually by assuming that all members of the group are alike.
stock issues design
A persuasive speech pattern that attempts to answer the major general questions a reasonable person would ask before agreeing to a change in policies or procedures.
stories
Accounts of actions or incidents that demonstrate points the speaker is making. See also narrative.
strategic organization
Putting a speech together in a particular way to achieve a particular result with a particular audience.
straw man fallacy
Understating, distorting, or otherwise misrepresenting the position of opponents for the sake of refutation.
subordination
The requirement that material in an outline descend in importance from main points to subpoints to sub-subpoints to sub-sub-subpoints.
subpoint
The major division within a speech’s main points.
substance
A quality possessed by a speech when it has an important message, a careful plan of development, and adequate facts, examples, and testimony.
sub-subpoints
Divisions of subpoints within a speech.
summary statement
The speaker’s reinterpretation of the speech’s main idea at the end of a presentation.
supporting materials
The materials used to support a speaker's ideas. The three major kinds of supporting materials are examples, statistics, and testimony.
symbolic racism
An indirect form of racism that employs code words and subtle, unspoken contrast to suggest that one race is superior to another.
symposium
A public presentation in which several people present prepared speeches on different aspects of the same topic.

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T
table the motion
(move to table the motion) Suspends indefinitely the discussion of a motion.
target audience
The portion of the whole audience that the speaker most wants to persuade.
task leadership behavior
A leadership emphasis that directs the attention and activity of a group towards a specified goal.
task needs
Substantive actions necessary to help a small group complete its assigned task.
terminal credibility
The credibility of a speaker at the end of the speech.
testimonial
Lay testimony used to endorse a person, practice, or institution.
testimony
Citing the observations, opinions, or conclusions of other people or institutions to clarify, support, and strengthen a presentation.
textual graphics
Visual presentation of key words in a speech using a chalkboard, poster board, flip chart, transparency, slide, or handout.
thesaurus
A book of synonyms.
thesis statement
The speech’s central idea.
thoroughness
Providing complete and accurate information about a topic.
toast
A short speech of tribute, usually offered at celebration dinners or meetings.
topic
The subject of a speech.
topical order
A method of speech organization in which the main points divide the topic into logical and consistent subtopics.
topic area inventory chart
A means of determining possible speech topics by listing topics you find of interest and subjects your audience finds of interest, and matching them.
transaction
The process by which we discover who we are as we communicate with others.
transactional leadership
A leadership style based on power relationships that relies on reward and punishment to achieve its ends.
transformation
The dynamic, positive effect of successful, ethical communication on the identities of the speaker and listener and on public knowledge.
transformational leadership
A leadership style based on mutual respect and stewardship rather than on control.
transition(s)
A word, phrase or other connecting element that indicates when a speaker has finished one thought and is moving on to another.
transition(s)
The way PowerPoint slides enter and/or exit the screen.
transparency
A visual aid drawn, written, or printed on a sheet of clear acetate and shown with an overhead projector.

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U
universal human values
Eight values identified by the Institute for Global Ethics that transcend cultural differences: love, truthfulness, fairness, freedom, unity, tolerance, responsibility, and respect for life.
URL (Uniform Resource Locator)
The string of letters or numbers that identify a website's address.

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V
values
Underlying principles or standards of desirable or ideal behavior that should justify our beliefs and attitudes.
verifier
A statement by an interviewer confirming the meaning of what has just been said by the person being interviewed.
verbatim
Using the exact words of a source.
virtual library
A search aid that combines Internet technology with traditional library methods of cataloguing and assessing data.
visual framework
The pattern of symbolization and indentation in a speech outline that shows the relationships among the speaker's ideas.
visualization
The process of systematically picturing oneself succeeding as a speaker and practicing a speech with that image in mind.
vocalized pause
A pause that occurs when a speaker fills the silence between words with vocalizations such as 'uh,' 'er,' and 'um.'
vocal distractions
Filler words, such as er, um, and you know, used in the place of a pause.
vocal variety
Changes in a speaker's rate, pitch, and volume that give the voice variety and expressiveness.
volume
The loudness or softness of the speaker's voice.

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W
working outline
A tentative plan showing the pattern of a speech’s major parts, their relative importance, and the way they fit together.
works cited
A form of bibliography provided at the end of a formal outline that lists just those sources of supporting material actually used in the speech.
works consulted
A form of bibliography provided at the end of a formal outline that lists all sources of research considered in the preparation of the speech.

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Y
yearbook
A reference work published annually that contains information about the previous year.

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