The proposition of this speech may be one of fact, value, or policy. The topic should focus on a current, controversial issue with two defensible sides or points of view. Alcoholism, pollution, or littering should be avoided because they represent one-sided issues. However, topics such as euthanasia, assisted suicide, the driving age, capital or corporal punishment, prayer in the schools, not guilty by plea of insanity, and many, many more qualify with two defensible points of view.
Although your goal will be to refute your opponents’ leading arguments, you will need to know the leading arguments on your own side of the issue as well. Thus, you should begin by making a T-table of arguments on both sides of your issue. Then your job will be to refute – to dampen, discredit, point up the weaknesses and inconsistencies – in your opponents’ arguments in order to strengthen your own stance. Logical fallacies are falsehoods, misleading calculations, errors in logic, deceptions.
• Appropriateness to the Audience & Occasion – Again, select a topic about which you have some knowledge and/or experience, and which interests you. Also, select one which is likely to interest your audience, and which can be covered sufficiently within the time allotted. You must be convicted about your topic!
• Attention Getter – Creatively grab our attention using a combination of attention getting devices!
• Reason to Listen – What’s in it for us? Provide reasons as to why we need to know about your controversy. Also provide any background information necessary to understand your issue, such as definitions of key terms, legal, political, or ethical information, historical backdrops, limitations in your topic scope, and so on. Use as much common ground and emotional/motivational appeal as you can.
• Credentials – Reveal your knowledge, experience, interests, and/or research surrounding this topic. Play up your credibility!
• Clear Proposition – You are to state your stance as a clear persuasive proposition of fact, value, or policy. Begin with your general purpose (to + persuasive verb), then a reference to your audience, and finally the stance you are arguing for in a clear, complete, concise statement.
• Preview of Main Points – Within the same sentence as started above, preview your main points in the Body, which should consist of from 2 to 5 of your opponents’ reasons for their stance.
• Enumeration – Again, enumerate each main point (e.g. 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or A, B, C, D, E).
• 5-Step Refutative Design – Each main point is to be an opponent’s reason; as such, the Body of your speech falls into a statement of reasons method of organization. However, in addition, you are to use the following 5-step Refutative design to organize and develop each main point:
(DIRECT REFUTATION – REQUIRED FOR 2-5 REASONS) I. State the opponent’s argument you are going to refute.
A. Explain how you are going to refute the argument. (i.e. point out the logical fallacies).
B. Present your evidence to refute this argument.
1. Present facts (& figures).
2. Present expert testimony/opinion.
3. Present general, nonprobative support, such as examples, narratives, descriptions, illustrations, visual aids, and so on.
C. Draw the logical conclusion based on the evidence that dampens or weakens your opponents’ argument.
D. Play up the significance of the argument’s weakness or falsehood with analogies, mini-stories or examples, etc.
(INDIRECT REFUTATION – USE AS APPROPRIATE!) E. State your own argument which further demonstrates why your refutation is significant.
1. Explain how you are going to support your argument.
2. Present your evidence.
a. Present facts (& figures).
b. Present expert testimony/opinion.
c. Present general, nonprobative support.
3. Draw the logical conclusion of your own argument & how it further dampens or weakens your opponents’ argument.
4. Play up the overall significance of your argument.
• IBC Format – Include the 3 units of any speech as your most basic structural format.
• Clarity – Continue to enumerate major subpoints as well as main points. Also, use parallel language for your main points.
• Facts/Statistics, Experts/Authorities, & General Support – Keep the ABC Format of Support as your guide throughout your speech: A= Facts/Statistics, B= Experts/Authorities, and C= General Support, including examples, stories, personal experiences, comparisons, contrasts, descriptions, and so on.
• Variety of Support Forms – Again, vary your support under “C” above.
• Factors of Attention & Interests – In addition, continue to try to employ 3 figures of speech, including vivid descriptions, repetition with parallel construction, similes or metaphors, alliteration, onomonopea, and/or personification. Also, continue to try to employ factors of attention and interest, including humor, audio-visual aids, startling information, and other general support forms.
• Emotional/Motivational Appeals – Apply theoretical principles, as you did before, to your support in order to help boost your persuasiveness throughout this speech whenever and wherever possible!
• Minimum of 5 – A minimum of 5 outside sources of information are to be cited orally.
• Who, When, Where? – Each citation should include: 1) Who said it (e.g. an individual, a group, a co.) and what is their authority; 2) When was it said (i.e. include at least the year); and 3) Where did the information come from (i.e. the co., written source, www, an interview and so on)?
• What (Quotations/Paraphrases) – What was said is either presented as a direct quotation or a paraphrase. You may present these from note cards, from the actual source or a Xeroxed copy, or on a visual aid.
• Selection – Use class notes and handouts to help you select appropriate visuals for this speech. Use your visuals to clarify and emphasize key ideas. Visuals can be very persuasive, but choose them wisely and realistically. Avoid too many or too few visuals. Balance them per main point.
• Preparation – Allow plenty of time to prepare your visuals. Also take careful note of the pointers presented in class and on handouts for maximum visual effectiveness.
• Presentation – Prepare against all hazards, and avoid playing with your visuals. Talk to the class not the visual aid. Also, apply the general tips for presenting effectively with visuals as covered in class and on handouts.
• Summary or Review – Signal the end of your speech with “In closing,” “In conclusion,” or “In summing up my talk.” End by again highlighting the main points of your speech. Avoid any new points!
• Clincher Parallels Introduction w/Appeal – Parallel your attention and/or reason to listen step(s) in the Introduction. End on a high note. Also appeal to us to agree with your proposition in a lasting way.
• Follows General Guidelines – Follow the guidelines set forth in class, in your text, and on class handouts.
• Approximately ½ # of words spoken – Remember, “A speech is not an essay on its hind feet.” You know the routine here by now.
• Careful & Complete Preparation – Include the IBC format as well as transition statements, oral citations, a reference page, visual aid notes, delivery notes, and 2 goals to work on with your paperwork for this speech.
Quality of Research
• Minimum of 5 Outside References – You must have a minimum of 3 written sources (e.g. library, internet, institutional sources). If all of your sources are not written, then 2 may be from interviews speeches or other live communication, or media references. Your own personal experiences and observations do NOT count as references, but certainly may and should be discussed within your speech.
• Appropriate Use of 4 C’s – Make sure the final sources you select are 1) Current, 2) Credible, 3) Complete, and 4) Comprehensible.
• Clarity – Use wording that is precise, specific and concrete, direct and to the point. Avoid technical jargon and other professional language unless you must, and in these cases, be sure to define your terms.
• Vividness – Use wording that creates mental images through detailed descriptions and figures of speech.
• Appropriateness – Avoid offensive language and slang. Use Standard American Spoken English.
• Enumeration – Enumerate main points and supporting material.
• Signposts – Bridge your main points by signaling the end of one and the beginning of the next. This should include a recap of the previous point, and a lead in into the next one without giving the next one away. For example “Now that we have looked at why the opponents’ first argument is incomplete, let’s turn to key weaknesses in a second reason of theirs.”
• Words and Phrases – Continue to employ clear transitional words (e.g. and, or, but, however, therefore, so) and phrases (e.g. in addition, last but not least, more specifically, of greatest importance).
Use of Notes
• Key Words & Phrases Only – Avoid complete sentences on note cards, except for quotations or opening or closing lines. This is to prevent reading note cards!
• Maximum of 7 Cards – No more than 1 card per minute of speaking time. This also prevents reading!
• Follows General Guidelines – Prepare 3”x 5” or 4”x 6” note cards, white or manila. Limit your notes to one side of each note card. Lift your cards up and lower your eyes. Avoid laying your cards down and lowering your head. Hold in one hand only!
• Body Language – Focus on eye contact with the audience as well as gestures and movement! You will also want to work on facial expressions, posture, and stance.
• Vocal Dynamics – Focus on clear articulation, an appropriate volume, pitch, and rate, and overall vocal variety. Project enthusiasm and conviction in your voice!
• Reduced Vocal Dysfluencies – Reduce “uhs,” “ums,” “you knows,” “okays”, and “likes”.
• Dress – Dress the part! Be as professional and polished as you can be.
• Apparent Study – Does your speech follow enough criteria to demonstrate time and effort studying?
• Rehearsal – Is your speech presented in such a way that it reflects a polished presentation? Rehearse your speech at least 5-6 times alone, with family or friends, and perhaps in the classroom when it is vacant! Use covert, behavioral, and in vivo methods. Strive for spontaneity and variation during rehearsals.
• Time Limit – Does your speech fall within the allotted time limit?
2 GOALS TO WORK ON FOR THIS SPEECH:
EXAMPLE OUTLINE FOR REFUTATION SPEECH WITH VISUAL AIDS
“Nuclear Versus Coal Fired Power”
I. ATTENTION GETTER: When you think of nuclear plants, do you think of the Chernobyl disaster of Three Mile Island, for example? Or, if not a nuclear meltdown, do you picture the gruesome, disfiguring effects some people have experienced as a result of high doses of radiation leaked into the environment? Perhaps you equate such debilitating scars with radiation leakages from nuclear power plants? Or perhaps your images are more benign, involving only the image of radiation as a slow, insidious stalker claiming the lives of innocent victims?
II. REASON TO LISTEN: Well, I am here today to clear up these and other misunderstandings about nuclear power plants. Although such ideas are common, they actually represent distorted images of nuclear power plants and their products. Within the US broader and within our own local communities, we currently are experiencing an energy crisis. This is in part due to dwindling supplies of fossil fuels. If we must expand our energy sources in the near future, we must begin to consider alternative fuel sources. Nuclear fuel is a far larger energy source than any fossil fuel sources. As such, utilizing nuclear power sources to a greater extent in the U.S. could allow our country to preserve its own fossil fuels and meet our country’s energy needs with greater efficiency and effectiveness.
III. SPEAKER’S CREDENTIALS: As a chemistry major, I am interested in how nuclear power works. I have studied this issue somewhat in some of my chemistry classes, and have researched the subject further on my own.
IV. THESIS: My goal is to prove to you that nuclear power is a safe form of energy by refuting two of my opponents’ leading arguments: first, my opponents would have you believe that nuclear power plants are highly susceptible to nuclear meltdowns which threatens the health and safety of residents near and far; and second, my opponents would have you believe that nuclear power plants emit high levels of radiation which threaten the health and safety of nearby residents.
ORAL CITATIONS & VISUAL AID CUES:
I. OPPONENT’S REASON #1: First, my opponents would have you believe that nuclear power plants are highly susceptible to nuclear meltdowns which threaten the health and safety of residents near and far.
A. This belief is an example of a hasty generalization in that there is an insufficient amount of data to support such an argument.
B. On the contrary, a majority of evidence supports the fact that there is a very minute chance of a full-blown meltdown.
1. It is estimated that there is more than one in a million chance of a nuclear meltdown actually occurring.
2. Even if a nuclear meltdown did occur, the effects would not be as devastating as believed; there would be no detectable deaths in 98 out of 100 meltdowns
3. If one were to investigate the Chernobyl accident, they would find that the total projected collective radiation does received by the world’s population as a result of the Chernobyl accident will be less than 6% of the collective doses being received by the same population each year from natural resources.
4. Meltdowns, like Chernobyl, have occurred in less than ½% of the time.
C. Therefore, nuclear power plants are highly unlikely to experience a meltdown; and when and if a meltdown does occur, deaths are rare and the effects of radiation exposure are minimal.
D. Thus, my opponents’ argument is “a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing,” as the great literary master, William Shakespeare, penned in his famous play Hamlet.
E. In fact, nuclear power plants cause even less deaths than our coal-fired power plants which the U.S. depends on for much of its energy production.
1. There is solid statistical evidence to support this contention.
2. Allow me to present my research.
a. There is a 1 in 10,000 chance of a boiler explosion in a coal-fired plant versus a 1 in a million chance of a meltdown in a nuclear power plant.
b. Also there are detectible deaths in 75 out of 100 coal-fired plant boiler explosions.
c. That is, if a nuclear meltdown and a boiler explosion occurred tomorrow, it would be more likely for deaths to result from the boiler explosion.
3. Therefore, nuclear power actually causes fewer fatalities than our coal-fired power plants, although we believe coal plants are much safer.
4. This is an example of a misperception similar to that of the religious and political leaders of Galileo’s time. Even though Galileo had proved that the earth was round, the leaders from the religious and political sects of the time insisted that it was flat. Today we find it incredulous to believe that there was a time when people didn’t believe that the earth was round. Similarly, perhaps one day nuclear power will be so obviously safe and efficient that people will no longer fret a meltdown. And perhaps they will even see that coal-fired power plants cause more fatalities than nuclear plants.
(Overhead projector with 1st reason revealed).