Speeches can be very scary to give, especially in front of a large crowd of people you don’t know. The good thing about taking a speech class at Penn State Greater Allegheny is that the class size is smaller, so the audience is smaller. At the same time, the class is just big enough for anyone to forget your speech if you think you did poorly. To help you prepare for a speech class, here are the 5 types of speeches you should think about when taking CAS 100A:

1. Introductory Speech

The introductory speech is the first speech of the semester, and all you have to do is introduce a topic about yourself. This gives the audience and the teacher an idea of who you are and how you speak. Introduce anything about you and your life (interests, character, beliefs, etc.). For most beginning speakers, this is a chance to just get up there and see what it’s like. Just getting up there is the first step.

2. Debate

This is the type of speech where you need to persuade your audience to have some sort of judgment about an issue of your choice. Select a debatable value, policy, or fact, and research it carefully. You should have facts, main points, supportive information, counterargument, and significance about your topic. Talk about an issue and why it matters that we solve it.

3. Epideictic Speech

This speech requires you to pick either a vice or virtue about a person. You can praise someone for the great person they have been, or you can blame someone for their shameful wrongdoing. This speech is all about passion, whether you passionately admire someone or passionately despise them. This speech is really meant for you to have fun. You can also choose your own approach and style, whether it be like a eulogy, wedding toast, roasting session, or anything else.

4. Multi-Media Presentation

You can choose any persuasive, researched argument for this speech. The main focus of this is how to deliver a speech while using a visual media. You can use PowerPoint, Prezi, or any presentation software you are familiar with. In class, you’ll learn about what makes a PowerPoint presentation good, and what makes it terrible. Feel free to have fun and add entertaining images.

5. Short Speech

You will be expected to give a few short speeches throughout the semester. This is your chance to talk about absolutely anything you want to talk about. This is a fun one because there are no real requirements or research needed. Short speeches give you a chance to practice public speaking without needing to read off a paper. Speaking without looking at a piece of paper is a huge step toward confident speeches.

While public speaking can come off as intimidating, CAS 100A gives you the resources you need to be able to confidently deliver a speech without too much anxiety. Speaking in front of other students who are just like you is a great way to practice for when you need to speak in front of strangers. If all else fails, do the “imagine everyone in their underwear” trick. Have fun and good luck!


Tess Fukuyama

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