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ethical, then listeners must play the critical and constructive roles we discuss further

in Chapter 4.

When one reflects upon it, playing an honorable role as speaker and listener is

a small price to pay for the cornucopia of benefits described in this chapter. At the

outset, therefore, we offer a toast: Here s to a successful adventure as you develop

into a public speaker!

Public Speaking, Eighth Edition, by Michael Osborn, Suzanne Osborn and Randall Osborn. Published by Allyn & Bacon.

Copyright 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc.

(7) How did listeners respond, both during

and after the speech?

(8) Did the setting have any impact on the


(9) Did the speech overcome interference to

achieve its goal?

(10) Did the speech promote identification

between speaker and listeners?

(11) Did the speaker demonstrate responsible

knowledge and an ethical use of communication


(12) Did listeners meet their responsibilities as

critical, constructive listeners?

At the end of the term, conclude what you have

learned about the ethics and effectiveness of

speech-making, and submit the record of your

observations and conclusions to your teacher.

5. The National Communication Association has

adopted a code of ethics concerning free expression.

As you read this code, think of a recent

political, religious, or social controversy in

which one or more of the principles affirmed

here was violated. Be prepared to report on

these violations in class.

Credo for Ethical Communication

Questions of right and wrong arise whenever people communicate. Ethical communication

is fundamental to responsible thinking, decision making, and the

development of relationships and communities within and across contexts, cultures,

channels, and media. Moreover, ethical communication enhances human worth

and dignity by fostering truthfulness, fairness, responsibility, personal integrity, and

respect for self and others. We believe that unethical communication threatens the

quality of all communication and consequently the well-being of individuals and

the society in which we live. Therefore we, the members of the National

Communication Association, endorse and are committed to practicing the following

principles of ethical communication.

I We advocate truthfulness, accuracy, honesty, and reason as essential to the

integrity of communication.

I We endorse freedom of expression, diversity of perspective, and tolerance of

dissent to achieve the informed and responsible decision making fundamental

to a civil society.

I We strive to understand and respect other communicators before evaluating

and responding to their messages.

I We promote access to communication resources and opportunities as necessary

to fulfill human potential and contribute to the well-being of families,

communities, and society.

I We promote communication climates of caring and mutual understanding

that respect the unique needs and characteristics of individual communicators.

I We condemn communication that degrades individuals and humanity

through distortion, intimidation, coercion, and violence and through the

expression of intolerance and hatred.

Public Speaking, Eighth Edition, by Michael Osborn, Suzanne Osborn and Randall Osborn. Published by Allyn & Bacon.

Copyright 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc.

I We are committed to the courageous expression of personal convictions in

pursuit of fairness and justice.

I We advocate sharing information, opinions, and feelings when facing significant

choices while also respecting privacy and confidentiality.

I We accept responsibility for the short- and long-term consequences for our

own communication and expect the same of others.22

Public Speaking, Eighth Edition, by Michael Osborn, Suzanne Osborn and Randall Osborn. Published by Allyn & Bacon.


rofessor, could I talk with you for a

few minutes? I m supposed to

graduate this semester, and I ve put

off taking this course until now. Well, actually, I

started it twice before and dropped it after the

first couple of classes. I ve got to make it through

this time or I won t graduate. But the idea of

speaking to a group makes me so nervous, I don t

think I can handle it. Everyone else seems more

confident than I am. Can you help me?


Public Speaking, Eighth Edition, by Michael Osborn, Suzanne Osborn and Randall Osborn. Published by Allyn & Bacon.

Copyright 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc.

26 Part One The Foundations of Public Speaking

Would it help to know you re not alone?

For years, survey after survey has placed

public speaking at or near the top of the

list of people s fears.1 Jerry Seinfeld once

observed that since most people prefer

death to public speaking, almost anyone

would rather be in the coffin than delivering

the eulogy at a funeral. For many of

us, however, this is no laughing matter.

The National Communication Association

recently commissioned the Roper

Starch polling organization to conduct a

nationwide survey to determine how

comfortable and effective people feel

communicating in different situations.2

Figure 2.1 shows that most of us are more

comfortable with one-on-one interactions

or talking on the phone than we are

with speaking up in meetings or giving a

speech. Indeed, most people are not comfortable

speaking up at a meeting, and

even more are not comfortable giving a

presentation or speech.

Almost all college students are

uncomfortable when they have to

address a class. International students and students from marginalized cultural

groups often have a great deal of apprehension. Once, when we were teaching a

public speaking course in summer school, a student confessed that she was enrolled

at another college but was taking the course with us so that if she didn t do well, it

wouldn t spoil her GPA and keep her out of medical school. Her fears were

unfounded. The text of her excellent first speech, My Three Cultures, has been a

staple in all previous editions of our text and is included in Appendix B.

Many celebrities also suffer from performance anxiety. Michael Jackson

delayed the start of the World Music Awards for 30 minutes because he was suffering

from stage fright. 3 Barbara Streisand, Sir Laurence Olivier, Kim Bassinger,

Joaquin Phoenix, and Nicole Kidman are reported to be fellow sufferers.4

Prominent sports figures also have such fears. Pro-golfer Annika Sorenstam was

so afraid of public speaking that she said there were times when she would intentionally

finish second to avoid giving a victory speech! 5

Your speech instructor may even have some communication anxiety, but you

probably won t be able to detect it. Even your authors have experienced this problem.

Here is their story:

A Confession

As college professors and authors, we have done a lot of speaking both in and out

of the classroom. Being the authors of a public speaking text puts even more pressure

on you. When you earn your bread and butter by telling others how to do

something, they expect you to be able to do it yourself and do it much better than

most other people. Even with all our experience, every time we face a new group

a class of undergraduates, citizens in community meetings, or our professional colleagues

at conventions we feel the burden of this pressure.





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