Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Teaching the First Pre-Speaking & Pre-Writing Block

Pre-Speaking or Pre-Writing Block


Whenever we communicate—whether it be through speaking or writing--we do so in real time for a real purpose and for a real audience. Prior to this communication, we need to consider our purpose and that audience. This pre-speaking/prewriting block is intended to assist us in developing and constructing a strong message.

  1. GENERAL PURPOSE (GP): to+_________________
    (one verb)

    (possible examples: to inform, to persuade, to convince, to teach, to introduce, to demonstrate, to motivate, to inspire)
  2. SPECIFIC PURPOSE (SP): I will _______________THE AUDIENCE THAT/TO
    (GP Verb)
    _________________________________________________ SO THAT THE
    (subject and opinion of subject=thesis base)
    AUDIENCE WILL______________________________________________.
    (short explanation of the audience action or
    thought that you desire=actuation)

    Examples of this in speeches might look like any of the following:

    I will convince (GP verb) the audience that year round school is a bad idea (thesis base) so that the audience will attend the next school board meeting and help me oppose the idea and sign my petition against it (actuation).

    I will motivate (GP verb) the audience to purchase the amazing and inexpensive new Zingmaster 3000 (thesis base) so that the audience will buy one or consider buying one (actuation).

    I will inform (GP verb) the audience that school pride at Lewis Central needs to be improved (thesis base) so that the audience will show more school spirit at all school events (actuation).
    I will inspire (GP verb) the audience to spend their extra time in the worthwhile activity of volunteerism (thesis base) so that the audience will look for a worthwhile charitable organization to donate his/her time (acutation).

  3. AUDIENCE ANALYSIS STATEMENT: Several (at least three) sentences that analyze your audience and predict your success or failure in accomplishing your goal. Predict what the audience thinks of the subject and how they will react to the speech and/or your opinion of the speech. In the advanced stages of AAS you will need to consider the “simulated audience” that you are assigned to speak. This may include clients in a Sales Speech or a community forum including parents, students, teachers, administrators and school board members in the Opinion Speech. Different audiences require us to construct our messages differently. Consider these questions. You don’t have to answer all of them but should consider these questions, people’s “filters of perception” when analyzing your audience.

    What does this audience think of this topic;
    How will the audience react to the information in my speech;
    How is it that I will accomplish my GP & my SP
    What might get in the way of me accomplishing my goals;
    What prejudices, biases, filters or previous experiences might get in the way of the audience agreeing with me.

    Examples of this might look like the following:

    I believe that this audience believes that school spirit is pretty good at Lewis Central High School. However, when I share examples with them that demonstrate the behaviors of students at LC during concerts, plays and some athletic events that they will understand that they should support the students who try to represent our school with pride. Some students who show great school spirit can find some value in this speech by having an influence on their friends. Students who are unattached to our school in terms of competitions, performances and pep rallies need to understand that these activities are a positive reflection on all of us. Hopefully, after hearing about the time and commitment that their fellow students demonstrate in these activities they will be inspired to demonstrate more school spirit.

    I believe that this audience believes that year-round school is a bad idea because they really don't understand the idea. By informing students that year round school actually has as many days off as our current calendar, students might reconsider their opinion. I also think that the research that I share with them will prove to them that year-round school will improve their learning, their skills and make them more competitivie for scholarships, boost their ACT scores and improve retention The major prejudice that students have with this topic is that they enjoy the long break at summer. However, several breaks during the school year will be really appealing to some of them. Getting them to reconsider their opinion on this topic is really what I'm out to achieve.
    © Thomas V. McLaughlin Jr., 2006--for permission to use this document for purposes other than classes taken with Mr. McLaughlin, please contact Mr. McLaughlin at or