Document Type

New Directions for Public Speaking


The purpose of this paper is to explore the implications of two significant challenges that exist in Persuasive Speaking on the competitive circuit today: narrow topics and overly formulaic patterns of organization. I've elected to focus my paper on the event alternately known in intercollegiate forensics as Persuasive Speaking, Persuasion, and/or Oratory. For purposes of this paper, I use these three different labels interchangeably; my use of one label or another does not indicate concerns about or allegiance to a particular forensic organization that may use a given title for the event. For clarity, it is important to note that when I capitalize the terms (e.g. Persuasive Speaking or Persuasion), I am referring to a particular competitive event; when I do not capitalize the terms (e.g. persuasive speaking or persuasion), I am referring to the art and practice of persuasion, the body of theory and concepts, and other research that comprises the study of persuasion as put forth by scholars in communication and other disciplines across the academy.

The difficulties I see stemming from the conventions of competition are not unique to Persuasive Speaking. In fact, problems of a similar nature no doubt exist in other public address events featured in forensic competition. This paper will address Persuasion alone, however, in an effort to illuminate the problem in a focused fashion, thus providing a touchstone for exploring the same problem in other public speaking events. More importantly, this paper serves as a follow up to concerns raised about Persuasive Speaking at the Second National Developmental Conference on Individual Events held in 1990 in Denver, Colorado. Thus, I provide this as an exploration of where we are going, and where we have been with regard to Persuasive Speaking.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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