Katie Gruber

Abstract word word that refers to ideas or concepts that are removed from material reality

Academic book book that is primarily written for other academics for informational and research purposes

Accent the degree of prominence in the way syllables are spoken in words

(Speech of) Acceptance a speech given by the recipient of a prize or honor

After-dinner speech a humorous speech that makes a serious point

Analogy a comparison between two things, typically establishing a connection between something that is known and something that is unknown

Appreciative listening when we listen for pleasure or enjoyment, such as when we are tuning our attention to a song we like, or a poetry reading, or actors in a play, or sitcom antics on television

Argument the reason(s) for supporting the specific purpose statement

Articulation how well and correctly vowels and consonants are formed, using the lips, jaw, tongue, and palate to form the sounds that are identified as speech; also known as diction or enunciation


Backing provides foundational support for the claim by offering examples, statistics, testimony, or other information which further substantiates the argument

Biographical organizational speech pattern generally used to describe a person’s life; used for informative speaking

Body language Body stance, gestures and facial expressions; also components of voice changes; also known as nonverbal behaviors

Brainstorming the process and practice of searching to find ideas or information, generating ideas to overcome a barrier or confront a problem


Causal organizational speech pattern used to explain cause-and-effect relationships

Causal reasoning examines related events to determine which one caused the other

Channel the means through which the message travels from sender to receiver

Chronological organizational speech pattern placing main ideas in time order

Chunking taking smaller chunks of information and putting them together with like chunks to create more fully developed chunks of information

Claim an assertion that you want the audience to accept

Coercion a process whereby thoughts or behaviors are altered

Cognitive dissonance when we are confronted with conflicting information or viewpoints, we reach a state of dissonance, or tension between ideas and beliefs

Cognitive restructuring changing how you label the physiological responses you will experience prior to delivering a speech

Color palette the group of colors used throughout presentation aid slides

Commemorative speech paying tribute to someone by publicly honoring, remembering, or memorializing

Communicator all of the people in the interaction or speech setting

Competence the degree to which a speaker is perceived to be knowledgeable or expert in a given subject by an audience member

Comprehensive listening focused on gaining information or comprehension, whether from a teacher in a classroom setting or a mentor at work

Concrete word a word that describes a tangible object that can be perceived through the senses

Connotative meaning the idea suggested by or associated with a word

Context the norms that govern communication in different situations and relationships; setting or situation helps to establish context

Conversant the condition of being prepared to discuss an issue intelligently, but not overly concerned with specific wording

Creative Commons License licensing which allows others to use work, but with specific restrictions; what is and isn’t allowed is described in the license for each image or text content

Critical listening attending to key points that influence or confirm our judgments, such as when we are at a political event, attending a debate, or enduring a salesperson touting the benefits of various brands of a product

Critical thinking decision-making based on evaluating and critiquing information


Data the preliminary evidence on which a claim is based

Decoding listening to words, thinking about them, and turning those words into mental images

(Speech of) Dedication designed to highlight the importance of a project and possibly those to whom the project has been dedicated

Deductive reasoning moving from a general principle to a claim regarding a specific instance

Denotative meaning the specific meaning associated with a word, generally determined by dictionary definitions

Dialect a variety of language where one is distinguished from others by grammar and vocabulary

Direct quote any sentence or string of sentences that conveys an author’s idea word-for-word

Diversity an appreciation for differences among individuals and groups


Empathetic listening providing support or empathy, such as what therapists, counselors, and conflict mediators do; also called relational listening

Encoding the process of taking an idea or mental image, associating that image with words, and then speaking those words in order to convey a message

Encyclopedias reference materials that provide short, very general information about a topic

Ethical feedback a descriptive and explanatory response to the speaker

Ethical listener one who actively interprets shared material and analyzes the content and speaker’s effectiveness, demonstrating attention and consideration of the content and delivery of the message

Ethics making decisions about right and wrong within a dilemma

Ethos appeals to credibility when attempting to persuade, coming from the Greek words closely relate to ethical and ethnic; composed of the speaker’s competence and character

Eulogy a speech given in honor of someone who has passed away

Example a specific instance of something occuring; a situation, problem, or story designed to help illustrate a principle, method or phenomenon

Exploratory research encompasses brainstorming strategies that spark curiosity

Extemporaneous speaking the presentation of a carefully planned and rehearsed speech, spoken in a conversational manner using brief notes


Fallacies errors in reasoning that occur when a speaker fails to use appropriate or applicable evidence for their argument

(Speech of) Farewell allows speakers to say good-bye to one part of their lives as they are moving on to the next part

Feedback the information we gain from observations during communication

Frame of reference the overall framework through which an individual sees, thinks about, and interprets the world and interacts with it


Global plagiarism when a speaker presents a speech in its entirety that is not his or her own work; the most obvious form of plagiarism

Goodwill the degree to which an audience member perceives a speaker as caring about the audience member


Hate language isolates a particular person or group in a derogatory manner

Hearing a physiological response to sound waves moving through the air


Imagery the use of language to represent objects, actions, or ideas

Impromptu speaking the presentation of a short message without advance preparation

Incremental plagiarism when most of the speech is the speaker’s original work, but quotes or other information have been used without being cited

Inductive reasoning moves from specific examples to a more general claim

Inflections variations, turns and slides in pitch to achieve the meaning

Information overload when a person feels that they are faced with an overwhelming amount of information, with the effect that they are unable to process it all or unable to make decisions

Interlibrary loan a process whereby librarians are able to search other libraries to locate book(s) a researcher is trying to locate

Internal preview a phrase or sentence that gives an audience an idea of what is to come within a section of a speech

Internal summary reminds an audience of what they have just heard within a speech; a review of previous information

Intrinsic motivation appealing to the curiosity of listeners, challenging them, or providing contextualization; for its own sake or worth

(Speech of) Introduction a mini speech given by the host of a ceremony that introduces another speaker


Keynote address a speech focused on a key theme or idea—generally defined by the event or occasion— with the purpose of unification


Listening a 5-step process requiring you to pay conscious attention to the speaker

Logos appeals to logic and reasoning when attempting to persuade; the logical means of proving an argument


Main points the key ideas presented by a speaker to enable the speech to accomplish its specific purpose

Manuscript speaking the word-for-word iteration of a written message

Mean the arithmetic average from a data set; equal to the sum of the values divided by the number of values

Median described as the numerical value separating the higher half of a sample, a population, or a probability distribution, from the lower half

Memorized speaking reciting a written message that the speaker has committed to memory

Message the verbal and nonverbal behaviors, enacted by communicators, that are interpreted with meaning by others

Metaphors comparisons made by speaking of one thing in terms of another; a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable

Mind map a visual tool that allows you to chart and expand key topic ideas or concepts

Mode the value that appears the most often in a data set

Monotone not using inflection, or use a range of pitch, when speaking

Morality the process of discerning between right and wrong


Noise anything that interferes with message transmission or reception

Nonverbal behavior Body stance, gestures and facial expressions; also components of voice changes; also known as body language


Outlines textual arrangements of all the various elements of a speech; a common way to organize a speech before it is delivered


Paraphrase a sentence or string of sentences that shares learned information in the words of the speaker; not a direct quote

Patchwork plagiarism when one “patches” together bits and pieces from one or more sources and represents the end result as his or her own

Pecha Kucha a method of presenting using a slide deck of 20 slides that display for 20 seconds per slide, advancing automatically, and generally containing no text

Plagiarism passing off another’s work as your own or neglecting to cite the source for your information

Pathos appealing to emotions when attempting to persuade; draws on the emotions, sympathies, and prejudices of the audience to appeal to their non-rational side

Personal inventory a process of tracking ideas, insights, or topics that you have experience with or interest in

Persuasion the process of creating, reinforcing, or changing people’s beliefs or actions

Pitch the “highness” or “lowness” of the voice

Pixelation enlarging photos to the point that the image becomes blurry, caused by low resolution

Preparation outline a working, practice, or rough outline; used to work through the various components of the speech in an inventive format

(Speech of) Presentation a brief speech given to accompany a prize or honor

Prezi a digital presentation software that breaks away from the standard slide deck presentation model and requires users to plot out themes before adding primarily image-focused content

Problem-Cause-Solution organizational speech pattern which describes a problem, identifies what is causing the problem, and a solution to correct the problem

Projection volume produced by the vocal instrument

Pronunciation how the vowels and consonants are produced as well as which syllable is emphasized in a word

Propaganda biased or misleading information that promotes a particular agenda

Public controversies community disputes that affect a large number of people


Regionalism a type of expression common to a specific area

Research the process of discovering new knowledge and investigating a topic from different points of view

Research log a step-by-step process of identifying, obtaining, and evaluating sources for a specific project, in order to keep track of what you have read thus far

Rhetoric the study of what is persuasive; the study and art of effective speaking

Rhetorical appeals appeals to persuade – ethos, pathos, and logos

Rhetorical questions designed to allow the speaker to get the audience to think about the topic without actually speaking the answer to the question

Rhythm the patterned, recurring variance of elements of sound or speech

Roast a speech designed to both praise and good-naturedly insult a person being honored

Rule of thirds technique to enhance the interest and quality of a photo, by dividing the screen using two imaginary lines horizontally and two vertically; the most visually interesting and pleasing portions of the screen will be at the points where the lines intersect


Selective recall selectively attending to, perceiving, and recalling information that supports our existing viewpoints

Signpost short phrases at the beginning of a piece of information in a speech to guide the audience through the content of a speech

Simile a figure of speech in which two unlike things are explicitly compared, using “like” or “as”

Slide deck slideware composed of individual slides; a de facto standard for presentation visual aids

Spatial organizational pattern arranging main points according to how things fit together in physical space

Speaking outline the outline prepared for use when delivering a speech; more succinct version of the preparation outline, including brief phrases or words that remind the speakers of the points they need to make

Specific purpose statement builds on the general purpose (such as to inform) and makes it more specific; essentially the topic of the speech

Statistics a systematic collection of data on measurements or observations, often related to demographic information such as population counts, incomes, population counts at different ages


Target audience individuals who are willing to listen to the argument despite disagreeing, having limited knowledge, or lacking experience with advocacy position

Testimony a statement or endorsement given by someone who has a logical connection to the topic and who is a credible source; typically used to either clarify or prove a point and is often used by referring to the research of experts

Textbooks books that are written about a segment of content within a field of academic study and are written for undergraduate or graduate student audiences; very specifically focused

Thesis statement a single, declarative statement that outlines the purpose and main ideas of your speech

Toast a speech designed to congratulate, appreciate, or remember

Topical organizational pattern arranging the main points of a speech by sub-topics; the most common pattern for organizing a speech

Transition a phrase or sentence that indicates that a speaker is moving from one main point to another main point in a speech

Trustworthiness the degree to which an audience member perceives a speaker as honest


Vivid language helps listeners create strong, distinct, clear, and memorable mental images using use of imagery and rhythm

Vocalized pauses pauses that are filled with “uh’s, “um’s,” etc.; also called fillers


Warrant an often or typically unstated general connection

Watermark text or logo that is placed on a digital image to prevent people from re-using it

White space leaving empty space on presentation aids, which gives breathing room to the design


Z pattern a pattern for presentation aid images, where audience members start in the upper left of the screen and then read in a “Z”, exiting the page in the bottom right corner; creates visual interest


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Principles of Public Speaking Copyright © 2022 by Katie Gruber is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book