COMM 110 Week 1 Worksheet

Public Speaking Basics




Answer each of the following questions in complete sentences using at least 50 words.



  1. What is the value in learning about public speaking and effective communication? In what ways might you use public speaking in your personal life and career?

Public speaking is a valuable skill because it provides a person with the ability to communicate ideas to larger audiences. This may not appear to be valuable to a person who does not speak in groups but there is almost some instance in everyone’s life in which they will need to present an idea to more than one person. For example, at work during meetings we sometimes have to express our ideas concerning topics.



  1. What are the basic elements of the speech communication process? Why are these elements important for presenting?

There are eight elements of the communication process which includes:

  1. Sender/Receiver
  2. Receiver/Sender
  3. Message
  4. Channel
  5. Feedback
  6. Noise
  7. Occasion
  8. Cultural Context (Makay, Butland & Mason, 2012).

These elements are important for presenting because they determine how messages should be designed. For instance, if the receiver or audience is not considered when creating a presentation then the message could be lost if it is designed without an understanding of the audience such as giving a scientific lecture to a group of high school student one needs to be aware of the audience ability to comprehend.

  1. What are the guidelines for ethical speaking and presenting? Why is important to consider ethics when presenting?

There are three guidelines for ethical speaking and presenting which include:

  • Recognize the power of the podium
  • Speak truthfully
  • Become information literate (Makay, Butland & Mason, 2012)

It is important to consider these guidelines when presenting because they reinforce behaviors that are non-offensive and reduce the risk of loss of credibility. By following these guidelines it is less likely that a person will offend the audience or misuse the power of the podium for personal motives.

  1. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 equaling love it and 10 equaling hate it, rate your feelings about speaking in front of groups. Explain your reasons for this rating, including any previous experiences you have had with public speaking.

I would rate myself in the area of 5 because I do not hate speaking in front of groups but I do not enjoy it either. Most of the speaking that I have to do is for meetings at work and it is generally a room of about ten people. These presentations are typically focused on presenting information rather than persuading the audience.

  1. Why is it normal and even desirable to be nervous at the start of a speech?

It is normal to be nervous when speaking in public because most conversations are one to one or interpersonal in nature. Most people do not speak in front of groups and when they need to it can be a nervous situation.  This nervousness is also likely to be caused by the fact that the presenter needs to successfully convey an idea which places pressure on the situation. This can be a positive thing because it forces the presenter to be prepared.

  1. From your experience, how have you been able to identify when a speaker is nervous? What are the signs of speech anxiety?

I have seen nervous speakers and I identify their nervousness with stammering, fidgeting, and appearing to be lost when moving through their presentation. They will often use expressions like “um” or other interjections repeatedly.  I have also seen people rush through a presentation in an effort to get done as quickly as possible.

  1. What methods can you use to control speech anxiety?

Practice is the best method of controlling speech anxiety. If a person practices their presentation multiple times and they know the information thoroughly then they will be better able to communicate the information.  When people rely heavily on the speakers notes they often sound robotic. It is also helpful to know the information intimately in order to respond properly to a question and answer section.