Monday, March 09, 2009

Analysis Of A Speech

My friend Loopy (Paul) has decided that he needed to add an addendum to his Guest Blog that was posted yesterday. As I have said before, for an Old Fart he is still as sharp as a needle.

Loopy's Addendum:

When listening to a speaker, what do you hear? Do you hear the words behind the words? Politicians in particular have a case to make for or against a subject, a political position, or a pending piece of legislation. They must bring as many of their listeners to an acceptance and, hopefully, a belief in their position. How do they do this and how do we, the public, evaluate intelligently what they are saying?

The following steps were part of my college class taught by that wonderful professor whose name I still can't remember. These questions should be asked and answered by each listener.


Analysis of a Speech

1. Does the speaker show two-valued or multi-valued orientation?
In other words, is the speaker using a plus/minus, good/bad, orientation in the speech or are there layers within the speech that span an entire spectrum of thought and ideas.

2. Are facts presented? Are they slanted?
This point speaks for itself. If facts are presented, does the speaker use loaded words to twist the facts to support his position or tear down his opponent's position?

3. Is the language directive or informative?
Are you as a listener being verbally pushed into accepting a position that you would normally not accept?

4. What are the goals of the speaker?
Know the background of the issues and the speaker. What does he have to gain or lose by his style of presentation?

5. How many devices of propaganda does he use?
This takes you back to the previous blog where the devices of propaganda are discussed.

6. What is the context of the language?
Is it physical or verbal?

7. What will be the consequence?
The end result of acceptance or rejection of the position of the speaker.

8. Does he distinguish between observation, inferences and judgment?
The difference between what is truth, what he thinks is truth, and what he wants truth to be.

9. Where is he on the abstraction ladder?
As explained by that great semantician, Dr. S. I. Hiyakawa. Does he speak about the herd or does he bring the abstractions down to the level of cow number one and cow number two?

10. What words used in the speech need definition?
Does the speaker misuse these words? Don't be afraid to look up words used in the speech that you don't understand.


These are all little tricks to enable the average person to feel a sense of empowerment in their ability to choose who to accept or reject in the world of politics, business, and especially in our current environment of economic chaos. When the leaders of the big banks, insurance companies, investment firms, and multi-level conglomerates issue statements about their strength, safety, future plans, and past history, make sure that you understand what they are actually saying. This way you may also gain an understanding of what they've done.

Posted by Loopy

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10 Comments:

Blogger alfredo_tomato said...

I remember how people hung on Greenspan's every word, because his words were carefully chosen.

Of course now, he has admitted he was wrong.


BTW, I love watching speeches, but I am more interested in the poetry of the speech and delivery.

Mon Mar 09, 11:28:00 PM  
Blogger alfredo_tomato said...

Loopy, Find a recent speech and analyze it. Show the points you discussed in past posts.

Tue Mar 10, 10:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So many speeches,so little time.
I prefer pictures.

Buck

Wed Mar 11, 09:01:00 AM  
Blogger alfredo_tomato said...

Yeah, but what kind of pictures?

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