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All Places > The Communication COMMunity > Blog > 2019 > December

     Speak Up! employs various means to connect with students, including real-life speech examples and hundreds of hand-drawn illustrations that bring public speaking concepts to life with clarity and humor. The fifth edition of Speak Up!, newly published this year, includes a new “Speech Choices” case study feature to help students understand and relate to the concepts and principles behind speech preparation.


      This feature presents a case study of one student, Rafaela, as she prepares for her persuasive speech assignment. In our book, we explain the speech preparation process to students as a series of manageable steps.  At each stage, we discuss how students can make smart choices that will help them craft and deliver a successful speech. The Speech Choices feature follows Rafaela as she considers and makes these decisions throughout the preparation of her speech.


      Since the feature appears at the end of most chapters in the book, the boxes help students review the concepts of each chapter. They see the choices that Rafaela is faced with, and follow her as she uses the principles discussed in the chapter to make her decision. For example, in Chapter 5 on Audience Analysis, Rafaela considers how to make her speech about women running for office relevant to the men in her class. She ultimately decides to employ one of the methods recommended in the chapter, interviewing your audience, to get their perspective and incorporate that perspective into her speech. And in Chapter 7 on Evidence, Rafaela finds that she needs to check the credibility of her Internet sources.



     The Speech Choices boxes include questions at the end, asking the students what they thought about Rafaela’s decision and a question about how they will use the principles to develop their own speeches.  The latter question helps students make connections between what they have read in the book and their own speech preparation. One typical use of these questions is to have students discuss the questions as a class or while working in groups. Students could also answer these questions for a short homework assignment, and even cite principles from the chapter that they used as the basis of their answer for even deeper understanding. This provides an alternative to quizzing students to see if they did the reading assignment and provides instructors with another way to determine what students have learned.


     After following the various steps that Rafael has taken in her speech preparation, students can see the complete, annotated outline of Rafaela’s speech in the appendix. This can be used to show students an example of a completed preparation outline and give them a model as they prepare their own outlines. They could also watch a video of Rafaela’s full speech, which is available in LaunchPad.  Students can see how all her work and all the choices she made culminated in her final presentation. This video can also be used as a sample persuasion speech or as a speech to spark student discussion. There are sample questions and answers provided, or instructors can create their own questions. Finally, there are video clips of segments of Rafaela’s speech that did not go well as she was practicing. These can be used to show students problems that speakers sometimes encounter. There are also sample questions and answers for these clips.


     The new Speech Choices feature in Speak Up! adds another tool to your public speaking toolbox. Whether you use the features in the text, the videos in LaunchPad, or both, Speech Choices provides a way to help students follow the development of a speech and consider how they can use textbook concepts to prepare their own speeches.



Douglas M. Fraleigh is a professor and chair of the Department of Communication at California State University, Fresno and serves on the faculty of the university’s Smittcamp Family Honors College. He has taught public speaking courses throughout his career and also coached intercollegiate speech and debate at CSU Fresno, UC Berkeley, Cornell, and CSU Sacramento. His research interests include freedom of speech, argumentation, and legal communication. For more information about Speak Up!, please visit our website at