Speech Writers and Speakers: A Speaker’s Comfort Zone   Leave a comment

There are numerous ways to get speakers comfortable with working with manuscripts. The first would be to have them face the fact that everyone has fears of public speaking, for instance butterflies in their stomach, sweaty palms, etc., and as Helen Keller commented, “It’s OK to have butterflies in your stomach. Just get them to fly in formation.”[1] Communication apprehension affects many people as Richmond and McCroskey (1992) reported, “95% of Americans surveyed said they had some degree of anxiety about communication.” (Wood, 2009, 406). If you think about it this may actually enhance one’s ability to give a speech as the adrenaline is pumping and therefore making the individual more focused and alert creating a sense of energy. Visualization may also help the speaker become more comfortable beginning with a few people they know and gradually adding people in a crowd. There is an old cliché that stated, “Just think of the crowd naked” which should help ease one’s tension and stress.

            In my opinion,  a manuscript is written for a speaker so he/she may read it read word for word and it is also meant to guide them so certain words and key phrases of importance will not be forgotten. As Wood (2009) stated, “Official declarations, diplomatic agreements, and formal press statements are examples of contexts in which manuscript speaking may be advisable” (p. 416). The drawbacks are the potential to lose their place and it makes it difficult for them to have eye contact with the audience.

           The speaker should become knowledgeable of his/her audience. This will in turn create a sense of confidence regarding what the speaker knows of the listeners for instance, what the subject means to them and why they are there in the first place. Perelman & Olbrechts-Tyteca (2008) described an audience in terms of their social concerns, “Among the sociological considerations of possible use to an orator are those bearing on a very definite matter: the social functions exercised by his listeners (p.21).

            As a speech writer one might create an outline with specific information beginning with an introduction and a preview of the main points to be touched upon. This would be followed by the main points incorporating sources, statistical materials and signposts such as, certain words and repetition. The next phase would be a point of transition leading to a summary or a conclusion that would be written as a synopsis of the points given with an ending of a memorable comment, quote or statement.

            Also, suggest that the speaker read the manuscript and practice it a couple of times standing up to get familiar with its contents while also preparing their tone, body language, posture, facial expressions, timing and where to pause when necessary. The speaker’s appearance should match the listener’s to create a common ground creating another level of comfort.

            In utilizing the manuscript style of speaking different elements must first come into play for instance, the researching, preparing, organizing, outlining, writing in full text and practicing is completed prior to memorizing a speech (para 416). Although, memorizing may seem like a good idea there are disadvantages for example, forgetting a crucial message that needed to be brought to the audience’s attention, the loss of spontaneity and the not so positive affect of the delivery of their speech.


Perelman, C. & Olbrechts-Tyteca, L. (2008). The new rhetoric: a treatise on argumentation. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.

Wood, J. T. (2009). Communication in our lives. Boston: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning. Retrieved February 8, 2011, from http://books.google.com/books?id=9EMQPX-PI1wC&pg=PA417&lpg=PA417&dq=good+ways+to+get+speakers+comfortable+with+            working+with+manuscripts&source=bl&ots=BpWD22-BAh&sig=rwh1gjrRdtFqjOiRZF0ggEiKtIY&hl=en&ei=fdpRTfCSFsK_tgeO-            byfCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CBoQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

[1] http://hubpages.com/hub/Uplifting-Quotes-Page-7



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: