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.”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.
Thank you for inviting me to this glorious occasion. Graduates, proud parents, esteemed faculty, friends and family I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from the best university in the world.
Look at you.
You made it.
Congratulations! (Pause) (Clap Hands)
You have PROVEN yourselves as students who searched for knowledge.
And today we celebrate that hunger and drive.
As I look out on this crowd,
it is both humbling and inspiring.
I see the future before me in your eyes. (Point to audience)
You are one step closer to your dreams,
to your career moves
and new lives.
Today really is the FIRST day of the REST of your life.
I too am a graduate of Empire State College as was my mother.
the one person who was and always will be very dear to me,
While in my speechwriting class, I was asked to write a eulogy. I loved the description it went something like: You can write a eulogy for a dead person, an alive person, on yourself, but, no animals. Anyway, I chose my mother. I never had to chance to speak these words from my heart.
For those of you who don’t know me, let me introduce myself. I’m Tracy Danelle, Sheila’s only child. Or as mom would tell the world, “I did it once and I did it right.” It is a dark day for many as it is for me. I have spent four, soul searching days trying to find the words, to write them, while finding the courage to speak them on this day. I have my eulogoly in hand, but these words come from my heart.
Today we should not shed tears. Today we should not use a box of kleenex. Today we are here to celebrate and reflect on life. A life that has been very dear to me, my mother’s life. She would not wanto us to cry her a river, but to learn how to sail on it.
My mother’s essence was filled with an abundance of love, courage and humanity. Sheila’s heart was of a saint as she applied herself to helping others. Those who were close to my mom could feel the radiance of love and dedication deep within her soul. It encircled her clients, friends and family.
I can recall a statement she made that went something like, “I have always been a dedicated supporter of anti-poverty programs. Whether paid or not, change must come, to serve community needs.” Mom began the first runaway shelter in Pennsylvania, Sanctuary House, implemented life skills programs for youths and job training projects. As a mother, social worker, journalist, photographer, counselor, poet, grants writer, as well as working with ex-offenders, street gangs, and delinquents, Sheila has enriched many lives.
Sheila Ann Jobe was born in Wisconsin in 1944 and was raised in an elite environment of the rich and famous.
When she was 17 and a recent graduate from high school her parents arranged for her to be married. Mom married a Navy man who had a woman in every port. Nine months later I was born. We traveled from state to state never staying more than six months to a year. When the pressure became too much, mom and dad divorced in 1968. I was four years old. It was then she became the black sheep of the family. Sheila had been disowned by the only family she knew. We traveled from state to state as mom tried to support us. It was through her trials and tribulations that she found the courage to persevere. All that she knew was that motherhood had not been anything like the stories told to her. As time went on it was the holidays that she missed and cherished most with her family.
(Mom: bottom left)
With all of her family and money gone, she found herself a single parent. She was working two jobs as a manager at local bars in California. We were surrounded not only by straight people but, gays, lesbians, and I can’t forget those drag queens.
And that is where I leaned about diversity and acceptance. To accept people for who they are not what they are.
My mother always followed her heart. Married once, to my father, twice, second husband and thrice. In 1973 mom married a woman with five children. It was a gay Rabbi in New York City who pronounced them wife and wife. It was a moment that warmed my heart as I watched love blossom before my eyes. We laughed then we cried during the ceremony. The marriage only lasted two years, but the memories of my mother’s happiness lasted a lifetime. Sheila finally found her true self.
She was a social worker for 20 years and loved by all of her clients. Everyone called her, “Mom.” Sheila had worked for different agencies and even in Ryker’s Island, New York City’s jail facility counseling inmates. Sheila worked with street gangs in Harlem, New York. You could say mom was in the middle of the stereotypical members who would kill for $10 bucks and the bloody massacres of street gang wars. These kids would do anything to survive and I do mean anything. Not only was mom able to help those disadvantaged youths who wanted to better themselves but, also gave love to each and every one that crossed her path. She guided them to a better place, a safer place, a place of hope.
One moment in time enhanced our lives forever when she was employed at Woodycrest, a home for neglected children, homeless children. It was there that she befriended a young African American boy about to turn 18. He had been sent there for juvenile protection. It was a cold place, but at least he had a roof over his head and food to eat. It was state mandated that once reaching the legal age that the child now adult be given $50.00 and told to go and face the world, on his own, alone.
I was 13 years old and we lived in upstate New York in the Hudson County Valley area when my mother came home with the news. “I have been counseling a young man who was going to be placed out into the cruel world without any help. I wanted you to know that there will always be people in need, but if I could help just one of them…” she said. My mother had a heart of a saint. Sheila opened up our home to a lost soul. It wasn’t soon after he moved in that I realized I had found the brother I never had.
Sheila’s heart shinned through during the holidays. Holidays meant a lot to my mother especially Thanksgiving. We would cook all day and then go out into the night. Driving through Greenpoint, Brooklyn looking for homeless people on the streets. We invited them home for dinner. I remember her words, “No one should be alone on Thanksgiving. And everyone takes a doggy bag with them.”
Sheila had a heart of a saint. But few knew of my mother’s physical hardships. At 34 she had a hysterectomy and was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer and severe diabetes. Then told, “You have six months to live.” My mother proved them wrong and lived twenty eight years longer than expected. She was in an almost fatal car accident and was told walking was out of the question. My mom proved them wrong after six months.
She had a strong will and resilience but, it is her zest for life, search for knowledge and the love of mankind that will live on through all of us. She has touched us deeply.
While going through my mother’s belongings a few days after passing over, I came across a poem she had written right after being diagnosed with Cancer. I would like to share it with you now.
But Ms., Dying isn’t my fear…
One day after surgery
ah yes, the pain still lingers
one day after surgery a kindly
social worker came in to ask:
Are you afraid of dying?
Pressing the issue, ever demanding
my strength, my last blood,
Let’s talk about dying, you’ll feel
so much better, dear.
Dying? What a queer subject
when one is supposedly recovering.
The contradiction of will and reality.
I’m overcome, Ms., please leave.
She stayed on,
ghoulishly awaiting a cathartic breath, a sentence she
could transcribe into: service.
You want to serve me, and not waste
an ounce of your precious education
then serve me.
Teach me to live with the knowledge of
Her face grimed. I cannot.
I was sent here to discuss dying,
To err is human. I learned this hard lesson the morning my mother passed over.
It was a dark and wintery night when the first call came in, probably around midnight and the nurse stated she was having some problems and was calling the doctor to confirm placing her on an IV bag. I should have jumped up that very minute. Not once in two months had they called me to tell me her status. I was half awake and half asleep…but that was no excuse. I didn’t rush down there to hold her hand. I didn’t get into the truck and speed over to the hospital to tell her I loved her. I just rolled over and went back to sleep. Two hours and seventeen minutes later the phone rang. My heart sank. The nurse on the other end said there was nothing they could do…she was gone.
I dropped the phone, speechless. I was hysterical, barely able to speak. To say the words, my mother passed over. My friend, confidant, sometimes worst enemy yet, the one who taught me about life, strength, courage and love in her own way, has left her earthly body.
I know she is here in spirit and I want her to know that you have not only inspired me but so many others along the journey of life. You taught us of the meaning of living. “Follow your heart”, you always said. Never again will I talk to my friend, confidant, sometimes worst enemy yet, the one who taught me about life, strength, courage and love. Never again will my mom call to me in the evening to tell me to turn the channel to the dog show competition or to call just to say I love you. They say, “Never say never because it will happen” and I believe it to be true because those vibrations go out into the universe. So, when I meet my mother in heaven, we will talk again. I will embrace mom as if one day has not passed.
You are my inspiration, my guiding light, my mother. You have touched the world with your heart and we thank you for you being you.
Mom always thought that I was the queen of clichés. That my humor was dry. Well, before I say my last goodbye to the woman who had a heart of a saint, I will not disappoint her. Jerry Seinfeld once stated, “A recent survey stated that the average person’s greatest fear is having to give a speech in public. Somehow this ranked even higher than death which was third on the list. So, you’re telling me that at a funeral, most people would rather be the guy in the coffin than have to stand up and give a eulogy.”
Mom, I love you. Thank you all and remember, love is stronger than death.
I wrote this speech for Margaret Cho when I attended a speechwriting course in April 2011. In theory, MC asked me to write a speech for her capturing her voice. I hope I did! Thank you to all my resources.
Introduction for Margaret Cho
I don’t think I, Danelle
give a proper introduction
for this woman.
She is a beautiful,
drop dead diva, comedian,
lover of humanity,
I say that in the spiritual sense (Looks at Margaret)
and political activist.
I give you my old,
We are gathered here today
to bless these two in holy mat,
wait a second.
What the *Bleep*.
Hey, who wrote this *Bleep*?
Sounds like I’m marrying a couple.
Do you lesbian number one
take lesbian number two
and to hold,
Ok, sorry wrong speech.
I hope my dog didn’t eat (Shuffle papers, whispers)
my *Bleep* speech again.
I Got it!
Let’s try this one on for size shall we.
What a great honor for me and thank you for joining us at the GLBT History Museum. On this bright and sunny morning we are here to dedicate the First GLBT History Museum’s Permanent exhibit of Queers in the United States on this day, April 17, 2011.
The GLBT History Museum’s presentation will incorporate
a gallery specifically on the Queer population
and its history.
We have history!
The museum will feature
two debut exhibitions.
In the main gallery,
you will find Our Vast Queer Past
Celebrating San Francisco’s
Curated by historians
Don Romesburg and
In the front gallery,
you’ll find great collections
of the GLBT Historical Society’s
We are here to honor our community
and the GLBT Historical Society’s 25th anniversary,
the curators of Our Vast Queer Past
who burrowed into every corner
of the society’s extraordinary archives.
We are here to show respect
and acceptance as we dedicate
this section of this museum as our very own.
It is a commemorative event
not only to Queers, (Point to audience)
and those questioning.
It is for everyone.
Did I forget anybody?
For those who don’t know me,
I’m Margaret Cho,
nice to meet’cha.
I am the Korean American fag-hag, (Point to self)
and I am a biological female.
In layman’s terms
I was born a girl.
I’ll let you in on a little secret,
and always will be
in love with men,
women or whatever.
It’s not what’s between a person legs
that matters to me.
That’s how I got the label queer.
After having gay boyfriends for many years (Slow down)
finally I have a straight husband,
and lover all in one.
After having lesbian girlfriends
and lovers thrown in the mix,
I am Queer.
I’m not a lesbian anymore.
Which is a shame.
Because I am soooo good at softball. (Pause)
Fran Lebowitz once said,
“Girls who put out are tramps.
Girls who don’t are ladies.
a rather archaic usage of the word.
Should one of you boys happen upon a girl
who doesn’t put out,
do not jump to the conclusion
that you have found a lady.
What you have probably found is a Lesbian.”
I am not the first avowed queer woman
and I won’t be the last.
I have always tried to make a difference
promoting equal rights for all,
regardless of sexual orientation
This museum has joined me
in the fight.
and tears can be seen in the exhibition.
It begins with a rainbow view
of nearly a century of queer experiences
in the San Francisco Bay Area.
You will be consumed
by multiple stories,
sometimes in battle.
What will you find? (Pause)
Motifs based on being human.
The first is the search for companionship
The second is the struggle
and respect in an often hostile society.
The third is the value of individual
and collective expression.
And the fourth is the spirit,
and wit that have been keys to our survival.
But, really why are we here?
Society is slowly learning to be more diverse.
Back in the day,
you see I was a lesbian
and very proud.
I can remember the moments
of being a lesbian.
First, I can recall the memories
of a woman touching me,
Second, the curves of a woman’s body,
and eyes would always beckon me.
I do understand the meaning
of being a lesbian.
being with a woman
was one of the most spiritual experiences
that I had ever known.
As I close my eyes,
at this very moment,
I can envision the women
who were a part of my life.
Not only emotionally but,
I can tell you that each woman had
their own inner essence.
Each touched my heart.
with time comes change and well,
I was a lesbian.
And then bisexual
and now presently considered a queer.
I’ve have such a wealth of sexual experience.
I’m always going to be queer.
Why you ask?
Because, I follow my heart.
I married a bio man. (Speed up)
I kinda wanted to get married
and I looked at husbands
like I looked at tattoos.
Like I WANT one
but I can’t decide on WHAT,
and I don’t want to be STUCK with something that
I am going to grow to hate.
I have come to realize
that there is a difference between genders.
Straight men are so simple.
All they need are beer
and Buffalo wings.
and straight men
don’t want to go shopping,
etc. are all people to be respected,
Just as we each have
our own hearts,
Let’s talk about our dilemma
that has to do with diversity
in our world.
Do you think our society
is ready for the next gender identity?
I know we are willing to try.
To learn more about what queer really means.
Queer in today’s society
is considered similar to
the features of the GLBT group.
We are our own breed.
society is slowly learning diversity.
We as a society (Look around)
need to open our minds
to the unknown.
To open our hearts.
To open our acceptance level.
We all want the same rights (Point up)
Because we all know
that once we face the unknown,
it is not that scary anymore.
I was partially raised by my parents,
and partially grew up cradled
within the gay community
by a motley crew of gay men
and drag queens.
I grew up in the 80s
and I worked a lot
as an AIDS activist
when I was very young.
So it’s something
I always knew I would do.
It’s just inherent to who I am.
My identity is
rooted in my activism.
I’m a woman of color
and I’m very progressive politically.
I hope to one day
leave my mark on this world,
we call home.
Today marks a day for learning. (Slow down)
Learning from the past
that will give us strength
for our future battles.
As we look at the past within these walls,
it reminds us we still have far to go.
Presently, legislation is pending
in both the House
for our community.
Gays and lesbians
have been struck hard
and need Congress
to Repeal the Defense of Marriage Act,
Respect for Marriage Act H.R. 3567
which denies legally married lesbian
and gay couples
more than 1,000 federal protections.
These are basic protections
such as access to Social Security benefits
and the right to care for an ailing spouse
under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
With six states
or soon to provide marriage benefits
to same-sex couples,
it’s time for Congress
to repeal DOMA.
To treat all married couples equally.
which was signed into law
by former President Bill Clinton in 1996
has two key components
against the GLBT community.
Section 2 stipulates
that no state need recognize
legal civil marriages
between persons of the same sex.
Even if the marriage was recognized
in another state.
Section 3 prohibits
the federal government
from recognizing same-sex marriages
for any purpose.
Excluding these couples
from all federal benefits and protections.
Whether granted by statue,
or sub-regulatory decision.
It effectively bars federal benefits
from flowing to same-sex couples
in state recognized unions.
These are unequal
and unfair laws.
We all deserve the same rights
As the GLBT community
struggles it also strengthens.
As gay and lesbians are fighting
for their rights,
we as queer individuals fight for ours.
Their fights are our fights.
If you are a woman,
if you are a person of color,
if you are gay,
if you are a person of size,
if you are person of intelligence,
if you are a person of integrity,
then you are considered
a minority in this world.
As we come together today
as a united front,
we will experience life
as never before seen.
With all my heart,
please join me
with great pleasure
in opening the doors.
The doors of enlightenment
for all the world to see.
A queer world.
This exhibit reminds us all
that just because you are blind,
and unable to see my beauty
doesn’t mean it does not exist.
I want each of you to remember these words. Love is the big booming beat which covers up the noise of hate.
Thank you all for making history with me. (Put hands together and bow).