Speech Content: Getting It Together


This afternoon, my students delivered their TED analysis presentations.  We spent a day on delivery, a day on content, and a day on anxiety and handling public speaking fears.  Overall, especially after conferencing a little with Chiara Ojeda, I realized that my students are having the toughest time with speech content.

For this speech, students are asked to answer 7 questions about a TED Talk of their choice in order to analyze what makes a strong speech.  Overall, delivery was good, and students handled their public speaking anxieties well.  Content was the wobbly leg of Jim Endicott’s three-legged presentation stool, as 75% of students didn’t answer 2-3 questions from their assignment directions.  Some students didn’t answer any of those questions.  Where I wanted analysis of the TED Talk, students summarized the Talk.

While yes, I will admit, I do have high expectations and yes, I understand, this is the first official speech for my students, I am often very disappointed by TED presentations. I don’t yet know how to teach around the issues in order to push students to do their very best work.  Even though the directions stress content, and we spend hours developing our content in class, this wobbly leg is still troublesome.

Perhaps a change of textbook could help… ?  Our current textbook, slide:ology, focuses on visual presentation.  As Nancy Duarte explains below, a slideshow is nothing without strong content.


Calling all public speaking teachers!  What do you do to help emphasize content in your student’s speeches?  How do I help my students understand the difference between “analysis” and “summary” when delivering their TED Analysis Presentations?


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