Ronald Reagan’s Challenger Address


In class today, we examined Ronald Reagan’s Challenger Address after the space shuttle explosion.  First, watch the speech below:


Nancy Duarte dissects Reagan’s audience analysis and how he effectively segments the audience into several categories: mourners across the country; families of the space shuttle crew members; children watching the shuttle launch at school; the Soviet Union; and NASA.  Duarte’s February 2011 article analyzes the speech in great detail with a focus on audience analysis.  Click here to read “Why President Reagan Deserves The Title ‘The Great Communicator.'”

I also stumbled across a teaching packet from the University of Texas if you are planning on sharing this presentation with your students.  The teaching resources include an amazing speech-writing guide with some helpful tips: 1) use attention-getting devices such as storytelling, 2) communicate clearly using understandable language and a clear structure, 3) include accurate information, 4) provide specific examples to support your ideas, and 5) end on an exciting note such as a call to action (Source).  I enjoyed the speech-writing and speech analysis sections in the packet which can be very helpful in developing some powerful lessons.

How do you explain “audience analysis” to your students?  Can you think of any other speeches which do a masterful job of audience segmentation?


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