Compare/Contrast Two Speeches Essay Assignment

This assignment must be written as an essay (with an Introduction, Body, Conclusion, complete sentences, etc.) and not simply one-line answers to the questions below. Begin by watching TWO of the following online speeches (see speech choices below) and compare and contrast their strengths and weaknesses according to the questions that follow.


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To comply with the assignment’s requirements, your essay must touch on all seven areas below, using specific examples from each speech to support your points. (NOTE: No original research nor speech summaries are required; this assignment asks you to use your critical thinking to compare and contrast the various components of two speeches.).


Required format:

1) All papers must be typed using an 11- or 12-point font, double-spaced, and with flush-left margins (no justified text) and paragraph breaks. Your essay should run 3 full pages to 4 full pages (no more than 4 full pages). Be sure to write your name in the top right corner of page 1.


2) All essays must meet the Gordon Rule and therefore, must meet college-level writing standards. Initially, I was requiring students to bring their essays to a campus Writing Tutor for review. However, in our new online environment, I am no longer making this a requirement of this assignment.


IMPORTANT: ALL essays must be submitted through this assignment dropbox. If any student does have a tutor’s review and wishes to submit both their 1st draft (reviewed and signed by the Writing Tutor) and their revised 2nd draft, I will award up to 5 points of EXTRA CREDIT, just for having the tutor’s review. That means that an essay that normally would have earned a grade of 85%, now will earn a grade of 90%, simply for submitting both your 1st draft (reviewed, marked with changes, and signed by the tutor), and your revised, corrected 2nd draft.


Please compare and contrast your choice of two of the following speeches (all can be found in MindTap, in the “Sample Informative Speeches” folder at the bottom of the opening page):

“The 54th Massachusetts” by Nathanael
“Why Pi?” by Katie
“Anytown, USA” by Enrique
“How to Become a Successful Business Person” by Husam
“About ALS” by Emily
“Understanding Hurricanes” by Chet Harding
“Is That Kosher?” by Katherine
“A Spotlight on Theatre” by T
“Flag Etiquette” by Cindy Gardner
“The Ilongot Headhunters” by Curt

In your analysis, please touch on EACH of the following sections:

1. Subject and Purpose

a. Was the purpose of each of speech clear? If so, what was the general purpose of each one?

b. Which speech had a more worthwhile or relevant topic? Please elaborate.

c. Can you describe the respective audiences for each of these speeches?

2. The Thesis and Key Points

a. What do you believe is the essential thesis of each speech? Which of the two speeches do you feel most clearly communicated its thesis to you (as an audience member)? Please explain.

b. How well does each speaker identify the key points of the speech in his/her preview?

c. Compare and contrast the previews given by each speaker; then select the speaker you believe gave the best preview, essentially foretelling the structure of their speech. Explain your choice.

3. Research

a. Is each speech adequately researched? Whether yes, or no, how do you know? On what have you based your response? Name some specific references/citations the speaker mentions (if any).

b. Again, compare and contrast the two speeches, choosing the speaker that you feel orally cited his/her sources the best. Explain your choice.

4. Organization

a. How would you compare the organization and structure of each of the two speeches? Does each one have a clear introduction, body, and conclusion? If not, what improvement(s) do you suggest?

b. Please choose the speaker that you feel had the best attention-getter and then describe it. Why do you feel this attention-getter was particularly effective? What type of attention-getter did the speaker use? What made the one you chose better than the other speaker’s attention-getter? Explain.

c. Which speaker “adapted their topic to their audience” better? In other words, which one had the best “Reason to Care?” Please explain your choice.

d. How about the speaker’s Conclusion – which one had the best summary and memorable closing statement? Again, please explain your choice.

e. Finally, which speech had the best “flow” due to their transitions? In other words, which speech was easier to follow along with, and why?

5. Delivery – Evaluating the speakers’ visual and vocal elements of delivery

Thinking of both speeches,

a. Which speaker maintained the best eye contact with their audience? Who had the most meaningful facial expressions? Explain.

b. Which speaker had the best posture, body orientation, gestures/movements, and other body actions? Describe and explain.

c. Describe and evaluate the speaker that you felt had the best overall confidence level, enthusiasm, and/or passion when delivering their presentation.

e. Describe and evaluate the speaker that you felt had the best voice volume and rate of speech; remember to comment on things like their pronunciation, articulation, intonation, use of filled/unfilled pauses (i.e., “um,” “uh,” “you know,” etc.).

f. How important do you feel this speaker’s vocal elements of delivery were in conveying meaning in the speech?

6. Presentation Aids

What presentation aid(s) did the speakers use (if any)? How effective was the use of these presentation aid(s) in these speeches? Explain.

7. Suggestions for Improvement – REQUIRED

a. What suggestion(s) do you have for improving the content in one of the speeches? Be specific; include at least ONE suggestion for improving the content of the particular speech.

b. What suggestion(s) do you have for improving the delivery in one of the speeches? Be specific; include at least ONE suggestion for improving the delivery of the particular speech.

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