Supporting Materials (Brief Examples)

A specific case referred to in passing to illustrate a point. Brief examples-also called specific instances-may be referred to in passing to illustrate a point. The following excerpt uses a brief example to illustrate the miraculous nature of recent advances in creati9ng artificial limbs for accident victims:

Changes in technology have made it possible for doctors to work wonders that once seemed impossible. Roger Charter, for example, lost both his feet when they were crushed in a truck accident. Now he has new feet – made of a spring plastic alloy that duplicates a normal arch. Not only can Roger walk normally, but he can run and play sports again!

A brief example may also be used to introduce a topic.

Supporting Materials (Extended Example)

Extended examples are often called illustrations, narratives, or anecdotes. They are longer and more detailed then brief example. By telling a story vividly and dramatically, they pull listeners into the speech. Here is such an example, from a speech about the astonishing similarities that sometimes exist between identical twins:

After 40 years of separation from his identical twin, James Lewis began his search for his long-lost brother. They had been separated a few weeks after birth and were adopted by different families. Their reunion took place at the home of the other twin—James Springer. Upon meeting, they found that they had more in common then their first names.

Both had married a woman named Betty, been divorced, and remarried a woman named Sally. Both had similar jobs as deputy sheriffs, McDonald’s employees, and gas station attendants. Both liked to build wood furniture in their basement workshops. Both put on 10 pound as teenagers and lost it latter. Both had the same favorite subjects in school, were bad spellers, and suffered from migraine headaches and sleeping problems. All in all, they shared 27 matching characteristics.

This long example captures vividly the many likenesses that often exist between identical twins. The speaker could merely have said, “identical twins are a lot alike,” but the story makes the point far more vividly.

Supporting Materials (Hypothetical Example)

Weather brief or extended, example can be either factual or hypothetical. All the example presented up to now have been factual; the incidents they refer to really happened. Sometimes, however, speakers will use a hypothetical example-one that describes an imaginary situation. Usually such examples are brief stories that relate a general principle.

An example that describes an imaginary or fictitious situation is say Hypothetical Example.

Here is how one student used a Hypothetical Example to illustrate the need for college student to protect themselves against crime.

You’re tried; you’re hungry. You’ve just spent a long day at College Library and you can’t wait to get back to your room. Glancing outside, you remember how quickly it becomes dark. You don’t think much of it, though, as you bundle up and head out into the gusty wind. Not until you spy the shadows on the sidewalk or hear the leaves rusting beside you do you wish you weren’t alone. You walk quickly, trying to stop your imagination from thinking of murderers and rapists. Only when you are safely inside your room do you relax and try to stop your heart from pounding out of your chest.

Can you remember a time when you felt this way? I would be surprised if you never have. The FBI reported last year that there were three murders, approximately 430 aggravated assaults, 1,400 burglaries, and 80 raps here in Madison alone. And while there statistics are quite alarming, they don’t compare to the numbers of larger metropolitan areas.

This Hypothetical Example is particularly effective. The speaker creates a realistic scenario, relates it directly to her listeners, and gets them involved in the speech. In addition, she uses figures from the FBI to show that the scenario could really happen to any of her classmates. Whenever you use a Hypothetical Example, it is a good idea to follow it with statistics or testimony to show that the example is not far-fetched.

Supporting Materials and Critical Thinking (Expert Testimony)

Testimony from people who are recognized experts in their fields. In most speeches you will probably rely on expert testimony – testimony from people who are acknowledged authorities in their fields. Expert Testimony is especially helpful for student a speaker because students are seldom recognized as experts on their speech topics. Citing the views of people who are experts is -a good way to lend credibility to your speeches. It shows that you are not just mouthing your own opinions, but that your position is supported by people who are knowledgeable about the topic.

Expert Testimony is even more important when a topic is a controversial or when the audience is skeptical about a speaker’s point of view. The following story explains how one speaker enlisted expert testimony for speech on reforming the US Social Security System:

As Julia Wang did her research on how to make Social Security more equitable for younger taxpayers, she became convinced that individual citizens should be allowed to invest their Social Security funds directly in the stock market. Yet Julia was not an expert on the matter. Nor did she have any firsthand experience with the Social Security System. How could she convince her audience to accept her ideas?

Statistics helped, and so did examples. But on such a controversial topic, that was not enough. So to reinforce her credibility, Julia quoted a wide range of experts who agreed with her – Illinois Congressman John Porter; Jeffrey Sachs, a Harvard economics professor; former US Social Security Commissioner Dorcas Hardy; Jose Pinera, president of the international Center for Pension Reform; former US Secretary of Commerce peter G Peterson; and Timothy Penny of the Democratic Leadership Council. By citing the views of these experts – some of whom might be expected to disagree with her point of view – Julia made her speech much more persuasive.

Supporting Materials and Critical Thinking (Peer Testimony)

Another type of testimony often used in speeches is Peer Testimony – opinions of people like ourselves; not prominent figures, but ordinary citizens who have firsthand experience on the topic. This kind of testimony is especially valuable because it gives a more personal viewpoint on issues then can be gained from expert testimony. It conveys the feeling, the knowledge, and the insight of people who speak with the voice of genius experience.

For example, if you were speaking about the barriers faced by people with physical disabilities, you would surely include testimony from doctors and other medical authorities. But in this case, the expert testimony would be limited because it cannot communicate what it really means to have a physical disability – such as the following:

Itzhak Perlman, the word-renowned violinist whose legs are paralyzed, once said; “When you are in a wheelchair, people don’t talk to you. Perhaps they think it is contagious, or perhaps they think crippled mind. But whatever the reason, they treat you like a thing.”

Paul Longmore, who lost the use of his legs as a child, notes that most people are uncomfortable in the presence of someone who is handicapped. “It’s only when they really go out of their way to get to know us,” he says, “that they realize we are just as bright, witty, and companionable as they are.”

There is no way expert testimony can express these ideas with the same authenticity and emotional impact.

The four objectives of a speech introduction

A. The first objective is to gain the attention and interest of the audience. B. The second objective of a speech introduction is to re...