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Supporting Materials and Critical Thinking

The materials used to support a speaker’s ideas. The skillful use of Supporting Materials often makes the difference between a poor speech and a good one. It is also closely related to Critical Thinking. Using supporting materials is not a matter of haphazardly tossing facts and figures into your speech. You must decide which ideas need to be supported, give your audience, topics and specific purpose. You must to research to find materials that will being your ideas across clearly and creatively. And you must evaluate your supporting materials to make sure they really do back up your ideas.

As you put your speeches together, you will need to make sure your supporting materials are accurate, relevant, and reliable. You will find yourself asking questions such as “Are my example representative?” “Am I using statistical measures correctly?” “Am I quoting reputable, qualified sources?” Assessing the supporting materials in your speech – as well as in your speech of your classmates—is yet another way in which critical thinking is part of public speaking.

Now we focus on the basic kind of supporting materials – example, statistics, and testimony – and on general principle for using them effectively and responsibly.


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