Richard Slawsky

COMM 112: Business and Professional Speaking

In his Communication classes, Richard Slawsky always strives to help students develop skills that have real world application. As he developed his business and professional speaking class, Slawsky utilized the Elements of Thought as an outline to guide his own preparation. He also identified the Fundamental & Powerful Concepts [PDF] necessary for success in this assignment. Students received an overview of these concepts, which consist of two different typologies for developing and evaluating persuasive speeches.

Slawsky’s assignment was titled, “Persuasion Game – Panama City, Here I Come!” The exercise begins with three volunteers making one to two minute speeches to the rest of the class using only the persuasive strategy they have drawn. The presenters task is to convince “their parents” (three students chosen to serve in this role) to pay for them to go to Panama City, Florida with their friends for spring break. Each speaker has a team to help them devise their persuasive argument. The rest of the class:

  1. Tries to identify the persuasive strategy employed
  2. Tries to catch the fallacies/lies in the arguments of speakers
  3. Tries to identify the use of persuasive strategies other than the main one identified
  4. Tries to catch speakers using the steps of Monroe’s Motivated Sequence out of order

Speakers start with a total of 10 points with a one point deduction for each infraction. The winner is bound for Panama City!

In evaluating the impact data, Slawsky was both encouraged and challenged. Students understood and demonstrated the fundamental and powerful concepts was clearly embraced and understood very well by the students, whereas students didn’t rate their understanding of the other concept as highly. Slawsky concluded that additional exposure to the course fundamental and powerful concepts would likely have helped his students better grasp and apply the more challenging concept. Slawsky’s use of a game/contest made the assignment engaging for the students, and his selection of the topic for the persuasive arguments demonstrated the importance of persuasive speaking in students’ everyday lives.

“I have been participating in Delphi Center programs for several years now and really appreciate the way I have been able to connect with other participants as well as Delphi Center staff.”

Richard Slawsky

Download Slawsky’s assignment [PDF].
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