Elements of a Speech and Language Imagery

The main content

Today we’re going to discuss the meat of a speech.

The openings and endings should outline and summarize the main ideas,

but it is the body that illustrates, explains and gives examples

to back up those ideas and create meaning.

Some ways to do this include language imagery,

personal experience, anecdotes, quotes, statistics and other facts.

Let’s first speak about these elements in general terms.

These are all ways to provide meaning for ideas and proof behind reasoning.

Maybe even more importantly some of these elements

deal more with creating images and mental pictures for the audience.

The audience cannot see your words.

But it is easier for an audience to capture meaning

and understand if they can see it.

You need to create an image that the audience can see in their mind.

You need concrete, physical details and language

that ground the audience’s reality in the speech itself.

If you speak about things in abstract terms or images,

there is a greater chance that your audience will become confused

and stop paying attention.

Let’s talk about imagery in language first.

In everyday conversation we use images all the time.

When we describe things or when we use common idioms

such as “white as snow” or “breaking someone’s heart”.

These are often clichés,

but the point remains that they create images for the audience.

Whenever possible, talk in specifics about objects, color, light and dark.

Things we can see.

There are three common forms of imagery

that you should keep in mind and try to use.

Similies, Metaphors and Analogies.

Similes are most common.

Whenever we compare one thing to another using “like” or “as”,

we are creating a simile.

“He eats like a pig.

He is as busy as a bee.”

These are often very simple, but effective.

Metaphors can change the literal meaning of something

by saying something is something else. 

For example, “He is a pig”.

Note the difference between eating like a pig and actually being a pig.

There is a much stronger correlation.

Analogies compare one idea to another.

They go beyond comparing objects.

One might consider them to be extended metaphors or similes.

An analogy will usually go on for a while

describing different elements of the idea and comparing them.

For example if you were to describe

a country or a nation as a human body,

you might describe the government as the head,

the workers as the hands and feet, farmers as the heart.

Each description would be another extended element of the analogy.

Imagery can be used throughout all the other elements as well.

In particular with Personal Experiences, Anecdotes and Stories.

These three are all part of the same idea.

Telling a story.

Personal experiences are particularly good

because you can add the emotion of your experience.

Additionally they feel very true and make an emotional connection with the audience.

Anecdotes and other stories are the same.

Sometimes you don’t tell a story about yourself and instead speak about something else.

No matter what, you must make sure it is detailed.

Any story you tell should be on point

and reflect in some way the focus of the main speech.

The main point must always be the focus.

Do not tell an irrelevant story.

Additionally, you do not want the story to drag on for too long.

Be brief.

Stories and experiences are one of the main ingredients to a speech.

Now quotations are another element we see often in speeches.

They can be great support for an idea,

but there are a few rules to keep in mind.

Just like stories, and even more so,

you must make sure your quote is on point.

It must be relevant.

If it is not relevant to the point you are trying to make,

it may seem to the audience

as though you are simply quoting, just to quote.

Next you should use shorter quotes and not repeat long passages.

You are the speaker, and your words should be the most important.

If the quote is not completely clear, you need to explain it.

And you should always reference your idea

and how the quote supports your idea if it is not explicitly clear.

Last be sure that you are clear when actually giving the speech

when the quote begins and when it ends.

Usually you can indicate this with a change in tone

or a pause before and after the quote.

Finally you have statistics and other facts.

These can be extremely powerful in a speech.

You need to be clear and concise when providing them.

Do not use too many together because it may overwhelm the audience.

Too many numbers can make the audience feel lost and confused

and it can also distance you from your audience emotionally.

Numbers are cold and emotionless.

You want to keep that emotional connection.

Also make sure any fact or statistic that you use is correct.

You do not want to have incorrect data

or data that is out of date.
 
       It will undermine your speech.

Lastly, do not use statistics on their own.

They should reinforce points you make in other ways, not be the only evidence.

All of these elements are important

to creating the meaning of what you are saying.

Be careful to paint pictures with your words

and make connections with your audience.

Next time we’ll talk about the age old persuasion techniques in rhetoric.

Thanks for listening and I’ll see you next time.


            Elements of a Speech and Language Imagery

The main content

Today we’re going to discuss the meat of a speech.

The openings and endings should outline and summarize the main ideas,

but it is the body that illustrates, explains and gives examples

to back up those ideas and create meaning.

Some ways to do this include language imagery,

personal experience, anecdotes, quotes, statistics and other facts.

Let’s first speak about these elements in general terms.

These are all ways to provide meaning for ideas and proof behind reasoning.

Maybe even more importantly some of these elements

deal more with creating images and mental pictures for the audience.

The audience cannot see your words.

But it is easier for an audience to capture meaning

and understand if they can see it.

You need to create an image that the audience can see in their mind.

You need concrete, physical details and language

that ground the audience’s reality in the speech itself.

If you speak about things in abstract terms or images,

there is a greater chance that your audience will become confused

and stop paying attention.

Let’s talk about imagery in language first.

In everyday conversation we use images all the time.

When we describe things or when we use common idioms

such as “white as snow” or “breaking someone’s heart”.

These are often clichés,

but the point remains that they create images for the audience.

Whenever possible, talk in specifics about objects, color, light and dark.

Things we can see.

There are three common forms of imagery

that you should keep in mind and try to use.

Similies, Metaphors and Analogies.

Similes are most common.

Whenever we compare one thing to another using “like” or “as”,

we are creating a simile.

“He eats like a pig.

He is as busy as a bee.”

These are often very simple, but effective.

Metaphors can change the literal meaning of something

by saying something is something else. 

For example, “He is a pig”.

Note the difference between eating like a pig and actually being a pig.

There is a much stronger correlation.

Analogies compare one idea to another.

They go beyond comparing objects.

One might consider them to be extended metaphors or similes.

An analogy will usually go on for a while

describing different elements of the idea and comparing them.

For example if you were to describe

a country or a nation as a human body,

you might describe the government as the head,

the workers as the hands and feet, farmers as the heart.

Each description would be another extended element of the analogy.

Imagery can be used throughout all the other elements as well.

In particular with Personal Experiences, Anecdotes and Stories.

These three are all part of the same idea.

Telling a story.

Personal experiences are particularly good

because you can add the emotion of your experience.

Additionally they feel very true and make an emotional connection with the audience.

Anecdotes and other stories are the same.

Sometimes you don’t tell a story about yourself and instead speak about something else.

No matter what, you must make sure it is detailed.

Any story you tell should be on point

and reflect in some way the focus of the main speech.

The main point must always be the focus.

Do not tell an irrelevant story.

Additionally, you do not want the story to drag on for too long.

Be brief.

Stories and experiences are one of the main ingredients to a speech.

Now quotations are another element we see often in speeches.

They can be great support for an idea,

but there are a few rules to keep in mind.

Just like stories, and even more so,

you must make sure your quote is on point.

It must be relevant.

If it is not relevant to the point you are trying to make,

it may seem to the audience

as though you are simply quoting, just to quote.

Next you should use shorter quotes and not repeat long passages.

You are the speaker, and your words should be the most important.

If the quote is not completely clear, you need to explain it.

And you should always reference your idea

and how the quote supports your idea if it is not explicitly clear.

Last be sure that you are clear when actually giving the speech

when the quote begins and when it ends.

Usually you can indicate this with a change in tone

or a pause before and after the quote.

Finally you have statistics and other facts.

These can be extremely powerful in a speech.

You need to be clear and concise when providing them.

Do not use too many together because it may overwhelm the audience.

Too many numbers can make the audience feel lost and confused

and it can also distance you from your audience emotionally.

Numbers are cold and emotionless.

You want to keep that emotional connection.

Also make sure any fact or statistic that you use is correct.

You do not want to have incorrect data

or data that is out of date.
 
       It will undermine your speech.

Lastly, do not use statistics on their own.

They should reinforce points you make in other ways, not be the only evidence.

All of these elements are important

to creating the meaning of what you are saying.

Be careful to paint pictures with your words

and make connections with your audience.

Next time we’ll talk about the age old persuasion techniques in rhetoric.

Thanks for listening and I’ll see you next time.