The Speaker

The Tradition and Practice of Public Speaking


The Speaker

The Tradition and Practice of Public Speaking


About the Book

Speech is both a skill and a field of study. Today, however, the rich tradition of speech communication is either reduced to a few quick mentions of Aristotle and Cicero or lost altogether. Why have we forgotten this history and, more importantly, why are we not sharing these origins with our students? Authors Joseph M. Valenzano III and Stephen W. Braden bring tradition to the forefront of public speaking instruction through the lens of skills-centered pedagogy in The Speaker, 3rd edition. This text will help students understand the “why” behind the “how” of effective public speaking.


Key Features

Emphasis on Rhetorical Tradition - The principles of rhetoric are connected with the practice of public speaking throughout the textbook.  This begins in the first chapter, which is devoted to an introduction to classical rhetorical theory, and continues as students are shown how these ideas apply to speech today.

Spotlighting Theorists - Each chapter introduces students to the life and ideas of particular theorists whose work contributes to how public speaking is taught today.

Think About It - Each chapter ends with discussion questions designed to get students to question and think about the ideas presented and the ways they construct speeches and consume messages.

Annotated Student Speeches - The appendix includes three sample student speeches: a persuasive speech, an informative speech, and an epideictic speech. These speeches have been annotated by the authors to highlight key features and points.

Reflect Boxes—These mini-activities appear in the narrative of each chapter and help provide readers with an opportunity to apply the content and theories they read about to specific examples.

Thinking Critically—Often, material in textbook chapters raise questions not covered in the text itself, and in many cases those questions do not have one specific answer.  With this third edition we sought to incorporate some of those questions into the text to help readers and students think beyond the material provided and connect ideas in ways that further their understanding of speech.


New Features

  • Critical thinking questions help students apply learned concepts to newly presented content
  • New content on civility, community engagement, and public speaking as dialogue
  • Emphasis on both the theoretical foundations of speech communication and rhetorical argumentation
  • Updated speeches on current topics