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Foundations of Public Speaking

Learning Objective Learning Objective 8 - How does the Transactive Model of Public Speaking work?

Communication can be dynamic in the sense that it can be continuous, ongoing. As the speaker presents the message to the audience, based on the feedback from listeners, the speaker can immediately adjust the message to fit audience needs. For example, in some African American church services members of the congregation respond orally as the preacher states his case. This reaction becomes part of the transaction between the congregant and the preacher as the religious leader adapts her or his message by responding to the statements made. Suddenly, both speaker and listener are encoding and decoding messages at the same time. Just as the speaker is encoding and sending the speech, he or she is receiving and decoding feedback from the listeners; likewise, as the listeners receive the speaker's message, they encode and send their feedback. This simultaneous sending and receiving of messages represents the communication transaction.

<Insert transactional model Mary Ellen drew.>

Note that in the transactional public speaking model there is no sender and receiver, per se. Both the speaker and listener continue to reverse roles. This pattern takes place when, for example, an instructor states, "As we progress through this unit ask questions as soon as your need clarification. I'll also be asking questions as we go along and I expect you to react." Transaction also takes place when an inspirational speaker asks and answers questions as she makes her appeal to aid the listeners gain positive self-concepts.

Though considered to be the best model to follow to insure satisfying the needs of the listeners, transactional speaking can be unnerving to the speaker. Though a message has been prepared, at any moment the flow of ideas may be interrupted. For some speakers this lack of control over the materials and the audience are just too uncomfortable. Transactional public speaking takes skill to weave through the land mines of questions and challenges. The speaker must be extremely well prepared, be willing to indicate that she or he doesn't know the answer to the question asked, have more material available then in a linear speech because he or she must anticipate the possibility of probes beyond what was intended to be included in the speech. If you've ever wondered why some professors, for example, won't let you ask questions during a lecture, these are the reasons.

< Photo 1.7 Individual giving a speech to a group celebrating a family member's birthday>
Online Journal Activity - Application of the Communication Process

Transmission models tend to focus on dyadic communication-communication between two people-and on how to improve communication by improving fidelity-the accuracy and quality of what the listener receives, like high-fidelity sound on a recording. Many aspects of communication can interfere with fidelity. For example, the context-the situation, environment, time, occasion, physical place-all affect the success of communication. Also, any potential interference of a message, called noise, can affect success. The noise that interferes with communication might be in the environment (such as traffic outside), a characteristic of the receiver (such as having a hearing impairment), or a characteristic of the receiver's state of mind (such as daydreaming, being distracted, feeling bored, or having a negative attitude), which can distort the message during decoding.

Think About This Think About This 1.7 - The Public Speaking Process

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