Public the message is what the speaker is

Public speaking is a process of communicating to a large group. It involves a sender, receiver and a message.

The message is sent through various channels and generally results in feedback from the audience.

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Public Speaking As a Process

Some might think public speaking is merely talking before a large group of people. It’s actually more than that. In fact, public speaking is a process that involves two or more people, and it can actually be interactive. Let’s explore two models of public speaking:

  • Interactional model
  • Transactional model

Before we explore the two important models, it is important to take a look back at the linear model of public speaking, originally developed by Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver.

It works like a 1-sided telephone conversation and involves a source, a channel and a receiver. For this, the source is the microphone, the channel is the telephone as a whole and the receiver is the person receiving the message.This seemed pretty straightforward until Wilbur Schramm came along.

You see, Schramm felt that there are things that can go wrong with a telephone call, like distractions that interfere with listening to the message. So, he added a few things to the mix and came up with a new, more interactional model.

Interactional Model of Public Speaking

The interactional model of public speaking adds three more elements to the mix: encoding, decoding and feedback. So, the process begins to take on a different shape.

Let’s break it down. He added encoding, which is the use of words and tones to get the message to the listener and can even involve gestures. It is done to convey thoughts, as well as inject feelings into the message.Decoding, on the other hand, happens when the listener tries to make meaning out of the message.

Of course, the message is what the speaker is trying to say. Schramm also thought that the audience would provide feedback by showing response to the speaker’s message. This can be direct, like yelling out a question, or indirect, like making curious faces or even rolling eyes.All put together, the process looks like this:

  1. Source
  2. Channel
  3. Receiver
  4. Feedback

Although the interactional model contains much more interface than the linear model, it does not account for other important things, like context and noise.

Transactional Model of Public Speaking

The transactional model of public speaking takes on a more mutual communication effort between the sender and receiver in where both seek to find mutual meaning in the message and involves many of the same elements as the interactional model.Let’s see how this process goes:

  • Sender
  • Receiver
  • Frame of reference
  • Channel
  • Noise
  • Context

Since we already know what sender, receiver, channel, message and feedback mean, it seems pretty much the same as interactional public speaking.

But the real shift comes into play with the addition of a frame of reference. You see, the audience and speaker both have preconceived biases and backgrounds, like age, values, political views and ethnicity.With this in mind, the speaker must create a message that accounts for the diverse audience. Noise is anything that distracts the message from reaching the sender, and it is not always sound.

It can be a number of things, like daydreaming, biases or even hunger. All of these things may distract members of the audience from paying close attention.The speaker also needs to think about context, or situation for the event. If the event is formal, the speaker will have to take on a more serious and formal tone. As we compared different models, there were similarities and differences. As the linear model evolved, elements were added to the process to enrich both the speaker’s message and the receiver’s experience.

Lesson Summary

The linear model of public speaking was originally developed by Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver.

It works like a 1-sided telephone conversation and involves a source, channel, and receiver.The interactional model of public speaking adds three more elements to the mix: encoding, decoding and feedback. The transactional model of public speaking takes on a more mutual communication effort between the sender and receiver in where both seek to find mutual meaning in the message.Like the linear model, each model shares common elements like the sender, receiver, a message and a channel. The interactional model adds encoding, decoding, and feedback. The transactional model goes a step further and adds noise and context to account for interference.

Regardless of the model, all three get the message across.

Learning Outcomes

Watching this lesson could help you to:

  • List the processes involved in the two most important models of public speaking, the interactional model and the transactional model
  • Highlight the elements of the models
  • Compare both models to the original linear model of public speaking
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