This course focuses on the theoretical principles of public speaking and provides advanced practical experience in the preparation, delivery, and evaluation of public discourse. Emphasis is performance-centered and includes presentations, selected readings, examinations and classroom exercises on a more advanced level. Upon completion, students should be able to prepare and deliver well-organized speeches to a variety of audiences.


This course builds on the principles and skills developed in COMM 260 to give advanced study to the process of effective and polished public communication, and adds more experience in preparing and delivering extemporaneous sermonettes and speeches. Upon completion, students should be able to prepare and deliver well-organized extemporaneous speeches to a variety of audiences.

Completion of COMM 260 or consent of instructor.

Elliott, Stephen P.

Adjunct Assistant Professor in Communication
Part Time
B.A. (1981), Ambassador University; M.A. (1992), Western Kentucky University.
Subject Matter: 

Stephen Elliott attended Ambassador College campuses in Big Sandy, Texas and Pasadena, California earning a B.A. in Theology. He has served in the full-time field ministry of the Church of God since 1981. During that time he taught and directed Spokesman’s Clubs patterned after Toastmaster’s International. In 1992 he received an M.A. in Organizational Communication from Western Kentucky University at Bowling Green. He has traveled and lectured in Europe, Africa, the Philippines, Israel, Mexico, the Bahamas, and Canada. In addition, he has authored articles for various Church publications. Mr. and Mrs. Elliott have two married sons and five grandchildren.

Course Credit: 
Three (3) semester hours
Instructional Objectives: 

On successful completion of this course, a student should be able to:

  1. Choose suitable topics for public speaking;
  2. Understand just how much poor grammar, diction, regional colloquialisms, slang, and jargon can hinder effective public speaking;
  3. Present materials in a clear, logical sequence with well organized introduction, specific purpose statement, body, and conclusion.
  4. Research, evaluate, and incorporate supporting material.
  5. Deliver extemporaneous speeches using appropriate and effective vocal and physical behaviors to enhance the messages.
  6. Demonstrate advanced use of visual aids.
Required Texts: 

Advanced Public Speaking: a Leader’s Guide, Michael Hostetler and Mary L. Kahl (Pearson) ISBN: 9780205740017

Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences, Nancy Duarte (John Wiley and Sons) ISBN: 9780470632017

The Holy Bible. (Any authorized or traditional translation – KJV, NKJV, NIV, RSV, NRSV)

Optional Texts:

Slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations, Nancy Duarte (O'Reilly Media) ISBN: 9780596522346

Required Technology Access: 

  • This course requires web access and an established e-mail account.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader is necessary to view documents that are PDF files. It may be downloaded for free at, which may then be installed and used to access PDF documents on the course website.
  • Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer may be necessary to view documents that are PPT files. It may be downloaded for free at, then installed and used to access PPT files on the course website.
  • A webcam and video recording program for your operating system, capable of making an .mp4 or .MOV file.
  • *Speeches are to be video recorded in .mp4 or .MOV format and posted in the class Dropbox folder. Send me an email requesting a direct link.
  • **Presentation software such as PowerPoint, Keynote or free software such as Google Drive. 
Additional Readings: 

Additional readings or support material may come from Living Church of God literature, Bible helps and commentaries, and reputable news and resource material. The appropriate web links will be designated on the course website.


Course lectures may take the format of both video and audio. See the course website for details. 

Course Calendar: 






Lesson 1:  The Speech of Introduction

Reading assignment:  Textbook front and inside cover, back cover, Contents, Introduction, and Chapter 1.


Lesson 2:  Opinion Give and Take Reading assignments:  Chapter 2, and Appendix: Basic Public Speaking Course Redux.


Lesson 3:  Proposals Reading assignment: Chapter 3


Lesson 4: Civic Persuasive Appeals Reading assignment: Chapter 4


Lesson 5: Eulogies Reading assignment: Chapter 5


Lesson 6: Crisis Speeches Reading assignment: Chapters 6


Lesson 7: Technical Briefings Reading assignment: Chapter 7




Lesson 8: Lectures Reading assignments: Chapter 8 and PowerPoint handout 1, Top 10 Evidence-Based, Best Practices for PowerPoint in the Classroom.


PART II – Speaking Processes

Lesson 9: Speaking from a Manuscript

Reading assignments: Chapter 9 and PowerPoint handout 2, Presenting With PowerPoint.


Lesson 10: Storytelling Reading assignment: Chapter 10


Lesson 11: On Camera Speaking Reading assignments: Chapters 11 and PowerPoint handout 3, 8 Simple Rules for Stronger PowerPoint Presentations.


Lesson 12: Rhetorical Styles Reading assignments: Chapters 12 and PowerPoint handout 4, Best Practices for Effective PowerPoint Presentations Assessment.


Lesson 13: Advanced Listening Reading assignment: Chapter 13


Course Wrap-Up  
Course Requirements: 

Due Dates and Extensions
Submit assignments on or before the date due.  No late or make-up assignments will be allowed accept for extreme circumstances (permission of instructor is necessary). Students must complete the course by the last official day of instruction as set forth in the academic calendar.

All students are requested to post a brief personal biography and photo (if available) by the first Friday of class. This will give your fellow students an idea of who else is taking the course. In this biography, cover who you are, where you live, where you grew up, Church background, why you chose to take this course, and any other relevant information. Try to limit the biography to one typed, single-spaced page or less (20 points).

Discussion Forum posts/Class Participation (always due on Fridays):
Students are required to post ONE different discussion post for each chapter specified (total of 13). The discussion posts will be a reaction to the chapter and one of the corresponding questions. A rubric will be used for students to grade themselves on their participation in the discussion forum at the end of the semester (91 points total). Forum posts are always due by Friday at NOON in your time zone. 

You will be required to prepare and deliver five different speeches this semester, video recording and posting each to a designated Dropbox (100 points each). In addition, speech #5 will require the use of PowerPoint type presentation slides to illustrate its content. Each speech is designed to build on the previous one and to help you incrementally build your skills. Each speech is expected to fall within the specified time +/- 30 seconds. In order to complete the speech on time, students should practice their speech before delivering it and use a stopwatch when speaking.

Speech 1 Introduction: (3 minutes) As the text says, this is a speech to introduce someone else. It is not about you, so be careful not to use it to draw attention to yourself. Interview a friend or colleague and prepare your speech as if to introduce him or her as a guest lecturer at a professional conference. Your job is to give this person the best connection possible to the audience, so their presentation will be successful

Speech 2 – Persuasive: (6 minutes) “Persuasive speaking is not a matter of talking someone into something against his or her will. It is not a hard-sell job from a high-pressure salesman. It is a complex art of mixing facts, logic, psychology and emotion to move an audience to change an idea or concept about a particular subject, or to make some specific action.”1 Take subject ideas from Chapter 4 of your text or from your school, community, Church, or work.

Speech 3 – Difficult Scripture: (10 minutes) This speech is designed to be in Sermonette format. “Could you clearly and plainly explain the meaning of God’s Word to someone who asked you? This responsibility will confront you occasionally in this life, but there is coming a time when it will be one of your main responsibilities….Your goal here is to clearly and completely explain a scripture of your choosing that many people have misunderstood for one reason or another.” Difficult scriptures make some of the best Sermonettes because they are teaching and clarifying a point of God’s Word, and not correcting or improperly admonishing the audience. This teaching is well within the prevue of young and non-ordained men in Church services.

Speech 4 – Doctrinal: (10 minutes) This speech should clearly explain a simple doctrine such as the Sabbath, using no more than three scriptures. This is not a sermon. A sermon topic requires 6-9 times as much time as you have to introduce, develop, and conclude, so don’t take a sermon topic and try to jam it into 10 minutes. You only have time to explain a shorthand version simple answer. This is what people are usually looking for when they ask about a doctrine, so the exercise is practical.

Speech 5 – Historical (with visual aids): (10 minutes) This speech will provide an opportunity to add some helpful projection slides to your presentation. PowerPoint, or whatever presentation software you choose to use, can be a great help or a giant waste of everyone’s time. Review the class handouts and edit critically. LESS IS MORE.

Speech Self Evaluation: Self-evaluation or self critique is one of the most powerful tools used by highly effective speakers. For each speech you complete, you also need to turn in a brief critique. In this critique, you need to review and address the criteria provided. Additionally, you need to consider how well you met the criteria or expectations for the speech. After you give and save your speech. Let it rest for a day. Then come back, listen to it, and evaluate yourself. With this assignment, note areas for future improvement, but also be sure to note your strengths and things you did well. That way, in future speeches, you can build on your strengths and modify your weaknesses. This evaluation should only be a few paragraphs long. Pick two or three strengths of your speech and two or three areas for improvement (20 points each).

Peer Speech Evaluation Exercises (25 points each): You will be required to evaluate the speeches of three different peers during the semester.  (These brief exercises are designed to teach you to effectively, critically, and encouragingly learn to evaluate the effectiveness of a speech. To do this, you need to have the speech criteria at hand. Additionally, your evaluation should follow the format: encourage and praise -> instruct -> encourage and praise.  The rationale for peer speech evaluation is as follows:

      “…In concentrating on another’s speech you not only give him/her ideas on how to improve, but you also learn how to improve yourself. As you learn the essentials of a good speech you put it to double practice – to improve your speaking and to help your neighbor. This concentration on what makes for improvement in speaking promotes rapid growth. In showing the other person how easy it is for him/her to overcome his/her weaknesses, you discover how easily you can overcome your own. Progress is often surprising.

      Other invaluable knowledge and experience is gained from speech contents, speech preparation, analyzing materials to separate good from bad, considering how to best reach your audience and practicing ways to help others and receive help from others gracefully and with appreciation.”3

1,2 Worldwide Church of God, Graduate Club Manual (1989) p.14.
3 Worldwide Church of God, Spokesman Club Manual (1989) {slightly adapted}


Your course grade will be determined based on the number of points you have earned over the semester as follows: 

Introductory biography 20
Discussion Forum Posts/Class Participation (13 different posts) 91
Peer Speech Evaluations (25 points each) 75
Speech Self Evaluations (20 points each) 100
Speech 1 – Speech of Introduction 100
Speech 2 – Persuasive 100
Speech 3 – Difficult Scripture 100
Speech 4 – Doctrinal 100
Speech 5 – Historical   100
Mid-term exam (open book, no proctor required) 100
Final exam (open book, no proctor required) 100
Total 986

Grades are assigned as follows:

A = 887 – 986 points
B = 788 – 866 points
C = 709 - 787 points
D = 601 - 708 points
F = 600 points or below

Students With Disabilities
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities have a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. Students having a disability requiring an accommodation should inform the instructor by email (on the “Course Info” page click on the instructor’s name and then select “Send Email”).

Technology Access
This course requires web access and the student has to have an established e-mail account. The Adobe Acrobat Reader is necessary to view documents that are PDF files. One can download the reader free at

Course Evaluation
Student input is welcome for improving this course. Making suggestions by e-mail is helpful. Our goal in this course is to facilitate the successful achievement of all instructional objectives by all students. At the end of the course students have the opportunity of assessing the course. We want to make e-learning courses as effective as we can. We may also ask some other questions concerning a student’s experience in distance learning to help us improve our program. We appreciate students letting us know how we can improve our products and services for them and other distance learners.

Withdrawing From or Dropping This Course
It is the responsibility of a student to drop a course if he or she cannot meet the requirements of the course. Any student who stops attending a course without officially withdrawing from it risks receiving a punitive grade for that course. Withdrawal requests may be conveyed in any manner to the course professor, Registrar, or Vice President of Academic Affairs. This action is sufficient for ensuring any refund owed you. Please note the following: If a student drops a course on or before the “Last day to withdraw from a course without a grade penalty” as published in the University Academic Calendar, even if his or her work is not of a passing grade, then a “W” is recorded. If a course is dropped after that date, but before the last 21 calendar days of the semester, then the instructor determines the grade. The faculty member will at this time record a grade of “W” if passing (not computed in GPA) or “WF” if failing (computed in GPA). Students who drop a course, yet remain in one or more other courses during the last 18 calendar days of the semester, will receive a grade of “WF.” Students who completely withdraw from the University at any time during the semester may be given a grade of “W” on all courses. If students do not initiate the withdrawal process, the instructor is required to initiate the administrative process and to record a grade of “W” or “WF” for the course depending on the date the faculty member drops the student from the course. Students who register for a course as an audit, but then withdraw will be assigned a grade of “W” for the course.