Communication Analysis

Official Description: An original speech by the student designed to offer an explanation and/or evaluation of a communication event, such as a speech, speaker, move-ment, poem, poster, campaign, etc., through the use of rhetorical principles

Audio-visual aids may or may not be used to supplement and reinforce the message. Notes are permitted. Maximum time limit is 10 minutes.

What you should expect to get out of this event:

  1. You will learn a great deal about an interesting communication event, and the audiences that it affects.
  2. You will learn a lot about communication itself, and the research and theorizing that explains how it works.
  3. You will learn about the intellectual process called "criti-cism," applying it to your chosen communication event.
  4. You will learn how to research a topic carefully.
  5. You will learn how to structure information for clear and effective presentation.
  6. You will enjoy sharing your observations and insights with coaches and team members in rehearsal, and with audiences in competition.
  7. You will learn greater control of your voice and body, making both more expressive.
  8. You will learn self-control and poise under pressure.
  9. You will read more widely and perceptively, sorting and gathering material which you can use in your speech.
  10. You will develop your memory, learning to depend on it to provide you with the latest version of your speech.
  11. You will learn to become a better observer of the world around you, staying alert for information and viewpoints that will make you a better thinker and speaker.
  12. You will better understand yourself, searching your own experience to help you find worthwhile things to say.
  13. You will learn a lot by watching excellent speakers.


Special features of this event in competition:

CA is always the smallest event at every tournament. That's because it's the toughest to get into - you need to know a lot about a number of things (the communication event, the theories that explain it, the process of criticism) before you can even put your speech together. Since the event is small, chances of reaching finals are often better. But that's balanced by the fact that most entries are experienced, veteran speakers, so the competition is very tough. This is an all-star event: it's an honor just to be in it.


What you will do to be competitive in this event:

Initial preparation: about 5 weeks

  1. select the Communication Analysis event
  2. find an interesting communication event 2-3 days
  3. learn more about it (preliminary research) 2-3 days
  4. locate a theory that can help explain the event 2-3 days
  5. analyze event in light of theory, draw conclusions 1 week
  6. structure/outline the presentation 2-3 days
  7. write the speech 2-3 days
  8. rewrite for timing and polish 2 days
  9. memorize the speech 2 days
  10. practice delivery 4-5 days

Between-tournament preparation:

  1. Additional research to strengthen, keep up-to-date
  2. Rewrite to strengthen and clarify
  3. Re-memorize new version
  4. Continue practicing delivery

Hints for finding good topics:

Any communication event can be a CA subject: speech, movie, cartoon, advertisement, TV commercial, sculpture, painting, a political or social movement. The idea: identify the strategies employed by the communicators as they try to get their messages across. Once you identify and describe the strategies, then evaluate them: did they work or not? were they appropriate or not? did they do harm or good? and what are the implications for society? Imagine what communication events you've witnessed (or heard of) that would be interesting to understand and evaluate like this.