Mid-Term Paper Information
(Mid-Term Papers are worth 100 points and are due 11:59 PM, Sunday of Week 4)

Objective

Leadership is not limited to businesses and can be found occurring in communities and professional disciplines. Leaders are often introducing new ideas and generating visions for a better future. Presentational skills are essential in influencing others to see things differently and take action to bring into existence a better world. To develop and refine your presentation skills, the Mid-Term Paper Assignment asks you to apply concepts for effective communication to two speakers who have given a presentation with the hope of influencing an audience. After applying these concepts, you should have a better sense of how to develop your own message should you receive an opportunity to speak on an issue of concern to you.

Procedure

1. Familiarize yourself with the concepts to be used in evaluating the speakers. The material to be applied comes from Chapter 3 and Chapter 12.

From Chapter 3, you will need to consider the concept of vision defined as the ability to imagine different and better future conditions and ways to achieve them (p. 64). Also from Chapter 3, review the importance of using metaphors and analogies, gearing language to different audiences, and storytelling as strategies for inspiring others (pp. 67).

From Chapter 12 (p. 315), the 9 elements to consider in communicating effectively are: (1) be credible as a speaker; (2) gear your message to the listener; (3) sell group members on the benefits of your suggestions; (4) use heavy-impact and emotion provoking words; (5) use anecdotes to communicate meaning; (6) back up conclusions with data; (7) minimize language errors, junk words, and vocalized pauses; (8) write crisp, clear memos, letters, and reports, including a front-loaded message; and (9) use business jargon in appropriate doses.

2. Choose 2 speakers to compare. Locate presentations to study from a TedTalk: TED: Ideas Worth Spreading. After looking over the many options, select two presentations to review and analyze using the concepts listed above in Step One. The great thing about the website and the presentations is that you can listen to the presentations more than once to see how these concepts explain the speakers appeal as a leader both in terms of the content of the message and in terms of the delivery skills of the speaker.

One important thing to remember about the website is that it is a resource for inspiring others to change the world. Many, if not most, (or possibly all) of the speakers who have their presentations up on this website are leaders hoping to influence others. Hence, the subtitle of the site, Ideas worth spreading. So the point of using these concepts is to study how real leaders communicate with the purpose of accomplishing change.

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Important: You must choose 2 speakers who are advocating for change. Do not choose graduation speeches or informative presentations even though they might be interesting. The two presentations must call for some kind of change.

3. Justify your choices. Why did you choose these two presentations for your study? What relevance do the speakers or the subject matter of their presentations have to you, your life, your career, or your leadership interests?

4. Write Your Mid-Term Paper. After familiarizing yourself with the concepts listed above and studying the presentations, write a 6-8 page paper that describes and evaluates the speakers presentation. Compare the speakers in terms of the following questions:

What is the speakers message, objective, or vision?

Beyond his/her presence on this website, how does the speaker establish his/her credibility?
How does the speaker gear his/her message to the listener?
How does the speaker sell the audience on the benefits of his/her vision?
How does the speaker use heavy impact and emotion provoking language?
Does the speaker use anecdotes or stories, and if so, are they effective?
Does the speaker use data to support his/her claims, and if so, is the use of data effective?
In answering these questions be sure to describe the words and actions used by the speaker and then explain why those words or actions were effective in conveying the message to the audience.

5. Take-Away Conclusions. Conclude your paper by explaining what you take away from this study of presentation skills for your own leadership endeavors.

If you find that a presentation is too short or that these questions hardly seem relevant as ways to evaluate the speech or that the speech does not have any leadership value, you might consider revising your decision to study that speech and take some additional time to survey the other options available on the website.

Paper Specifications
Mid-Term Papers should be:

Length of the Paper: 6-8 pages, typed, double space
Address the five questions above
Weight: 10% of your total grade, 100 points
Due: 11:59 pm, Sunday of Week 4

Grading Criteria
Is the paper 6-8 pages in length, typed double space?

Does the paper feature college standards for writing?

Does the paper compare and evaluate the words and actions of the speakers in relation to the concepts identified in the questions under step 3 of the assignment?

Are the justifications, analyses, and explanations called for in the assignment developed in thoughtful ways demonstrating an understanding of leadership presentational skills?

Mid-Term Papers are worth 100 points and are due 11:59 PM, Sunday of Week 4.