Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Stephen Hecht

Committee Member

Dana Mills

Committee Member

Kimberly Durham


This applied dissertation was designed to provide specific information as to how a person can become a better motivational speaker. The current literature on the topic of effective public speaking, especially in light of this growing trend in the nation and around the world is outdated, cumbersome, or inadequate. Even though there is an abundance of material on the topic of public speaking, most of it has not included empirical evidence concerning what characteristics of the speaker might affect an audience’s perceptions about the effectiveness of the speech.

The researcher adopted an audience analysis framework to examine the variables that may foster audience perceptions of an impactful speech. Areas identified within the study that would lead to effective public speaking are (a) the role of enthusiasm displayed by the speaker, (b) depth of knowledge of the speaker, (c) the role of emotion in an audience response to the speaker, and (d) the audience’s response to a question and answer format at the end of the speech. An analysis of the data revealed that an audience’s perceptions about the speakers depth of knowledge was the best predictor of the audience’s perceptions about the overall effectiveness of speech. Further, the data also showed that there are no significant differences between those participants who view a speech with questions included and those who viewed the speech without a question and answer period.

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