Strategies of Invention and Central Ideas

Happy September!

Today in class we finished up some remaining monologues, discussed the impromptu assignment description and what delivering that assignment will entail: invention (coming up with a theme or central idea to focus the speech), elaboration (things to say to fill up the time and stay on theme, which we will discuss further on Thursday), and landing or closing (bringing the speech to an end within the allotted time frame).

We spent most of the class discussing several strategies of invention that were from your assigned reading. We discussed your monologues as awesome opportunities for Mimesis (“you can’t handle the airport”); the Lonely Island “YOLO” video as a good example of Juxtaposition (; and Robin Williams’ stand-up sketch about Golf as a good example of the Topoi “cause-effect” (

2015-09-01 11.45.42

We also did some small group invention of random topics and came up with the better, the good, and the needs improvement. I also raged a little bit about the uselessness of typing “speech topics” into google because getting a topic is actually the easiest part. During our discussion we also reviewed the concepts of central ideas and themes.2015-09-01 12.09.08
For Thursday please read the “SUPPORTS” Reading in the “Readings” folder on eLC (should be what your calendar tells you to do) and come ready with your assigned worksheet completed! The worksheet is at the end end of the reading on eLC pg. 9 AND I posted it in the “worksheets and readings” folder. We use the SUPPORTS throughout the semester so it’s a good idea to grasp these well and early.


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I am a rhetorical scholar, public speaker, and teacher at the State University of New York at Geneseo. I study speech and contemporary U.S. political culture and teach courses in public speaking, interpersonal and visual communication, speech and media, and rhetorical theory and criticism. I have been featured on RabbitBox Storytelling and TEDx.

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