Class Updates Tuesday 9/17: Delivery and Disney

Today we worked again in our groups. The winner of the contest was allowed to take a non-speaking day off.

Groups submitted a central idea for the “Be a Man” scene from Disney’s Mulan. Winning teams came closest to a #2 theme of “ingenuity” or “cunning.”

For a review of Mulan that reaches the same conclusion see the review from from Endtime Prophets (a fundamental Christian website) NOT recommending Mulan for children at The reviewer writes:

She has a guardian dragon, Mushu, and a lucky Cricket, Cri-Kee who travel with her. Manshu is the lowliest of dragon guardians because he has failed to protect the ancestors of Mulan’s family through the ages and because he wants to redeem his status as a worthy guardian dragon he deems it his duty to protect and guide Mulan and make her a war hero. He teaches her how to impersonate a man at boot camp. She first appears as a weakling but by using her ingenuity she eventually proves herself to the men by climbing a pole the other men could not climb.

From there we used the lyrics to practice some important elements of vocal delivery including: enunciation, pausing, vocal variety, cadence, pitch and rate (160-180 wpm).

We also used the example to discuss the grammatical principles of good speech writing: choose vivid/active words; minimize adjectives; write in simple, direct sentences by eliminating conjunctions, prepositions and transitional phrases (within or between sentences only–we want transitions overall in the speech structure); use active instead of passive voice unless trying to convey victimage.

For Tuesday’s class: revise your outlines, again (I know it’s a never ending job) and bring fresh versions to class on Tuesday with blank note cards.


Published by


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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s