Professional Speakers Demonstrate Different Approaches

Posted: May 20, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Catherine Ferraro

Don Boileau
Communication professor Don Boileau will share his expertise on public speaking.
Photo by Evan Cantwell

Aristotle argued that persuasion is accomplished through three components: ethos, or speaker credibility; logos, or logic and evidence; and pathos, or emotional and psychological appeals.

Depending upon the setting or type of persuasion, these three components vary in their importance for persuasion.

At a session titled “Communication, Leadership and Career Success” designed to highlight how Toastmasters and universities across the country use these components to approach public speaking, four professional speakers, including a Mason professor and a graduating senior, will share their thoughts on these topics.

The session takes place on Thursday, May 22, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in Innovation Hall Room 103. Refreshments will be served at 3:30 p.m.

“Clear and concise communication is one thing employers and organizations value more than any other attribute in their employees, but so many people lack these necessary skills,” says Andrew Finn, visiting associate professor in the Department of Communication. “Hopefully, this session will help highlight the importance of not only public speaking skills, but also presentation, interpersonal and written skills.”

Chris Ford, president of Toastmasters International, and Don Boileau, professor in the Department of Communication with more than 40 years of experience teaching public speaking, will discuss the importance of communication, leadership and lifelong learning.

Ford’s speech will focus on lessons he has learned throughout his life about leadership. He will use examples of specific, personal experiences and use them to make a general point.

Boileau will take a more academic approach and discuss the types of things he has seen throughout his 40 years studying and teaching public speaking.

To demonstrate the power of reasoning and logic as well as the appeal of humor and emotional connection with an audience, communication major and 2008 National Collegiate Champion in Persuasive Speaking Ian Summers will deliver a speech titled “Federal Funding and the Proliferation of No-Bid Contracts.” Dave Ross, the 1991 World Champion of Public Speaking, will deliver a speech titled “The Sound of Change.”

While most university public speaking courses and forensics teams typically emphasize the logic of an argument and the evidence supporting it, Toastmasters International methods also adhere to logic, but shift the focus to the emotional appeal of personal stories and life lessons learned.

Summers’ speech will take the more academic approach and will cite facts, figures and hard evidence. In contrast, Ross will present an inspirational speech filled with personal stories designed to motivate people to make changes in their lives.

After the speeches, the audience will be invited to participate in a question and answer session with the presenters. Participants will also receive a free handout on “The Top 12 Mistakes Presenters Make and How to Avoid Them.”

For more information about the event, contact Finn at

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