Speech Critique

1094 words - 4 pages

In Robert Veninga's speech entitled Stress in the Workplace: How to Create a Productive and Healthy Work Environment, five strategies are offered on how to improve employee morale. The speech is given by the professor to the Tenth World Productivity Congress in Santiago, Chile on October 14, 1997. The speaker does a good job of organizing his speech and using key strategies to involve the audience. The statistics offered, however, are inadequately supported. The introduction, although lengthy, does a good job of creating concern for the problem at hand. This speech is good, but has room for improvement. In his introduction, Veninga rattles off some alarming statistics relating to the effect of stress in the workplace. But first, he relates why the conference is in Santiago; Santiago has made significant progress in improving the productivity and living standards of its people. This makes the audience feel important, like they have potential to make a change. As for the statistics, Veninga states some very startling percentages and dollar amounts. However, he does not cite these statistics well. He refers to generic surveys and offers no specific information to back some of these stats up. This weakens the effectiveness of this introduction whose main function was to create concern. Overall, the speaker's introduction could be stronger, but still serves its purpose. This speech is very well organized. It follows a topical pattern, the main topic being creating a productive and healthy work environment and the subtopics being the five strategies offered. This is a very logical pattern for this kind of a subject. When it comes to supporting his main claims, Veninga 'straddles the fence'. Scattered throughout his speech, there are substantiated claims along with unsubstantiated ones as well. For instance, he opens with a statistic from Australia dealing with stress claims by government workers. There is no specific survey or study referred to. That is followed by a French survey and another generic study. There would be no way anyone wishing to find out more information could easily find these surveys and studies. A title and/or specific dates and names would make these statistics much more credible. For example, he uses a stat from a survey concerning 100 of America's largest corporations done by Natin Noluia, a professor at Harvard University. This is a well-cited, very credible fact. If statistics like the one just discussed were present throughout the speech, the speech would have a much greater impact. The speaker tries to present new perspectives to the audience. The Tenth World Productivity Congress is assumed to be very knowledgeable in the field of worker productivity. Therefore, Veninga appeals to the workers. He attempts to enlighten this 'congress' on the more personal aspect of corporate downsizing and overloaded work days. He even gives some tips on how to encourage creativity amongst...

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