I chose Lou Gehrig’s farewell to baseball speech. No matter how many years go by that speech will always stand the test of time. To have someone as iconic as “The Iron Horse” forced to retire after 17 years after begin diagnosed with ALS. He ended his career on a high note and left with his dignity. He was a well respected player and it was a sad day in history when he said good bye.

He began his speech by talking about the rumor of his disease which is sure to catch everyone’s attention as it was the first time he had publicly spoke on this issue. He plays on emotions through the speech by talking about the iconic people he has worked with and the strong support system that stood by him through his years. The passion and emotion behind is speech is so genuine it send chills through your body as you hear the way he describes the support his parents and wife have given him. Through his speech he uses ethos, pathos, and metaphors to create a mood in his speech in which the audience didn’t worry about his circumstance but celebrated his life.

Its hard to find critiques for such an emotional iconic speech. But the biggest mystery behind Gehrig’s speech was if it was extemporaneous or if it was rehearsed. As reluctant as he was to give the speech it would seem as if it was extemporaneous. However, throughout his speech he keeps and emphasis around being lucky as if the speech was structured around the importance of his “luckiest man” quote.

He also held chewing gum in his mouth so the pronunciation of some words weren’t as clear and harder to understand.

The biggest critique is that the only parts of his speech that have survived on video is the first, second, fourth and last sentences and the rest was simply recorded on paper. It seems a bit weird that the rest of his speech wasn’t as important as those particular sentences.


https://www.ted.com/talks/jeff_iliff_one_more_reason_to_get_a_good_night_s_sleep#t-687089 (Links to an external site.)  Guiding an Audience Through a Message & Addressing Counterarguments in Speeches

Jeff IIiff, a neuroscientist and assistant Professor of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University, in his intro combined multiple attention getting strategies: a quote from Gaylen (medical research expert from 2000 years ago),  a rhetorical question, beginning to tell a story (essentially about the wonders of our brain and the benefits sleep has on the brain) and providing a startling statistic that amazed me.  To paraphrase this startling statistic that still amazes me as I’m typing, was that the brain is roughly 2% of an individual’s body mass yet requires 1/4 of the entire body’s energy to run (IIif, 2014).

Mr. IIif’s made the purpose of his speech clear from the onset, he wanted to share with the audience new findings from his team’s research on mice and what significance they found sleep has on the brain by this research. Mr. IIif’s organizational pattern appeared to be problem-solution as his speech broke down into presenting two basic problems that he nicely parallels to principles of biological problems organs have: 1) The brain like any organ in the body needs to sustain its energy and thereby have a means of fuel or nutrients. He points out the solution here is our bodies circulatory system and how the brain is rich with a network of blood vessels to serve the purpose of providing it energy. 2)Problem of waste removal. IIif (2014) develops this problem by stating the rest of the body has the lymphatic system to assist with this process (waste removal) whereby the brain only has the above mentioned blood vessels. The solution that is presented here is that the circulatory system does double duty and was shown through a very cool visual aid, a fluorescent imaging video showing how the brain “flushes” a build up of toxins that accumulate during the day (one of which is a protein called amyloid beta) with cerebrospinal fluid, and that these flushes only occurred when the mice were asleep. The crux of the speech was to show the importance sleep has on the brain for it is at this time that the brain invests energy to do the “chores” and get rid of the waste that has built up during the awake hours (IIif, 2014). Mr IIif conclusion is that by understanding the process of sleep better, by such work as his study, we may be able to generate interventions to prevent or treat diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Counter argument 1: Mr. IIif addresses one that someone may infer wrongly, that his message is simply amyloid beta accumulation leads to Alzheimer’s and sleep can prevent this. His counter is studies suggest that both “worsening sleep quality and duration” have been implicated in higher levels of amyloid beta accumulation in the brain and that this interruption to sleep does not cause Alzheimer’s (where they typically find high levels of amyloid beta) rather it may contribute to its development later (IIif, 2014). Counter argument 2: As this was a relatively brief speech referring to only one study, the audience may state that the sample size (which was not disclosed) was not large enough to draw as critical a conclusion to how research into sleep’s restorative processes could be tailored to medical treatments. Counter argument 3: Mr. IIif cited his own research as his evidence so an audience may see this as a form of bias because he did not corroborate any other similar studies.

Sandmann (2017) suggest that in the structure of a speech, the speaker should not spend more than 10% of their time on the conclusion and Mr. IIif appears to have followed this. I have to say from watching this video-every word, transition, point, sub-point was optimized. The presentation came off expert level, extemporaneous but I feel he had to have rehearsed because it was polished and lacked fillers and was highly organized.


Lisi, E. (n.d.). What it’s really like to have autism. Retrieved April 16, 2020, from https://www.ted.com/talks/ethan_lisi_what_it_s_really_like_to_have_autism/discussion (Links to an external site.)

Ethan Lisi, the speaker of the speech began by portraying internal credibility, in other words, wearing the appropriate attire for the public presentation. He made eye contact with his audience before speaking and spoke clearly and confidently.  His attention getting device began  by naming different stereotypes about autism individuals. Ethan used a black screen as a visual aid to demonstrate the characteristics he described. Then, he rebutted these statements by saying that he knew the reality of autism because he had autism. Ethan asked a question to the audience, “Am I really diseased, if I just think differently?” The speaker demonstrated personal experience and knowledge of the topic throughout his speech. He mentioned, that the main problem for autistic individuals in today’s society is that “the world just does not build for us.”   The main points included, breaking down common stereotypes and talking about common behaviors like stimming and masking. I recognized these points by the structure of his speech, he used voice inflection and seemed to take pauses in between new points. Ethan first talked about the effect that loud noises has on them and how fidgeting and stimming is a way of dealing with the undesired circumstance. Each stereotype was followed by his personal experience and research. Towards the end of his speech, he incorporated scientific findings. “Approximately one percent of the population is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” He brings in his family background and how his mother is also diagnosed with autism. I was able to interpret the climax of his speech when he said, “despite the challenges…” and he ends with a statement from an author of a book, that talks about how autism should be seen as a natural human and not as defects. Lastly, he includes his own personal belief, “I am still human, and I am not diseased.” A couple of questions that the audience might have presented could have been the following. How is autism diagnosed? If there is no autism epidemic, why do the autism statistics keep increasing? How have you personally coped with the lack of recognition from society?


For this assignment, I chose TedTalk “How to Speak so People Want to Listen” by Julian Treasure (June 2013). Most of the major elements we have discussed were evident in his presentation.

His attention-getter used an analogy comparing the human voice to an instrument and how it can “make war or say I love you.” The introduction was well prepared. He stated the problem, asked what we could do to fix it, then tells the audience he has suggestions. At the end of the introduction, we know his topic and purpose. He uses a cause-effect transition by his first suggestion being the first key point “avoiding the 7 deadly habits.”

Through the first key point, Mr. Treasure used “the habits” to highlight negative attributes of conversations that cause “people not to listen.” During several examples, he used humor to get his idea across and not sound negative himself. He also used this time to build ethos with the audience. He related himself to the audience, and the audience seemed to accept this. After presenting the negatives, the last being lying, he states, “these are things we need to avoid,” then presents the counterargument “is there a positive way to think about this?” He uses this contrasting transition to move into his second point, “four cornerstones for a powerful speech.”

After ending his first key point with lying, he begins the second key point with honesty. After discussing honesty, he introduces his second counterargument with the example “someone tells you that you are ugly today” to argue that honesty and lying can be positive and negative. At the end of the key point, he re-capped the four cornerstones by reiterating the acronym HAIL. He uses HAIL as his transition by stating, “we HAIL,” and it’s not what you say but how you say it.” This is a great transition the third key point “before speaking warm-up.”

During the final key point, to ensure the audience was not experiencing information overload, he had everyone stand, take deep breaths, and participate in humorous examples. I thought this was ingenious. Not only were the activities part of the point, but they are also known to assist with calm and focus.

The conclusion reiterated the introduction, and he used a visual aid to show how the key points fit in. In his summary, he introduced his third counterargument, “what the world be like if we created and consumed sound consciously.” He then ended his presentation with the final statement, “understanding would be the norm,” taking us full circle to his opening statement, “the power of the voice can start a war or say I love you.”

I found it easy to follow Mr. Treasure’s transitions to key points within his speech. The use of his visual aids allowed me to know the key point clearly and identify the subtopics. Within each key point, he used different activities to keep the audience engaged. He used personal stories and humor to elaborate on key points and keep the audience listening.

Julian Treasure is a sound and communication expert. I watched his presentation several times and could find no critiques. The counterarguments I thought of were introduced during the performance. If I had to ask a question, I would ask where he learned the warm-up techniques he uses, because he didn’t state if they were acquired or developed. He is a fantastic public speaker and I hope I too can be a great speaker.

In each one, discuss how successful you thought the speaker was at catching, holding, and releasing the audience. How might you or your classmates use these strategies in your upcoming speeches? Also, discuss the merits of one (or more) of the proposed counterarguments. Each reply should be at least 100 words in length and should provide a thoughtful response