supporting material definition
An Example from a Student Speech
Step 2. Clogged arteries and veins are a result of inactivity. (example) Excess fat also caused by inactivity leads to a higher incidence of heart disease. (explanation and example)
If you tell your audience that you researched and found thousands of individuals who reported near-death experiences, I can assure you that your audience has no desire to hear all of these reports. But if you choose one or two incidents from this research to use as examples, it will provide them with specifics that help them better understand the phenomenon from an individual point of view. Examples, then, are used by the speaker to clarify information and to provide a narrower focus from the research.
An example is an item of information that is typical of a class or group and acts to represent the larger group. You use examples as a means to explain yourself every day. When you tell a friend that you are overwhelmed and then mention a particularly time-consuming assignment that must be completed in two days, you’ve given your friend an example -one specific item from a list of many items that are causing you stress at that moment. You will often find that providing an example is equally helpful in a presentation.
The key to effectively using examples in your speeches is this: what is an example to you may not be an example to your audience, if they have a different experience. One of the authors has been teaching four decades and cannot use the same pop culture examples she used to use in class. Television shows from twenty years ago are pretty meaningless to audiences today. Time and age are not the only reasons an example may not work with the audience. If you are a huge soccer fan speaking to a group who barely knows soccer, using a well-known soccer player as an example of perseverance or overcoming discrimination in the sports world may not communicate. It may only leave the audience members scratching their heads.
Description is useful as supporting material in terms of describing processes. This topic was discussed in Chapter 6 in chronological patterns of organization. Describing processes requires detail and not taking for granted what the audience already knows. Some instructors use the “peanut butter sandwich” example to make this point: How would you describe making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to someone who had never seena sandwich, peanut butter, or jelly? You would need to put yourself in their shoes to describe the process and not assume they know that the peanut butter and jelly go on the inside, facing surfaces of the bread, and that two pieces of bread are involved.
Examples: Concrete instances. Visual is better. Make sure the audience understands what the example is illustrating (3 rd step)
Testimony (authority): direct quotations or paraphrases – using someone else’s knowledge/information and, thus, their credibility. Requires acknowledgement (oral citation).
4. Detail — Each piece of support needs to be developed to the point that audience members can both understand the item of support AND can see how the item backs up the point it is used to support.
University of Hawai’i Maui Community College Speech Department