Are you concerned about public speaking ethics? If not you should be for several reasons.
You have the power to heal or harm as a public speaker. They can help or hurt. How can anyone know what is right or wrong? Your knowledge and use of ethics can help or harm your career as a public speaker.
The study of public speaking ethics will help speakers to develop internal guidelines to be able to know. Doing so will help you to attain speechmastery. How can we know what is ethical and what is not?
To start, consider an overview of the NSA code of Ethics.
Ethics In Public Speaking an overview of the NSA ethics for public speakers. This is the standard to attain.
Practicing ethical speaking and presentation is not just a matter of of common sense. We live in an uncommon world, constantly changing, constantly morphing.
There are numerous breakdowns of the ethics in public speaking that you can find presented in literature. In the most simplest form, public speaking ethics are the foundation of the three pillars of public speaking. These ethical foundations are:
Public Speaking Ethics of What You Say
What you say would include the words you use, how you explicate an idea, how you expound, illustrations you use and use of humor.
Public Speaking Bias is one aspect of ethics public speakers need to be concerned about.
Public Speaking Ethics of How You Say It
Intonation, pace, pitch, power, sarcasm, and even your preparation.
Public Speaking Ethics of How You Present
Accurate, honest (to your self and the audience), original or attributed, plagiarized, avoiding language abuse, avoiding abusive language, avoiding degrading or derogatory speech, avoiding divisive speech.
Included is plagiarism. There is a unique set of mores when it comes to using other peoples material. If you do and fail to give attribution, it is simply considered stealing in this industry.
Considering the ethical foundations and their applications will help in any decision making process. Is this important? Consider how many times politicians, athletes, or the famous are forced to apologize because of unethical conduct. Common sense is not so common, even among the experienced.
Once considered, these need to become part of your credo.
Additional Ethical Concerns
These still fall under the three pillars. This just provides further ways of considering what is ethical and what is not.
Ethos creates a unique challenge for public speakers. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, ethos is the characteristic spirit of a culture, era, or community as manifested in its beliefs and aspirations. Included in ethos would be our actions and behaviors related to and demonstrating respect. Also could be the use of our expertise and how the audience views that experience, using it properly or taking advantage of it.Just because your a doctor does not give you the expertise to speak on health related issues mankind faces, especially if you neglect to say your a veterinarian.
Pathos involve appealing to the emotions of an audience. It can be in the form of a story with a moral, an illustration, metaphor, simile, parable, or even an emotional claim that something is unjust. Using emotions can be powerful. When ever we have the ability to use power, we likewise can misuse power.
Logos is the logical appeal using facts, figures and information to support the premise that is being presented.
This creates a ethical pitfall to beware of. Mark Twain spoke of liars, darn (not the exact word he used) liars and statisticians. Statistics can be used to say just about anything.
Mores are the customary or characteristic ways that communities or societies do things. They are like unwritten social laws. Break one of these laws and you will lose your audience or possibly more.
Which way will you go? In a world of unethical behavior, will you do what is right or whats expedient?
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