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Aug 03, 2022 Coach Mike

Speech Introductions: What’s next? (Incorporate the Two-Pronged Approach into your Upcoming Public Speaking Competition)

There was once a choose-your-own-adventure story about a boy who had lost his memory and found himself stuck on Mars. When he woke up, he was given the option to:

· A: Explore the crash site of his spaceship that was currently in flames,

· B: Walk towards the glowing lights in the red sky, or

· C: Curl up in a ball and cry.

The answer’s easy right? DEFINITELY C. Who doesn’t freak out when they find themselves stranded on a different planet with no way to get home? Now the reason why these choose-your-own-adventure stories exist is because oftentimes, the central problem in a story has more than one cause, and maybe you wouldn’t have picked C like most people might do! Original Oratory pieces can be organized similarly. Instead of exploring one main claim, it’s often a good idea to present two. Why?

Because not every speech fits neatly into the problem-solution framework, which means that you can switch up the organizational framework you want to use. In this article, you’ll learn how to structure your speech through a two-pronged approach, where you will break up your statement into two clear arguments you would like to make.

Like a kitchen prong, you can present two ways in which the problem plays out, or two causes for a problem. This approach is most effective for a social issue that is broader or more complex. Like in our adventure story, being stranded on Mars will likely require our main character to try out options A, B, and even C. But for now, let’s take a look at what A and B might look like in the context of an Original Oratory. The basic structure of a two-pronged approach should look like this.

Your speech begins with an introduction. This should then be followed by three main points:

· Prong one

· Prong two

· And implications.

The speech then wraps up with a solution-based conclusion.

It is important to include a clear argument structure for each of the prongs, meaning that there should be separate grounds, warrants, and backing to support each claim, in addition to a hook. The prongs can be told through smaller problems within the bigger social issues. Sometimes, a prong might present a real-world anecdote and use it to generalize to a bigger message.

Let’s look at a broad and complex social issue that might require a two-pronged approach: Abuse of power. Your statement might sound something like this “Abuses of power are often difficult to recognize.”

Why might this issue require two prongs?

Let’s say that the president of La La Land wants to buy 1000 police cars. Instead of allowing for fair competition between car dealerships and buying these cars from the cheapest seller, the president might buy them from his best friend or a wealthy campaign donor.

This abuse of power becomes quite complex. By buying the car from his best friend, he is contributing to a problem known as crony capitalism, which is a system where businesses become successful not because of smart risk-taking strategies, but as a result of political connections. If he buys from a campaign donor, he instead exacerbates another problem with campaign funds.

To tackle the issue of abuse of power, you can approach it from two different angles, or prongs:

· Prong one: We have failed to notice the power abuse caused by crony capitalism.

· Prong two: Campaign funding has led to abuse of power in favor of wealthy corporations.

Let’s break down one of these prongs:

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of owning a puppy, you’ll know that they are the most adorable creatures in the world. Even after they’ve peed on your carpet, they’re still pretty cute. Their cuteness sometimes leads owners to disregard their behavior, in the same way, we are so willing to disregard crony capitalism.

Crony capitalism has allowed well-connected businesses to earn more at the expense of taxpayers. A study by the Committee for Economic Development in 2015, found that in the U.S. consumers and businesses had to pay twice the average world price for sugar due to crony policies. Why? Because for years, these U.S. sugar companies have received government subsidies that allowed them to maintain a high minimum cost of sugar. These subsidies are granted as a result of connections that are made through political donations. Another study by Paul H. Robin found that crony capitalism allows companies to receive tax breaks and favorable public contracts, also at the expense of taxpayers. Such acts of corruption have become normalized because people don’t realize or understand what’s happening.

You can now follow the same structure for your second prong about abuses of power due to campaign funding! This approach helps to show multiple angles to a given problem, providing more nuanced arguments for your speech. For each prong, just remember to support your claims with the grounds, warrant, and backing.

Published by Coach Mike August 3, 2022
Coach Mike