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COMM 105 (Speech) Proficiency Examination

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COMM 105 (Speech) Proficiency Examination

Complete the attached Speech Proficiency Test Application and return it to Libby McGlone (mailbox in Nestor Hall 420 or Fax 287-5375).

This test will take approximately two hours. You must arrange this two-hour block of time with the COMM Lead Instructor, Libby McGlone (office: NH 499/phone: 287-3659) at least two weeks before you plan to take the test.

There is a $50 test fee, which must be paid in the college Business Office prior to taking the test. Bring your receipt with you.

The proficiency test consists of four parts: the delivery of a prepared speech, a typed full sentence preparation outline, a written analysis/critique of a videotaped speech, and an objective test. To receive proficiency credit for COMM 105, your performance must be rated “B” (80%) or better on each part of the test.

Part One:You will take an objective test that evaluates your knowledge of basic communication and public speaking theory.

Part Two: Submit a typed full sentence preparation outline of your speech along with a works cited using MLA style.

Part Three: You will research, prepare, and deliver a 5 to10 minute informative speech or persuasive speech on a topic of your choice; submit before you speak, a full-preparation (sentence) outline with bibliography; incorporate at least one visual aid (i.e., chart, graph, overhead transparency, slides, object, model, etc.); and deliver the speech with minimal use of key-word note cards, maximum eye contact, natural and expressive voice gestures.

Attached is a checklist of the specific traits expected of your speech’s content, organization, and delivery; also included is a list of standards used in COMM 105 for “C,” “B,” and “A” speeches.

Part Four: You will view a 5 to 10 minute videotaped speech and complete an analysis sheet. You will be allowed up to one hour to complete this part of the proficiency test.

In this written test, you will be expected to not only evaluate the quality of various aspects of the videotaped speech, but also cite specific examples from the speech to support your judgments.

Communication Skills Department Rubric


  • maintain eye contact with audience, not with the camera
  • greet audience with eye contact
  • use notes minimally (limit the number of words on a note card to approximately 10 words per minute of speech)
  • include all areas of audience
  • look directly at audience members
  • employ expressiveness of body language, facial expressions, movement, and gestures
  • approach the lectern confidently
  • move away from lectern at least twice (usually to emphasize one of your main points)
  • stay in new position for sufficient time (take notes, if needed, to avoid having to return unnecessarily to lectern)
  • motivate your movement
  • avoid distractions and barrier signals
  • avoid continual hand movement (“talking with hands”)
  • avoid hands in pockets, behind back, folding arms, leaning on lectern, etc.
  • avoid nervous fidgeting with hands, wringing hands, shuffling note cards
  • stand still instead of pacing, rocking, moving feet, shifting weight, back stepping, sidestepping, etc.
  • avoid holding note cards with two hands



  • speak distinctly, with sufficient volume and at appropriate rate
  • pronounce words clearly
  • be loud enough to be heard by all
  • use pauses effectively
  • avoid speaking too slowly or “racing”
  • speak expressively, and with appropriate tone
  • vary your pitch, rate, volume
  • deliver your final sentence in a way that sounds final
  • sound conversational
  • avoid sounding memorized
  • avoid reading or sounding read
  • speak fluently, confidently, and assertively
  • avoid vocalized pauses (uh/um/okay/you know/and/like, etc.)
  • avoid beginning speech with vocalized pause such as “okay” or “uh.”



  • be audience-centered throughout
  • select a challenging topic appropriate for a college audience
  • make a genuine contribution to the your audience’s knowledge or perceptions
  • support main points fully
  • cite research thoroughly using appropriate lead-ins
  • deal perceptively/creatively with the topic
  • select a topic sufficiently narrowed for time range
  • develop content sufficiently
  • explain ideas clearly and thoroughly
  • personalize information
  • use specific, vivid examples (sensory appeals)
  • employ vivid (sensory), precise language
  • use more formal language avoiding slang, jargon, and bad grammar
  • use language accurately, clearly, and appropriately

VISUALS (if required)

  • select/create visuals that help you achieve your specific purpose
  • reinforce major-not minor-ideas with visual
  • use PowerPoint slides but only use 3 or 4 key words per slide (no more than 3 points on any slide)
  • use size 40 or higher font on PowerPoint slides
  • make them large enough to be visible to entire audience
  • select/create visuals that look “professional” (avoid posters in this tech. era)
  • select/create visuals that are simple
  • keep them visual-rather than verbal-in their primary mode of communication


  • place visuals where they can be seen by the entire audience
  • avoid blocking anyone’s view by standing in front of the visual
  • talk to audience, not the visual (maintain eye contact as much as possible with audience)
  • reveal the visual only when you want audience to look at it
  • remove the visual when you are finished discussing it
  • reveal and remove visual in silence
  • introduce/orient us to the whole visual before discussing details
  • take time with each visual and explain it clearly
  • point to details


    • give your speech three distinct parts--intro, body, conclusion, or five distinct parts for Monroe’s
    • begin with an effective introduction
      do not start with specific purpose statement
      gain audience attention and interest at start of speech
      relate topic to audience
      establish your credibility
      state central idea as one full sentence
      end intro with a clear preview-one that emphasizes your organization
    • move to an effective body of your speech
    • employ a logical and recognizable pattern of organization for body of the speech
    • make your main points clear
    • focus content clearly on your central idea/preview
    • use full-sentence transitions
      between intro and body of speech
          between main-point discussions

        between each section of Monroe’s
    • use full sentence main points
    • use parallel main points
    • use guideposts to emphasize organization within main-point discussions, etc.
    • end your speech with an effective conclusion
      cue that your speech is about to end (“In conclusion,” “To sum up.” etc.)
      review your main points
      reinforce central idea
      end speech vividly/memorably