Communication Theory, Faulty Assumptions, and Decision Making in Public Speaking

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  • 0:02 Communication Theory &…
  • 1:06 Halo Effect
  • 2:25 Matching Hypothesis
  • 3:35 Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
  • 4:37 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Cathryn Jackson

Cat has taught a variety of subjects, including communications, mathematics, and technology. Cat has a master's degree in education and is currently working on her Ph.D.

Many times the psychology of people influence how they speak and what they hear. This lesson discusses some of the faulty assumptions made through psychological phenomenon in public speaking.

Communication Theory & Faulty Assumptions

Anastasia loves clothes and fashion. Her favorite company is Taylor LaRue Designs. Bria is her twin, and she loves sports. Right now her favorite team is a team from a city nearby, the Raging Lions. Each twin has an opportunity to go see a member from Taylor LaRue Designs and the Raging Lions speak at a formal event. Each twin has an expectation of the speaking event. In this lesson, we will discuss each twin's experiences and how public speaking is not just an act, but also a process that involves both the listener and the speaker. You will learn more about the faulty assumptions associated with public speaking, including the halo effect, matching hypothesis, and self-fulfilling prophecy.

Communication theory is more than just sounding articulate when you speak or avoid saying 'umm' during a speech. The decisions you make in constructing your speech and how you think about your speech can be a complex process. First, let's talk about a faulty assumption that affects both the listener and the speaker, the halo effect.

Halo Effect

The halo effect is a psychological phenomenon in which an individual's perception of another individual or company influences his or her thoughts and opinions about the individual or company's reputation. This means that the way you perceive a person may make them appear to do no wrong in your eyes. This is why it's called the halo effect, because you perceive this person or brand to have a halo.

For example, let's say that Anastasia goes to see a representative from Taylor LaRue Designs speak at an event. The representative is rude to the hostess and only speaks for a few minutes. The speech wasn't very informative, and when Anastasia tries to ask questions, the representative just blows her off. If the halo effect is in play in this scenario, then Anastasia might make excuses for the representative's behavior. However, for someone that isn't familiar with the brand, they may have a lasting negative impression of the brand.

This happens in everyday public speaking. First, as a listener, you need to be aware of your own personal bias so that you are able to listen openly and analyze the speech later. Second, as a speaker, it is important to be aware of first impressions as well as your behavior outside of the speaking event.

Matching Hypothesis

Remember, Bria is a fan of the Raging Lions, a local sports team. She has an opportunity to go to a press conference that is hosting several senior administrative members of the Raging Lions. Today they will be discussing some new changes they are proposing for the team.

Another faulty assumption that you will run into is the matching hypothesis. The matching hypothesis is the psychological phenomenon in which an individual will react more favorably to another that matches his or her perceived level of attractiveness. For example, let's say that one of the senior administrative members of the Raging Lions was on the same scale of attractiveness as Bria. The matching hypothesis assumption tells us that Bria will be more likely to listen to and believe this individual over the other members of the panel.

As a listener and as a public speaker, it is your responsibility to be aware of this faulty assumption. As a listener, make sure you are really paying attention to the message, not the appearance of the public speaker. As a public speaker, it is important to dress professionally and be well groomed for the speaking event.

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