Components of Speaker-Centered Model of Communication

Instructor: Michael Quist

Michael has taught college-level mathematics and sociology; high school math, history, science, and speech/drama; and has a doctorate in education.

The speaker-centered model of communication is designed for presentations where the presenter is the focus of the communication effort. This lesson will discuss the individual elements of this model, as well as its effectiveness.

What is the Speaker-Centered Model of Communication?

You've been asked to speak at a meeting. What do you say? How do you present it? Who will be there? What mood will they be in? Public speaking is an art and a science, and is valued in virtually every society on the planet. Speaker-centered communication is a model used in public speaking that focuses entirely on the activities of the speaker. This model takes into consideration five factors: the speaker, the message, the event taking place, the audience, and the effect.


If you are the presenter, you will prepare the message, adjusting for the characteristics of the target audience, the dynamics of the situation, and your particular strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps most important of all, you will be responsible for creating the desired effect in your audience. Your ethos, or credibility, is a critical element in how well your message will come across to the people.


When you are preparing to speak to a group of people, the message itself must carry an effective logos, or logic - it has to make sense to your audience. They must see the sequence of thoughts in a flow that is rational, believable, and reasonable.

What's more, your message must speak to what matters to your audience. This is the pathos, or the understanding factor. When you create emotional bonds with your audience, they tend to follow the direction your message is trying to take them.


When making a speaker-focused presentation, the environment can impact the message and how it is received. For example, if there is a great deal of background noise, it will be difficult to convey a quiet, thoughtful moment. Your soft-voiced appeals to the audience's sentiment might be difficult to convey when there is a jack-hammer running outside. On the other hand, if your purpose is to get the audience shouting 'Win!!! Win!!! Win!!!' at the top of their lungs, background noise might contribute to the energy of the moment.


You must consider your audience when you are preparing your message, when you are delivering, and, if possible, when you are setting up the event. A group of construction workers who might be uncomfortable with quiet, emotional content in an elegant hotel conference room might be the best kind of audience for a noisy speech of logical, inspirational messages delivered in a loud bar with music in the background and general shouts all around.


When the purpose of your presentation is merely to inform, then the message and event environment should be focused on memory and understanding. You may have reminders available and visible, and will craft your message to help the audience remember the key points of your message. On the other hand, if you want your audience to take some sort of action, memory of the details of your message will not be nearly as meaningful as the emotional call to action. If they leave the room convinced that they must take action, the presentation was a success.

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