When used appropriately, supporting ideas will help strengthen your speech and persuade your audience by giving it the depth needed to add clarity and credibility to your claims.
What are Supporting Ideas?
It's easy to make a claim like, say, 'the moon is made of green cheese'. After all, how many people have ever been there to refute the statement?
But just saying something is not enough. Your speech should be based on something more than your own opinion. It should contain supporting ideas that supplement the thesis or main idea of your speech.
Supporting ideas paint the picture of what the speech will be about. Now, don't confuse these with main ideas. A main idea is the overall central point of the speech, which differs from supporting ideas in many ways.
Unlike main ideas, supporting ideas back up the central theme of the speech.
So, you claim the moon is made of cheese. Here are a few ways you can support this idea:
Wow, that's quite a list. Not to worry, you would not use all of them; just what fits best into the overall main idea.
How Supporting Ideas are Used
An example is a representation of a person, place, action or thing.
You can do this by showing the audience a replica of the moon dangling from a string. The replica of the moon will give the audience members a good idea of what the moon looks like close up.
Next, you can provide a definition of the moon. This is a statement of the meaning of a word.
Telling the audience that the moon is actually a natural satellite of the Earth will help you make your point. After all, it might be hard to make your points if members of your audience think the moon is actually a planet.
Using narration may be helpful. That is telling a story or describing actions that can be used to support your speech.
Perhaps the speaker can talk about folklore that is based on the moon's milky make-up.
Comparisons are a popular tool. Use these to point out similarities between two or more things.
Take a trip to your local cheese monger and fetch a large wheel of Gorgonzola. Then, place it next to the replica of the moon.
When the audience sees the similarity in color and shape, they are sure to agree with your claim.
You could also do the opposite. Contrasts point out the differences between two or more things.
Use these to force the audience to think in new ways. This can be done by showing a mock solar system that depicts the differences between all planets and the moon.
Statistics is the study of the collecting, analyzing and interpreting data. Now, this may not be so useful in the moon/cheese argument but it can be useful to prove other points.
Did you know that the moon's surface is about 14.6 million square miles, which is about 92.6% less surface area than the Earth's surface. This is about 4 times the surface area of the United States.
This is important if one was planning on traveling to the moon to take a sample of its surface. Don't take too much, it's not that large.
Nothing beats the word from the street. Testimony is the statements of a witness. Just find someone who people respect who will also say that the moon is made of cheese.
Did you know that in 1546, English writer John Heywood even wrote a poem about a cheesy moon? Oh, I mean that the moon was made of green cheese.
Now, let's see about putting them into the speech.
Tips on Using Supporting Ideas
Like any convincing argument, your speech must appeal to your audience's beliefs and values.
So, here are some of the best ways to actually use the support you worked so hard to find.
Use persuasion to influence your audience to think like you do.
Be sure to use exposition to bring your argument to life by setting out all of the information needed to prove something. This goes back to the use of definitions, examples and even statistics.
Be sure you and your audience share commonalities. This means there needs to be a common interest shared by all.
For the sake of finding an audience who shares your opinion about the moon, you may want to wait on sending invitations to former astronauts.
Use a storytelling approach. This connection through telling a story will demonstrate your genuineness making your claim even more believable.
Lastly, keep it simple. Don't overcomplicate the speech with confusing language or support that may baffle people. Break it down so that the argument seems natural.
Supporting ideas supplement the thesis or main idea of your speech. There are several ways this can be done.
Examples are a representation of a person, place action or thing.
Depending on the topic, you may want to use definitions for terms the audience may not understand. These are statements of the meaning of a word.
Everyone likes a good story. So, use narration to tell a story that relates to the main point.
Comparisons tie two things together while contrasts show the differences. Wow, much like I just did here.
You can use statistics for data analysis and interpretation to drive home a point.
But, sometimes, nothing beats testimony like an eyewitness account to really convince people.
There are also some best practices when using supporting material.
Persuasion works. This is done to influence people into joining your side. A good way to use persuasion is through exposition and this is simply sharing enough information with the audience. So they believe.
Also, try to find commonalities between you and the audience. The shared common ground will likely convert them.
Tell a story. Storytelling is a good way to appear genuine.
Most of all, keep it simple. Do not overuse support. Your audience will appreciate it.
By the end of this lesson, you should be able to define and describe different ways to use supporting ideas to strengthen your speech.