4.5 Enrichment

Discussion Questions

  1. Robert is preparing a speech about legalizing marijuana use in the United States. He knows that his roommate wrote a paper on the topic last semester and asks his roommate about the paper in an attempt to gather information. During his speech, Robert orally cites his roommate by name as a source of his information but does not report that the source is his roommate, whose experience is based on writing a paper. In what ways does Robert’s behavior violate the guidelines set out in the NCA Credo for Ethical Communication?
  2. Do you feel we have freedom of speech in our country? How has free speech been challenged and defended in our country?
  3. Why do you think the U.S. Supreme Court has historically considered flag burning and pornography to be “free speech acts”?
  4. Why do you think the authors of the NCA Credo for Ethical Communication included a statement about the importance of listening before responding to speakers? Why do you think our culture often places more of an emphasis on speaking than listening? And, what impact does this have on our communication?
  5. What do you think it means to accept responsibility for your own communication and expect the same of other communicators?
  6. Think about the following scenarios involving an ethical dilemma. How would you react?
    • You attend a political debate on campus. The candidate’s speech contains many ideas that you do not agree with. How can you demonstrate ethical listening during the speech?
    • You are preparing to give a persuasive speech and realize that you have lost the citation information for one of your primary sources. You cannot find the link to your source again. What would you do to ethically prepare for the speech?


  1. In class, review the NCA Credo for Ethical Communication together out loud. After reading/discussing the Credo, students can discuss the following in small groups:
    • What aspects of the Credo are most important to you?
    • Is there anything missing from the Credo?
    • Who is a speaker/celebrity/athlete/family member/friend who embodies these principles of ethical communication? Why do you think this person is especially ethical? How could we model their behavior in our own communication?
    • Finally, create one to three statements that we can add to our own SPCH 2713 Credo for Ethical Communication. These can be as long or as brief as you like and do not need to use the same language as the Credo.
    • As a class, create our SPCH 2713 Credo for Ethical Communication – the instructor should record each group’s statements and then discuss as a class.

Case Study

In class, form four or five groups. Each group will be given a different scenario to discuss the ethical implications of the conversations/language. As a group, can you reach a consensus on how ethical behavior is or is not illustrated? Trigger Warning: Some of these scenarios are sensitive and may cause you to experience a variety of emotional responses.

Case 1: In his speech about covid protocols, Jason referred to covid-19 as “the Chinese virus.” Many in the audience were visibly offended by his language choice, while some audience members snickered at the label and/or the awkwardness of the expression. How did Jason’s language align or misalign with ethical considerations of public speaking?

Case 2: After a group presentation, the professor referred to a transgendered classmate by their “dead name” (the name they no longer go by) multiple times and continually used the wrong pronouns. Knowing this is an important violation to acknowledge, how do you think you can address the professor’s misgendering in an ethical manner? Would/should you say something? Would/should it be in public or private?

Case 3: One of your group members has a speaking impediment that impacts their fluency when speaking. Despite this, the group member enjoys speaking in public and asks to present the largest section of the presentation. You are concerned about their ability to complete their speaking portion in a timely manner so that the project meets the time criteria. Should you ask them to take a smaller section of the presentation?  How do you handle this scenario in an ethical manner?

Case 4: In a persuasive speech in class, Rebecca advocates working out and eating healthy. During her speech, she body shamed audience members when she said, “Besides, no one wants to date a fat person!” Knowing the issues that impact self esteem, mental health, and body image, how do you as an audience member address this offense ethically in the question and answer session?

Case 5: Aaron gave a presentation about the January 6th capitol riot and analogized former President Trump’s supporters to being members of a cult. Knowing that in Oklahoma, there are probably more conservative leaning folks (possibly Trump supporters), do you think Aaron’s language aligned or misaligned with ethical considerations of public speaking? How do you think his language impacts the audience?


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