COMM 101 - Fundamentals of Communication

Dr. Lee McGaan  

  Office:  WH 308  (ph. 309-457-2155);  email
  Home:  418 North Sunny Lane (ph. 309-734-5431, cell 309-333-5447)

Fall 2016 Office Hours:   MWF:  9:30 - 10am, 11am - Noon & 1 -2pm TTh:  2-3pm & by apt.  |  copyright (c) by Lee McGaan, 2006-2016

Types of Support Material


Support Material illustrates your assertions so the audience will understand the concepts and conclusions you are presenting.  Support material provides clarity, vividness (for interest and memory), and credibility.  See notes about "oral citation."

Examples:  Concrete instances. Visual is better.  Make sure the audience understands what the example is illustrating (3rd step)


Testimony (authority):  direct quotations or paraphrases – using someone else’s knowledge/information and, thus, their credibility. Requires acknowledgement (oral citation).


Surveys:  compilations of many people’s views, public opinion, quantitative.  Be sure we understand what group the survey represents and who is the source of the survey


Definition:  clarification of unfamiliar terms and concepts  [ by example, by synonym, by classification ].


Comparision/Contrast (analogy):  illustrating a concept by relating the unfamiliar to the familiar.  Be sure the audience understands the points of similarity or difference.


Statistics:  Quantitative information.  Good for establishing significance.  Use round numbers if possible.  “Humanize” large abstract numbers by linking them to something familiar.


Narration:  StoriesThey are visual, personal and chronological.  Highly concrete and memorable.  Good for illustration; weak for proof.


Explanation (description/detail):  describing an idea or concept in your own words.  Most effective when highly visual (use lots of adjectives).  Often overused.


Proof getting the audience to accept your ideas, believe you, be persuaded.  There are three traditional types of proof originally identified by Aristotle 2500 years ago:

  1. Pathos – using emotions to get support


  1. Ethos --  using credibility to get support (either your own credibility or that of your sources)


  1. Logos – using logic and evidence (support material) to prove you are correct and gain support.


Tips on Using Audio/Visual Aids

    1. Rehearse with your visual aid if at all possible to avoid surprise malfunctions.
    2. Set up the aid in advance if possible to avoid distracting set up activity at the start of your speech.
    3. Talk to the audience, not to the visual aid.
    4. Don’t reveal the visual aid until the time you intend to discuss it.  Don’t use a visual aid if you don’t intend to discuss it.
    5. Consider visibility for your audience.  Is the V.A. large enough to be seen at the back of the room?  Have you used low contrast colors that can’t be easily seen? Have you place the V.A. in a location where the view is not blocked (by you, the podium, etc.)?
    6. Keep the visual aid simple (complex charts and graphs distract usually) and relevant to the point you are making.


last updated 3/1/2014