The person who delivers a speech is normally referred to as the speaker. If possible, it is usually a good idea to do a bit of research on this person when you prepare to analyze your speech. Make sure you use reliable sources and fact check the information you find. Be especially aware that some sources may have an interest in presenting a speaker in a positive light (such as a politician’s own website, for example). Alternatively, newspapers and other media sources may deliberately present individuals in a negative way, depending on their political leanings.

Who is the speaker?

Firstly, you should consider what interest the speaker has in the topic of the speech. For instance, the speaker might have political, economic or personal interests in the topic. For example, politicians typically have an interest in gaining public support (and therefore votes) through their speeches.

Try to connect these facts to the speaker’s background. A speaker is rarely neutral, but usually has a particular background or experiences that may be relevant for your speech analysis. For example, the speaker’s ethnicity, education and political views might affect the speaker’s own view of the topic - but also the audience’s perception of the speaker’s credibility.

However, you should only include relevant background details in your analysis. For instance, if the topic of a speech is the way society treats war veterans, it might be highly relevant to note if the speaker is a veteran herself. It is vital to focus on the relevant facts, so you do not end up writing a long biography full of irrelevant information. Always keep your analysis of the speaker connected to the specific speech you are working with, making connections between the arguments expressed and relevant aspects of the speaker’s background.

A video version of the speech (if it exists) may also help you gain more insight about the speaker. For example, it will typically let you form a basic impression of the speaker’s age, gender and ethnicity, and you can often get an impression of the audience’s reaction to the speaker as well.

Age, gender and identity

In some cases, it might be interesting to consider whether the speaker’s age, gender or ethnicity is relevant for the speech and its topic. For example, consider Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech from 28th of August, 1963. ...

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