Nelson Higher Education

Higher Education

The Challenge of Effective Speaking in a Digital Age, 16th Edition

  • Rudolph F. Verderber
  • Deanna Sellnow
  • Kathleen S. Verderber
  • ISBN-10: 1285094840
  • ISBN-13: 9781285094847
  • 400 Pages | Paperback
  • Previous Editions: 2012, 2008, 2006
  • COPYRIGHT: 2015 Published
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About the Product

THE CHALLENGE OF EFFECTIVE SPEAKING IN A DIGITAL AGE, 16E builds on its strong tradition of skills-based public speaking instruction with its Speech Planning Action Steps, which resourcefully guide students through speech creation as they progress through six Action Steps: topic selection, audience analysis and adaptation, research, organization, presentational aids, and language and delivery. This new edition clearly integrates technology and social media in the speeches themselves and in their delivery in both face-to-face and virtual environments. Multimodal public speaking is now considered throughout the text--that is, oral, written, and visual aspects of speech planning, developing, presentation, and evaluation processes. As in previous editions, the authors provide an exceptional foundation to help students create and deliver speeches, including the latest research, numerous in-text activities, techniques to help student address anxiety, ethical issues that speakers face, and critical-thinking and reflection prompts that help students think logically about the speechmaking process.


  • An even stronger underpinning of the latest communication research and theory, including integration of the concept of the rhetorical situation as it applies to the steps of the speechmaking process, new coverage on listening, and thesis versus preview statements, helps give students a deeper understanding of the skills they are learning.

  • Engaging coverage of audience analysis throughout the book begins in Chapter 1, showing students that speech effectiveness is determined by the speaker's ability to understand and adapt the message to the rhetorical situation. Chapter 4 offers in-depth treatment of the audience analysis process. Chapter 5 describes specific ways a speaker can adapt material to each audience. Chapter 6 discusses how to identify and select information sources that will best fulfill the speaker's goal for the particular audience and occasion. Chapter 9 focuses on how to create, select, and display presentational aids most effectively for the rhetorical situation. Chapters 10 and 11 further hone how a person might adapt language choices based on the audience and situation.

  • Early and strong coverage of speech apprehension in Chapter 2 explains causes of speech apprehension and presents students with clear strategies and tactics for becoming confident speakers.

  • Short Reflect on Ethics case studies depict an ethical challenge (such as plagiarism, ethical use of statistics and emotion, and appropriate uses of presentational aids) that someone in the real world faces, allowing students to think through speakers' ethical dilemmas.

  • Sample speeches chosen to realistically depict typical beginning student performances, accompanied by speech assignment activities, sample adaption plans, full-sentence outlines, Interactive Video Activities, and Speech Evaluation Checklists, lay out clear speech direction and help with evaluation. The checklists provide students with an understanding of the new speechmaking skills demonstrated with each assignment.

  • Resources that accompany the text include Speech Builder Express™ 3.0, an online coach for speech organization and outlining that helps students think critically about the choices they make for their speeches. Speech Builder Express™ is fully assignable, so you can measure students' performance. In addition, you can provide students with the opportunity to watch and critique videos of sample speeches with Interactive Video Activities and upload speech videos for peer reviewing with the Speech Studio online speech review tool. Students also can download chapter reviews for studying with the Audio Study Tools.

About the Author

Rudolph F. Verderber

Rudolph F. Verderber is a Distinguished Teaching Professor of Communication Emeritus at the University of Cincinnati and former National Speaker's Association Professor of the Year -- as well as one of the all-time bestselling communication studies authors. The strength of his basic texts lies in his ability to explain and exemplify concepts, theories and skills to introductory level students. His Cengage texts -- COMMUNICATE!, THE CHALLENGE OF EFFECTIVE SPEAKING, COMM, and SPEAK -- have a reputation for being student favorites due to their accessible presentation of theory and skills.

Deanna Sellnow

Deanna D. Sellnow, Ph.D., is a Professor of Strategic Communication and Assistant Director in the Nicholson School of Communication at the University of Central Florida, where she also is chair of the Department of Communication and conducts faculty development workshops on instructional communication pedagogy. Her research focuses on the rhetoric of popular culture, particularly music as communication, and instructional communication as it occurs in conventional and nonconventional classrooms, as well as in risk and crisis contexts. Published in regional, national and international journals, Dr. Sellnow is editor of the JOURNAL OF COMMUNICATION and co-author of COMMUNICATE!, COMM, SPEAK and THE CHALLENGE OF EFFECTIVE SPEAKING, all with Cengage.

Kathleen S. Verderber

Kathleen S. Verderber is Associate Professor of Management Emeritus at Northern Kentucky University. She holds an MA in Speech Communication as well as an MBA and a PhD in organizational behavior from the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Verderber has consulted with various civic, professional, and business organizations. She has published numerous articles in several journals and has presented papers at communication and management conferences. She is a coauthor of COMMUNICATE! THE CHALLENGE OF EFFECTIVE SPEAKING IN A DIGITAL AGE, COMM, and SPEAK all with Cengage Learning, and author of INTER-ACT: INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION, CONCEPTS, SKILLS, AND CONTEXTS with Oxford University Press.

Table of Contents

1. Foundations of Public Speaking.
2. Your First Speech.
3. Listening.
4. Speech Topic and Goal.
5. Adapting to Audiences.
6. Gathering and Evaluating Information.
7. Organizing and Outlining.
8. Introductions and Conclusions.
9. Presentational Aids.
10. Language and Oral Style.
11. Delivery.
Part III: Public Speech Presentation Variations.
12. Informative Speeches.
13. Persuasive Messages.
14. Persuasive Speeches.
15. Ceremonial Speeches.
16. Group Presentations.

New to this edition

  • NEW full-length sample speeches on contemporary topics are provided. Topics include being a first-generation college student, civic engagement, Adderall prescription drug abuse, Internet identity theft, cyberbullying, and hooking up.
  • NEW chapter-opening vignettes are referred to throughout the chapter as extended examples of the skills and concepts being addressed. For example, in Chapter 1, the opener introduces Diane, who has been asked to speak at her grandmother's funeral and doesn't know where to begin. As they read the chapter, students learn how Diane gradually creates her speech. The chapter closes with Diane's completed formal speech outline. In Chapter 2, the opener introduces Kira, who is struggling with speech anxiety as she tries to prepare her first classroom speech. As students read and learn about concepts and skills in the chapter, Kira serves as an example. By chapter's end, Kira's formal outline for her speech of self-introduction is offered as an example for readers.
  • NEW and updated material throughout the text will make your cutting-edge course even more appealing to students with several new examples on contemporary topics such as the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting (Chapter 1); gay marriage, texting/talking while driving, and social media hoaxes (Chapters 4 and 5); a new section on listening challenges rooted in listening apprehension, preferred listening style, and listening processing approach (Chapter 3); a new section on how to conduct research and evaluate Internet sources (Chapter 6); and new material about finding and using possible presentational aids online and creating PowerPoint® slideshows that won't put listeners to sleep (Chapter 9).
  • NEW Public Speaking in the Real World boxed feature found in each chapter introduces students to well-known people who have used public speaking skills in their profession. Learn about Julia Roberts and intelligibility (Chapter 1), Harrison Ford and public speaking anxiety (Chapter 2), Dr. Phil and listening (Chapter 3), Aaron Sorkin (producer of HBO's THE NEWSROOM) and the rhetorical situation (Chapter 4), Oprah Winfrey and audience analysis (Chapter 5), Daniel Day Lewis and Sally Field on doing research (Chapter 6), Steve Jobs on speech organization (Ch. 7), and much more!
  • NEW Impromptu Speech Challenge features in each chapter provide on-the-spot speech activities related to concepts and skills discussed in the chapter.


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the Main title.
Please see Main title page for new to this edition information.

Instructor Supplements

Instructor Companion Website  (ISBN-10: 1285864182 | ISBN-13: 9781285864181)

The Instructor Companion Website includes Computerized Testing via Cognero®, ready-to-use PowerPoint® presentations (with text and images that can also be customized to suit your course needs), Join In for Turning Point clicker questions, and an electronic version of the Instructor’s Manual.

CourseMate with SpeechBuilder Express™ 3.0, InfoTrac, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 1285434951 | ISBN-13: 9781285434957)

Cengage Learning's Communication CourseMate brings course concepts to life with interactive learning, study, and exam preparation tools that support the printed textbook. MindTap Reader and Speech Builder Express™ 3.0 are included. Watch student comprehension soar as your class works with the printed textbook and the textbook-specific website. Communication CourseMate goes beyond the book to deliver what you need!

MindTap Communication, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access for Verderber/Sellnow/Verderber's The Challenge of Effective Speaking  (ISBN-10: 1285867947 | ISBN-13: 9781285867946)

MindTap Communication for Verderber/Sellnow/Verderber's The Challenge of Effective Speaking in a Digital Age, 16th Edition is the digital learning solution that helps instructors engage and transform today's students into critical thinkers. Through paths of dynamic assignments and applications that you can personalize, real-time course analytics, and an accessible reader, MindTap helps you turn cookie cutter into cutting edge, apathy into engagement, and memorizers into higher-level thinkers. Unique to MindTap Speech is "Practice and Present" -- an online video submission and grading program that allows for individualized feedback, and provides a digital environment for students to practice their public speaking skills and get meaningful feedback from their instructor and peers. Also included are Interactive Video Activities and Speech Builder Express 3.0™ -- a tool that coaches students through the entire speech organization and outlining process.

Student Supplements

CourseMate with SpeechBuilder Express™ 3.0, InfoTrac, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 1285434951 | ISBN-13: 9781285434957)

The more you study, the better the results. Make the most of your study time by accessing everything you need to succeed in one place. Read your textbook and take notes in the MindTap Reader, review flashcards, watch videos, and take practice quizzes--online with CourseMate.

MindTap Communication, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access for Verderber/Sellnow/Verderber's The Challenge of Effective Speaking  (ISBN-10: 1285867947 | ISBN-13: 9781285867946)

MindTap Communication for Verderber/Sellnow/Verderber's The Challenge of Effective Speaking in a Digital Age, 16th Edition provides you with the tools you need to better manage your limited time -- you can complete assignments whenever and wherever you are ready to learn with course material specially customized for you by your instructor and streamlined in one proven, easy-to-use interface. MindTap Speech includes "Practice and Present" -- an online video submission program that provides a digital environment for you to practice your skills and get meaningful feedback from your instructor and peers. Also included are Interactive Video Activities and Speech Builder Express 3.0™ -- a tool that coaches you through the entire speech organization and outlining process. With these resources and an array of tools and apps -- from note taking to flashcards -- you'll get a true understanding of course concepts, helping you to achieve better grades and setting the groundwork for your future courses.

LMS Integrated for MindTap Speech, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 1305099052 | ISBN-13: 9781305099050)

This access code will provide you with seamless access to your MindTap Speech resources from within your campus Learning Management System. You will be prompted to enter this access code the first time that you click on a link in your course that includes Cengage content.