This is “Chapter Exercises”, section 2.4 from the book Public Speaking: Practice and Ethics (v. 1.0). For details on it (including licensing), click here.

For more information on the source of this book, or why it is available for free, please see the project's home page. You can browse or download additional books there. To download a .zip file containing this book to use offline, simply click here.

Has this book helped you? Consider passing it on:
Creative Commons supports free culture from music to education. Their licenses helped make this book available to you. helps people like you help teachers fund their classroom projects, from art supplies to books to calculators.

2.4 Chapter Exercises

Speaking Ethically

Jerold Follinsworth is an elected official on the verge of giving the most important speech of his entire life, but he doesn’t know which speech to give. He looks down at his hands and sees two very different speeches. The speech in his left hand clearly admits to the public that he has been having an affair with a senior staffer. The allegations have been around for a few months, but his office has been denying the allegations as slanderous attacks from his opponents. In his right hand, he has a speech that sidesteps the affair allegations and focuses on an important policy issue. If Jerold gives the speech in his left hand, an important initiative for his state will be defeated by his political enemies. If Jerold gives the speech in his right hand, he will be deceiving the public, but it will lead to increased growth in jobs for his state. Jerold asked his top speech writer to prepare both speeches. As Jerold waits in the wings for his press conference, he’s just not sure which speech he should give.

  1. What ethical communication choices do you see Jerold as having in this case?
  2. How would you analyze Jerold’s decision using the ethical pyramid?
  3. How would you apply the National Communication Association (NCA) Credo for Ethical Communication to this case?

End-of-Chapter Assessment

  1. Darlene is in the process of preparing a speech on global warming. She knowingly includes a source from a fringe group that has been previously discredited, but she thinks the source will really help her drive her argument home. What combination of the ethics pyramid does this case represent?

    1. intentional use of bad means
    2. intentional use of good means
    3. unintentional use of bad means
    4. unintentional use of good means
    5. intentional use of neutral means
  2. Which of the following is not an ethical aspect described by the NCA Credo for Ethical Communication?

    1. freedom of expression
    2. access to communication resources and opportunities
    3. accepting responsibility for one’s own communication
    4. respecting a source before evaluating her or his message
    5. promoting ethical standards in business

Answer Key

  1. a
  2. e