"Epideictic" is a Greek word meaning "fit for display." Epideictic speeches usually mark grand occasions and have a main theme of praise, blame or celebration. Speakers use factual information rhetorically to convince or reaffirm an existing belief that a person, idea or group should be revered, admired or condemned.
Politician, Celebrity or Public Figure
Research a movie star, singer, president or philanthropist and convince your audience that he or she changed the world for the better (or worse). For example, you could discuss how Michael Jackson's sound forever changed the landscape of the music industry. You could choose a president and argue that he was the best (or worst) president in history, supporting your position with facts about his policy. You could bemoan Paris Hilton as a horrific role model for young girls. Or, consider researching Mother Teresa and speaking about the difference she made for the poor in India.
Organizations and Groups
Choose an influential organization or group, discuss its influence in the world and try to convince your audience that the group is either praise- or blame-worthy based on its actions. For example, you could discuss the role of the big banks in the recent world financial crisis, as suggested by the website Speech Topics Help, Advice and Ideas. Choose your favorite charity and explain all of the important contributions it makes to improve the status of disadvantaged groups in society.
Ideas or Policies
Pick an idea, social policy or political movement and give arguments that either attack or support the position. You could discuss why democracy is important and why you think it's the best government system to ensure stability and balanced power. You could explain your position on a social issue such as euthanasia or abortion. Convince the crowd why the green movement is important if we want to protect the environment for future generations. Read up on ideas that politicians are arguing about and present your position.
Wedding speeches, funeral eulogies and birthday roasts are more personal examples of epideictic oratory. While you might not be able to make a wedding speech in the classroom, you can still pick a friend or relative who's important to you and celebrate that individual. Talk about why you admire your older sister. Interview your grandmother about her childhood experiences and write a speech to retell some of her stories, showing the people in your class just how much wisdom older relatives have to share with younger generations. With permission from the individual, discuss the strength of a friend or family member who made it through a difficult illness or trying experience.
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