Communications question


The Commencement address  “This is Water” by novelist David Foster Wallace lives on in popular consciousness, in social media, and in print, years after its 2005 delivery at Kenyon College. Reprinted in outlets from the Wall Street Journal to O, The Oprah Magazine, it has been recognized as one of the best commencement speeches, either in the past twenty-five years or of all time, by Time, Slate, Washington Post, USA Today and Elle magazines. It was also published in book form in 2009, after the author’s death.  For many who have listened, the speech “sticks.” See what you think.

  1. Watch/Listen to the speech by Wallace.

–      Describe what persuasive techniques he uses.

–      Why do you think the speech is widely recognized as one of the best speeches of all time?



  1. Then, watch/listen to an overview of some of the commencement speeches from 2018. Oprah Winfrey, Tim Cook, and Ken Jeong are just a few of the most notable people. Here’s some of the advice they gave to graduates.


–    What were the themes?

–    What stood out?

–    Describe the tone of voice of at least two of the speakers  – was it authentic, robotic, preachy?

  1. Finally, what makes Beyoncé’s commencement speech in 2020 stand out?



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