Commencement Addresses

Those who cover special occasion speaking in a public speaking course should find this little piece interesting. It covers a wide variety of commencement addresses that are up and coming.



In a recent NYTimes article (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/opinion/sunday/the-downside-of-cohabiting-before-marriage.html?pagewanted=all) Meg Jay, a clinical psychologist at the University of Virginia and the author of The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter — and How to Make the Most of Them Now, notes that cohabitation has increased from 1960 with 450,000 cohabitating couples, to the present with 7.5 million cohabitation couples. More than 50% of marriages will be preceded by cohabitation and approximately 2/3rds of the respondents in a survey conducted in 2001 said that cohabitating was a good way to avoid divorce. But, says Jay: “Couples who cohabit before marriage (and especially before an engagement or an otherwise clear commitment) tend to be less satisfied with their marriages — and more likely to divorce — than couples who do not. These negative outcomes are called the cohabitation effect.
Perhaps the most interesting conclusion Jay draws and the one that would make the most interesting class discussion is this: men and women often have different reasons for cohabitating: “Women are more likely to view cohabitation as a step toward marriage, while men are more likely to see it as a way to test a relationship or postpone commitment, and this gender asymmetry is associated with negative interactions and lower levels of commitment even after the relationship progresses to marriage. One thing men and women do agree on, however, is that their standards for a live-in partner are lower than they are for a spouse.”
           A thorough statistical analysis of first marriages by the US Department of Health and Human Services, perhaps the most recent analysis, is available at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr049.pdf.


Factors Influencing Self-Disclosure

Many factors influence whether or not you disclose, what you disclose, and to whom you disclose. Among the most important factors are who you are, your culture, your gender, who your listeners are, and your topic and channel.

Perceptual Organization

Here is a brief discussion of that stage of perception concerned with organizing what we sense. In the next editions of Essentials of Human Communication (8e) and Interpersonal Messages (3e)—, this material will be collapsed (as always, to make room for new material). But, I thought that some instructors and students may prefer this somewhat more complete discussion.


Confirmation Examples

Here's an interesting piece that is intimately related to much of what we talk about in interpersonal communication. Unfortunately its title may lead those interested in communication to ignore--"10 things your girlfriend needs to hear you say". Briefly, the suggestions are: I'm proud of you, I love being with you, thank you, can I help you, I missed you, have fun, you look beautiful, you can do it, I'm sorry, and please. These are all perfect examples of confirmation and "cherishing behaviors" and should help make concepts that are often overly abstract, more concrete and useful. Many are also good examples of politeness--another indication that politeness is an essential component of interpersonal communication, though ignored in many of our textbooks.