“Why Black Lives Matter”


“Why Black Lives Matter” Pitch Assignment

The purpose of the Pitch Assignment is to allow you to hone your verbal and written communication skills, which are cornerstones of effective leadership, while giving you a platform to persuade others about the importance of something you care about. The importance of the quality of your verbal and written communication cannot be overstated. As such, this assignment explicitly requires you to craft, examine, and develop the verbal and nonverbal content of your speech. Your task is to write and deliver a perfect 4-minute pitch concerning something you are passionate about, like your stance on some socioeconomic, environmental, or governmental issue. If such matters don’t inspire you, you could discuss your passion for working with animals, promoting personal fitness, teaching underprivileged children how to read, playing classical piano, playing board games, or almost anything else. Your goal for this assignment is to inspire the audience (i.e., me and your peers) to change some aspect of ourselves, such as our behaviors, attitudes, opinions, beliefs, or values. You should inspire us to want to learn more about your topic. You should convince us that your behaviors, attitudes, opinions, beliefs, or values regarding the issue are right and worthy of adopting as our own. Simply describing your passion is insufficient. Deliverables 1-3 should adhere to all the formal requirements outlined herein. Your pitch should follow university standards for spelling and grammar. Stylistically, it should be clear, concise, and compelling. Your pitch script should be 575-625 words. The first 50-75 words of the pitch should provide an introduction to you and your topic. What is your name? What do you do? How did you become passionate about the subject area of your pitch? Why are you talking to us? Most importantly, let us (i.e., the audience) know the purpose of your pitch. Directly indicate to us what idea, social cause, behavior, attitude, opinion, belief, or value you would like us to adopt. The remainder of your pitch should illuminate your passion. Before you begin to write, it would be helpful to consider the structure of your text. Beyond the introductory paragraph, you are advised (but not required) to create three sections, each composed of three main points. This structure will help you to organize and later memorize the content. The first section might relate your personal interest in the topic via a story wherein you, another person, or a company act(s) as the protagonist. The second section might discuss the topic on a more macro scale. You might cover the history leading up to its current state, what might happen in the future, and the ramifications of adhering to or disregarding your ideas regarding the subject. The third section might convey your “call-to-arms” to your audience, wherein you ask us to change in some way, reinforce why we should change, and provide us guidance as to how to change. Regarding this last section, principles of change derived from the book Switch by Chip and Dan Heath will be discussed in class as an addendum to Chapter 11. Also, the references listed at the bottom of this document include a link to a summary of Switch by Chip and Dan Heath, discussing techniques for successful personal change. When crafting your pitch, remember that every paragraph should serve a specific purpose. For instance, one paragraph might tell a story. Another paragraph might pose and answer a rhetorical question. Another paragraph might provide statistics. In other words, you should not have a single run-on paragraph comprising your entire pitch. At a more fine-grained scale, every sentence within every paragraph should serve a purpose. A topic sentence should introduce each paragraph, and every sentence within each paragraph should relate to and support that topic sentence. Remember that your ultimate purpose is to compel your audience to change. Anything that does not serve that purpose should be revised or eliminated. Throughout the revision process, you should question the necessity of every work of every line. You are required to use at least 12 distinct persuasive techniques in your pitch. Examples of persuasive techniques include Charismatic Leadership Tactics (CLTs), including deliberate use of paralanguage and kinesics, influence tactics, principles of persuasion, and any other identifiable techniques you might wish to employ. You should annotate your use of these tactics using the “Comments” feature of Word (available under the Review tab). CLTs will be discussed in class as an addendum to Chapter 3 material. Also, the references listed at the bottom of this document include a link to an article by Antonakis et al. (2012) discussing CLTs. Influence tactics will be covered during our Chapter 8 lecture. Principles of Persuasion are covered in Chapter 12, but also will be covered during the Chapter 8 lecture. CLT’s Article: https://hbr.org/2012/06/learning-charisma-2 This assignment will be submitted via Turnitin, a plagiarism detection tool.

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