Powerpoint Presentations with Speech

You work as an entry-level public relations specialist with the Department of Public Works and Waste Management in a county that includes an urban metropolitan area. Just after you are hired, a major story breaks over safety concerns about a new toxic waste site proposed for the county. The site will process waste for the entire state. The tentative location that has been identified for the site is adjacent to a neighborhood primarily comprised of low-income citizens. Other sites, including one closer to a more affluent community and one in a more remote, undeveloped section of the county were passed over. The initial news story reveals that there is a petition circulating in the community that levels accusations of environmental injustice due to the proposed site’s proximity to poor and minority communities and that a campaign to resist the plan is expected.


The department has opened a 30-day window for public deliberation, during which officials will hear the concerns of the public and make adjustments to the proposal before a final version of the plan is announced. The waste treatment corporation, residents of the adjacent neighborhood, residents near the other proposed (but passed over) sites, influential political constituencies, elected officials, local environmental activists, state-level waste management authorities, and county taxpayers—who it is important to note as the source of funding for the project—are all vested in the outcome of this issue.


It is important that the Department of Public Works and Waste Management maintains a positive relationship with the communities it serves. As the face of this department, it is your job to ensure that all stakeholders can voice their concerns and have influence on the general public perception of the current proposal. To facilitate this, there is a great need for stakeholders to engage in civil, rhetorically guided conversation, because ultimately the issue will be decided by a voter referendum at the county level. You’re interested in the situation and decide you would like to take the lead on the project. You will have to contend for the lead role with other PR specialists and if you are selected this will be your first major project as lead PR specialist.


Real World Connections

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Activity 1: PowerPoint Presentation – 10 – 20 minimum/max slides. 5 min max recording.

Make a pitch presentation to your supervisor, demonstrating your ability to lead this project to ensure that all stakeholders’ concerns are publicly articulated and vetted. Remember, your primary audience for the presentation is your boss, but your presentation content should reference a basic project plan, whose audience is the larger community. Your presentation should clearly reflect a consideration of how best to address the concerns of the voters/citizens of the community.


*In addition to the content presented in the slides themselves, use the “Voice Over” feature to compose the spoken portion of your presentation.


This presentation will require that you quickly build ethos with your boss and that you show your awareness of stakeholders and their varying social positions. Your ultimate goal is communicating clearly about public maintenance, utility, and waste management service with the community, but you have many ideas about ways to accomplish this goal ethically while also accommodating the state’s need for a new toxic waste disposal solution. Specifically, you want to help voters understand and have conversations about this issue so that it can be resolved quickly and effectively. Your presentation must include the following components:

A careful analysis of the rhetorical situation that is created by the proposal. Your primary audience for this part of the presentation is your boss (who is a “lay” audience to rhetorical language).
An action plan for facilitating public debate as well as developing public relations materials. Think through the following questions as you develop the action plan:


What are the primary actions you would take to facilitate debate among the community? Some options to consider include: collecting news sources/information sources to create public materials for voters/citizens, organizing debate(s), taking polls (and publishing the results), providing an opportunity for feedback (sending in letters or comments), and hosting Q&A sessions.
How will these actions engage the affected stakeholders? For example, be sure to consider the logistics of organizing something like a debate: Where will this take place? How you will decide on a date/time? How can you include voters/citizens who can’t make it?
What specific materials (deliverables) will you create and provide for voters/citizens to help them understand the situation and to facilitate whatever debate strategies you’ve chosen? Some options you might consider could be social media updates, diagrams, maps, illustrations, or posters/fliers, mailings, websites, press releases, radio transcripts, television/commercials pitches.
One of your primary persuasive techniques is your ability to handle this situation ethically. Make the case for how your work (strategies and materials) will demonstrate your ethos and work for the good of the community. Why should your boss give you this opportunity? Why is this a good use of your time and energy.
Identify the kinds of support you will need to execute your plan. Consider funding, connections/networks, assistants (people power), etc.
Use appropriate visuals throughout the presentation.

Grading Criteria:

Focus/Purpose: The document (PowerPoint presentation) strategizes and proposes an approach to facilitating communication across competing interests and managing public concerns ethically and effectively.

Organization/Format/Genre: The document adheres to the genre conventions of a slide presentation with only meaningful and purposeful deviations (if any). Information is organized in service of the purpose of each document respectively.

Development/Support: The documents are informed by credible, accurate, and relevant research about waste management, public discourse, community relations, etc.

Grammar/Mechanics: The documents make grammatical and mechanical choices that are appropriate to its rhetorical situation. In the business and industry context, this almost always demands what is often referred to as Standard American English.


Grading Method and Feedback:

In business and industry settings, workplace writers rarely receive the kind of line editing and written feedback that students expect in the academy. Typically, supervisors determine whether a deliverable or task that has been completed and submitted is ready to go—or not. Workplace writers might get some brief comments if their work falls at either end of the spectrum (exceptional or unacceptable) in a way that sets it apart from others. Therefore, my assessment of these assignments will reflect these norms. You will earn one of the following grades on each case. As per the syllabus, students are eligible to revise and resubmit one case (during the last week of class), if it earns a “Needs Improvement” grade.

*Exceptional* A—95-100% credit

All documents composed in response to this case clearly achieve their purposes and adhere to expected genre conventions. The documents are well developed through logical and ethical reasoning and accurate, relevant evidence that is not only credible, but persuasive. The writer has made stylistic, grammar, and mechanical choices that demonstrate advanced dexterity with language.

*Meets Expectations* B—85% credit

All documents composed in response to this case achieve their purposes and adhere to expected genre conventions with only a few minor exceptions, if any. The documents are developed with reasoning and evidence that make plausible rhetorical appeals. The writer has made appropriate stylistic, grammar, and mechanical choices to support their writing goals.

*Needs Improvement* C- —70 % credit (eligible for revise and resubmit)

All documents are complete, but they do not consistently meet performance expectations. They may fall short in one or more of the following ways: failure to achieve their purposes or reflect expected genre conventions; inconsistent or implausible use of reasoning and evidence to make rhetorical appeals; inappropriate stylistic, grammar, and mechanical choices. This failure to meet expectations may happen across multiple documents or more severely in one particular document (creating an unevenly developed and therefore undeliverable body of work).

*Unacceptable* F—50% credit

Documents are incomplete and/or do not reflect an adequate understanding of the rhetorical situation posed by the case. Efforts to achieve a purpose, meet genre conventions, develop arguments, or communicate effectively are misdirected.

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