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Abstract

The many skills taught in the basic public speaking class come together in three fundamental metaphors. The first of these, the speaker as builder, suggests we need to shape our surroundings through the spoken word. The second, the speaker as weaver, includes the arts of shaping symbols into the fabric of a speech, and of designing evidence and proofs into the tapestry of argument. The third, the speaker as climber, emphasizes overcoming interference. Barriers of fear, indifference, suspicion, and cultural variation recede as speakers and listeners learn to climb them.