Literature from the 1990's calling for revision of basic course public speaking theory and pedagogy is examined, summarized, and organized. Discussion of sources that shape and maintain public speaking theory provides background for the reports of journal articles and conference papers categorized under (1) overall perspectives that influence theory, (2) basic theory of what characteristics constitute effective speaking, (3) appropriate course content, and (4) appropriate pedagogy.

The dominant theme for change calls for a new theoretical perspective of effective speaking rejecting emphasis on traditional speech behaviors and supported by changes in attitudes and pedagogy, characterized by flexibility, openness, reliance on contemporary research, responsiveness to the needs of students and audiences, and featuring high levels of democratic student participation.