You Do? A Question of Ethics After class, as Gina and Paul were discussing what they intended to talk about in their process speeches. Paul said, “I think I’m going to talk about how to make a synthetic diamond.” Gina was impressed. “That sounds interesting. I didn’t know you had expertise with that.” “I don’t. But the way I see it, Professor Henderson will really be impressed with my speech because my topic will be so novel.” “Well, yeah,” Gina replied, “but didn’t he stress that for this speech we should choose a topic that was important to us and that we knew a lot about?” “Sure,” Paul said sarcastically, “he’s going to be impressed if I talk about how to maintain a blog? Forget it. Just watch—everyone’s going to think I make diamonds in my basement, and I’m going to get a good grade.” 1.Is Paul’s plan unethical? Why? 2.What should Gina say to challenge Paul’s last statement? 2. What Would You Do? A Question of Ethics Nalini sighed loudly as the club members of Toastmasters International took their seats. It was her first time meeting with the public speaking group, and she didn’t want to be there, but her mom had insisted that she join the club in the hopes that it would help Nalini transfer from her community college to the state university. It wasn’t that the idea of public speaking scared Nalini. She had already spent time in front of an audience as the lead singer of the defunct emo band Deathstar. To Nalini’s mind, public speaking was just another type of performance, like singing or acting, albeit a stuffy form better suited to middle-aged men and women than people her age, a sentiment that explained why she wanted to be elsewhere at the moment. After the club leader called the meeting to order, he asked each of the new members to stand, introduce themselves, and give a brief speech describing their background, aspirations, and reasons for joining the club. “Spare me,” Nalini muttered loud enough for those next to her to hear. The club leader then called on a young woman to Nalini’s left, who rose and began to speak about her dream of becoming a lawyer and doing public advocacy work for the poor. After the young woman sat down, the club members applauded politely. Nalini whistled and clapped loudly and kept on clapping after the others had stopped. The club leader, somewhat taken aback, called on Nalini next. She rose from her seat and introduced herself as the secret love child of a former president and a famous actress. Nalini then strung together a series of other fantastic lies about her past and her ambitions. She concluded her speech by saying that she had joined the club in the hopes that she could learn how to hypnotize audiences into obeying her commands. After Nalini sat, a few of the club members applauded quietly, while others cast glances at each other and the club leader. 1.Is mocking behavior in a formal public speaking setting, either by an audience member or a speaker, an ethical matter? Explain your answer. 2.What ethical obligations does an audience member have to a speaker? What about a speaker to his or her audience?


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