the speech challenges

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The speech was a condolence speech to the citizens of the United States, the families of the seven astronauts who died on the Challenger's trip to space the same morning, the NASA crew who served with the astronauts, and the children who were watching the incident. This was a warning to the country to be strong for the sake of the families, the country, and the children.

Who is the intended audience?

The crowd consists of Americans, mainly the families of the astronauts involved in the accident, the whole NASA staff, and schoolchildren who were watching the rocket launch.

What is the goal of the speech?

The goal of the speech was to pass a message of condolence and to console the nation for having watched such tragedy live on national television and to pull the nation together by having them understand that this was a misfortune and an unforeseen accident.

What notions from the Cohen book can be applied to better understanding the speech?

President Reagan used all of the principles of speech delivery well. His facial expression expressed sadness and shock, this made him relatable to the people of the United States (Cohen S. D., 2011). Throughout the speech, Reagan’s tone and voice varied between sorrow and condolence. He maintained strong eye contact with the audience to instill confidence and show candor throughout the four minute speech that was timely and not overwhelming for the already mourning nation (James Arnt Aune, 2008).

What other things did you observe/note?

I observed President Reagan’s minimal movement, his posture was one of strength even through pain and his voice was that of reassurance and comforting. He was able to connect with the audience and create a strong bond and support for future space endeavors by referencing the bleak past, present and the perceived brighter future for the astronauts’ fraternity.


Cohen, S. D. (2011). Lessons from the podium: Public speaking as a leadership art. Harvad: Cognella.

James Arnt Aune, ‎. J. (2008). The Prospect of Presidential Rhetoric.

December 08, 2022

Science Sociology


Space Illness Communication

Subject area:

Astronauts Death Audience

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