Exercise 1

A. Listen to an interview about the moon landing. What was the controversy about the words Armstrong actually said? What’s the difference in meaning between a man and man? Did new technology prove him right or wrong?

B. Listen again and answer the questions.

1   When did Armstrong write the words he was planning to say when he first stepped on the moon?

2   Does Armstrong say he wrote, “That’s one small step for man…” or “That’s one small step for a man…”?

3   Why doesn’t the sentence everybody heard make sense?

4   What did Armstrong think he said?

5   Who is Peter Shann Ford? What did he discover?

6   How did Armstrong feel when he heard about this?



The controversy is whether he said “one small step for man” or “one small step for a man.” The version without a doesn’t really make sense.

“One small step for a man” means one small step for an individual human being.

“One small step for man” means one small step for all men, i.e., the human race (which is the same as mankind).

New technology proved him right.


 During the time (almost seven hours) between landing on the moon and actually stepping out of the capsule onto the moon

 He says he wrote That’s one small step for a man…

 Because that sentence means “one small step for people in general, one giant leap for people in general.”

4   He thought he said, “one small step for a man….”

5   He is an Australian computer expert who used very hi-tech sound techniques to analyze Armstrong’s sentence.

He discovered that, in fact, Armstrong did say a man, but he said it so quickly that you can only hear it with special sound equipment.

6   He felt relieved.


H = host, J = James

H   When Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon on July 20th, 1969, a global audience of 500 million people were watching and listening. As he climbed down the steps from the spacecraft and stepped onto the moon, they heard him say, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” It seemed like the perfect quote for such a momentous occasion. But from the moment he said it, people have argued about whether Armstrong got his lines wrong and made a mistake. James, tell us about it.

J   Well, Armstrong always said that he wrote those words himself, which became some of the most famous and memorable words in history, during the time between landing on the moon and actually stepping out of the capsule onto the moon. That was almost seven hours.

H   And so what is the controversy about what Armstrong said when he stepped down the ladder onto the moon?

J   The question is: did he say, “one small step for man” or “one small step for a man”? That’s to say: did he use the indefinite article or not? It’s just a little word, but there’s a big difference in meaning. Armstrong always insisted that he wrote one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind. Of course, this would have been a meaningful sentence. If you say a man, then it clearly means that this was one small step for an individual man, i.e., himself, but one giant leap for mankind, that’s to say men and women in general. But what everybody actually heard was, “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” with no indefinite article, and that sentence means, “one small step for people in general, one giant leap for people in general.” And that doesn’t really make sense.

H   So, did he just get the line wrong when he said it?

J   Well, Armstrong himself was never sure if he actually said what he wrote. In his biography First Man he told the author James Hansen, “I must admit that it doesn’t sound like the word a is there. On the other hand, certainly the a was intended, because that’s the only way it makes sense.” He always regretted that there had been so much confusion about it.

But almost four decades later, Armstrong was proved to be right. Peter Shann Ford, an Australian computer expert, used very hi-tech sound techniques to analyze his sentence, and he discovered that the a was said by Armstrong. It’s just that he said it so quickly that you couldn’t hear it on the recording that was broadcast to the world on July 20th, 1969.

H   Was Armstrong relieved to hear this?

J   Yes, he was. I think it meant a lot to him to know that he didn’t make a mistake.

Exercise 2

A. Now listen to Part 1 of a radio program where expert Lynne Parker gives tips for public speaking. Complete her six tips using between one and four words. Were any of your ideas mentioned?

1   Be _________.

2   If you’re using PowerPoint, don’t just _________.

3   Maintain _________ with your audience.

4   _________, _________, _________.

5   Include a couple of good _________.

6   Listen to _________.

B. Listen again and add more information about each tip.




Tip 1



Tip 2


Tip 3



Tip 4


Tip 5



Tip 6



1 yourself   2 type out your talk   3 eye contact

4 Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse   5 sound bites

6 other speakers





Tip 1

Do what you feel comfortable with.

Don’t continually walk up and down.

Tip 2

Do keep it short. Do remember the 10–20–30 rule.

Tip 3

Do occasionally scan from side to side and front to back.

Don’t spend the whole time looking at your slides or notes.

Tip 4

Do use a mirror or video yourself.

Tip 5

Do write down anything you hear. Do make sure a story has a beginning, middle, and end.

Don’t make it too long.

Tip 6

Do use online resources. Do listen to people when you’re out and about.


H = host, L = Lynne Parker, A = Anya Edwards

H   Welcome to today’s program. Our topic today is public speaking. Public speaking is right up there at the top of what most people say they’re most afraid of. There is even a name for it – glossophobia. But hopefully after this program, you will feel a lot more confident if you do have to make a speech or give a presentation.

First, we have Lynne Parker, an expert in the art of public speaking, who’s going to tell us some of her dos and don’ts. Then after that, we’re going to talk to Anya Edwards from Chile. Anya was a finalist in last year’s English Speaking Union International public speaking competition. Lynne, I believe you have six key tips for us, is that right?

L   Yes, that’s right. My first tip, and maybe the most important one, is be yourself. This applies both to how you speak, and to what you actually do on the stage, whether that’s standing up, sitting down, or moving about. Do what you feel comfortable with. The only don’t regarding how you are onstage, I’d say, is try not to continually walk up and down, because this tends to distract people from what you’re saying.

H   Yes, I find that distracting, actually.

L   Second, if you’re using PowerPoint, don’t just type out your talk. You want people to listen to what you’re saying, not to read ahead. Slides are best for illustrating your talk or for drawing attention to a point. Pictures are often better than words, but if you use words, do keep it short. And do remember the 10-20-30 rule. Do you know what that is?

H   Uh…no, do tell us.

L   The 10-20-30 rule is that the ideal presentation should have 10 slides, last 20 minutes, and never have a font size on the slides that’s less than 30 points.

H   Ah, great, that’s an easy one to remember. And tip number 3?

L   Maintain eye contact with your audience, whether it’s to 500 people in a room, or 20 people in a classroom or around a table. Don’t spend the whole talk looking at your notes or slides.

H   How can you maintain eye contact with 500 people?

L   Well, you can’t with all of them, of course, but a good technique is to scan the audience occasionally from side to side and front to back, to give the impression you’re talking to everyone.

H   Number 4?

L   Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. In front of a mirror, or even better, video yourself. It will make you aware of how you use your hands and body, and even what clothes look right.

H   Number 5?

L   Include a couple of good sound bites. Whenever you hear something good, write it down because you might be able to use it later.

H   So, sound bites, rather than stories or examples?

L   Well, no, not instead of – a good story or example can also help to illustrate a situation, or help people to remember the point you were making. Just don’t make it too long, and if you’re telling a little story, remember – good stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end.

H   And your last point?

L   Listen to other speakers. There are lots of good resources online, such as TED talks and The Moth, which is a great storytelling website. Also, listen to people talking when you’re out and about, for example traveling on public transportation or in line at the supermarket. You never know what witty remarks or good stories you might pick up along the way.

H   Thank you very much, Lynne.

C. Now listen to Part 2, an interview with Anya Edwards from Chile, who was a finalist in an international public speaking competition. Does she agree with any of Lynne’s points?

D. Listen again. Choose a, b, or c.

1   Participants in the competition have to first compete ____.

      a   in London

      b   in their own country

      c   in their own language

2   In the impromptu speech in the finals, you have to speak for ____ minutes.

      a   three

      b   five

      c   fifteen

3   Anya thinks that being nervous is ____.

      a   unavoidable

      b   an advantage

      c   a disadvantage

4   She thinks public speaking is more difficult than acting because ____.

      a   you have to know your subject

      b   you have to be more convincing

       you have less support

5   She thinks learning to speak in public ____.

      a   was useful for her, but may not be useful for everybody

      b   is useful for everybody

       wasn’t a particularly useful experience

6   Her tip for creating the content of a speech is to start by ____.

      a   recording ideas

      b   drawing a mind map

       organizing your thoughts



She agrees with Lynne’s Tip 1, “Be yourself.


1 b   2 a   3 b   4 c   5 b   6 a


H   And now we have Anya on the line, from Chile.

A   Hello.

H   Anya, you took part in the competition last year, is that right?

A   Yes.

H   Can you tell us a little about it?

A   Well, it’s open to people from any country between the ages of 16 and 18. First, you compete at home, so for me, in Chile, and then the international finals take place in London.

H   What exactly did you have to do there?

A   So you have to give two speeches. The first one is a prepared speech that is a maximum of five minutes on a subject that they give you – that year for me it was on the role of education. And then after your speech, you have to answer questions for three to four minutes. And then the second speech, and this was definitely the scariest, was the impromptu speech. You are given three subjects to choose from which you’ve never seen before, and then 15 minutes to choose one and prepare a speech of 3 minutes.

H   What did you choose?

A   I chose the title “To be grown up is a state of mind.”

H   Were you nervous?

A   I was nervous, very nervous. But then I’ve never not been nervous before speaking in front of an audience. I’ve done a lot of drama, of acting, and that’s taught me that nerves are good because you can learn to channel them into a better performance.

H   How is public speaking different from acting?

A   Well, in many ways they’re similar, because you need many of the same qualities: to be able to stand in front of an audience confidently and speak clearly, to be convincing. But I’d say that public speaking is harder because you can’t rely on anyone else. If you miss a line, there won’t be someone next to you to give you your cue, and you’re the main focus of attention 100% of the time.

H   And what did you learn from the experience?

A   I think it was one of the most useful skills I’ve ever learned, and that any person can have because if you’ve learned to do it well, and practiced, it means that you’ll never ever have to worry about standing up and speaking in front of other people.

H   What tips would you give to someone about writing a speech?

A   Well, for writing a speech, I’d say to start by talking about the topic out loud and record whatever comes into your head on your phone. Then listen back to it and start by ordering your ideas on paper. And if you think the subject you have to talk about is a bit dry, try to come up with some anecdotes to illustrate it. Also, use plain, simple language. Vocabulary that’s too complicated puts people off.

H   And to deliver it?

A   I agree entirely with Lynne about being authentic, about being yourself. If you want your speech to be effective, people need to believe what you say, and in order to convince them, you need to be convinced yourself.

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