25 Read: Persuasive Speech Case Study 2 – Myra’s Speaks about Toxins in the Air

Case Study

Myra’s Speech On Toxins: https://mediaspace.minnstate.edu/media/IMG_0183.MOV/0_pqbtx9le

Myra’s Outline:


Health Benefits of Houseplants

Name: Myra Dzwonkowski

Topic: Health Benefits of Houseplants

Specific Purpose:
To Persuade People to Donate Houseplants to Public and Private Indoor Environments to Improve the Quality of Life

Thesis: I’m going to start with what the problem is in our environment. Second, how we can help reduce the problem and third, further studies to stand behind why I feel strongly about this topic.



Add your Audience Analysis Report:

  • A. What were the questions?
  1. How many houseplants do you have in your indoor environment?



2 – 3

4 – 6

More than 6


  1. On a scale from 1 – 5, what is your knowledge on the health benefits of having houseplants in your environment?

No knowledge 1  2  3  4  5  Very knowledgeable

  1. Would you bring houseplants into an indoor environment if you found out the positive effects they had? Why or why not?
  • B.  What was the mean (average) response of your fixed response and ranked question?   In general, what did you learn from the open question?

On my question of my audience’s knowledge on the benefits of houseplants, it had a mean of 3.6. On my question of whether they would be willing to bring plants indoors to improve health, 15 said yes and 3 said no. When my audience commented on why or why not, there was 9 that said yes, that only knew that there was a health benefit but no feedback on what the health benefits were. There were 6 that said yes and would like to know about the health benefits. There was 3 that said no due to lack of sunlight, having cats or no time. 10 out of my audience survey of 18 had at least one plant and 8 of my audience members had no plants.

  • C. What did you infer about your audience from this data?  BE DETAILED…what did you guess about us?  What did you think we would think, feel, do, etc. about your topic? What about our demographics – what do you infer about us based upon who we are concerning how we’d listen to your speech, etc.

I inferred that my audience was more excited about this topic than I expected so, I am much more excited about doing my speech vs. embarrassed as I wasn’t sure how this topic would go over when it came to the majority of the class. The majority already had at least 1 plant or wish they could have a plant and would like to know more about the health benefits of houseplants. I also realized that their response on their knowledge of the health benefits on why we should have plants indoors was vague. They didn’t have any detailed information on the benefits other than they were healthy and there was one person that said they brought oxygen into the environment. I infer that my audience will be attentive to this speech as they responded with explanation marks in their remarks.

  • D.  How did you use your data and inferences to adapt to your audience?   Who did you see as your “target audience” – why?  How did you select your sources based upon the audience? Address this thoughtfully in a paragraph. Be specific in your response.

I adapted my speech to bring in photos of shady environments for those that wanted plants but didn’t think they had enough light. Furthermore, I am putting in the type of lighting needed to sustain the plants in my speech and adding which ones can live under fluorescent lights. In addition, I explained which one could not only live in poor lighting conditions but live quite a while without water, over a month or longer without watering, a very hardy plant, as there was one person who wasn’t home enough to care for plants. This information is also good to know for donating plants to certain individuals that may not be able to fuss over a plant but still wants some. Continuing further, some of my audience said they had cats. Well, I posted a web-site that people can go to that can assist them in houseplants that aren’t poisonous to animals if they so wish to donate one to a place where there are animals or for themselves.

Add your Interview Summary:

  • Who did you interview? What is their Expertise?
  • Contact Information for Interviewer:
  • Summary of Interview:

I Interviewed Robin Fruth-Dugstad, she is a horticulturist Instructor at RCTC. Her contact information is Robin.Fruth-Dugstad@rctc.edu.

Robin verified the NASA study and the health benefits of houseplants, as she referred me to the study.


How are you involved in your topic – what did you do that you are asking us to do?

  • In a paragraph summarize what you have done.
  • Who can verify this? Add their contact information. You can add photographs proving you did this instead. I have helped people throughout life, especially the disabled with many plantings of a variety of things. I have put together bucket garden plants on their deck of tomatoes. I have donated heirloom vegetables to neighbors. I have brought sick people flowers and houseplants. I would have never thought of taking pictures of a kind act and therefore don’t have any. I brake my back doing a garden for my father every year. I also kept my mother’s plants alive for my dad after she passed away as they reminded him of her. When he was donated indoor plants (funeral) and wanted them but couldn’t care for them, I took over for him and cared for them myself. Now that we live together, I asked him about what he thinks of all the houseplants, my mothers, mine and his combined? He said he wouldn’t have it any other way. In the heart of winter, we have summer indoors.


Attention Material: Toxins! We are surrounded by these in our homes, offices and class rooms. But did you know that some of the most basic houseplants can reduce the amount of toxins in our environment? This study came from NASA (Wolverton, 1989).

Gain Goodwill of the Audience:  Now some of you already own houseplants. According to my survey about 50% of you knew there was some form of health benefit like oxygen. Also, my survey revealed that many of you wanted houseplants but didn’t think you had enough light. Most of the studies where done on low light plants.

Credibility Material:  Now, there has been extensive research on indoor plants, conducted from NASA, Universities, Scientists and now myself.

Thesis & Preview: I’m going to start with what the problem is in our environment. Second, how we can help reduce the problem and third, further studies to stand behind why I feel strongly about this topic.

(Let’s get started on the problem)


  1. Main Point #1 – Need – We need clean air
  2. (Statement of Need for Action)

So, what are some of the most common toxins in our environment?


  1. (Description of Problem)


VOCs, VOCs are toxic gasses that are up to 10x higher indoors then outdoors. They can have short and long-term negative health effects. (EPA, 1985)


  1. (Signs, Symptoms, Effects of Problem)


Some of these can cause cancer in animals and humans along with several other health issues.


  1. (Example, Narrative, or Testimony)

Now, after the NASA study, this started the domino effect with professionals researching houseplants and their health benefits. Here is a list of toxins that are most commonly found indoors that were studied.

These are found heavily in study area’s and offices where there are books and printed paper.





(NASA, 1989)

Got Mold? –  Found in our classrooms and offices.

(Picture of RCTC) (minnstate.edu)


  1. (Importance of Problem)
  2. (Extent of Problem) b. (Facts)

According to the local news about RCTC, “Water can be seen in various parts of the building” (Bunner), (KTTC). Along with, “The humidity causes mold in teacher offices” (Johnson), (“KIMT3”).

  1. (Expert Testimony)


I also interviewed Robin Fruth-Dugstad, Horticulture Instructor here at RCTC, (March, 2018). Whom verified my research including the NASA study.

(Now that we know the problem, how can we reduce the problem)

  1. Main Point #2 (What if we brought in plants?)
  2. (Description of Solution)

These next plants are famous for reducing toxins indoors.

  1. (Justification of Solution)
  2. (How Solution Satisfies Need)

Including absorbing mold and allergens. The majority of all of them like low light or fluorescent light.

  1. (How Solution can be Implemented)

(a) (Plan of Action)

So, how about bringing plants into our environment?

(b) (Steps of Plan)

(i) (Step 1 of Plan)

What if we went further and donated houseplants?

(ii) (Step 2 of Plan)

What if we went further yet, and donated, then adopted a plant that we cared for while in school?

(But, what if we do nothing? Well let’s talk about that.)

III. Main Point #3 (Visualize Results – Remember you can rework this section to meet your own topic needs, but here is a suggestion – use visual aids as well here!)

  1. (Describe Consequences of Inaction)
  2. Describe the situation if we do nothing with an explanation.

Do you want to keep breathing in mold spores and other toxins? What about those that may lose attentiveness and still have hours of school work left. What if you had a choice of possibly having less illnesses throughout the year?

Remind us how WE are connected to “no action”

These are problems that affect all of us at some point and to some degree. Some of this affects us every time we walk into school.

(Now let’s move on to further studies that stand behind the health benefit of houseplants.)

  1. (Describe Expected Results of Action)

 Give testimony to back up your claim

A behavioral study by (Amanda Read, 2005), found that adding plants in classrooms, students had an increase in attentiveness by 70%.

(The Dutch Product Board for Horticulture, March, 2018) Discovered that adding plants to office settings decreases fatigue, colds, headaches, coughs, sore throats and flu symptoms.

(Professor Tove Fjeld, 1998), conducted a few studies, one was in offices with plants and the sickness rates fell by 60%. Another was in classrooms, she found that absentees were reduced by 33% also other common ailments like headaches dropped between 32-45%.

(Kansas State University, 2009), found that having plants in hospital rooms after surgeries, patients requested less pain medications, had lower blood pressure, had less fatigue and anxiety and were also released from the hospital sooner.


Signal an End: Now is having indoor plants a cure all? Of course not.

Summary: But these are all legitimate studies with positive health results. Less cold, flu and headache symptoms, better attentiveness and less fatigue. Just by adding houseplants to your environment.

Goodwill Audience Tie: Plants are an inexpensive and easy way to improve the life of yourself and others.

Concluding Clincher: (Remember to include a Call for Action!)

I am hoping after I’ve informed you on the health benefits of indoor plants you will not just bring them into your own environment if possible but also to remember to donate plants where acceptable.

(What’s in it for me?)

And as a way of giving back, I have brought houseplants in and some are low maintenance. I will be donating one to you if you would like or take one and re-gift it. Thank you

Works Cited

27 Mar. 2018, minnstate.edu/college-search/public/services/institution/image?imageId=8404&mime=image/png.

“5 Benefits of Houseplants.” 5 Benefits of Houseplants | Bayer Advanced, 27 Mar. 2018, www.bayeradvanced.com/articles/5-benefits-of-houseplants.

“Aloe Vera.” National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 29 Nov. 2016, nccih.nih.gov/health/aloevera#refs.

“Bamboo Palm Plant Benefits.” Air Quality Testing Experts, 13 Aug. 2014, theairqualityexperts.ca/bamboo-palm-plant-benefits/.

Bunner, James. “Bonding Issue Could Bring Change To RCTC.” HOME – KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports, 13 Mar. 2018, www.kttc.com/story/37717021/2018/03/13/bonding-issue-could-bring-change-to-rctc.

Editorial Staff. Do Houseplants Really Improve Air Quality. 16 Feb. 2017, www.lung.org/about-us/blog/2017/02/do-houseplants-really-improve-air-quality.htm+.

Escalona, Armela. “7 Splendid Reasons to Have Indoor Plants In Your Home and Office.” Lifehack, Lifehack, 22 June 2016, www.lifehack.org/414810/7-splendid-reasons-to-have-indoor-plants-in-your-home-and-office.

Fjeld, T. “‘The Effects of Plants and Artificial Day-Light on The Well-Being and Health of Office Workers, School Children and Health Care Personnel.’” Greenplantsforgreenbuildings.org, Jan. 2014, greenplantsforgreenbuildings.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/PlantsArtificialDaylight.pdf+.

“Kansas State University.” Research | Hort Therapy | Hort & Health | Research | Horticulture and Natural Resources | Kansas State University, 27 Mar. 2018, hnr.k-state.edu/research/hort-and-health/hort-therapy/research.html#Surgery.

“Pothos Plant to Purify the Air in Your Home.” Step To Health, Step to Health (USA), 13 Oct. 2015, steptohealth.com/keep-air-clean-home-pothos-plant/.

Seiji, S, and N Suzuki. “Effects of The Foliage Plant on Task Performance and Mood.” Journal of Environmental Psychology, Academic Press, 13 Aug. 2002, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S027249440290232X.

Smith, Lauren. “10 Definitive Reasons You Need More Houseplants in Your Life.” House Beautiful, House Beautiful, 17 Oct. 2017, www.housebeautiful.com/lifestyle/gardening/g4067/benefits-of-houseplants/.

Smith, Lauren. “10 Definitive Reasons You Need More Houseplants in Your Life.” House Beautiful, House Beautiful, 17 Oct. 2017, www.housebeautiful.com/lifestyle/gardening/g4067/benefits-of-houseplants/.

“Spider Plants and Clean Air.” The National Wildlife Federation, 27 Mar. 2018, www.nwf.org/en/Magazines/National-Wildlife/…/Spider-Plants-and-Clean-Air.

“These Plants Are Oxygen Bombs And They Clean The Air At Your Home.” Healthy and Natural World, 7 Jan. 2018, www.healthyandnaturalworld.com/best-air-filtering-house-plants/.

“Volatile Organic Compounds’ Impact on Indoor Air Quality.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 6 Nov. 2017, www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/volatile-organic-compounds-impact-indoor-air-quality.

Wolverton, B C. “‘Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement.’” NASA, Final Report, , 15 Sept. 1989, doi:27 March, 2018.

Robin Fruth-Dugstad. Personal Interview 26 March, 2018







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