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Topics: Rhetoric, Citation, Audience Pages: 11 (2607 words) Published: October 17, 2013
Making an Informative Speech

When you make an informative speech you are explaining something to your audience. An informative speech can be a description of an object, a demonstration of a process, a report about an event, or an explanation of a concept (Menke), but make sure that the speech is also useful for your audience because it is relevant and it provides "a thoughtful or unique insight on the topic" (Phillips, n.d.).

Here is more from Terry O'brien Menke on what an informative speech is:

The purpose of the explanatory speech is to create understanding. Topics for explanatory speeches come from asking, “Why?” or “What does that mean?” Your purpose in this assignment is to identify the primary difficulty your audience faces in accepting your thesis, and then shaping your speech to overcome that difficulty. The informative value of a speech is measured by how much new and important information or understanding it provides the audience.

The following questions might be new information for a public speaking class:

1. Why do people yawn?
2. Why are water towers shaped like giant mushrooms?
3. How does nuclear fusion work?
4. Why are some people resilient?
5. What is totalitarianism?
6. What is a carabineer?
7. What shapes do snowflakes come in?

To determine the appropriateness of your topic for the informative speech, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Is my topic challenging enough to merit an informative speech? 2. What do my listeners already know about my topic?
3. What more do they need to know?
4. Do I have sufficient understanding of my topic to help others understand it better?

Here are competencies that you should develop as your practice delivering speeches (from Terry O'brien Menke) Competencies
1. To choose and narrow a topic appropriate to the audience and occasion 2. To formulate and communicate a clear specific purpose/thesis in a manner appropriate for the audience and occasion 3. To develop ideas with appropriate supporting materials

4. To use organizational patterns appropriate to the topic, audience, occasion and purpose 5. To use language, syntax, pronunciation and articulation appropriate to the audience and occasion 6. To use vocal variety in rate pitch, volume and intensity to heighten and maintain interest 7. To use physical behaviors that support the verbal message and maintain interest 8. To demonstrate ethical concern in topic choice, supporting material, argument structure and language selection 9. To evaluate speeches and provide appropriate feedback to other speakers 10. To gain physical, mental and emotional self-confidence before an audience

When you prepare your speech, make sure you include the following:


Attention Getting Opener

Relevance/Reason to Listen



Preview of the key points of your speech

Transition to your Body

Make sure you consider the background and the needs of your audience as you prepare your speech.

Include visual aids and gestures to make a greater impact on your audience

Decide how you want to organize the body of your speech. Here are some possible organizational patterns: Spatial / Sequential / Categorical / Comparative / Causation / Temporal Body

Main Point 1
Supporting Point A
Supporting Point B

Transition to your next point

Main Point 2
Supporting Point A
Supporting Point B

Transition to your next point

Main Point 3
Supporting Point A
Supporting Point B

You should have 2-5 well-developed main points.

Define any special terms that you might use.

Personalize your speech to make it more interesting. You can tell personal stories, or anecdotes that reflect the experiences of the audience.

Make your speech Authoritative by including references to credible sources.

Provide internal previews and summaries for each of the main points

Use detailed and undetailed examples in your body.

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