An informative speech teaches so others can learn. It is a fact-based speech designed to convey knowledge and understanding. Typically these speeches define, explain, or describe.
Types of Informative Speeches
Speeches About Objects and People
- Telling about a place
- Telling about historical events
- Biographical speech
Speeches About Processes
- Explain how something works
- How to make something
- How to apply for something
- How to do something
Speeches About Events
- Describing an event
- Telling what happened at an event
- Inform about the history of an event
Speeches About Concepts
- Tell what a group believes
- Define specific terms
- Explain theories
- Tell about political, religious, or economic concepts
Speeches About Awareness
- Public service announcements
- Teach about safety procedures
- Business process orientation
- New employee orientation
- New product information
- College orientation
- Classroom lectures
- Community lectures
Things to Think About When Giving an Informative Speech
Narrow Your Topic
It is better to talk in detail about a smaller aspect than to try to tell everything. For example, I once had a student try to teach us how to build a computer in seven minutes. There were many technical terms and we were overwhelmed. The next week, a student showed up how to replace one component in a computer. I went home and tried it, and because he explained it clearly, I could do it. Speech coach, Dale Ware says, “Too many people try to put too much information in one presentation, a big mistake; keep it simple.”
I attended a community lecture on wild edible plants in the Ozarks. The speaker said, “This plant has a cathartic effect” and “I like this for its astringent properties.” I thought I knew what these terms might mean but I wasn’t sure so I looked them up while he was talking. At least I had one of them right. The point is that I missed part of his lecture when I was looking up unclear terms.
Make it Personal
“I want to talk to you today about” is much more personal than saying, “I will explain how”
Use Stories When Possible
When possible, work stories into your speech. Make it personal by telling stories about how the topic relates to you.
- An informative speech is a fact-based speech designed to convey knowledge and understanding.
- Always define terms.
- Include a story when possible.
Jeary, T. (1997). Inspire any audience: Proven secrets of the pros for powerful presentations. River Oak.
Tucker, B. Barton, K., Burger, A., Drye, J. Hunsicker, C. Mendes, A. and LeHew, M. (2019). Exploring public speaking: 4th Edition. Communication Open Textbooks. https://oer.galileo.usg.edu/communication-textbooks/1
Valenzano, J.M., Kuypers, J.A., & Braden, S.W. (2019). The speaker: The tradition and practice of public speaking: 4th edition. Fountain Head.