Informative Speeches — Types, Topics, and Examples

Daniel Bal

What is an informative speech?

An informative speech uses descriptions, demonstrations, and strong detail to explain a person, place, or subject. An informative speech makes a complex topic easier to understand and focuses on delivering information, rather than providing a persuasive argument.

type of informative speech of helping the community

Types of informative speeches

The most common types of informative speeches are definition, explanation, description, and demonstration.

Types of informative speeches

A definition speech explains a concept, theory, or philosophy about which the audience knows little. The purpose of the speech is to inform the audience so they understand the main aspects of the subject matter.

An explanatory speech presents information on the state of a given topic. The purpose is to provide a specific viewpoint on the chosen subject. Speakers typically incorporate a visual of data and/or statistics.

The speaker of a descriptive speech provides audiences with a detailed and vivid description of an activity, person, place, or object using elaborate imagery to make the subject matter memorable.

A demonstrative speech explains how to perform a particular task or carry out a process. These speeches often demonstrate the following:

How to do something

How to make something

How to fix something

How something works

Demonstrative speeches

How to write an informative speech

Regardless of the type, every informative speech should include an introduction, a hook, background information, a thesis, the main points, and a conclusion.

Introduction

An attention grabber or hook draws in the audience and sets the tone for the speech. The technique the speaker uses should reflect the subject matter in some way (i.e., if the topic is serious in nature, do not open with a joke). Therefore, when choosing an attention grabber, consider the following:

What’s the topic of the speech?

What’s the occasion?

Who’s the audience?

What’s the purpose of the speech?

Attention grabbers/hooks

Common Attention Grabbers (Hooks)

Ask a question that allows the audience to respond in a non-verbal way (e.g., a poll question where they can simply raise their hands) or ask a rhetorical question that makes the audience think of the topic in a certain way yet requires no response.

Incorporate a well-known quote that introduces the topic. Using the words of a celebrated individual gives credibility and authority to the information in the speech.

Offer a startling statement or information about the topic, which is typically done using data or statistics. The statement should surprise the audience in some way.

Provide a brief anecdote that relates to the topic in some way.

Present a “what if” scenario that connects to the subject matter of the speech.

Identify the importance of the speech’s topic.

Starting a speech with a humorous statement often makes the audience more comfortable with the speaker.

Include any background information pertinent to the topic that the audience needs to know to understand the speech in its entirety.

The thesis statement shares the central purpose of the speech.

Demonstrate

Include background information and a thesis statement

Preview the main ideas that will help accomplish the central purpose. Typically, informational speeches will have an average of three main ideas.

Body paragraphs

Apply the following to each main idea (body) :

Identify the main idea ( NOTE: The main points of a demonstration speech would be the individual steps.)

Provide evidence to support the main idea

Explain how the evidence supports the main idea/central purpose

Transition to the next main idea

Body of an informative speech

Review or restate the thesis and the main points presented throughout the speech.

Much like the attention grabber, the closing statement should interest the audience. Some of the more common techniques include a challenge, a rhetorical question, or restating relevant information:

Provide the audience with a challenge or call to action to apply the presented information to real life.

Detail the benefit of the information.

Close with an anecdote or brief story that illustrates the main points.

Leave the audience with a rhetorical question to ponder after the speech has concluded.

Detail the relevance of the presented information.

Informative speech conclusion

Before speech writing, brainstorm a list of informative speech topic ideas. The right topic depends on the type of speech, but good topics can range from video games to disabilities and electric cars to healthcare and mental health.

Informative speech topics

Some common informative essay topics for each type of informational speech include the following:

Informative speech examples

The following list identifies famous informational speeches:

“Duties of American Citizenship” by Theodore Roosevelt

“Duty, Honor, Country” by General Douglas MacArthur

“Strength and Dignity” by Theodore Roosevelt

Explanation

“Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” by Patrick Henry

“The Decision to Go to the Moon” by John F. Kennedy

“We Shall Fight on the Beaches” by Winston Churchill

Description

“I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Pearl Harbor Address” by Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“Luckiest Man” by Lou Gehrig

Demonstration

The Way to Cook with Julia Child

This Old House with Bob Vila

Bill Nye the Science Guy with Bill Nye

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49 Types of Informative Speeches

While the topics to choose from for informative speeches are nearly limit- less, they can generally be pared down into five broad categories. Understanding the type of informative speech that you will be giving can help you to figure out the best way to organize, research, and prepare for it, as will be discussed below.

Type 1: History

A common approach to selecting an informative speech topic is to discuss the history or development of something. With so much of human knowledge available via the Internet, finding information about the origins and evolution of almost anything is much easier than it has ever been (with the disclaimer that there are quite a few websites out there with false information). With that in mind, some of the areas that a historical informative speech could cover would include:

(Example: the baseball; the saxophone). Someone at some point in history was the first to develop what is considered the modern baseball. Who was it? What was it originally made of? How did it evolve into the baseball that is used by Major League Baseball today?

(Example: your college; DisneyWorld). There is a specific year that you college or university opened, a specific number of students who were initially enrolled, and often colleges and universities have name and mission changes. All of these facts can be used to provide an overall understanding of the college and its history. Likewise, the DisneyWorld of today is different from the DisneyWorld of the early 1970s; the design has developed over the last fifty years.

(Example: democracy; freedom of speech). It is possible to provide facts on an idea, although in some cases the information may be less precise. For example, while no one can definitively point to a specific date or individual who first developed the concept of democracy, it is known to have been conceived in ancient Greece (Raaflaub, Ober, & Wallace, 2007). By looking at the civilizations and cultures that adopted forms of democracy throughout history, it is possible to provide an audience with a better understanding of how the idea has been shaped into what it has become today.

Type 2: Biography

A biography is similar to a history, but in this case the subject is specifically a person, whether living or deceased. For the purposes of this class, biographies should focus on people of some note or fame, since doing research on people who are not at least mildly well-known could be difficult. But again, as with histories, there are specific and irrefutable facts that can help provide an overview of someone’s life, such as dates that President Lincoln was born (February 12, 1809) and died (April 15, 1865) and the years he was in office as president (1861-1865).

This might be a good place to address research and support. The basic dates of Abraham Lincoln’s life could be found in multiple sources and you would not have to cite the source in that case. But it you use the work of a specific historian to explain how Lincoln was able to win the presidency in the tumultuous years before the Civil War, that would need a citation of that author and the publication.

Type 3: Processes

Examples of process speech topics would be how to bake chocolate chip cookies; how to throw a baseball; how a nuclear reactor works; how a bill works its way through Congress.

Process speeches are sometimes referred to as demonstration or “how to” speeches because they often entail demonstrating something. These speeches require you to provide steps that will help your audience understand how to accomplish a specific task or process. However, How To speeches can be tricky in that there are rarely universally agreed upon (i.e. irrefutable) ways to do anything. If your professor asked the students in his or her public speaking class to each bring in a recipe for baking chocolate chip cookies, would all of them be the exact same recipe?

Probably not, but they would all be similar and, most importantly, they would all give you chocolate chip cookies as the end result. Students giving a demonstration speech will want to avoid saying “You should bake the cookies for 12 minutes” since that is not how everyone does it. Instead, the student should say something like:

“You can bake the cookies for 10 minutes.”

“One option is to bake the cookies for 10 minutes.”

“This particular recipe calls for the cookies to be baked for 10 minutes.”

Each of the previous three statements is absolutely a fact that no one can argue or disagree with. While some people may say 12 minutes is too long or too short (depending on how soft or hard they like their cookies), no one can reasonably argue that these statements are not true.

On the other hand, there is a second type of process speech that focuses not on how the audience can achieve a result, such as changing oil in their cars or cooking something, but on how a process is achieved. The goal is understanding and not performance. After a speech on how to change a car tire, the audience members could probably do it (they might not want to, but they would know the steps). However, after a speech on how a bill goes through Congress, the audience would understand this important part of democracy but not be ready to serve in Congress.

Type 4: Ideas and Concepts

Sometimes an informative speech is designed to explain an idea or concept. What does democracy mean? What is justice? In this case, you will want to do two things. First, use the definition methods listed in Chapter 6, such as classification and differentiation. The second is to make your concept concrete, real, and specific for your audience with examples.

Type 5: Categories or divisions

Sometimes an informative speech topic doesn’t lend itself to a specific type of approach, and in those cases the topics tend to fall into a “general” category of informative speeches. For example, if a student wanted to give an informative speech on the four “C’s” of diamonds (cut, carat, color, and clarity), they certainly wouldn’t approach it as if they were providing the history of diamonds, nor would they necessarily be informing anyone on “how to” shop for or buy diamonds or how diamonds are mined. The approach in this case would simply be to inform an audience on the four “C’s” and what they mean. Other examples of this type of informative speech would be positions in playing volleyball or the customs to know when traveling in China.

As stated above, identifying the type of informative speech being given can help in several ways (conducting research, writing the introduction and conclusion), but perhaps the biggest benefit is that the type of informative speech being given will help determine, to some degree, the organizational pattern that will need to be used (see Chapter 6). For example, a How To speech must be in chronological order. There really isn’t a way (or reason) to present a How To speech other than how the process is done in a time sequence. That is to say, for a speech on how to bake chocolate chip cookies, getting the ingredients (Main Point 1) must come before mixing the ingredients (Main Point 2), which must come before baking them (Main Point 3). Putting them in any other order will only confuse the audience.

Similarly, most Histories and Biographies will be organized chronologically, but not always. It makes sense to explain the history of the baseball from when it was first developed to where it is today, but certain approach es to Histories and Biographies can make that irrelevant. For an informative speech on Benjamin Franklin, a student might choose as his or her three main points: 1) His time as a printer, 2) His time as an inventor, 3) His time as a diplomat. These main points are not in strict chronological order because Franklin was a printer, inventor, and diplomat at the same time during periods of his whole life. However, this example would still be one way to inform an audience about him without using the chronological organizational pattern.

As for general informative speeches, since the topics that can be included in this category are very diverse and cover a range of subject matter, the way they are organized will be varied as well. However, if the topic is “types of” something or “kinds of” something, the organizational pattern would be topical; if it were the layout of a location, such as the White House, it would be spatial (refer to Chapter 6 for more on Organization).

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16.2 Types of Informative Speeches

Learning objectives.

  • Identify several categories of topics that may be used in informative speaking.
  • Describe several approaches to developing a topic.

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For some speakers, deciding on a topic is one of the most difficult parts of informative speaking. The following subsections begin by discussing several categories of topics that you might use for an informative presentation. Then we discuss how you might structure your speech to address potential audience difficulties in understanding your topic or information.

The term “objects” encompasses many topics we might not ordinarily consider to be “things.” It’s a category that includes people, institutions, places, substances, and inanimate things. The following are some of these topics:

  • Mitochondria
  • Dream catchers
  • Hubble telescope
  • Seattle’s Space Needle
  • Silicon chip
  • Spruce Goose
  • Medieval armor
  • DDT insecticide

You will find it necessary to narrow your topic about an object because, like any topic, you can’t say everything about it in a single speech. In most cases, there are choices about how to narrow the topic. Here are some specific purpose statements that reflect ways of narrowing a few of those topics:

  • To inform the audience about the role of soy inks in reducing toxic pollution
  • To inform the audience about the current uses of the banned insecticide DDT
  • To inform the audience about what we’ve learned from the Hubble telescope
  • To inform the audience about the role of the NAACP in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • To describe the significance of the gigantic Spruce Goose, the wooden airplane that launched an airline

These specific purposes reflect a narrow, but interesting, approach to each topic. These purposes are precise, and they should help you maintain your focus on a narrow but deep slice of knowledge.

This category applies both to specific individuals and also to roles. The following are some of these topics:

  • Dalai Lamas
  • Tsar Nicholas II
  • Modern midwives
  • Catherine the Great
  • Navajo code talkers
  • Mahatma Gandhi
  • Justice Thurgood Marshall
  • Madame Curie
  • Leopold Mozart
  • The Hemlock Society
  • Sonia Sotomayor
  • Jack the Ripper

There is a great deal of information about each one of these examples. In order to narrow the topic or write a thesis statement, it’s important to recognize that your speech should not be a biography, or time line, of someone’s life. If you attempt to deliver a comprehensive report of every important event and accomplishment related to your subject, then nothing will seem any more important than anything else. To capture and hold your audience’s interest, you must narrow to a focus on a feature, event, achievement, or secret about your human topic.

Here are some purpose statements that reflect a process of narrowing:

  • To inform the audience about the training program undergone by the first US astronauts to land on the moon
  • To inform the audience about how a young Dalai Lama is identified
  • To inform the audience about why Gandhi was regarded as a mahatma, or “great heart”
  • To inform the audience about the extensive scientific qualifications of modern midwives

Without a limited purpose, you will find, with any of these topics, that there’s simply too much to say. Your purpose statement will be a strong decision-making tool about what to include in your speech.

An event can be something that occurred only once, or an event that is repeated:

  • The murder of Emmett Till
  • The Iditarod Dogsled Race
  • The Industrial Revolution
  • The discovery of the smallpox vaccine
  • The Bikini Atoll atomic bomb tests
  • The Bay of Pigs
  • The Super Bowl
  • The Academy Awards

Again, we find that any of these topics must be carefully narrowed in order to build a coherent speech. Failure to do so will result in a shallow speech. Here are a few ways to narrow the purpose:

  • To explain how the murder of Emmett Till helped energize the civil rights movement
  • To describe how the Industrial Revolution affected the lives of ordinary people
  • To inform the audience about the purpose of the Iditarod dogsled race

There are many ways to approach any of these and other topics, but again, you must emphasize an important dimension of the event. Otherwise, you run the risk of producing a time line in which the main point gets lost. In a speech about an event, you may use a chronological order , but if you choose to do so, you can’t include every detail. The following is an example:

Specific Purpose: To inform the audience about the purpose of the Iditarod dogsled race.

Central Idea: The annual Iditarod commemorates the heroism of Balto, the sled dog that led a dog team carrying medicine 1150 miles to save Nome from an outbreak of diphtheria.

Main Points:

  • Diphtheria broke out in a remote Alaskan town.
  • Dogsleds were the only transportation for getting medicine.
  • The Iditarod Trail was long, rugged, and under siege of severe weather.
  • Balto the dog knew where he was going, even when the musher did not.
  • The annual race commemorates Balto’s heroism in saving the lives of the people of Nome.

In this example, you must explain the event. However, another way to approach the same event would describe it. The following is an example:

Specific Purpose: To describe the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Central Idea: It’s a long and dangerous race.

  • The 1150-mile, ten- to seventeen-day race goes through wilderness with widely spaced checkpoints for rest, first aid, and getting fresh dogs.
  • A musher, or dogsled driver, must be at least fourteen years old to endure the rigors of severe weather, exhaustion, and loneliness.
  • A musher is responsible for his or her own food, food for twelve to sixteen dogs, and for making sure they don’t get lost.
  • Reaching the end of the race without getting lost, even in last place, is considered honorable and heroic.
  • The expense of participation is greater than the prize awarded to the winner.

By now you can see that there are various ways to approach a topic while avoiding an uninspiring time line. In the example of the Iditarod race, you could alternatively frame it as an Alaskan tourism topic, or you could emphasize the enormous staff involved in first aid, search and rescue, dog care, trail maintenance, event coordination, financial management, and registration.

Concepts are abstract ideas that exist independent of whether they are observed or practiced, such as the example of social equality that follows. Concepts can include hypotheses and theories.

  • The glass ceiling
  • Ethnocentrism
  • Honor codes
  • Fairness theory
  • The American Dream
  • Social equality

Here are a few examples of specific purposes developed from the examples:

  • To explain why people in all cultures are ethnocentric
  • To describe the Hindu concept of karma
  • To distinguish the differences between the concepts of wellness and health
  • To show the resources available in our local school system for children with autism
  • To explain three of Dr. Stephen Suranovic’s seven categories of fairness

Here is one possible example of a way to develop one of these topics:

Specific Purpose: To explain why people in all cultures are ethnocentric.

Central Idea: There are benefits to being ethnocentric.

  • Ethnocentrism is the idea that one’s own culture is superior to others.
  • Ethnocentrism strongly contributes to positive group identity.
  • Ethnocentrism facilitates the coordination of social activity.
  • Ethnocentrism contributes to a sense of safety within a group.
  • Ethnocentrism becomes harmful when it creates barriers.

In an example of a concept about which people disagree, you must represent multiple and conflicting views as fully and fairly as possible. For instance:

Specific Purpose: To expose the audience to three different views of the American Dream.

Central Idea: The American Dream is a shared dream, an impossible dream, or a dangerous dream, depending on the perspective of the individual.

  • The concept of the American Dream describes a state of abundant well-being in which an honest and productive American can own a home; bring up a family; work at a permanent, well-paying job with benefits; and retire in security and leisure.
  • Many capitalists support the social pattern of working hard to deserve and acquire the material comforts and security of a comfortable life.
  • Many sociologists argue that the American Dream is far out of reach for the 40 percent of Americans at the bottom of the economic scale.
  • Many environmentalists argue that the consumption patterns that accompany the American Dream have resulted in the depletion of resources and the pollution of air, water, and soil.

If your speech topic is a process, your goal should be to help your audience understand it, or be able to perform it. In either instance, processes involve a predictable series of changes, phases, or steps.

  • Soil erosion
  • Cell division
  • Physical therapy
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Paper recycling
  • Consumer credit evaluations
  • Scholarship money searches
  • Navy Seal training
  • Portfolio building
  • The development of Alzheimer’s disease

For some topics, you will need presentation aids in order to make your meaning clear to your listeners. Even in cases where you don’t absolutely need a presentation aid, one might be useful. For instance, if your topic is evaluating consumer credit, instead of just describing a comparison between two different interest rates applied to the same original amount of debt, it would be helpful to show a graph of the difference. This might also be the sort of topic that would strongly serve the needs of your audience before they find themselves in trouble. Since this will be an informative speech, you must resist the impulse to tell your listeners that one form of borrowing is good and another is bad; you must simply show them the difference in numbers. They can reach their own conclusions.

Organizing your facts is crucially important when discussing a process. Every stage of a process must be clear and understandable. When two or more things occur at the same time, as they might in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, it is important to make it clear that several things are occurring at once. For example, as plaque is accumulating in the brain, the patient is likely to begin exhibiting various symptoms.

Here’s an example of the initial steps of a speech about a process:

Specific Purpose: To inform the audience about how to build an academic portfolio.

Central Idea: A portfolio represents you and emphasizes your best skills.

  • A portfolio is an organized selection containing the best examples of the skills you can offer an employer.
  • A portfolio should contain samples of a substantial body of written work, print and electronically published pieces, photography, and DVDs of your media productions.
  • A portfolio should be customized for each prospective employer.
  • The material in your portfolio should be consistent with the skills and experience in your résumé.

In a speech about the process of building a portfolio, there will be many smaller steps to include within each of the main points. For instance, creating separate sections of the portfolio for different types of creative activities, writing a table of contents, labeling and dating your samples, making your samples look attractive and professional, and other steps should be inserted where it makes the most sense, in the most organized places, in order to give your audience the most coherent understanding possible.

You’ve probably noticed that there are topics that could be appropriate in more than one category. For instance, the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helen’s could be legitimately handled as an event or as a process. If you approach the eruption as an event, most of the information you include will focus on human responses and the consequences on humans and the landscape. If you approach the eruption as a process, you will be using visual aids and explanations to describe geological changes before and during the eruption. You might also approach this topic from the viewpoint of a person whose life was affected by the eruption. This should remind you that there are many ways to approach most topics, and because of that, your narrowing choices and your purpose will be the important foundation determining the structure of your informative speech.

Developing Your Topic for the Audience

One issue to consider when preparing an informative speech is how best to present the information to enhance audience learning. Katherine Rowan suggests focusing on areas where your audience may experience confusion and using the likely sources of confusion as a guide for developing the content of your speech. Rowan identifies three sources of audience confusion: difficult concepts or language, difficult-to-envision structures or processes, and ideas that are difficult to understand because they are hard to believe (Rowan, 1995). The following subsections will discuss each of these and will provide strategies for dealing with each of these sources of confusion.

Difficult Concepts or Language

Sometimes audiences may have difficulty understanding information because of the concepts or language used. For example, they may not understand what the term “organic food” means or how it differs from “all-natural” foods. If an audience is likely to experience confusion over a basic concept or term, Rowan suggests using an elucidating explanation composed of four parts. The purpose of such an explanation is to clarify the meaning and use of the concept by focusing on essential features of the concept.

The first part of an elucidating explanation is to provide a typical exemplar, or example that includes all the central features of the concept. If you are talking about what is fruit, an apple or orange would be a typical exemplar.

The second step Rowan suggests is to follow up the typical exemplar with a definition. Fruits might be defined as edible plant structures that contain the seeds of the plant.

After providing a definition, you can move on to the third part of the elucidating explanation: providing a variety of examples and nonexamples. Here is where you might include less typical examples of fruit, such as avocados, squash, or tomatoes, and foods, such as rhubarb, which is often treated as a fruit but is not by definition.

Fourth, Rowan suggests concluding by having the audience practice distinguishing examples from nonexamples. In this way, the audience leaves the speech with a clear understanding of the concept.

Difficult-to-Envision Processes or Structures

A second source of audience difficulty in understanding, according to Rowan, is a process or structure that is complex and difficult to envision. The blood circulation system in the body might be an example of a difficult-to-envision process. To address this type of audience confusion, Rowan suggests a quasi-scientific explanation, which starts by giving a big-picture perspective on the process. Presentation aids or analogies might be helpful in giving an overview of the process. For the circulatory system, you could show a video or diagram of the entire system or make an analogy to a pump. Then you can move to explaining relationships among the components of the process. Be sure when you explain relationships among components that you include transition and linking words like “leads to” and “because” so that your audience understands relationships between concepts. You may remember the childhood song describing the bones in the body with lines such as, “the hip bone’s connected to the thigh bone; the thigh bone’s connected to the knee bone.” Making the connections between components helps the audience to remember and better understand the process.

Difficult to Understand because It’s Hard to Believe

A third source of audience confusion, and perhaps the most difficult to address as a speaker, is an idea that’s difficult to understand because it’s hard to believe. This often happens when people have implicit, but erroneous, theories about how the world works. For example, the idea that science tries to disprove theories is difficult for some people to understand; after all, shouldn’t the purpose of science be to prove things? In such a case, Rowan suggests using a transformative explanation. A transformative explanation begins by discussing the audience’s implicit theory and showing why it is plausible. Then you move to showing how the implicit theory is limited and conclude by presenting the accepted explanation and why that explanation is better. In the case of scientists disproving theories, you might start by talking about what science has proven (e.g., the causes of malaria, the usefulness of penicillin in treating infection) and why focusing on science as proof is a plausible way of thinking. Then you might show how the science as proof theory is limited by providing examples of ideas that were accepted as “proven” but were later found to be false, such as the belief that diseases are caused by miasma, or “bad air”; or that bloodletting cures diseases by purging the body of “bad humors.” You can then conclude by showing how science is an enterprise designed to disprove theories and that all theories are accepted as tentative in light of existing knowledge.

Rowan’s framework is helpful because it keeps our focus on the most important element of an informative speech: increasing audience understanding about a topic.

Honesty and credibility must undergird your presentation; otherwise, they betray the trust of your listeners. Therefore, if you choose a topic that turns out to be too difficult, you must decide what will serve the needs and interests of the audience. Shortcuts and oversimplifications are not the answer.

Being ethical often involves a surprising amount of work. In the case of choosing too ambitious a topic, you have some choices:

  • Narrow your topic further.
  • Narrow your topic in a different way.
  • Reconsider your specific purpose.
  • Start over with a new topic.

Your goal is to serve the interests and needs of your audience, whoever they are and whether you believe they already know something about your topic.

Key Takeaways

  • A variety of different topic categories are available for informative speaking.
  • One way to develop your topic is to focus on areas that might be confusing to the audience. If the audience is likely to be confused about language or a concept, an elucidating explanation might be helpful. If a process is complex, a quasi-scientific explanation may help. If the audience already has an erroneous implicit idea of how something works then a transformative explanation might be needed.
  • Choose a topic such as “American Education in the Twenty-First Century.” Write a new title for that speech for each of the following audiences: financial managers, first-year college students, parents of high school students, nuns employed in Roman Catholic schools, psychotherapists, and teamsters. Write a specific purpose for the speech for each of these audiences.
  • Think about three potential topics you could use for an informative speech. Identify where the audience might experience confusion with concepts, processes, or preexisting implicit theories. Select one of the topics and outline how you would develop the topic to address the audience’s potential confusion.

Rowan, K. E. (1995). A new pedagogy for explanatory public speaking: Why arrangement should not substitute for invention. Communication Education, 44 , 236–249.

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13.2 Types of Informative Speeches

While topics that are suitable for informative speeches are nearly limitless, they can generally be pared down into five broad categories. Understanding the type of informative speeches can help you to figure out the best way to organize, research, and prepare for it.

Type 1: History

A common approach to selecting an informative speech topic is to discuss the history or development of something. With so much of human knowledge available via the Internet, finding information about the origins and evolution of almost anything is much easier than it has ever been (with the disclaimer that there are quite a few websites out there with false information). With that in mind, some of the areas that a historical informative speech could cover are below.

History of objects such as the baseball or the saxophone can be presented in your informative speech. Someone at some point in history was the first to develop what is considered modern baseball. An informative speech speaker could give a speech on the history of baseball: Who was it? What was it originally made of? How did it evolve into the baseball that is used by Major League Baseball today?

You can also give an informative speech on the history of physical places such as the Eiffel tower or the Disney World. The Disney World of today is different from the Disney World of the early 1970s; the design has developed over the last fifty plus years. Stories on the first things built in the Disney World, first theme parks, and how it expanded and built in other parts of the world can all be interesting historical elements to share with your audience.

It is also possible to provide facts on an ideas such as democracy or freedom of speech. For example, while no one can definitively point to a specific date or individual who first developed the concept of democracy, it is known to have been conceived in ancient Greece (Raaflaub, Ober, & Wallace, 2007). By looking at the civilizations and cultures that adopted forms of democracy throughout history, it is possible to provide an audience with a better understanding of how the idea has been shaped into what it has become today.

Type 2: Biography

A biography is similar to a history, but in this case the subject is specifically a person, whether living or deceased. For the purposes of this class, biographies should focus on people of some note or fame, since doing research on people who are not at least mildly well-known could be difficult. But again, as with histories, there are specific and irrefutable facts that can help provide an overview of someone’s life, such as dates that President Lincoln was born (February 12, 1809) and died (April 15, 1865) and the years he was in office as president (1861-1865).

This might be a good place to address research and support. The basic dates of Abraham Lincoln’s life could be found in multiple sources and you would not have to cite the source in that case. But it you use the work of a specific historian to explain how Lincoln was able to win the presidency in the tumultuous years before the Civil War, that would need a citation of that author and the publication.

Type 3: Processes

Process speeches provide information on steps to accomplish a specific task, goal, or process. For example, speakers can talk about how to bake chocolate chip cookies, how to throw a baseball, how a nuclear reactor works, and how a bill works its way through Congress.

Process speeches are sometimes referred to as demonstration or “how to” speeches because they often entail demonstrating or performing something. These speeches provide step by step instructions on completing a specific task (e..g, how to bake chocolate chip cookies in 10 steps). However, not all process speeches tell the audience how to perform something but rather, only explain the procedures so audience can gain understanding on how things work (e.g., how a bill goes through Congress).

Type 4: Ideas and Concepts

Sometimes an informative speech is designed to explain an idea or concept. What does democracy mean? What is justice? In speeches on ideas and concepts, speakers should first define the idea or concept and then provide specific examples to make your concept concrete, real, and “tangile” to your audience.

Type 5: Categories or Divisions

Sometimes an informative speech topic doesn’t lend itself to a specific type of approach, and in those cases the topics tend to fall into a “general” category of informative speeches. For example, if a student wanted to give an informative speech on the four “C’s” of diamonds (cut, carat, color, and clarity), they certainly wouldn’t approach it as if they were providing the history of diamonds, nor would they necessarily be informing anyone on “how to” shop for or buy diamonds or how diamonds are mined. The approach in this case would simply be to inform an audience on the four “C’s” and what they mean. Other examples of this type of informative speech would be positions in playing volleyball or the customs to know when traveling in China.

As stated above, identifying the type of informative speech being given can help in several ways (conducting research, writing the introduction and conclusion), but perhaps the biggest benefit is that the type of informative speech being given will help determine, to some degree, the organizational pattern that will need to be used (see Chapter 8). For example, a How To speech must be in chronological order. There really isn’t a way (or reason) to present a How To speech other than how the process is done in a time sequence. That is to say, for a speech on how to bake chocolate chip cookies, getting the ingredients (Main Point 1) must come before mixing the ingredients (Main Point 2), which must come before baking them (Main Point 3). Putting them in any other order will only confuse the audience.

Similarly, most Histories and Biographies will be organized chronologically, but not always. It makes sense to explain the history of the baseball from when it was first developed to where it is today, but certain approaches to Histories and Biographies can make that irrelevant. For an informative speech on Benjamin Franklin, a student might choose as his or her three main points: 1) His time as a printer, 2) His time as an inventor, 3) His time as a diplomat. These main points are not in strict chronological order because Franklin was a printer, inventor, and diplomat at the same time during periods of his whole life. However, this example would still be one way to inform an audience about him without using the chronological organizational pattern.

As for general informative speeches, since the topics that can be included in this category are very diverse and cover a range of subject matter, the way they are organized will be varied as well. However, if the topic is “types of” something or “kinds of” something, the organizational pattern would be topical; if it were the layout of a location, such as the White House, it would be spatial.

It’s About Them: Public Speaking in the 21st Century Copyright © 2022 by LOUIS: The Louisiana Library Network is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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7 Types of Informative Speeches

Learning Objectives

  • Distinguish types of general informative speech topics.
  • Determine an appropriate informative approach.

Informative Speeches

Now that you know the difference between informative and persuasive approaches, this chapter will explore types of topics and approaches suited well for informative speeches. Again, while any topic can be informative or persuasive, certain topics and approaches will help you to ensure you are delivering an informative speech. As you read the chapter, consider specific topics for each category that you may be able to deliver an informative speech on.

Types of Informative Speech Topics

O’Hair, Stewart, and Rubenstein identified six general types of informative speech topics: objects, people, events, concepts, processes, and issues (O’Hair, et al., 2007).

Objects: Your speech may include how objects are designed, how they function, and what they mean. For example, a student of one of our coauthors gave a speech on the design of corsets, using a mannequin to demonstrate how corsets were placed on women and the amount of force necessary to lace one up. Or you may speak about an artifact and what it means to a certain culture. For instance, the belt (and color of the belt) is significant to the karate culture.

People: People-based speeches tend to be biography-oriented. Such topics could include recounting an individual’s achievements and explaining why the person is important in history. Some speakers, who are famous themselves, will focus on their own lives and how various events shaped who they ultimately became. Dottie Walters is most noted as being the first female in the United States to run an advertising agency. In addition to her work in advertising, Dottie also spent a great deal of time as a professional speaker. She often would tell the story about her early years in advertising when she would push around a stroller with her daughter inside as she went from business to business trying to generate interest in her copywriting abilities. You don’t have to be famous, however, to give a people-based speech. Instead, you could inform your audience about a historical or contemporary hero whose achievements are not widely known.

Events: These are typically either historical or contemporary. For example, you could deliver a speech on a specific battle of World War II or a specific event that changed the course of history. If you’re a history buff, event-oriented speeches may be right up your alley. There are countless historical events that many people aren’t familiar with and would find interesting. You could also inform your audience about a more recent or contemporary event. Some examples include concerts, plays, and arts festivals; athletic competitions; and natural phenomena, such as storms, eclipses, and earthquakes. The point is to make sure that an informative speech is talking about the event (who, what, when, where, and why) and not attempting to persuade people to pass judgment upon the event or its effects.

Concepts:  Concepts are “abstract and difficult ideas or theories” (O’Hair, et al., 2007). For example, you may want to explain a specific communication theory, a religious idea, or inflation. Whether you want to discuss theories related to business, sociology, psychology, religion, politics, art, or any other major area of study, this type of speech can be very useful in helping people to understand complex ideas.

Process: A process speech helps audience members understand how a specific object or system works. For example, you could explain how a bill becomes a law in the United States. There is a very specific set of steps that a bill must go through before it becomes a law, so there is a very clear process that could be explained to an audience.

Issues: This informative speech topic is probably the most difficult for novice public speakers because it requires walking a fine line between informing and persuading. If you attempt to deliver this type of speech, remember the goal is to be balanced when discussing both sides of the issue. You are only explaining an issue, you are not proposing solutions or trying to get your audience to agree with your ideas.

If you are struggling with an informative topic, it helps to brainstorm ideas in each of these categories. Once you have a list of potential ideas, you can begin to narrow your ideas. One way to narrow your ideas is to consider the approach you will use with potential topics.

Approaches to Informative Speeches

Once you have decided on a potential topic, you can help to narrow your focus by determining an informative approach. There are three common informative approaches we will discuss in this section. Those are speeches of definition, description, and explanation.

Definitional Speeches

In definitional speeches the speaker attempts to set forth the meaning of concepts, theories, philosophies, or issues that may be unfamiliar to the audience. In these types of speeches, speakers may begin by giving the historical derivation, classification, or synonyms of terms or the background of the subject. In a speech on “How to identify a sociopath,” the speaker may answer these questions: Where did the word ‘sociopath’ come from? What is a sociopath? How many sociopaths are there in the population? What are the symptoms? Carefully define your terminology to give shape to things the audience cannot directly sense. Describing the essential attributes of one concept compared to another (as through the use of analogies) can increase understanding as well. For a speech on “Elderly Abuse,” the speaker may compare this type of abuse to a child or spousal abuse for contrast.

Regardless of the listeners’ level of knowledge about the subject, it is very important in these types of speeches to show the relevance of the topic to their lives. Often the topics discussed in definitional speeches are abstract—distanced from reality. Speakers need to provide explicit, real-life examples and applications of the subject matter to engage audience members. If you were going to give a speech about civil rights, you would need to go beyond commonly held meanings and show the topic in a new light. In this type of speech, the speaker points out the unique and distinguishing properties or boundaries of a concept in a particular context  (Rinehart, 2002). The meaning of “civil rights” has changed significantly over time. What does it mean today compared to the 1960s? How will knowing this distinction help audience members? What are some specific incidents involving civil rights issues in current news? What changes in civil rights legislation might listeners see in their lifetimes?

DEFINITIONAL EXAMPLE

Title:   “Life is suffering,” and Other Buddhist Teachings  (Thompson, 1999)

Specific Purpose:  At the end of my speech, my audience will understand the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path in Buddhism

Central Idea:  Regardless of your religious beliefs, Buddhist philosophy teaches a number of useful lessons you can apply to your own life.

  • All life involves  dukkha  (suffering)
  • Suffering is caused by  tanha  (longing for things to be other than they are)
  • If this longing stops ( nirodha ), suffering will cease
  • The way to eliminate longing is to follow the Eightfold Path
  • Right intention
  • Right speech
  • Right action
  • Right livelihood
  • Right effort
  • Right mindfulness
  • Right contemplation

Descriptive Speeches

White domed structure with four surrounding pillars against a blue sky

To gaze in wonder at that magnificent dome and elegant gardens will be a moment that you remember for the rest of your life. The Taj Mahal just takes your breath away. What is immediately striking is its graceful symmetry—geometric lines run through formal gardens ending in a white marble platform. Atop this platform is great white bulbous dome complemented by four towering minarets in each corner. The whole image shimmers in a reflecting pool flanked by beautiful gardens—the effect is magical. The first stretch by the reflecting pool is where most people pose for their photos. But we were impressed by the fresh, green gardens. As you approach through the gardens two mosques come into view flanking the Taj—both exquisitely carved and built of red sandstone.

In the descriptive speech, determine the characteristics, features, functions, or fine points of the topic. What makes the person unique? How did the person make you feel? What adjectives apply to the subject? What kind of material is the object made from? What shape is it? What color is it? What does it smell like? Is it part of a larger system? Can it be seen by the naked eye? What is its geography or location in space? How has it changed or evolved over time? How does it compare to a similar object? When preparing for the speech, try to think of ways to appeal to as many of the senses as possible. As an example, in a speech about different types of curried dishes, you could probably verbally describe the difference between yellow, red, and green curry, but the speech will have more impact if the audience can see, smell, and taste samples.

DESCRIPTIVE EXAMPLE

An enormous stone carved into a human head

Specific Purpose:  At the end of my speech, my audience will be able to visualize some of the main attractions on Easter Island.

Central Idea:  Easter Island hosts a number of ancient, mysterious, and beautiful attractions that make it an ideal vacation destination.

  • Average 13 feet high; 14 tons
  • Play sacred role for Rapa Nui (native inhabitants)
  • Central Ahu ceremonial sites
  • Snorkeling & Scuba
  • Giant crater
  • Sheer cliffs to ocean

Explanatory Speeches

An  explanatory speech (also known as a briefing) is similar to a descriptive speech in that they both share the function of clarifying the topic. But explanatory speeches focus on reports of current and historical events, customs, transformations, inventions, policies, outcomes, and options. Whereas descriptive speeches attempt to paint a picture with words so that audiences can vicariously experience it, explanatory speeches focus on the  how  or  why  of a subject and its consequences. Thus, a speaker might give a  descriptive  speech on the daily life of Marie Antoinette, or an  explanatory  speech on how she came to her death. Recall that definitional speeches focus on delineating concepts or issues. In this case, a speaker might give a  definitional  speech about the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, or an  explanatory  speech on why the financial bailout was necessary for U.S. financial stability.

If a manager wanted to inform employees about a new workplace internet use policy, s/he might cover questions like: Why was a policy implemented? How will it help? What happens if people do not follow established policies? Explanatory speeches are less concerned with appealing to the senses than connecting the topic to a series of related other subjects to enhance a deep understanding (McKerrow, Gronbeck, Ehninger, & Monroe, 2000). For example, to explain the custom of the Thai  wai  greeting (hands pressed together as in prayer), you also need to explain how it originated to show one had no weapons, and the ways it is tied to religion, gender, age, and status.

EXPLANATORY EXAMPLE

Title:   Giant Waves, Death, and Devastation: The 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami  (National Geographic, 2006)

Specific Purpose:  At the end of my speech, my audience will be aware of the nature of the 2004 Tsunami and the destruction it caused.

Central Idea:  The 2004 Asian Tsunami was one of the worst natural disasters in human history in terms of magnitude, loss of human life, and enduring impact.

  • Earthquake epicenter and magnitude
  • Tsunami forms (waves reach up to 100 feet)
  • Tsunami strikes land of various countries with no warning
  • The countries and people involved
  • Loss of food, water, hospitals, housing, electricity, and plumbing
  • Threat of disease
  • Environmental destruction
  • Economic devastation
  • Psychological trauma

Setting yourself up for a successful informative speech begins in the early stages when you first start thinking about your topic. Remember to consider the type of informative speech topics and the informative approaches you can take as you are selecting a topic.

Key Takeaways

  • Six general informative speech topics are objects, people, events, concepts, processes, and issues. Use these general categories to brainstorm ideas for your upcoming informative speech.
  • Once you have decided on a potential topic, you can help to narrow down your topic by considering which informative approach you will use. Will you define, describe, or explain your topic?

Licenses and Attributions

Chapter 15 Types of Informative Speeches.  Authored by : Lisa Schreiber, Ph.D..  Provided by : Millersville University, Millersville, PA.  Located at :  http://publicspeakingproject.org/psvirtualtext.html .  Project : Public Speaking Project.  License :  CC BY-NC-ND: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives

Taj Mahal, Agra, India.  Authored by : Yann.  Located at :  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Taj_Mahal,_Agra,_India.jpg .  License :  CC BY-SA: Attribution-ShareAlike

Maoi at Rano Raraku.  Authored by : Aurbina.  Located at :  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Moai_Rano_raraku.jpg .  License :  Public Domain: No Known Copyright

Public Speaking Copyright © by Dr. Layne Goodman; Amber Green, M.A.; and Various is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Planning and Presenting an Informative Speech

In this guide, you can learn about the purposes and types of informative speeches, about writing and delivering informative speeches, and about the parts of informative speeches.

Purposes of Informative Speaking

Informative speaking offers you an opportunity to practice your researching, writing, organizing, and speaking skills. You will learn how to discover and present information clearly. If you take the time to thoroughly research and understand your topic, to create a clearly organized speech, and to practice an enthusiastic, dynamic style of delivery, you can be an effective "teacher" during your informative speech. Finally, you will get a chance to practice a type of speaking you will undoubtedly use later in your professional career.

The purpose of the informative speech is to provide interesting, useful, and unique information to your audience. By dedicating yourself to the goals of providing information and appealing to your audience, you can take a positive step toward succeeding in your efforts as an informative speaker.

Major Types of Informative Speeches

In this guide, we focus on informative speeches about:

These categories provide an effective method of organizing and evaluating informative speeches. Although they are not absolute, these categories provide a useful starting point for work on your speech.

In general, you will use four major types of informative speeches. While you can classify informative speeches many ways, the speech you deliver will fit into one of four major categories.

Speeches about Objects

Speeches about objects focus on things existing in the world. Objects include, among other things, people, places, animals, or products.

Because you are speaking under time constraints, you cannot discuss any topic in its entirety. Instead, limit your speech to a focused discussion of some aspect of your topic.

Some example topics for speeches about objects include: the Central Intelligence Agency, tombstones, surgical lasers, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the pituitary gland, and lemmings.

To focus these topics, you could give a speech about Franklin Delano Roosevelt and efforts to conceal how he suffered from polio while he was in office. Or, a speech about tombstones could focus on the creation and original designs of grave markers.

Speeches about Processes

Speeches about processes focus on patterns of action. One type of speech about processes, the demonstration speech, teaches people "how-to" perform a process. More frequently, however, you will use process speeches to explain a process in broader terms. This way, the audience is more likely to understand the importance or the context of the process.

A speech about how milk is pasteurized would not teach the audience how to milk cows. Rather, this speech could help audience members understand the process by making explicit connections between patterns of action (the pasteurization process) and outcomes (a safe milk supply).

Other examples of speeches about processes include: how the Internet works (not "how to work the Internet"), how to construct a good informative speech, and how to research the job market. As with any speech, be sure to limit your discussion to information you can explain clearly and completely within time constraints.

Speeches about Events

Speeches about events focus on things that happened, are happening, or will happen. When speaking about an event, remember to relate the topic to your audience. A speech chronicling history is informative, but you should adapt the information to your audience and provide them with some way to use the information. As always, limit your focus to those aspects of an event that can be adequately discussed within the time limitations of your assignment.

Examples of speeches about events include: the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington, Groundhog's Day, the Battle of the Bulge, the World Series, and the 2000 Presidential Elections.

Speeches about Concepts

Speeches about concepts focus on beliefs, ideas, and theories. While speeches about objects, processes, and events are fairly concrete, speeches about concepts are more abstract. Take care to be clear and understandable when creating and presenting a speech about a concept. When selecting a concept, remember you are crafting an informative speech. Often, speeches about concepts take on a persuasive tone. Focus your efforts toward providing unbiased information and refrain from making arguments. Because concepts can be vague and involved, limit your speech to aspects that can be readily explained and understood within the time limits.

Some examples of topics for concept speeches include: democracy, Taoism, principles of feminism, the philosophy of non-violent protest, and the Big Bang theory.

Strategies for Selecting a Topic

In many cases, circumstances will dictate the topic of your speech. However, if the topic has not been assigned or if you are having difficulty figuring out how to frame your topic as an informative speech,the following may be useful.

Begin by thinking of your interests. If you have always loved art, contemplate possible topics dealing with famous artists, art works, or different types of art. If you are employed, think of aspects of your job or aspects of your employer's business that would be interesting to talk about. While you cannot substitute personal experience for detailed research, your own experience can supplement your research and add vitality to your presentation. Choose one of the items below to learn more about selecting a topic.

Learn More about an Unfamiliar Topic

You may benefit more by selecting an unfamiliar topic that interests you. You can challenge yourself by choosing a topic you'd like to learn about and to help others understand it. If the Buddhist religion has always been an interesting and mysterious topic to you, research the topic and create a speech that offers an understandable introduction to the religion. Remember to adapt Buddhism to your audience and tell them why you think this information is useful to them. By taking this approach, you can learn something new and learn how to synthesize new information for your audience.

Think about Previous Classes

You might find a topic by thinking of classes you have taken. Think back to concepts covered in those classes and consider whether they would serve as unique, interesting, and enlightening topics for the informative speech. In astronomy, you learned about red giants. In history, you learned about Napoleon. In political science, you learned about The Federalist Papers. Past classes serve as rich resources for informative speech topics. If you make this choice, use your class notes and textbook as a starting point. To fully develop the content, you will need to do extensive research and perhaps even a few interviews.

Talk to Others

Topic selection does not have to be an individual effort. Spend time talking about potential topics with classmates or friends. This method can be extremely effective because other people can stimulate further ideas when you get stuck. When you use this method, always keep the basic requirements and the audience in mind. Just because you and your friend think home-brew is a great topic does not mean it will enthrall your audience or impress your instructor. While you talk with your classmates or friends, jot notes about potential topics and create a master list when you exhaust the possibilities. From this list, choose a topic with intellectual merit, originality, and potential to entertain while informing.

Framing a Thesis Statement

Once you settle on a topic, you need to frame a thesis statement. Framing a thesis statement allows you to narrow your topic, and in turns allows you to focus your research in this specific area, saving you time and trouble in the process.

Selecting a topic and focusing it into a thesis statement can be a difficult process. Fortunately, a number of useful strategies are available to you.

Thesis Statement Purpose

The thesis statement is crucial for clearly communicating your topic and purpose to the audience. Be sure to make the statement clear, concise, and easy to remember. Deliver it to the audience and use verbal and nonverbal illustrations to make it stand out.

Strategies For Framing a Thesis Statement

Focus on a specific aspect of your topic and phrase the thesis statement in one clear, concise, complete sentence, focusing on the audience. This sentence sets a goal for the speech. For example, in a speech about art, the thesis statement might be: "The purpose of this speech is to inform my audience about the early works of Vincent van Gogh." This statement establishes that the speech will inform the audience about the early works of one great artist. The thesis statement is worded conversationally and included in the delivery of the speech.

Thesis Statement and Audience

The thesis appears in the introduction of the speech so that the audience immediately realizes the speaker's topic and goal. Whatever the topic may be, you should attempt to create a clear, focused thesis statement that stands out and could be repeated by every member of your audience. It is important to refer to the audience in the thesis statement; when you look back at the thesis for direction, or when the audience hears the thesis, it should be clear that the most important goal of your speech is to inform the audience about your topic. While the focus and pressure will be on you as a speaker, you should always remember that the audience is the reason for presenting a public speech.

Avoid being too trivial or basic for the average audience member. At the same time, avoid being too technical for the average audience member. Be sure to use specific, concrete terms that clearly establish the focus of your speech.

Thesis Statement and Delivery

When creating the thesis statement, be sure to use a full sentence and frame that sentence as a statement, not as a question. The full sentence, "The purpose of this speech is to inform my audience about the early works of Vincent van Gogh," provides clear direction for the speech, whereas the fragment "van Gogh" says very little about the purpose of the speech. Similarly, the question "Who was Vincent van Gogh?" does not adequately indicate the direction the speech will take or what the speaker hopes to accomplish.

If you limit your thesis statement to one distinct aspect of the larger topic, you are more likely to be understood and to meet the time constraints.

Researching Your Topic

As you begin to work on your informative speech, you will find that you need to gather additional information. Your instructor will most likely require that you locate relevant materials in the library and cite those materials in your speech. In this section, we discuss the process of researching your topic and thesis.

Conducting research for a major informative speech can be a daunting task. In this section, we discuss a number of strategies and techniques that you can use to gather and organize source materials for your speech.

Gathering Materials

Gathering materials can be a daunting task. You may want to do some research before you choose a topic. Once you have a topic, you have many options for finding information. You can conduct interviews, write or call for information from a clearinghouse or public relations office, and consult books, magazines, journals, newspapers, television and radio programs, and government documents. The library will probably be your primary source of information. You can use many of the libraries databases or talk to a reference librarian to learn how to conduct efficient research.

Taking Notes

While doing your research, you may want to carry notecards. When you come across a useful passage, copy the source and the information onto the notecard or copy and paste the information. You should maintain a working bibliography as you research so you always know which sources you have consulted and so the process of writing citations into the speech and creating the bibliography will be easier. You'll need to determine what information-recording strategies work best for you. Talk to other students, instructors, and librarians to get tips on conducting efficient research. Spend time refining your system and you will soon be able to focus on the information instead of the record-keeping tasks.

Citing Sources Within Your Speech

Consult with your instructor to determine how much research/source information should be included in your speech. Realize that a source citation within your speech is defined as a reference to or quotation from material you have gathered during your research and an acknowledgement of the source. For example, within your speech you might say: "As John W. Bobbitt said in the December 22, 1993, edition of the Denver Post , 'Ouch!'" In this case, you have included a direct quotation and provided the source of the quotation. If you do not quote someone, you might say: "After the first week of the 1995 baseball season, attendance was down 13.5% from 1994. This statistic appeared in the May 7, 1995, edition of the Denver Post ." Whatever the case, whenever you use someone else's ideas, thoughts, or words, you must provide a source citation to give proper credit to the creator of the information. Failure to cite sources can be interpreted as plagiarism which is a serious offense. Upon review of the specific case, plagiarism can result in failure of the assignment, the course, or even dismissal from the University. Take care to cite your sources and give credit where it is due.

Creating Your Bibliography

As with all aspects of your speech, be sure to check with your instructor to get specific details about the assignment.

Generally, the bibliography includes only those sources you cited during the speech. Don't pad the bibliography with every source you read, saw on the shelf, or heard of from friends. When you create the bibliography, you should simply go through your complete sentence outline and list each source you cite. This is also a good way to check if you have included enough reference material within the speech. You will need to alphabetize the bibiography by authors last name and include the following information: author's name, article title, publication title, volume, date, page number(s). You may need to include additional information; you need to talk with your instructor to confirm the required bibliographical format.

Some Cautions

When doing research, use caution in choosing your sources. You need to determine which sources are more credible than others and attempt to use a wide variety of materials. The broader the scope of your research, the more impressive and believable your information. You should draw from different sources (e.g., a variety of magazines-- Time, Newsweek, US News & World Report, National Review, Mother Jones ) as well as different types of sources (i.e., use interviews, newspapers, periodicals, and books instead of just newspapers). The greater your variety, the more apparent your hard work and effort will be. Solid research skills result in increased credibility and effectiveness for the speaker.

Structuring an Informative Speech

Typically, informative speeches have three parts:

Introduction

In this section, we discuss the three parts of an informative speech, calling attention to specific elements that can enhance the effectiveness of your speech. As a speaker, you will want to create a clear structure for your speech. In this section, you will find discussions of the major parts of the informative speech.

The introduction sets the tone of the entire speech. The introduction should be brief and to-the-point as it accomplishes these several important tasks. Typically, there are six main components of an effective introduction:

Attention Getters

Thesis statement, audience adaptation, credibility statement, transition to the body.

As in any social situation, your audience makes strong assumptions about you during the first eight or ten seconds of your speech. For this reason, you need to start solidly and launch the topic clearly. Focus your efforts on completing these tasks and moving on to the real information (the body) of the speech. Typically, there are six main components of an effective introduction. These tasks do not have to be handled in this order, but this layout often yields the best results.

The attention-getter is designed to intrigue the audience members and to motivate them to listen attentively for the next several minutes. There are infinite possibilities for attention-getting devices. Some of the more common devices include using a story, a rhetorical question, or a quotation. While any of these devices can be effective, it is important for you to spend time strategizing, creating, and practicing the attention-getter.

Most importantly, an attention-getter should create curiosity in the minds of your listeners and convince them that the speech will be interesting and useful. The wording of your attention-getter should be refined and practiced. Be sure to consider the mood/tone of your speech; determine the appropriateness of humor, emotion, aggressiveness, etc. Not only should the words get the audiences attention, but your delivery should be smooth and confident to let the audience know that you are a skilled speaker who is prepared for this speech.

The crowd was wild. The music was booming. The sun was shining. The cash registers were ringing.

This story-like re-creation of the scene at a Farm Aid concert serves to engage the audience and causes them to think about the situation you are describing. Touching stories or stories that make audience members feel involved with the topic serve as good attention-getters. You should tell a story with feeling and deliver it directly to the audience instead of reading it off your notecards.

Example Text : One dark summer night in 1849, a young woman in her 20's left Bucktown, Maryland, and followed the North Star. What was her name? Harriet Tubman. She went back some 19 times to rescue her fellow slaves. And as James Blockson relates in a 1984 issue of National Geographic , by the end of her career, she had a $40,000.00 price on her head. This was quite a compliment from her enemies (Blockson 22).

Rhetorical Question

Rhetorical questions are questions designed to arouse curiosity without requiring an answer. Either the answer will be obvious, or if it isn't apparent, the question will arouse curiosity until the presentation provides the answer.

An example of a rhetorical question to gain the audiences attention for a speech about fly-fishing is, "Have you ever stood in a freezing river at 5 o'clock in the morning by choice?"

Example Text: Have you ever heard of a railroad with no tracks, with secret stations, and whose conductors were considered criminals?

A quotation from a famous person or from an expert on your topic can gain the attention of the audience. The use of a quotation immediately launches you into the speech and focuses the audience on your topic area. If it is from a well-known source, cite the author first. If the source is obscure, begin with the quote itself.

Example Text : "No day dawns for the slave, nor is it looked for. It is all night--night forever . . . ." (Pause) This quote was taken from Jermain Loguen, a fugitive who was the son of his Tennessee master and a slave woman.

Unusual Statement

Making a statement that is unusual to the ears of your listeners is another possibility for gaining their attention.

Example Text : "Follow the drinking gourd. That's what I said, friend, follow the drinking gourd." This phrase was used by slaves as a coded message to mean the Big Dipper, which revealed the North Star, and pointed toward freedom.

You might chose to use tasteful humor which relates to the topic as an effective way to attract the audience both to you and the subject at hand.

Example Text : "I'm feeling boxed in." [PAUSE] I'm not sure, but these may have been Henry "Box" Brown's very words after being placed on his head inside a box which measured 3 feet by 2 feet by 2 1\2 feet for what seemed to him like "an hour and a half." He was shipped by Adams Express to freedom in Philadelphia (Brown 60,92; Still 10).

Shocking Statistic

Another possibility to consider is the use of a factual statistic intended to grab your listener's attention. As you research the topic you've picked, keep your eyes open for statistics that will have impact.

Example Text : Today, John Elway's talents are worth millions, but in 1840 the price of a human life, a slave, was worth $1,000.00.

Example Text : Today I'd like to tell you about the Underground Railroad.

In your introduction, you need to adapt your speech to your audience. To keep audience members interested, tell them why your topic is important to them. To accomplish this task, you need to undertake audience analysis prior to creating the speech. Figure out who your audience members are, what things are important to them, what their biases may be, and what types of subjects/issues appeal to them. In the context of this class, some of your audience analysis is provided for you--most of your listeners are college students, so it is likely that they place some value on education, most of them are probably not bathing in money, and they live in Colorado. Consider these traits when you determine how to adapt to your audience.

As you research and write your speech, take note of references to issues that should be important to your audience. Include statements about aspects of your speech that you think will be of special interest to the audience in the introduction. By accomplishing this task, you give your listeners specific things with which they can identify. Audience adaptation will be included throughout the speech, but an effective introduction requires meaningful adaptation of the topic to the audience.

You need to find ways to get the members of your audience involved early in the speech. The following are some possible options to connect your speech to your audience:

Reference to the Occasion

Consider how the occasion itself might present an opportunity to heighten audience receptivity. Remind your listeners of an important date just passed or coming soon.

Example Text : This January will mark the 130th anniversary of a "giant interracial rally" organized by William Still which helped to end streetcar segregation in the city of Philadelphia (Katz i).

Reference to the Previous Speaker

Another possibility is to refer to a previous speaker to capitalize on the good will which already has been established or to build on the information presented.

Example Text : As Alice pointed out last week in her speech on the Olympic games of the ancient world, history can provide us with fascinating lessons.

The credibility statement establishes your qualifications as a speaker. You should come up with reasons why you are someone to listen to on this topic. Why do you have special knowledge or understanding of this topic? What can the audience learn from you that they couldn't learn from someone else? Credibility statements can refer to your extensive research on a topic, your life-long interest in an issue, your personal experience with a thing, or your desire to better the lives of your listeners by sifting through the topic and providing the crucial information.

Remember that Aristotle said that credibility, or ethos, consists of good sense, goodwill, and good moral character. Create the feeling that you possess these qualities by creatively stating that you are well-educated about the topic (good sense), that you want to help each member of the audience (goodwill), and that you are a decent person who can be trusted (good moral character). Once you establish your credibility, the audience is more likely to listen to you as something of an expert and to consider what you say to be the truth. It is often effective to include further references to your credibility throughout the speech by subtly referring to the traits mentioned above.

Show your listeners that you are qualified to speak by making a specific reference to a helpful resource. This is one way to demonstrate competence.

Example Text : In doing research for this topic, I came across an account written by one of these heroes that has deepened my understanding of the institution of slavery. Frederick Douglass', My Bondage and My Freedom, is the account of a man whose master's kindness made his slavery only more unbearable.

Your listeners want to believe that you have their best interests in mind. In the case of an informative speech, it is enough to assure them that this will be an interesting speech and that you, yourself, are enthusiastic about the topic.

Example Text : I hope you'll enjoy hearing about the heroism of the Underground Railroad as much as I have enjoyed preparing for this speech.

Preview the Main Points

The preview informs the audience about the speech's main points. You should preview every main body point and identify each as a separate piece of the body. The purpose of this preview is to let the audience members prepare themselves for the flow of the speech; therefore, you should word the preview clearly and concisely. Attempt to use parallel structure for each part of the preview and avoid delving into the main point; simply tell the audience what the main point will be about in general.

Use the preview to briefly establish your structure and then move on. Let the audience get a taste of how you will divide the topic and fulfill the thesis and then move on. This important tool will reinforce the information in the minds of your listeners. Here are two examples of a preview:

Simply identify the main points of the speech. Cover them in the same order that they will appear in the body of the presentation.

For example, the preview for a speech about kites organized topically might take this form: "First, I will inform you about the invention of the kite. Then, I will explain the evolution of the kite. Third, I will introduce you to the different types of kites. Finally, I will inform you about various uses for kites." Notice that this preview avoids digressions (e.g., listing the various uses for kites); you will take care of the deeper information within the body of the speech.

Example Text : I'll tell you about motivations and means of escape employed by fugitive slaves.

Chronological

For example, the preview for a speech about the Pony Express organized chronologically might take this form: "I'll talk about the Pony Express in three parts. First, its origins, second, its heyday, and third, how it came to an end." Notice that this preview avoids digressions (e.g., listing the reasons why the Pony Express came to an end); you will cover the deeper information within the body of the speech.

Example Text : I'll talk about it in three parts. First, its origins, second, its heyday, and third, how it came to an end.

After you accomplish the first five components of the introduction, you should make a clean transition to the body of the speech. Use this transition to signal a change and prepare the audience to begin processing specific topical information. You should round out the introduction, reinforce the excitement and interest that you created in the audience during the introduction, and slide into the first main body point.

Strategic organization helps increase the clarity and effectiveness of your speech. Four key issues are discussed in this section:

Organizational Patterns

Connective devices, references to outside research.

The body contains the bulk of information in your speech and needs to be clearly organized. Without clear organization, the audience will probably forget your information, main points, perhaps even your thesis. Some simple strategies will help you create a clear, memorable speech. Below are the four key issues used in organizing a speech.

Once you settle on a topic, you should decide which aspects of that topic are of greatest importance for your speech. These aspects become your main points. While there is no rule about how many main points should appear in the body of the speech, most students go with three main points. You must have at least two main points; aside from that rule, you should select your main points based on the importance of the information and the time limitations. Be sure to include whatever information is necessary for the audience to understand your topic. Also, be sure to synthesize the information so it fits into the assigned time frame. As you choose your main points, try to give each point equal attention within the speech. If you pick three main points, each point should take up roughly one-third of the body section of your speech.

There are four basic patterns of organization for an informative speech.

  • Chronological order
  • Spatial order
  • Causal order
  • Topical order

There are four basic patterns of organization for an informative speech. You can choose any of these patterns based on which pattern serves the needs of your speech.

Chronological Order

A speech organized chronologically has main points oriented toward time. For example, a speech about the Farm Aid benefit concert could have main points organized chronologically. The first main point focuses on the creation of the event; the second main point focuses on the planning stages; the third point focuses on the actual performance/concert; and the fourth point focuses on donations and assistance that resulted from the entire process. In this format, you discuss main points in an order that could be followed on a calendar or a clock.

Spatial Order

A speech organized spatially has main points oriented toward space or a directional pattern. The Farm Aid speech's body could be organized in spatial order. The first main point discusses the New York branch of the organization; the second main point discusses the Midwest branch; the third main point discusses the California branch of Farm Aid. In this format, you discuss main points in an order that could be traced on a map.

Causal Order

A speech organized causally has main points oriented toward cause and effect. The main points of a Farm Aid speech organized causally could look like this: the first main point informs about problems on farms and the need for monetary assistance; the second main point discusses the creation and implementation of the Farm Aid program. In this format, you discuss main points in an order that alerts the audience to a problem or circumstance and then tells the audience what action resulted from the original circumstance.

Topical Order

A speech organized topically has main points organized more randomly by sub-topics. The Farm Aid speech could be organized topically: the first main point discusses Farm Aid administrators; the second main point discusses performers; the third main point discusses sponsors; the fourth main point discusses audiences. In this format, you discuss main points in a more random order that labels specific aspects of the topic and addresses them in separate categories. Most speeches that are not organized chronologically, spatially, or causally are organized topically.

Within the body of your speech, you need clear internal structure. Connectives are devices used to create a clear flow between ideas and points within the body of your speech--they serve to tie the speech together. There are four main types of connective devices:

Transitions

Internal previews, internal summaries.

Within the body of your speech, you need clear internal structure. Think of connectives as hooks and ladders for the audience to use when moving from point-to-point within the body of your speech. These devices help re-focus the minds of audience members and remind them of which main point your information is supporting. The four main types of connective devices are:

Transitions are brief statements that tell the audience to shift gears between ideas. Transitions serve as the glue that holds the speech together and allow the audience to predict where the next portion of the speech will go. For example, once you have previewed your main points and you want to move from the introduction to the body of the Farm Aid speech, you might say: "To gain an adequate understanding of the intricacies of this philanthropic group, we need to look at some specific information about Farm Aid. We'll begin by looking at the administrative branch of this massive fund-raising organization."

Internal previews are used to preview the parts of a main point. Internal previews are more focused than, but serve the same purpose as, the preview you will use in the introduction of the speech. For example, you might create an internal preview for the complex main point dealing with Farm Aid performers: "In examining the Farm Aid performers, we must acknowledge the presence of entertainers from different genres of music--country and western, rhythm and blues, rock, and pop." The internal preview provides specific information for the audience if a main point is complex or potentially confusing.

Internal summaries are the reverse of internal previews. Internal summaries restate specific parts of a main point. To internally summarize the main point dealing with Farm Aid performers, you might say: "You now know what types of people perform at the Farm Aid benefit concerts. The entertainers come from a wide range of musical genres--country and western, rhythm and blues, rock, and pop." When using both internal previews and internal summaries, be sure to stylize the language in each so you do not become redundant.

Signposts are brief statements that remind the audience where you are within the speech. If you have a long point, you may want to remind the audience of what main point you are on: "Continuing my discussion of Farm Aid performers . . . "

When organizing the body of your speech, you will integrate several references to your research. The purpose of the informative speech is to allow you and the audience to learn something new about a topic. Additionally, source citations add credibility to your ideas. If you know a lot about rock climbing and you cite several sources who confirm your knowledge, the audience is likely to see you as a credible speaker who provides ample support for ideas.

Without these references, your speech is more like a story or a chance for you to say a few things you know. To complete this assignment satisfactorily, you must use source citations. Consult your textbook and instructor for specific information on how much supporting material you should use and about the appropriate style for source citations.

While the conclusion should be brief and tight, it has a few specific tasks to accomplish:

Re-assert/Reinforce the Thesis

Review the main points, close effectively.

Take a deep breath! If you made it to the conclusion, you are on the brink of finishing. Below are the tasks you should complete in your conclusion:

When making the transition to the conclusion, attempt to make clear distinctions (verbally and nonverbally) that you are now wrapping up the information and providing final comments about the topic. Refer back to the thesis from the introduction with wording that calls the original thesis into memory. Assert that you have accomplished the goals of your thesis statement and create the feeling that audience members who actively considered your information are now equipped with an understanding of your topic. Reinforce whatever mood/tone you chose for the speech and attempt to create a big picture of the speech.

Within the conclusion, re-state the main points of the speech. Since you have used parallel wording for your main points in the introduction and body, don't break that consistency in the conclusion. Frame the review so the audience will be reminded of the preview and the developed discussion of each main point. After the review, you may want to create a statement about why those main points fulfilled the goals of the speech.

Finish strongly. When you close your speech, craft statements that reinforce the message and leave the audience with a clear feeling about what was accomplished with your speech. You might finalize the adaptation by discussing the benefits of listening to the speech and explaining what you think audience members can do with the information.

Remember to maintain an informative tone for this speech. You should not persuade about beliefs or positions; rather, you should persuade the audience that the speech was worthwhile and useful. For greatest effect, create a closing line or paragraph that is artistic and effective. Much like the attention-getter, the closing line needs to be refined and practiced. Your close should stick with the audience and leave them interested in your topic. Take time to work on writing the close well and attempt to memorize it so you can directly address the audience and leave them thinking of you as a well-prepared, confident speaker.

Outlining an Informative Speech

Two types of outlines can help you prepare to deliver your speech. The complete sentence outline provides a useful means of checking the organization and content of your speech. The speaking outline is an essential aid for delivering your speech. In this section, we discuss both types of outlines.

Two types of outlines can help you prepare to deliver your speech. The complete sentence outline provides a useful means of checking the organization and content of your speech. The speaking outline is an essential aid for delivering your speech.

The Complete Sentence Outline

A complete sentence outline may not be required for your presentation. The following information is useful, however, in helping you prepare your speech.

The complete sentence outline helps you organize your material and thoughts and it serves as an excellent copy for editing the speech. The complete sentence outline is just what it sounds like: an outline format including every complete sentence (not fragments or keywords) that will be delivered during your speech.

Writing the Outline

You should create headings for the introduction, body, and conclusion and clearly signal shifts between these main speech parts on the outline. Use standard outline format. For instance, you can use Roman numerals, letters, and numbers to label the parts of the outline. Organize the information so the major headings contain general information and the sub-headings become more specific as they descend. Think of the outline as a funnel: you should make broad, general claims at the top of each part of the outline and then tighten the information until you have exhausted the point. Do this with each section of the outline. Be sure to consult with your instructor about specific aspects of the outline and refer to your course book for further information and examples.

Using the Outline

If you use this outline as it is designed to be used, you will benefit from it. You should start the outline well before your speech day and give yourself plenty of time to revise it. Attempt to have the final, clean copies ready two or three days ahead of time, so you can spend a day or two before your speech working on delivery. Prepare the outline as if it were a final term paper.

The Speaking Outline

Depending upon the assignment and the instructor, you may use a speaking outline during your presentation. The following information will be helpful in preparing your speech through the use of a speaking outline.

This outline should be on notecards and should be a bare bones outline taken from the complete sentence outline. Think of the speaking outline as train tracks to guide you through the speech.

Many speakers find it helpful to highlight certain words/passages or to use different colors for different parts of the speech. You will probably want to write out long or cumbersome quotations along with your source citation. Many times, the hardest passages to learn are those you did not write but were spoken by someone else. Avoid the temptation to over-do the speaking outline; many speakers write too much on the cards and their grades suffer because they read from the cards.

The best strategy for becoming comfortable with a speaking outline is preparation. You should prepare well ahead of time and spend time working with the notecards and memorizing key sections of your speech (the introduction and conclusion, in particular). Try to become comfortable with the extemporaneous style of speaking. You should be able to look at a few keywords on your outline and deliver eloquent sentences because you are so familiar with your material. You should spend approximately 80% of your speech making eye-contact with your audience.

Delivering an Informative Speech

For many speakers, delivery is the most intimidating aspect of public speaking. Although there is no known cure for nervousness, you can make yourself much more comfortable by following a few basic delivery guidelines. In this section, we discuss those guidelines.

The Five-Step Method for Improving Delivery

  • Read aloud your full-sentence outline. Listen to what you are saying and adjust your language to achieve a good, clear, simple sentence structure.
  • Practice the speech repeatedly from the speaking outline. Become comfortable with your keywords to the point that what you say takes the form of an easy, natural conversation.
  • Practice the speech aloud...rehearse it until you are confident you have mastered the ideas you want to present. Do not be concerned about "getting it just right." Once you know the content, you will find the way that is most comfortable for you.
  • Practice in front of a mirror, tape record your practice, and/or present your speech to a friend. You are looking for feedback on rate of delivery, volume, pitch, non-verbal cues (gestures, card-usage, etc.), and eye-contact.
  • Do a dress rehearsal of the speech under conditions as close as possible to those of the actual speech. Practice the speech a day or two before in a classroom. Be sure to incorporate as many elements as possible in the dress rehearsal...especially visual aids.

It should be clear that coping with anxiety over delivering a speech requires significant advanced preparation. The speech needs to be completed several days beforehand so that you can effectively employ this five-step plan.

Anderson, Thad, & Ron Tajchman. (1994). Informative Speaking. Writing@CSU . Colorado State University. https://writing.colostate.edu/guides/guide.cfm?guideid=52

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Informative Speech

Caleb S.

Learn How to Write and Deliver an Effective Informative Speech

12 min read

Published on: May 20, 2022

Last updated on: Jul 20, 2023

Informative Speech

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Informative Speech Topics To Engage and Delight Your Audience

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Have you ever sat through a presentation that left you feeling bored and uninterested? 

As students, we are often required to give presentations, and it's essential that we know how to captivate our audience. That's where informative speeches come in!

Informative speeches are an excellent way to inform and educate while keeping your audience engaged. 

In this blog, we'll explore what an informative speech is and why it's essential to master this skill. We will also explore how you can give an informative speech that leaves a lasting impression.

So, get ready to learn the art of delivering an informative speech that will leave your audience wanting more!

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Informative Speech Definition & Importance

An informative speech aims to educate the audience about a specific topic, providing them with valuable information, insights, and knowledge.

Importance of Informative Speech

Here is why informative speeches are important:

  • Knowledge dissemination: Informative speeches play a crucial role in sharing knowledge and information with the audience. It allows the audience to expand their understanding and broaden their perspectives.
  • Education and learning: Informative speeches offer a chance to learn, gain insights, and enhance intellectual growth.
  • Promoting awareness: Informative speeches can help raise awareness about important social, cultural, or environmental issues. It encourages the audience to take action or make informed decisions.
  • Professional development: It helps enhance public speaking skills, and research abilities, which are valuable assets in both personal and professional settings.
  • Engaging and entertaining: Well-crafted informative speeches captivate the audience by delivering information in an enjoyable manner.
  • Building credibility: Presenting informative speeches on topics of expertise establishes the speaker as an authority, building trust among the audience.
  • Influencing opinions: I nformative speeches shape audience opinions, attitudes, and behaviors through credible information.
  • Fostering curiosity: Informative speeches spark curiosity and encourage further exploration of the topic among the audience.

Types of Informative Speeches

Let's take a brief look at the various types of informative speeches:

  • Descriptive Speech: Portrays vivid images of people, places, objects, or events using sensory details.
  • Explanatory Speech: Clarifies complex concepts or processes by providing step-by-step explanations and examples.
  • Demonstration Speech: Guides the audience through a specific task or skill using visual aids or live demonstrations.
  • Definition Speech: Offers clear explanations of abstract or specialized terms to enhance understanding.
  • Comparative Speech: Highlights similarities and differences between subjects, fostering understanding through balanced analysis.
  • Persuasive Speech: Presents arguments and evidence to influence the audience's opinions or actions.
  • Historical Speech: Explores past events, eras, or figures to provide historical context and insights.
  • Biographical Speech: Examines the life and achievements of notable individuals, sharing their contributions and impact.
  • Current Events Speech: Discusses recent news, issues, or trends to provide up-to-date information and analysis.
  • Instructional Speech: Teaches the audience how to perform a specific task or acquire a particular skill through clear instructions.

Check out this informative blog to improve your speech-writing abilities and get practical tips for your upcoming speech.

Informative Speech Outline

Here is how to structure an informative speech:

Here is a sample outline for an informative speech about events. Take a look:

Informative Speech Outline Example

How to Prepare for an Informative Speech 

Preparing for an informative speech involves several important steps to ensure that your presentation is engaging and well-organized. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to prepare for an informative speech:

Step# 1 Choose a Topic

Select a topic that is interesting, relevant, and suitable for your audience. Consider your own knowledge and expertise in the subject to ensure that you can provide valuable information.

Step# 2 Research your Topic

Gather information from credible sources such as books, scholarly articles, reputable websites, and interviews with experts. Take detailed notes and keep track of your sources for future reference.

Step# 3 Define your Objective

Determine the purpose of your speech. Are you aiming to educate, raise awareness, or provide a comprehensive overview of a specific subject? Clearly articulate your objective to guide the content and structure of your speech.

Step# 4 Analyze your Audience

Consider the characteristics and interests of your audience. Tailor your speech to their level of knowledge and use language and examples that resonate with them. Understanding your audience will help you make your speech more engaging and relevant.

Step# 5 Outline your Speech

Create a clear and logical structure for your speech. Start with an attention-grabbing introduction to hook your audience, followed by a well-organized body that presents the main points.  Finally, end with a concise and memorable conclusion.

Step# 6 Develop Key Points

Identify the main points you want to convey in your speech. Limit them to a manageable number to ensure that you can effectively cover each point within your allotted time. Arrange the points in a logical order, such as chronological, cause and effect, or problem-solution.

Step# 7 Support Your Points

Gather supporting evidence, examples, statistics, and anecdotes to back up your main points. Use a variety of sources to provide credibility and make your speech more compelling. Ensure that your information is accurate, up-to-date, and relevant to your topic.

Step# 8 Create Visual Aids

If appropriate for your speech, consider using visual aids such as slides, charts, or props to enhance your presentation. Visual aids can help clarify complex information, engage the audience, and make your speech more memorable.  Keep the visuals simple, uncluttered, and easy to read.

Step# 9 Practice your Speech

Rehearse your speech several times to become familiar with the content and improve your delivery. Pay attention to your pacing, clarity of speech, body language, and eye contact. Practice in front of a mirror, record yourself, or present to a small audience for feedback.

Step# 10 Time Management

Keep track of your speech's length and ensure that it fits within the allocated time. Make adjustments if necessary by trimming or expanding certain sections. It's essential to respect the time constraints to maintain the audience's interest and engagement.

Step#  11 Seek Feedback

Before delivering your speech, ask trusted friends, family members, or colleagues to provide feedback on your content, delivery, and overall effectiveness. Incorporate their suggestions to refine and improve your presentation.

Step# 12 Prepare for Questions

Anticipate potential questions from the audience and be ready to address them. Familiarize yourself with the topic beyond the main points to demonstrate your expertise and provide comprehensive answers.

By following these steps, you'll be well-prepared to deliver an informative speech that captivates your audience.

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Methods of Informing

In this section, we will explore the diverse methods of informing, each offering distinct ways to captivate and enlighten an audience.

Informing through Definition

This method involves providing a clear and concise definition of a concept or term to help the audience understand its meaning. 

For example: If you are giving a speech on climate change, you may define it as 

"the long-term alteration of temperature and typical weather patterns on Earth, primarily due to human activities such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation."

Informing through Description

With this method, you provide vivid and detailed descriptions to paint a picture in the audience's mind. 

For instance, if you are describing a famous landmark like the Taj Mahal, you might say:

"The Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum located in Agra, India. Its magnificent architecture features intricate carvings, domed roofs, and reflective pools, creating a mesmerizing sight that symbolizes eternal love."

Informing through Demonstration

This method involves physically showing or illustrating a process or technique to help the audience understand it better. 

For example, if you are teaching a cooking class and explaining how to make a soufflé, you would demonstrate the step-by-step process . It will show the audience how to beat the egg whites, fold in the ingredients, and bake them to perfection.

Informing through Explanation

This method involves providing a detailed explanation of a concept, process, or idea. It may involve breaking down complex information into simpler terms or providing a logical sequence of events. 

For instance, if you are explaining the theory of relativity , you might explain how Einstein's theory revolutionized our understanding of space, time, and gravity. You can do that by describing the concepts of time dilation and the bending of light.

Examples of Great Informative Speeches

Let’s take a look at some inspiring, informative speech examples: 

Informative Speech Harvard

Informative Speech About Ramadan

Informative Speech About Covid-19

Informative Speech About Communication

Here are some informative speech examples from well-known personalities: 

5 Lessons from Steve Jobs' Stanford Commencement Address

Ellen DeGeneres' Tulane University Commencement Speech

Neil deGrasse Tyson's "The Most Astounding Fact"

Informative Speech Topics

Here is a list of informative speech topics that you can consider:

  • The History and Significance of Space Exploration
  • The Rise of Veganism: Benefits for Health and the Environment
  • The Impact of Music on Mental Health and Well-being
  • The Importance of Financial Literacy for Young Adults
  • The Science Behind Mindfulness and Its Effects on Stress Reduction
  • The Role of Women in STEM (Science, Technology and Engineering) Fields
  • The Importance of Physical Exercise for a Healthy Lifestyle
  • Understanding and Managing Anxiety and Panic Attacks
  • The Origins and Cultural Significance of Traditional Festivals
  • The History and Evolution of Fashion Trends

Informative Speech Topics For College Students

Here are some good informative speech topics for college-level students: 

  • The Starting Point - Navigating the Transition from High School to College
  • Engaging Audience Members - Techniques for Captivating and Connecting with Your Audience
  • The Impacts Of Climate Change And Sustainable Solutions
  • The Rise Of Mental Health Issues Among College Students
  • The Influence Of Social Media On Society And Relationships
  • The Importance Of Financial Literacy For Young Adults
  • The Science Behind Mindfulness And Its Effects On Stress Reduction
  • Exploring The Pros And Cons Of Renewable Energy Sources
  • The History And Significance Of Space Exploration
  • The Impact Of Artificial Intelligence On The Job Market

Informative Speech Topics For University Students

  • The Importance of Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills in Higher Education
  • The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health and Well-being
  • Exploring the Future of Artificial Intelligence and Its Ethical Implications
  • Understanding the Science of Climate Change and Its Effects on the Environment
  • The Rise of Online Education: Advantages and Disadvantages
  • The Significance of Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education Institutions
  • The Power of Effective Time Management and Productivity Strategies for Students
  • The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Personal and Professional Success
  • Exploring Sustainable Lifestyle Choices: Green Living on Campus and Beyond
  • Navigating Mental Health Challenges in University: Resources and Support Systems

Tips for Delivering an Effective Informative Speech

Here are some tips for delivering an effective informative speech:

  • Start with a strong opening to grab the audience's attention.
  • Use clear and concise language to communicate your message.
  • Utilize visual aids effectively to enhance your speech.
  • Engage the audience through interactive elements.
  • Vary your delivery to keep the speech dynamic.
  • Maintain eye contact with the audience.
  • Incorporate storytelling techniques for relatability and memorability.
  • Transition smoothly between points.
  • Summarize key points periodically to reinforce information.
  • Conclude with a strong ending that leaves a lasting impression.
  • Remember to practice your speech for improved delivery and confidence.

Need help finding the perfect topic for your informative speech? This blog has you covered with an extensive list of thought-provoking informative speech topics .

Common Mistakes to Avoid in an Informative Speech

Here are common mistakes to avoid in an informative speech:

  • Overwhelming the audience with excessive information.
  • Using complex language or jargon that the audience may not understand.
  • Neglecting to engage the audience through interactive elements or visual aids.
  • Speaking too quickly or monotonously makes it difficult for the audience to follow.
  • Failing to maintain eye contact with the audience.
  • Lacking clear transitions between points, causing confusion.
  • Providing inaccurate or outdated information .
  • Neglecting to summarize key points for reinforcement.
  • Running over the allotted time , disregarding time management.
  • Ending abruptly without a strong conclusion or call to action.

By avoiding these mistakes, you can deliver an informative speech that effectively communicates your message and engages the audience.

In conclusion, we have covered everything you need to know about informative speeches, from outlines to examples and topics.  We hope this blog has helped you gain a clearer understanding and provided you with tips to deliver an impactful speech.

If you're still struggling to get started, don't hesitate to contact CollegeEssay.org. Our professional writing service is here to help you craft an outstanding speech tailored to your needs. 

Don't struggle alone with your informative speech. Use our AI essay writing tools today to get started!

Caleb S. (Literature, Marketing)

Caleb S. has extensive experience in writing and holds a Masters from Oxford University. He takes great satisfaction in helping students exceed their academic goals. Caleb always puts the needs of his clients first and is dedicated to providing quality service.

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Informative Speech

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Informative Speech

Informative Speech Examples

Cathy A.

10+ Informative Speech Examples - Get Inspiration For Any Type

Published on: Jan 5, 2019

Last updated on: Nov 29, 2023

informative speech examples

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Struggling to understand how to create informative speeches? You're not the only one.

Exploring the world of informative speaking can be tricky, especially for students and new speakers.

But don't worry, we're here to help! Our blog will guide you through each step. It's packed with clear examples, and topics to help you become a pro at giving informative speeches.

So, let's begin!

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Understading Informative Speech

An informative speech is a presentation designed to share facts, knowledge, or information with the audience. These speeches are characterized by their fact-based, non-persuasive nature, focused on delivering general information.

Unlike persuasive speech , the goal is not to convince the audience but to provide unbiased, reliable information. 

This type of speech aims to enhance the knowledge level of audience members, making complex topics accessible. Informative speaking is about educating and fostering critical thinking in the audience, helping them grasp the subject matter effectively.

Informative Speech Outline Example

An informative speech should be organized around the central idea and easy-to-follow to effectively convey information to the audience. 

Let's say you're giving an informative speech on "The Importance of Recycling." Here's what the informative speech outline would look like for this:

Ready to create a speech outline? Check out this in-depth guide on how to craft a perfect informative speech outline !

Informative speeches can be given on multiple themes, and here are multiple informative speech examples:

Informative Speech Examples About Life

Informative Speech Examples About Yourself

Literature Informative Speech Example

Business Informative Speech Example

Informative Speech Examples For Students

Students often need to deliver an informative speech. In schools and colleges, these are common to enhance students’ public speaking skills. Here are some examples for students:

Informative Speech Examples For Highschool Students

Informative Speech Examples For College Students

Short Informative Speech Examples

Short and concise speeches can have a significant impact. Check out this short informative speech example pdf:

3 Minute Informative Speech Examples

Here is a 5 minutes informative speech example:

Short Informative Speech Examples About Life

How To Write An Informative Speech Examples

Crafting an informative speech is a step-by-step process. Here are some short guides to help you, from attention getter for informative speech examples to conclusion sample:

How To Start An Informative Speech Examples

Starting a speech effectively is essential for capturing your audience's attention. Here are some introduction and thesis statement examples to help:

Thesis Statement For Informative Speech Examples

Introduction Informative Speech Examples

Conclusion Informative Speech Examples

Concluding your informative speech with impact is crucial. View this example conclusion for an informative speech:

Examples for Different Types of Informative Speech

Depending on the objective, informative speeches can take various forms, each with its unique purpose. 

Here are the common types of informative speeches and their examples:

Definition Speech

A definition speech aims to clarify and explain the meaning of a specific concept, term, or idea. It focuses on providing a clear definition and understanding of the subject.

Definition Speech Example

Explanatory Speech

An explanatory speech is designed to provide insight into how something works or why it happens. It delves deeper into the processes, causes, or mechanisms behind a particular phenomenon.

Explanatory Speech Example

Descriptive Speech

A descriptive speech aims to paint a vivid picture of a subject by using vivid language, sensory details, and figurative language to create a clear mental image for the audience.

Descriptive Speech Example

Demonstrative Speech

A demonstrative speech involves showing or teaching the audience how to do something. It often includes step-by-step instructions or a demonstration to explain a process or showcase a skill.

Demonstrative Speech Example

Informative Speech Topics

Choosing a topic for informative speech can be a crucial step in the process of delivering a captivating speech. 

These informative speech ideas cover a wide range of subjects, making them ideal as informative speech example topics for your next presentation:

  • The Impact of Climate Change on Our Oceans
  • The Art of Effective Time Management
  • Understanding the Basics of Artificial Intelligence
  • Exploring the History and Culture of Ancient Egypt
  • The Benefits of Meditation for Stress Reduction
  • Cybersecurity: How to Protect Your Personal Information
  • The Wonders of the Human Brain and Memory
  • Space Exploration: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe
  • The Influence of Social Media on Modern Relationships
  • Healthy Eating: Navigating Nutrition Labels and Diet Myths

Need more informative speech topics? Head over to these informative speech topics for a treasure trove of engaging ideas.

No matter what type of informative speech you’re writing, these examples and helpful insights will kickstart your speech writing journey. 

But if you ever feel stuck or need some extra support, our team of experienced writers is here to help. Our essay writing service has helped thousands of students for multiple writing needs.

So, when you ask our experts to ‘ write my speech ’, you can be sure to receive a 100% original and top-quality speech. So, order now to ensure you nail that speech!

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Informative Speech

What is an informative speech.

An  informative speech  is one where the speaker intends to educate their audience on a specific topic. The goal of such a speech is to take complex subject matter and present information that allows the audience to better understand the topic. The speaker ultimately provides knowledge that is especially useful or interesting.

General examples of informative speeches include the following:

  • The impact of the Great Depression on farmers (history)
  • Shakespeare in modern media (literature)
  • Rise of social media (social trends)
  • Impact of streaming services (TV and film)
  • History of the electoral college (politics)
  • Evolution of the computer (technology)
  • Background of Title IV (sports)

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Engaging and Insightful Informative Speech Topics Interesting: A Comprehensive Guide

Discover brief and engaging informative speech topics for your next presentation.

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What Is An Informative Speech?

type of informative speech of helping the community

Informative speeches use study and factual data to educate the audience about a certain subject. These may consist of an original point of view, gripping narrative, or a potent lesson.

Informative speeches are not intended to be celebratory toasts or inauguration addresses; rather, their main purpose is to impart knowledge.

Six main categories of instructive talks exist:

Definition speeches: These are talks that elucidate a theory or notion. For example, a topic that starts with "What is...?" usually points to an educational discourse that is definitional in nature.

Speeches that Explain Things: These speeches try to explain how something works, such as how the brain processes information or how an electric car operates.

Demonstrative presentations: These "how-to" presentations homework, which frequently include visual aids, walk the audience through carrying out an activity, like boosting productivity or preparing a healthy meal.

Comparative speeches: Through the comparison or contrast of two alternatives, presenters assist the audience in understanding the parallels or divergences between various subjects. A speech might assess the benefits and drawbacks of private versus public education, for instance.

Speeches that Define: These speeches highlight the importance of the issue by describing a person, place, or object. A student might teach their friends about a historical figure, for example, while an entrepreneur might go over the details of a product proposal.

Informative speeches that are persuasive: Although persuasive speeches are usually different from informative speeches, certain informative speeches can be persuasive in nature by employing proof to persuade the audience of the superiority of a specific approach or viewpoint.

A salesperson might, for instance, make a presentation to convince customers to select their services, whereas a mental health advocate might suggest doing regular yoga.

How To Pick An Informative Speech Topic

type of informative speech of helping the community

Choosing an informative speech topic is a crucial step in delivering a successful presentation. Here's a guide on how to pick an informative speech topic:

1) Identify Your Interests

Select a topic that genuinely interests you. Your enthusiasm for the subject will make the speech more engaging.

2) Consider Your Audience

Think about the interests and knowledge level of your audience. Choose a topic that will be relevant and informative for them.

3) Define the Purpose

Clarify the purpose of your speech. Are you aiming to educate, explain a process, or raise awareness? Tailor your topic accordingly.

4) Assess the Scope

Ensure that the topic is neither too broad nor too narrow. You should be able to cover the essential information within the allotted time.

5) Reliability of Information Globalization

Choose a topic for which reliable and credible information is available. It's essential to provide accurate and well-researched blog content.

6) Relevance Matte

Pick a topic that is current and relevant. Consider societal trends, technological advancements, or issues that are of contemporary interest.

7) Consider Your Expertise

Assess your own knowledge and expertise on potential topics. While you can research and learn, having some prior knowledge can make the process smoother.

8) Engagement Factor

Opt for a topic that will captivate your audience. Think about the potential to incorporate interesting facts, anecdotes, or visuals.

9) Practicality Innovation

Ensure that the topic is practical for a speech format. It should allow you to present information clearly and keep the audience's attention.

10) Personal Connection

If possible, choose a topic that has a personal connection or relevance to your life. Sharing personal experiences can add authenticity to your speech.

11) Check Time Constraints

Be mindfulness of the time limit for your speech. Ensure that the topic can be adequately covered within the allotted time.

12) Test Your Idea

Discuss your potential topics with friends, family, or peers. Get feedback on the level of interest and relevance.

Informative Speech Topics About Technology and Science

type of informative speech of helping the community

  • The Rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI): Impacts and Challenges
  • Blockchain Technology : Revolutionizing Transactions and Security
  • Biotechnology Advancements: Opportunities and Ethical Considerations
  • Exploring the Potential of Quantum Computing
  • The Internet of Things (IoT): Connecting Our World
  • Space Exploration: Current Achievements and Future Missions
  • Advances in Genetic Engineering: Promises and Concerns
  • Renewable Energy Technologies: Shaping a Sustainable Future
  • 3D Printing: Transforming Manufacturing and Design
  • Cybersecurity Threats and Strategies for Protection

Informative Speech Ideas on Education

  • Online Education: Pros and Cons of Virtual Learning
  • The Impact of Technology on Classroom Teaching
  • Inclusive Education: Benefits and Challenges
  • Student Mental Health: Recognizing and Addressing Issues
  • The History and Evolution of Standardized Testing
  • Gamification in Education: Enhancing Learning Experiences
  • The Role of Arts and Creativity in Education
  • Early Childhood Education: Building Foundations for Success
  • Global Education Disparities: Causes and Potential Solutions
  • Alternative Education Models: Exploring Montessori, Waldorf, and Reggio Emilia

Informative Speech Topics on Sports and Health

  • The Benefits of Regular Physical Activity for Overall Health
  • Nutrition and Athlete Performance: Balancing Diet and Exercise
  • Common Injuries in Sports: Prevention and Recovery Strategies
  • Mental Health in Athletes: Addressing Stress and Anxiety
  • The Importance of Hydration in Physical Activity
  • Concussions in Sports: Recognition, Treatment, and Prevention
  • The Impact of Sports on Cardiovascular Health
  • Ergonomics in Exercise: Proper Techniques to Avoid Injuries
  • Doping in Sports: History, Consequences, and Anti-Doping Measures
  • The Role of Sports in Building a Healthy Community

Informative Speech Topics on Psychology and Communication

  • The Basics of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health
  • Effective Communication in Interpersonal Relationships
  • Understanding and Managing Stress: Psychological Approaches
  • The Psychology of Decision-Making: Factors and Influences
  • Nonverbal Communication: Body Language and Facial Expressions
  • The Power of Positive Psychology: Enhancing Well-Being
  • Group Dynamics: How Psychology Shapes Team Interactions
  • Cultural Differences in Communication Styles
  • The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Professional Success

Public Speaking ​Informative Speech Topics

  • Effective Techniques for Overcoming Public Speaking Anxiety
  • The Art of Persuasion: Building Convincing Arguments
  • Storytelling in Public Speaking: Captivating Your Audience
  • The Importance of Body Language in Public Speaking
  • Crafting and Delivering a Memorable Elevator Pitch
  • Public Speaking in the Digital Age: Virtual Presentation Tips
  • The Impact of Voice and Tone on Audience Perception
  • How to Structure and Organize a Successful Speech
  • Using Visual Aids to Enhance Your Public Speaking
  • Q&A Sessions: Navigating Audience Questions with Confidence

​Informative Speech Topics on Society

  • The Impact of Social Media on Modern Society
  • Gender Inequality: Challenges and Progress
  • Civic Engagement: The Importance of Active Citizenship
  • The Effects of Urbanization on Communities
  • Social Justice Movements: History and Current Trends
  • The Role of Education in Shaping Society
  • The Influence of Pop Culture on Social Values
  • Youth Activism: Driving Change in Society
  • Racial and Ethnic Diversity: Celebrating Differences
  • Economic Disparities: Causes and Solutions

Controversial Topics for ​Informative Speeches

  • The Ethics of Genetic Engineering and Designer Babies
  • The Impact of Violent Video Games on Aggressive Behavior
  • Legalization of Assisted Suicide: Moral and Ethical Considerations
  • The Pros and Cons of Mandatory Vaccinations
  • Government Surveillance: Balancing Security and Privacy
  • The Influence of Media on Body Image and Self-Esteem
  • Climate Change: Causes, Denial, and Urgency for Action
  • The Death Penalty: Examining its Effectiveness and Morality
  • Internet Censorship: Protecting vs. Limiting Freedom of Speech
  • The Controversy Surrounding Animal Testing in Scientific Research

Cool Informative Speech Topics

  • Space Exploration: Recent Discoveries and Future Frontiers
  • The History and Evolution of Video Games
  • Unusual Careers: Exploring Unique and Cool Job Opportunities
  • The Art of Mixology: Craft Cocktails and their Origins
  • Innovative Green Technologies: Eco-Friendly Solutions for the Future
  • Futuristic Transportation: Flying Cars and Hyperloop Technology
  • The Science Behind Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
  • Strange and Fascinating Animal Behaviors in the Wild
  • Mysterious Places Around the World: Legends and Realities
  • Extreme Sports: Thrills, Risks, and Culture

Easy Topics for Informative Speech

  • How to Start a Vegetable Garden at Home
  • Basic Tips for Effective Time Management
  • The Importance of Drinking Enough Water Daily
  • Introduction to Recycling and its Impact on the Environment
  • Understanding the Basics of CPR
  • Healthy Eating Habits for a Balanced Lifestyle
  • Tips for Improving Sleep Quality
  • How to Write a Resume for a Job Application
  • Essential First Aid Techniques Everyone Should Know
  • The History and Meaning of Common Proverbs

Informative Speech Ideas on Family

  • Effective Communication within Families: Building Stronger Bonds
  • Balancing Work and Family Life: Strategies for Success
  • The Impact of Sibling Relationships on Personal Development
  • Parenting Styles: Authoritarian, Permissive, and Authoritative
  • Navigating Challenges in Blended Families
  • The Importance of Family Traditions and Rituals
  • Coping with Family Stress: Tips for a Healthy Household
  • Understanding Birth Order and Its Influence on Personality
  • Elderly Care: Balancing Independence and Support
  • The Significance of Family Dinners: Benefits and Tips

Informative Speech Themes on Justice and Law

  • Criminal Justice Reform: Challenges and Opportunities
  • The Role of Forensic Science in Solving Crimes
  • Cybersecurity Laws and Online Privacy
  • Juvenile Justice System: Issues and Reform
  • The Impact of Mandatory Minimum Sentences
  • Human Rights: Global Perspectives and Challenges
  • The Evolution of Intellectual Property Laws
  • Drug Legalization: Pros and Cons
  • Community Policing and Building Trust in Law Enforcement
  • Civil Liberties in the Digital Age: Balancing Security and Freedom

Ecology Informative Speech Topics

type of informative speech of helping the community

  • Biodiversity Conservation: Importance and Challenges
  • Deforestation and Its Impact on Ecosystems
  • The Role of Wetlands in Environmental Conservation
  • Renewable Energy Sources: A Path to Sustainable Living
  • Pollinator Decline: Threats to Bees and Other Vital Species
  • Ocean Acidification: Causes and Consequences
  • Urban Ecology: Balancing City Life with Environmental Sustainability
  • Conservation of Endangered Species: Success Stories and Ongoing Efforts
  • Climate Change and its Effects on Global Ecosystems
  • Green Architecture: Building for Environmental Sustainability

Adoption Informative Speech Topics

  • The Adoption Process: From Application to Placement
  • Open Adoption vs. Closed Adoption: Understanding the Differences
  • International Adoption: Challenges and Considerations
  • Single Parent Adoption: Navigating the Journey Alone
  • Adoption and Identity: Exploring the Impact on Adoptees
  • Transracial Adoption: Embracing Diversity in Families
  • Foster Care Adoption: Supporting Children in Need
  • Post-Adoption Services: Resources for Adoptive Families
  • Legal and Ethical Issues in Adoption
  • Adoption Stories: Personal Experiences and Lessons Learned

Speech Topics Ideas on Society

type of informative speech of helping the community

  • The Impact of Social Media on Face-to-Face Communication
  • Building Inclusive Communities: Embracing Diversity
  • The Role of Education in Shaping Society's Values
  • Community Service: Making a Difference Locally and Globally
  • Addressing Mental Health Stigma in Society
  • Social Entrepreneurship: Business for Positive Change
  • Youth Activism and Social Change
  • The Influence of Pop Culture on Social Norms
  • Challenges and Solutions in Affordable Housing
  • Promoting Civic Engagement: Importance of Voting and Participation

Media Informative Speech Topics

type of informative speech of helping the community

  • Media Literacy: Navigating Information in the Digital Age
  • The Impact of Social Media on Society and Relationships
  • Fake News: Recognizing and Combating Misinformation
  • Evolution of Journalism in the Age of Technology
  • The Role of Media in Shaping Public Opinion
  • The Influence of Advertising on Consumer Behavior
  • Digital Storytelling: Engaging Audiences in the Online Era
  • Media Bias: Recognizing and Addressing Editorial Perspectives
  • Podcasting: The Rise of On-Demand Audio Content
  • Media Ethics: Balancing Freedom of Speech and Responsibility

Presentation Technique Speech Topics

  • Effective Use of Visual Aids in Presentations
  • Mastering Body Language for Confident Communication
  • Engaging Your Audience: Tips for Captivating Presentations
  • Crafting and Delivering Memorable Opening Lines
  • Utilizing Technology in Presentations: Dos and Don'ts
  • Managing Nervousness and Overcoming Presentation Anxiety
  • The Art of Persuasion: Techniques for Influential Presentations
  • Interactive Presentations: Involving Your Audience Effectively
  • Balancing Verbal and Nonverbal Communication in Presentations
  • Effective Slide Design: Creating Impactful Visuals for Your Presentation
  • Preparing an Effective Presentation with Decktopus

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Frequently Asked Questions

1) what are 4 examples of informative speech, 2) what are the most popular types of informative speeches.

  • Definition Speeches
  • Explanatory Speeches
  • Demonstrative Speeches
  • Comparative Speeches
  • Descriptive Speeches
  • Persuasive Informative Speeches

3) What is a good informative speech outline?

1) Introduction

A. Main Point 1

B. Main Point 2

C. Main Point 3

3) Conclusion

4) What is an easy topic for an informative speech?

"Benefits of Regular Exercise" is an easy and engaging topic for an informative speech.

type of informative speech of helping the community

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Module 2: Informative Speech

Developing informative speeches.

The first sections of this chapter explained the importance of informative speaking, the functions of informative speeches, the role of the informative speaker, and the four major types of informative speeches. This final section of the chapter discusses three goals in developing informative speeches and advice for increasing the effectiveness of your speech. These three goals include 1) arousing the interest of your audience, 2) presenting information in a way that can be understood, and 3) helping the audience remember what you have said (Fujishin, 2000).

Generate and Maintain Interest

Use attention-getting elements.

Before you capture the interest of an audience, you have to get their attention. As you know, attention getters are used in the introduction of a speech, but attention getters can also be used throughout your speech to maintain an audience’s attention. There are a number of techniques you can use that will naturally draw listeners’ attention (German, et al., 2010).

A hammerhead shark

Novelty involves those things that are new or unusual. Discussing the recent invention of the flesh-eating mushroom death suit developed by Jae Rhim Lee would be novel. This suit is designed to help bodies decompose naturally above ground to avoid the use of dangerous embalming chemicals.

Piles of different hot peppers

Audiences will also attend to movement or Activity . To employ this technique, the speaker can either use action words, well-chosen movements, an increased rate of speech, or s/he can show action with video. A speech describing or showing extreme sports with high levels of risk, a fast pace, or amazing stunts could be used to illustrate activity.

A man laughing

Tell a Story

Story telling is not only the basis for most of our entertainment; it is also one of the best ways to teach an audience (Carlson, 2005). Also known as narratives, stories typically have a beginning in which the characters and setting are introduced, a rise in action, some complication or problem, and a resolution. Stories with compelling characters can be used in a creative way to weave facts otherwise dry and technical facts together (Walters, 1995), as in a speech about preparing a space shuttle for take-off from a mouse’s perspective. Jaffe (1998) differentiates between three types of narratives that can be used in informative speeches. The first type of story is a natural reality in which natural or scientific facts are brought together in chronological accounts, as in the formation of the Grand Canyon. The second narrative involves social realities which detail historic events, and the development of cultures and institutions. The last kind of story, the ultimate reality, is focused on profound philosophical and spiritual questions like “Where do we come from?” and “What happens to us when we die?”

Nursery rhymes and song lyrics familiar to the audience can also be used in an interactive way to get listeners interested in the topic (Maxey & O’Connor, 2006). In a speech about the global population explosion, you could ask audience to finish the phrase “There was an old woman who lived in a shoe…” Common commercials, lyrics to Beatles songs, holiday songs, and children’s games are universal.

The wisest mind has something yet to learn. – George Santayna

A rock band playing a concert

Just for fun, can you name the artist who sang the lyrics below? Can you think of a speech topic that would correspond to the lyrics? (Answer at the end of the chapter)

Be Creative

Speakers who are different are memorable (Maxey & O’Connor, 2006). To give your speech impact, be imaginative and dare to push the envelope of conformity. When you have spent time researching a topic, you may be able to envision ways to incorporate surprising facts, props or visuals that make your presentation different from others, and therefore more memorable. You could dress like a Shakespearian actor for a speech about the famous playwright. You could have the audience move their chairs and take part in a yoga demonstration. Or you might use your own audience plants to help with a speech entitled “Behind the Scenes of TV Talk Shows.” When one student got up to speak, he drew a row of houses on the blackboard and then began to drink a glass of water and speak about the life giving properties of water. After making a few comments, he threw the glass of water on the blackboard—erasing most of the houses. Then he began his speech on the devastating effects of a flood (be sure to get your professor’s permission before you do something like this!). Another student giving a speech about “Clowning” had two actual clowns wait in the hall until she was ready to bring them in and show off their make-up and costumes. The speaker was wise to have her cohorts in the room just long enough to make the point (but not the entire time which would distract from the speaker), and the audience was attentive and grateful for the variety. Hanks and Parry (1991) explain that anyone can be creative, if s/he wants to be and is willing to make the effort. For some tips on how to foster your creativity, see Table 16.2. However, you need to remember that creativity is just a tool to help you teach your audience. Do not overlook the requirements of the occasion, the content of your research, or the needs of your audience in your zeal to be creative.

Table 16.2 Tips for Jump Starting Your Creativity From Everyday Creativity by Carlin Flora (2009)

  • Take a different way to work
  • Collaborate with others with complementary skills
  • Seek inspiration in beautiful surroundings
  • Start working on the problem right away
  • Work in a blue room (it boosts creativity)
  • Get a hobby or play music
  • Think about your problem right before falling asleep
The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.  – Sylvia Plath

Stimulate Audience Intellect

Most people have a genuine desire to understand the world around them, to seek out the truth, and learn how to solve problems. The role of the informative speaker is to satisfy this desire to learn and know. To illustrate our quest for knowledge, consider the success of the Discovery Channel, the Learning Channel, the History Channel, the Food Network and other educational broadcasts. So how do we appeal to the minds of listeners? Think about all of the information we encounter every day but do not have time to pursue. Think about subjects that you would like to know more about. Ask what information would be universally interesting and useful for listeners. Many people fly on airplanes, but do they know how to survive a plane crash? People also share many ordinary illnesses, so what are some common home remedies? All of the people on earth originated someplace, so who were our ancient ancestors?

In addition to finding topics that relate to listeners, the information we supply should be up to date. For instance, Egypt recently had a revolution, and if you are giving a speech on traveling to the Pyramids, you should be aware of this. When you are talking about a topic that your audience is familiar with, you should share little known facts or paint the subject in a new light. In a speech about a famous person, you might depict what they are like behind the scenes, or what they were like growing up. In a speech about a new technology, you might also talk about the inventors. In a speech about a famous city, you could discuss the more infamous landmarks and attractions.

Create Coherence

Organize logically.

Neon lights that say Past Present Future

When planning your speech, ask questions like: What information needs to come first? What organizational pattern best suits the topic? What information must be shared or omitted to aid in audience understanding? What points or sub-points should be grouped together to aid listeners’ understanding?

Use Simple Language

A woman speaking into a microphone

Instead of “protracted,” say “drawn out.” Instead of “conundrum,” say “puzzle.” And instead of “loquacious,” say “talkative.” As you are writing your speech you also want to avoid technical jargon, slang, clichés, and euphemisms. This type of language is difficult to understand and tends to be low impact. Compare the Low Impact language column with the High Impact column in Table 16.3 above to see examples of ways to make your language more powerful.

Avoid Information Overload

No one is given an unlimited amount of time to speak. You can’t cover everything that there is to know about your topic. And even if you could speak forever about everything there was to know about a subject, your listeners would never be able to take it all in. Information overload occurs when a person feels that they are faced with an overwhelming amount of information, with the effect that they are unable to process it all or unable to make decision. So whether you have five minutes to give a presentation or three eight-hour days, you will need to narrow and focus your speech topic and objectives. If you know that you have ten minutes to speak, you will not be able to cover “Car Maintenance for Dummies,” but you probably could give a good speech entitled “How to Change the Oil in Your Car.” When planning your speech, be sure to determine the amount of information that can reasonably be covered in the time allowed. In fact, rather than taking the entire allotted speaking time, you should get into the practice of speaking only for 90—95% of the time that you are given (Reynolds, 2008). More is not always better—and your audience will appreciate it if you can skillfully make your point with time to spare.

Today knowledge has power. It controls access to opportunity and advancement. – Peter Drucker

Make Your Speech Memorable

Build in repetition.

The word freedom etched in stone four times.

The final way to use repetition in your speech is through nonverbal communication. When you say the word “four” and you hold up four fingers, or when you verbally agree with a point and nod your head at the same time, you are reinforcing the idea verbally and nonverbally.

Appeal to Different Ways of Learning

Individuals have different learning styles, so some people are visual [V] learners, some are aural [A] learners, some learn by reading [R] and writing, and some learn kinesthetically [K] (Fleming, 2001). You can test your own learning style at www.varklearn.com. Understanding your own and others’ learning styles is useful for two reasons. First, you will find that you tend to teach others using your own learning style. Second, regardless of your own learning styles, you need to appeal to as many different learning styles as possible in your informative speech. To see how each learning style prefers to be taught, see the table below.

Unfortunately, since the ear alone is a very poor information gathering device, steps must be taken to improve retention. Typically listeners only retain only a small fraction of what is explained to them verbally. The first way to enhance retention is to appeal to as many of the senses as possible. Studies show that audiences retain 20 percent of what they hear, 30 percent of what they see, and 50 percent of what they hear and see (Westerfield, 2002). When the audience has an opportunity to do something (adding the kinesthetic sense), their retention increases to 80 percent (Walters, 1995). Or, if participation is not possible, a handout will raise retention to an impressive 85 percent—if the audience can review the handout at least once (Slutsky & Aun, 1997).

Another way to help your listeners remember is by the use of techniques like association , linking the new topic to things that the audience knows about or already understands. If you were giving a speech about rugby, you might compare it to soccer and football to help the audience understand the rules. The use of acronyms also aids retention. On the “ Krusty Krab Training Video ” episode of Spongebob Squarepants (a spoof on corporate training videos), they use the acronym “POOP.” When I asked my then eight-year-old son if he remembered (several weeks after watching the episode) what “POOP” stood for, he immediately and correctly answered “People Order Our Patties.” The final technique to help audiences remember information is the simplicity criterion . Information is best retained when it is explained from top to bottom (rather than bottom to top), when events are presented from first to last (rather than last to first), and when information is presented in the positive voice (rather than in the negative voice) (Devito, 1981).

Use Visuals

One man wears a sensor glove while another man points at the glove and speaks into a microphone. Behind them is a large powerpoint slide showing schematics for the sensor glove.

Perhaps the best reason to use visuals aids during an informative speech is to help your audience understand a concept that may be difficult to understand just by explaining it. In a speech about heart bypass surgery, would it be better to verbally describe the parts of the human heart, or to show a picture of it? How about a model of the heart? How about an actual human heart? Be sure to consider your audience! What if your speech is about an abstract concept that does not lend itself well to slick graphic representations? One way trainers get their audiences involved and make their presentations memorable is to provide handouts which the listeners complete (in part) themselves. You could use fill-in-the blank statements (where you provide the answer), open-ended questions where listeners can write their thoughts, and activities like matching or crossword puzzles. Regardless of the type of visual media you select for your speech, just make sure that it does not overpower you or the subject. Work to keep the audience’s attention on you and what you are saying, and use the visual to complement what you have to say.

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COMMENTS

  1. Informative Speeches

    The most common types of informative speeches are definition, explanation, description, and demonstration. Types of informative speeches A definition speech explains a concept, theory, or philosophy about which the audience knows little. The purpose of the speech is to inform the audience so they understand the main aspects of the subject matter.

  2. 11.1 Informative Speeches

    11.1 Informative Speeches Learning Objectives Identify common topic categories for informative speeches. Identify strategies for researching and supporting informative speeches. Explain the different methods of informing.

  3. 14.2: Types of Informative Speeches

    Type 5: Categories or divisions. Sometimes an informative speech topic doesn't lend itself to a specific type of approach, and in those cases the topics tend to fall into a "general" category of informative speeches. For example, if a student wanted to give an informative speech on the four "C's" of diamonds (cut, carat, color, and ...

  4. Types of Informative Speeches

    Type 1: History. A common approach to selecting an informative speech topic is to discuss the history or development of something. With so much of human knowledge available via the Internet, finding information about the origins and evolution of almost anything is much easier than it has ever been (with the disclaimer that there are quite a few ...

  5. Types of Informative Speeches

    Types of Informative Speeches | Oral Communication Types of Informative Speeches In the last section we examined how informative speakers need to be objective, credible, knowledgeable, and how they need to make the topic relevant to their audience. This section discusses the four primary types of informative speeches.

  6. 16.2 Types of Informative Speeches

    Ethnocentrism is the idea that one's own culture is superior to others. Ethnocentrism strongly contributes to positive group identity. Ethnocentrism facilitates the coordination of social activity. Ethnocentrism contributes to a sense of safety within a group. Ethnocentrism becomes harmful when it creates barriers.

  7. 4.1: Informative Speaking

    Types of Informative Speeches. Understanding types of informative speech that you will give can help you to figure out the best way to organize, research, and prepare. While the topics to choose for informative speeches are nearly limitless, they can generally be pared down into four broad types: description, definition, explanation, or ...

  8. 15.2: Types of Informative Speeches

    Type 6: Categories or Divisions. Sometimes an informative speech topic doesn't lend itself to a specific type of approach, and in those cases, the topics tend to fall into a "general" category of informative speeches. For example, if a student wanted to give an informative speech on the four "C's" of diamonds (cut, carat, color, and ...

  9. 13.2 Types of Informative Speeches

    Type 1: History. A common approach to selecting an informative speech topic is to discuss the history or development of something. With so much of human knowledge available via the Internet, finding information about the origins and evolution of almost anything is much easier than it has ever been (with the disclaimer that there are quite a few ...

  10. 10.4: Types of Informative Speeches

    In the last section we examined how informative speakers need to be objective, credible, knowledgeable, and how they need to make the topic relevant to their audience. This section discusses the four primary types of informative speeches. These include definitional speeches, descriptive speeches, explanatory speeches, and demonstration speeches.

  11. Types of Informative Speeches

    O'Hair, Stewart, and Rubenstein identified six general types of informative speech topics: objects, people, events, concepts, processes, and issues (O'Hair, et al., 2007). Objects: Your speech may include how objects are designed, how they function, and what they mean.

  12. Guide: Planning and Presenting an Informative Speech

    Major Types of Informative Speeches In this guide, we focus on informative speeches about: Objects Processes Events Concepts These categories provide an effective method of organizing and evaluating informative speeches. Although they are not absolute, these categories provide a useful starting point for work on your speech.

  13. Informative Speech

    An example of an informative speech is President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's speech to Congress after the attack on Pearl Harbor. What is Informative Speech? An informative speech is...

  14. 9 Types of Informative Speeches To Educate an Audience

    Indeed Editorial Team Updated November 1, 2022 Giving a speech is a great way to connect with an audience to inform them, persuade them or entertain them. Many people in various industries use informative speeches to help interested people understand important topics.

  15. 15.1: What are Informative Speeches?

    Informative Speaking Defined. Very simply, an informative speech can first be defined as a speech-based entirely and exclusively on facts. Basically, an informative speech conveys knowledge, a task that every person engages in every day in some form or another. Whether giving someone who is lost driving directions, explaining the specials of ...

  16. 15.5: Developing Informative Speeches

    This final section of the chapter discusses three goals in developing informative speeches and advice for increasing the effectiveness of your speech. These three goals include 1) arousing the interest of your audience, 2) presenting information in a way that can be understood, and 3) helping the audience remember what you have said (Fujishin ...

  17. Informative Speech: Ideas, Examples, and How-to-Write Guide

    Step# 8 Create Visual Aids. If appropriate for your speech, consider using visual aids such as slides, charts, or props to enhance your presentation. Visual aids can help clarify complex information, engage the audience, and make your speech more memorable. Keep the visuals simple, uncluttered, and easy to read.

  18. 10+ Informative Speech Examples

    1. Understading Informative Speech 2. Informative Speech Outline Example 3. Informative Speech Examples 4. How To Write An Informative Speech Examples 5. Examples for Different Types of Informative Speech 6. Informative Speech Topics Understading Informative Speech

  19. WHAT IS AN INFORMATIVE SPEECH?

    The goal of such a speech is to take complex subject matter and present information that allows the audience to better understand the topic. The speaker ultimately provides knowledge that is especially useful or interesting. General examples of informative speeches include the following: The impact of the Great Depression on farmers (history)

  20. types of informative speech.docx

    Topic: Helping the Community Types of Informative speech: Speech about events Pattern of Organization: cause and effect pattern Purpose: To inform the audience about the good impact of helping our community Thesis Statement: Helping the community makes someone a good citizen of the country. 2. Topic: Being a Filipino Citizen

  21. Engaging and Insightful Informative Speech Topics Interesting: A

    Informative speeches use study and factual data to educate the audience about a certain subject. These may consist of an original point of view, gripping narrative, or a potent lesson. Informative speeches are not intended to be celebratory toasts or inauguration addresses; rather, their main purpose is to impart knowledge.

  22. Types of Informative Speeches

    Ethnocentrism is the idea that one's own culture is superior to others. Ethnocentrism strongly contributes to positive group identity. Ethnocentrism facilitates the coordination of social activity. Ethnocentrism contributes to a sense of safety within a group. Ethnocentrism becomes harmful when it creates barriers.

  23. Developing Informative Speeches

    This final section of the chapter discusses three goals in developing informative speeches and advice for increasing the effectiveness of your speech. These three goals include 1) arousing the interest of your audience, 2) presenting information in a way that can be understood, and 3) helping the audience remember what you have said (Fujishin ...