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There are essentially three types of speeches public speakers use to influence their audience.

In this lesson, we’ll look at those three types of speeches and how each serves a different purpose.

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Everyone knows what a speech is like. A person stands at the front of the room and begins to speak. Then you sit down for an hour, wondering when the speaker will finish and allow you to get out of the uncomfortable fold-out chair, right?Not necessarily; speeches are used more often than you may be aware. Some speeches may, in fact, last those agonizing 52 minutes; however, some speeches last only moments.

Remember when the dean of your college got up to introduce the speaker? That was a speech, too. I’m sure that one was much more brief. There are three main types of speeches that you likely see on a regular basis. Let’s take a look at each of those speeches now.

Informative Speeches

Imagine sitting in the audience of a large lecture hall listening to your professor talk about the theory of relativity.

It may sound like confusing words to many, but what he is really doing is giving an informational speech. This kind of speech is delivered mostly to convey information to the audience about something they don’t already know. There are a few types of informational speeches:

  • Speeches about objects
  • Speeches about events
  • Speeches about processes
  • Speeches about concepts

When a public speaker talks about things that can inspire your senses, like touch, smell or feel, it is a speech about objects and involves talking about things in the sensory and physical world. Maybe he is talking about the way a spider looks or the way freshly snipped herbs smell. It may even be a speech about your favorite president.

Either way, the speech is written to appeal to the senses.Some speeches are written to inform people of a current or past happening. This is a speech about an event, and it is meant to bring people up to speed on things that have, are or will be going on in the world. Upon taking the presidential oath, a newly elected president will give his Inaugural Address, where he tells the citizens of the United States his plans for his term.

This speech is done to get the nation excited about the prospect of a new president.A cooking demonstration is a good example of a speech about processes because it instructs the audience on how to do something through a process. So, the next time you happen to pass a gourmet store and see a chef showing onlookers how to make homemade pasta, know you are listening to a speech designed to show you how to do something step by step.There are speeches that are a bit more abstract than a current event or even a how-to talk. Some are speeches about concepts, written about theoretical ideas and notions, like world peace, freedom or love. Unlike the other types of informative speeches, this type of speech is intangible.

As with any of the informative speeches, they should be written as topical (or by topic), chronological (or by date) or spatial (or how things physically fit together).A writer may use a topical organization if writing about types of wines. The writer may start with a wine type, then go into region and then grape varieties. Chronological organization would most likely be used when writing about an event, such as events that led up to the Civil Rights Act.

When writing about things to do in Miami Beach, a writer may break down the area to a few important sightseeing locales and then list important places of interest for each. Not all speeches are informative. For instance, persuasive speech writing is a little different.

Persuasive Speech

So, you get roped into attending a How to Get Rich in Real Estate seminar. After a few minutes, you realize that the lecture is less about real estate and more about buying the speaker’s set of CDs and books on tape. Likely, this was a persuasive speech, and it is designed to change a group’s thinking or behavior.

This type of speech is often used in sales and advertising to get people to buy things.A persuasive speech could be an emotional appeal, where the speaker attempts to elicit sensitivity from the group, or it could be a logical appeal, where the speaker wants the audience to rely on their own reasoning to make a decision. A speech about hunger in America may pull at your heartstrings and make you quickly dial a number to send money. That is a purely emotional decision based on the persuasive talk of the speaker.Choosing a good acne cream based on product facts and before and after visuals might muster up some attention because the audience is asked to use logic to decide whether the product works. If the visuals show a clearer face after use, soundness may say the product is good.

Of course, some speeches are not meant to change anything. They are mostly just for fun, and that is when special occasion speeches are used.

Special Occasion Speech

So, you’re the best man at your friend’s wedding. That means you have to arrange the bachelor party, buy a tuxedo and worst of all – give a speech. With a lump in your throat and a shaky hand, you begin talking. What you are doing is giving a special occasion speech, and it is generally done to toast a celebration or commemorate some special event.

This type of speech usually does not require major research, and there is no formal style of execution. It is done as a means of rejoicing at a fun event. The only rule to a special occasion speech is the time limit. Because it is usually done at a party or festive get together, keep it brief, and the audience will most likely refrain from throwing things at you.

Lesson Summary

To wrap it up, there are essentially three types of speeches public speakers use to influence their audience.

The informative speech conveys information, the persuasive speech is a call to action and the special occasion speech is given to commemorate a person or event.The informative speech is the kind of speech delivered mostly to convey information to the audience. The speech can be about objects or people, events in the world, on processes or even about concepts, like music appreciation. With any of the informative speeches, they should be written as topical, chronological or spatial.The persuasive speech is designed to change a group’s thinking or behavior. It is designed to get an emotional or logical response from the audience.

The special occasion speech is the most fun and is done to toast a celebration or commemorate some special event. Keep in mind, this type of speech is given at a fun event and shouldn’t last too long.

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this lesson you should be able to:

  • List the three types of speeches
  • Recall the four types of informative speeches and the three ways to write an informative speech
  • Describe the two types of persuasive speech

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