Organizing Your Informative Speech
Creating a Simple Informative Outline
Organizing, rehearsing, and delivering a standard informative speech may seem like an insurmountable challenge at first, but like most projects, it becomes much simpler once you have broken it down into its component parts. For an informative speech, those component parts are the different sections of the speech itself: the introduction, body, and conclusion.
In your introduction, you will want to immediately grab the attention of your audience and use preview statements and road maps of the material to demonstrate the relevance of your topic. The body is where you express your main points and deliver your evidence. And the conclusion is a summation of the speech as a whole, reinforcing your main points and ending with a strong concluding statement.
In every section of your informative speech outline, use the techniques of definition, description, explanation and demonstration to convey your ideas. Sometimes it is not enough to simply tell your audience about a concept; you will also have to visually show them what you are talking about. Other ways to make the unfamiliar more familiar include using analogies, metaphors, and other figures of speech.
Visual aids and figures of speech are great ways to speak about your informative topic and appeal to audience members with different learning styles. In brief, here are some of the more common types of learning styles for audience members:
- Visual - People who best learns through pictures, charts, and other visual aids prefer this style.
- Aural - This style works best for people who learn more through spoken words.
- Reading/Writing - For some, learning is best facilitated through text and the written word.
- Kinesthetic - This style is for those who best learn through hands-on application and practice of a concept.
Improving Your Informative Speech
Tips for the Classroom
If you are delivering an informative speech for a classroom setting, chances are you will have a time limit for your presentation. This is typically between 3 and 5 minutes long, so you should pick an interesting topic that you would like to describe in moderate detail within that time limit. A simple way to begin your research is to think of a famous person or event that you would like to learn more about. Some examples of this include political figures like Nicolas Sarkozy or Benjamin Franklin, or dates in history like the sinking of the Titanic.
Once you have your subject, it's time to do your research. It is always a good idea to use three or more scholarly sources when researching your informative topic. Make sure that you have a visual aid to help visual learners, such as a PowerPoint or handout, and keep track of all your notes with an outline and bibliography.
An advanced informative speech typically demonstrates all of the following elements:
- Speaker uses accurate and appropriate source material (including oral citations) that work to support his or her main ideas.
- Speaker consistently scans the audience and avoids focusing on notecards.
- Speaker avoids vocal dysfluencies (“um”, “uh”, “like”, etc.)
- Speaker uses natural gestures, posture, and body movement to clarify meaning and establish a relationship with the audience.
- Speech should be structured with an introduction, body, and conclusion
- Introduction should include: strong attention getter, preview or road map, establishment of ethos, and clearly stated thesis.
- Body should include: three main points/arguments, based on scholarly evidence and oral citations.
- Conclusion should include: summary/review of points, tie back to introduction, and memorable concluding remark.
- Speech should be structured utilizing appropriate transitions that clarify speech organization.
- Speaker meets the given time requirement
- Speaker communicates the idea visually using a visual aid that is easy to follow.
Speaking to Your Audience
Reduce Confusion and Increase Understanding
Some of the many benefits of effective public speaking are the abilities to communicate knowledge and to increase the audience's awareness of a topic. A great informative speech should do this by first motivating your listeners to comprehend new information with the preview statement (road map). This statement sets the tone and topic for the rest of the speech, and will determine if your audience decides to pay attention or tune out completely.
When speaking about your informative topic, offer new and interesting information, while making sure that all your research is credible and factual. For a more detailed example of an informative speech outline, click here. One strange aspect of some topics is that information in a speech may be difficult or even counterintuitive. Help reduce confusion in your audience by:
- Using analogies that link familiar with unfamiliar.
- Use several different definition techniques.
- Appeal to different learning styles.
Once you have mastered all these techniques for delivering a great informative speech, your audience will be sure to look forward to the next time you take the podium, knowing that they are going to hear a unique and interesting presentation.