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Free Printable Informative Speech Outline Templates [PDF, Word] Example
Are you tired of delivering dull and unengaging informative speeches ? Whether you’re a student or a business owner, the ability to make your speeches interesting is a valuable skill. Your audience will be more likely to listen and retain the information you present if they find the speech engaging. So, how can you make your informative speech more interesting?
There are various techniques you can use, such as using humor, incorporating interactive elements, and incorporating real-life examples. In this article, we’ll explore different ways to make your informative speeches more engaging and memorable for your audience.
Table of Contents
What is an Informative Speech?
An informative speech is a type of public speaking that aims to educate and inform the audience about a specific topic or subject. The goal of an informative speech is to provide the audience with knowledge, understanding, and insight into the topic being discussed.
The speaker delivers information in a clear and concise manner, using examples, facts, and other supporting materials to help the audience understand the topic. Unlike persuasive or argumentative speeches, the objective of an informative speech is not to persuade the audience to take a particular action or adopt a certain viewpoint, but simply to provide them with valuable information. Informative speeches can be delivered in a variety of settings, including classrooms, business meetings , and public events, and can be used to inform people about a wide range of topics, from science and technology, to history and culture.
Informative Speech Templates
Deliver impactful and organized presentations with our collection of Informative Speech Outline templates . These templates serve as a roadmap for structuring your speech, ensuring that your content is clear, engaging, and well-organized. Whether you’re delivering a speech in an academic setting, business environment, or any other professional context , our templates provide a framework to effectively convey information to your audience.
With sections for introduction, main points, supporting details, and conclusion, these templates help you organize your thoughts and present your ideas in a logical and compelling manner. Customize the templates to fit your specific topic, add visuals, and enhance the overall flow of your speech. Download our Informative Speech Outline templates and captivate your audience with a well-structured and impactful presentation.
Types of Informative Speeches
There are several types of informative speeches, including:
A definition speech is a type of informative speech in which the speaker defines and explains a specific term or concept. The goal of a definition speech is to provide the audience with a clear and concise understanding of the term or concept being discussed. The speaker may provide a brief history of the term or concept, as well as its origin and evolution over time. The speaker may also use examples, illustrations, and analogies to help the audience understand the meaning of the term or concept.
The key to a successful definition speech is to provide accurate and relevant information in a clear and easy-to-understand manner, so that the audience leaves with a comprehensive understanding of the topic. Definition speeches can be used to educate people about a wide range of subjects, from technical terms in a specific field to commonly misunderstood concepts in society.
A descriptive speech is a type of informative speech in which the speaker provides a detailed description of a person, place, or object. The goal of a descriptive speech is to create a vivid mental image for the audience so that they can imagine the person, place, or object being described. The speaker may use sensory details such as sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell to help the audience understand the subject being described.
The speaker may also use comparisons and contrasts to help the audience understand the unique qualities and characteristics of the person, place, or object. A successful descriptive speech requires the speaker to be imaginative and creative in their descriptions, and to use language that is both descriptive and easy to understand. Descriptive speeches can be used to educate people about a wide range of subjects, from famous historical landmarks to unique cultural experiences.
An explanatory speech is a type of informative speech in which the speaker provides a step-by-step explanation of how to perform a task or process. The goal of an explanatory speech is to provide the audience with the knowledge and understanding they need to successfully perform the task or follow the process being discussed. The speaker may use diagrams, illustrations, and other visual aids to help the audience understand the steps involved.
The speaker may also use examples and anecdotes to help the audience understand the purpose and importance of each step. A successful explanatory speech requires the speaker to be organized and clear in their presentation, and to use language that is easy to follow and understand. Explanatory speeches can be used to educate people about a wide range of subjects, from technical processes in a specific field to everyday tasks such as cooking or home maintenance.
A process speech is a type of informative speech in which the speaker outlines the steps or stages involved in a process or event. The goal of a process speech is to provide the audience with a clear understanding of the sequence of events that take place in a particular process or event. The speaker may use diagrams, illustrations, and other visual aids to help the audience understand the steps involved.
The speaker may also use examples and anecdotes to help the audience understand the purpose and importance of each step. A successful process speech requires the speaker to be organized and clear in their presentation, and to use language that is easy to follow and understand. Process speeches can be used to educate people about a wide range of subjects, from complex industrial processes to everyday events such as baking a cake or preparing for a trip.
A demonstration speech is a type of informative speech in which the speaker physically demonstrates how to perform a task or process. The goal of a demonstration speech is to provide the audience with a clear and hands-on understanding of how to perform the task or process being discussed. The speaker may use visual aids, props, and actual products to help the audience understand the steps involved.
The speaker may also use examples and anecdotes to help the audience understand the purpose and importance of each step. A successful demonstration speech requires the speaker to be confident and engaging in their presentation, and to use language that is easy to follow and understand. Demonstration speeches can be used to educate people about a wide range of subjects, from technical procedures in a specific field to everyday tasks such as cooking or home maintenance.
An object speech is a type of informative speech in which the speaker provides information about a specific object or item. The goal of an object speech is to provide the audience with a clear understanding of the characteristics, features, and history of the object being discussed. The speaker may use visual aids, props, and actual products to help the audience understand the object being described.
The speaker may also use comparisons and contrasts to help the audience understand the unique qualities and characteristics of the object. A successful object speech requires the speaker to be knowledgeable and descriptive in their presentation, and to use language that is easy to follow and understand. Object speeches can be used to educate people about a wide range of subjects, from famous works of art to unique technological devices.
Compare and contrast speech
A compare and contrast speech is a type of informative speech in which the speaker discusses the similarities and differences between two or more subjects. The goal of a compare and contrast speech is to provide the audience with a clear understanding of the similarities and differences between the subjects being discussed. The speaker may use visual aids, examples, and anecdotes to help the audience understand the similarities and differences being discussed. The speaker may also use comparisons and contrasts to help the audience understand the unique qualities and characteristics of each subject. A successful compare and contrast speech requires the speaker to be organized and clear in their presentation, and to use language that is easy to follow and understand. Compare and contrast speeches can be used to educate people about a wide range of subjects, from different historical events to different types of products or services.
Cause and effect speech
A cause and effect speech is a type of informative speech in which the speaker discusses the relationship between two events or conditions, where one event or condition is the result of the other. The goal of a cause and effect speech is to provide the audience with a clear understanding of the reasons behind an event or condition, and the consequences that result from it. The speaker may use examples, statistics, and anecdotes to help the audience understand the cause and effect relationship being discussed.
The speaker may also use cause and effect diagrams, illustrations, or other visual aids to help the audience understand the relationship between the events or conditions being discussed. A successful cause and effect speech requires the speaker to be organized and clear in their presentation, and to use language that is easy to follow and understand. Cause and effect speeches can be used to educate people about a wide range of subjects, from social and political issues to natural disasters and medical conditions.
A historical speech is a type of informative speech in which the speaker discusses a particular event, person, or era in history. The goal of a historical speech is to provide the audience with a clear understanding of the subject being discussed, including its background, context, and significance. The speaker may use visual aids, props, and primary sources to help the audience understand the historical context of the event, person, or era being discussed. The speaker may also use anecdotes and storytelling techniques to help the audience understand the subject in a more engaging and memorable way.
A successful historical speech requires the speaker to be knowledgeable and passionate about their subject, and to use language that is easy to follow and understand. Historical speeches can be used to educate people about a wide range of subjects, from famous historical figures to important events in world history.
Checklist for Your Informative Speech
Here is a checklist that you can use when preparing and delivering an informative speech:
Choose a relevant and interesting topic: Make sure your topic is relevant and interesting to your audience, and that you have enough information to provide a comprehensive overview of the subject.
Research the topic: Gather as much information as possible about your topic, and use credible sources to ensure the accuracy of your information.
Organize your speech: Decide on the best way to present your information, and organize your speech into clear and concise sections.
Develop an introduction: Start your speech with an attention-grabbing introduction that will engage your audience and provide context for your topic.
Use visual aids: Consider using visual aids, such as slides, props, or videos, to help illustrate your points and make your speech more engaging.
Use clear and concise language: Make sure your language is clear, concise, and easy to understand, and use examples and anecdotes to help illustrate your points.
Rehearse your speech: Practice your speech several times, and consider recording yourself so you can get an idea of how it will sound when you deliver it.
Timing: Make sure you have enough time to cover all of the important points in your speech, but also be mindful of your audience’s attention span and keep your speech within a reasonable length.
Engage with your audience: Make eye contact, use gestures, and engage with your audience to help keep their attention and interest.
Practice good posture and delivery: Stand up straight, use confident body language, and project your voice so that everyone in the audience can hear you.
How to Write an Informative Speech?
Writing an informative speech can be a challenging task, but with the right preparation and strategy, it can also be a rewarding experience. Here are the steps you should follow to write an informative speech:
Choose a topic: Start by choosing a topic that is relevant and interesting to your audience. The topic should also be something that you are knowledgeable and passionate about, as this will make it easier for you to convey your information with enthusiasm and energy.
Research the topic: Once you have chosen a topic, it is time to research it thoroughly. Make sure you use credible sources to gather information, and take notes on the key points you want to cover in your speech.
Organize your information: Now that you have gathered all of your information, it’s time to organize it in a way that makes sense to your audience. Consider dividing your speech into clear and concise sections, and use headings or subheadings to help guide the audience through your information.
Write an introduction: Start your speech with an attention-grabbing introduction that will grab your audience’s attention and provide context for your topic. This could include a personal story, a surprising statistic, or a thought-provoking question.
Develop the body of your speech: Use the information you have gathered to develop the body of your speech, making sure to include clear and concise explanations of each key point you want to make. Consider using examples, anecdotes, and visual aids to help illustrate your points and make your speech more engaging.
Write a conclusion: End your speech with a powerful conclusion that summarizes your key points and leaves a lasting impression on your audience. This could include a call to action, a personal reflection, or a thought-provoking question.
Edit and revise: Once you have written your speech, take the time to review it and make any necessary changes. This could include correcting any errors, refining your language, and adding any additional information that you think would be beneficial to your audience.
Rehearse your speech: Once you have completed your final draft, it’s time to rehearse your speech. Practice speaking it out loud, paying close attention to your tone, pacing, and body language. Consider recording yourself so you can get an idea of how it will sound when you deliver it.
Delivery: Finally, it’s time to deliver your speech. Remember to make eye contact with your audience, use gestures to help illustrate your points, and project your voice so that everyone can hear you.
Here are a few examples of informative speech topics:
- The history of chocolate
- The benefits of meditation
- How to start a small business
- The science of climate change
- Understanding the human brain
- The benefits of a plant-based diet
- The history of the internet
- The dangers of plastic pollution
- Understanding renewable energy sources
- The benefits of practicing gratitude.
What is an informative speech outline?
An informative speech outline is a plan or framework for constructing and delivering a speech that aims to inform or educate the audience on a specific topic. It typically includes an introduction, main points, and a conclusion, and helps the speaker organize their content in a coherent and logical manner.
Why is an informative speech outline important?
An informative speech outline is crucial because it helps to organize ideas, ensures a coherent structure for the speech, aids in remembering key points, and contributes to effective delivery. It also helps to manage the timing of the speech and ensures all important points are covered.
What should be included in the introduction of an informative speech outline?
The introduction should include an attention-grabber, a statement on the importance of the topic, your credibility, a thesis statement , and a preview of the main points you will be covering in your speech.
How do you conclude an informative speech outline?
In the conclusion of your outline, restate the thesis statement, summarize the main points, and provide a closing statement that leaves a lasting impression or calls the audience to further think about the topic.
How detailed should an informative speech outline be?
The level of detail in your outline may depend on your familiarity with the topic and the complexity of the material. However, it should be detailed enough to help you remember your key points and maintain a logical flow, without reading it word-for-word during your speech.
Can I use visual aids in my informative speech?
Yes, visual aids can be very effective in enhancing understanding and retention of the information presented. Incorporate them in your outline at the relevant points to ensure a seamless integration into your speech.
How do I cite sources in an informative speech outline?
Sources should be cited in your outline to give credit to the original authors and enhance your credibility. You can use a standard citation format like APA, MLA, or Chicago, and include a reference list at the end of your outline. During your speech, verbally acknowledge the sources of your information.
How do you write an informative speech outline?
- Start by researching and understanding your topic thoroughly.
- Decide on a specific purpose and thesis statement for your speech.
- List the main points you want to cover in the body of your speech.
- Draft an engaging introduction to grab the audience’s attention.
- Write a conclusion to summarize the main points and restate the thesis.
- Use bullet points and sub-points to organize ideas under each main point.
- Practice delivering your speech using the outline to ensure a smooth flow and adherence to time constraints.
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Informative Speech Outline
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Step 1: Select and Research Various Data About Your Topic
Step 2: create a topic to tackle, step 3: list out multiple subtopics, step 4: repeat steps 2 to 3 until satisfied, more design, how do you write a speech outline examples, apa outline examples, how to create a keynote speech examples, leadership outline examples, 9+ youth speech examples, 9+ commercial speech examples, 7+ special occasion speech examples, 7+ thank-you speech examples, commemorative speech examples, 6+ orientation speech examples, 5+ introduction speech examples, 4+ presentation speech examples.
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Informative Speech Outline
Informative Speech Outline - Format & Writing Tips
Published on: Jan 9, 2019
Last updated on: Oct 17, 2023
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The informative speech is intended to inform the audience about a particular topic. It needs to be well-formatted and properly structured. The informative speaker provides detailed knowledge about the particular topic and lets the audience understand the facts.
The general purpose of an informative speech is to educate people about any subject. It can be about anything or any subject. There are different types of informative speeches , but the specific purpose is the same for all types.
In this guide, you will learn how to write an effective speech outline. And, you’ll get some amazing informative speech outline examples that will inspire you to write a good speech.
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The outline for an informative speech is just like an informative essay outline. There are two different ways to outline your speech: one is the complete sentence format, and the other one is the key points format.
In the complete sentence outline, you can write full sentences that help you check the organization and content of the speech. While in the key points format outline, you just note down the key points that help you remind what you should include in your speech.
All types of speeches follow these two types of outlines. You can choose any outline format according to your ease.
Outline Your Way to Writing Excellence!
How to Write an Informative Speech Outline -
Writing a good speech is not a difficult task; all you have to do is research and collect credible information. The informative speech should provide complete knowledge on a particular topic.
The purpose of creating an outline before delivering an informative speech is to organize and structure information so that it's presented in a logical manner. This will also ensure you don't stray off-topic or exclude unnecessary details when giving your speech.
You can make a perfect informative outline by following the basic tips and techniques.
The first thing that you need for a speech is a topic. Choose unique and novel informative speech topics that can turn into a good speech. Do not choose a common topic that the audience is already familiar with. Instead, pick a fresh topic that the audience has very little knowledge about it.
For Example, you could talk about the history of yoga or how to do a particular form. The more specific you get with your speech topic, the easier and better targeted the audience.
As you are going to deliver a speech, you need to have a complete grip on the topic of your speech. And for that, you need to do thorough research and collect some credible information necessary for the audience to understand the subject of the speech.
Now that you have the required information to make a good speech. The organizational structure helps you maintain the logical flow of your speech. The basic structure of a speech consists of three essential elements.
The introduction is the an essential element of a speech that is intended to grab the audience’s attention. Here are the things that you should include in your introduction:
- Start with an attention-getter hook statement.
- Provide basic information about the subject of the speech to let the audience know what you are going to talk about.
- Present a solid thesis statement that gives the audience a reason to listen to you.
- What makes you a credible person to talk about the given topic? Explain your credibility in presenting the topic.
- Overview of the main points of your speech.
The body section allows you to provide details of the particular topic of your speech. Here are the essential elements that you should include in the body section:
- Discuss the first main points of your speech.
- Provide examples that help your audience understand the subject and the facts that you have provided.
- Smoothly transition to the next main point of your speech.
The conclusion held the same importance as the introduction part. The following elements make a strong conclusion:
- Restate the thesis statement and remind your audience what your speech was about
- Summarize the main points
- Develop a creative closure that gives the speech a sense of ending.
Follow these basic steps and write a compelling speech that gives complete knowledge about the topic. Here is a sample outline example that will help you better understand how to craft an informative speech outline.
Informative Speech Outline Format
Sample Informative Speech Outline
Writing a speech might seem a difficult task but if you have sample examples, you can take help from them. Check out the following informative speech examples and get the inspiration for writing a solid informative speech.
Informative Speech Outline Example
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Informative Speech Outline
Last updated on: Jun 21, 2023
Learn How to Create an Informative Speech Outline
By: Cathy A.
Reviewed By: Rylee W.
Published on: May 26, 2020
Giving a speech can be really nerve-wracking, especially if you're not sure where to start.
Most people try to wing it, and that's why they bomb. They get up in front of an audience and have no idea what to say next. This is why an outline is necessary.
We've got your back with our informative speech outline. Here you will learn how to outline your speech in the easiest way.
So get ready to learn so that you can deliver a powerful, memorable speech that leaves your audience wanting more.
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What is an Informative Speech?
An informative speech is a powerful way of sharing knowledge with your audience. It needs to be well-formatted and properly structured.
This type of speech allows you to inform the audience and share detailed information about a topic.
Moreover, the general purpose of an informative speech is to educate the audience about any subject. Also, there are different types of informative speeches, but the purpose is the same for all types.
However, to write a good informative speech, you should create an outline first.
Unfortunately, many people are intimidated by the idea of outlining because they don't know how to do it or what type of outline should be used.
So, continue reading to learn how to make a perfect informative speech outline.
An informative speech outline helps to organize your ideas and thoughts before you start writing. It allows you to see the flow of your speech and that all main points are cohesive with each other.
An effective speaker should always create an outline for an informative speech. Without a perfect outline, you will never write a great speech.
A clear and concise outline helps a speaker develop their thoughts on a topic. It also creates a structure to help them keep track of all the points they want to make.
There are two ways to outline your speech, and each has its own purpose and advantages:
- Complete Sentence Format: In this type, the speaker writes full sentences that help you check the content of the speech.
2. Key Point Format: Note down the main points that help you remember what you should include in your speech.
Therefore, you have the chance to choose whichever outline format suits your needs best. Once your outline is complete, you'll have an idea of how the speech will go.
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How to Write an Informative Speech Outline?
An outline is a great way to organize your ideas before you start writing. A great informative speech starts with the perfect outline. It's not as difficult as you may think if you follow some steps.
“How do you create an outline for an informative speech?”
Below are the steps that will help you in creating a well-written outline without any problem.
1. Choose a Topic that Interests You
Speech topics are usually assigned, but if you have to pick on your own, create a list of topics that interest you. Select one topic from the plethora of ideas about which there is still so much to learn and explore.
Also, think of unique and interesting informative speech topics for the audience.
Since it is a descriptive speech, the topic should give you the space to provide information to the audience.
2. Gather Information
After choosing the topic, start the research phase and gather relevant information. The information should be so that it helps to satisfy your specific purpose of delivering the speech.
Also, make sure that you collect information from credible and trustworthy sources. You can collect data for your speech from:
- Scholarly articles
- Government documents
The more you research, the more easily you write a good informative speech.
3. Create the Outline
Now that you have all the information, start writing the outline. But first, make sure that you follow the proper outline format. Without a proper format, you will miss many important points and end up with a poor outline.
As discussed earlier, an outline has three sections, including an introduction, body, and conclusion.
- The introduction is the first paragraph that discusses the main points of the essay.
- The body provides examples and supporting evidence to prove those arguments.
- Lastly, the conclusion provides a brief summary of the entire essay and restates the thesis statement .
Informative Speech Outline Format
An outline is the backbone of a well-delivered and interesting speech.
“What are the 3 main parts of the informative speech outline?”
Every good outline contains three main parts:
- Grab the audience's attention
- Include the speaker’s opinion or hypothesis
- Present thesis statement
- Outline the main points with real-world examples and supporting facts
- Use transition between main points
- Summarize the main points
- Restate the thesis statement
Here is a template that gives you a better idea of crafting an outline.
Done with understanding what an informative speech outline is? Now let’s move to view some examples of informative speech outlines for free. All the examples below are free and easy to download!
Informative Speech Outline Examples
Writing an outline for a speech might seem like a daunting task. However, if you have examples that professional writers write, you can easily create a good one.
Check the below informative speech outline samples and get an idea of the perfect outline.
Simple Informative Speech Outline Example
Informative Speech Outline NSDA
Informative Speech Outline about Social Media
Informative Speech Outline about Depression
Informative Speech Outline about Covid 19
Global Warming Informative Speech Outline
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Sleep Informative Speech Outline
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Sample Informative Speech Outline
Mental Illness Informative Speech Outline
Tips for Writing the Informative Speech Outline
An informative speech is a type that connects with its audience by educating them about a certain topic. Following are the tips you should follow to impress the audience with your speech.
- Start with a clear and concise thesis statement that states the main topic or purpose of your speech.
- Identify and prioritize the main points or key ideas you want to cover in your speech.
- Organize your main points in a logical order, such as chronological, spatial, or topical sequence.
- Develop subpoints or supporting details for each main point to provide more depth and clarity.
- Consider using a consistent structure, such as the problem-solution, cause-effect, or compare-contrast format, depending on the nature of your topic.
- Use a consistent numbering or lettering system to indicate the hierarchy and relationship between main points and subpoints.
- Ensure that each main point and subpoint contributes to the overall coherence and flow of your speech.
- Incorporate transitions between different sections of your outline to create smooth transitions between ideas.
- Include visual aids, any necessary evidence, statistics, or examples to support your main points and make your speech more credible and persuasive.
- Review and revise your outline to ensure it is well-organized, balanced, and effectively conveys the information you want to present.
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Mistakes To Avoid While Creating Informative Speech Outline
Here are mistakes to avoid while creating an informative speech outline:
- Do not overload your outline with excessive information, as it can overwhelm your audience.
- Steer clear of a disorganized structure that confuses your audience.
- Do not provide shallow information; instead, ensure depth and substance in your main points.
- Avoid neglecting transitions, as it can disrupt the flow of your speech.
- Do not overlook the importance of engaging your audience through visuals, storytelling, and rhetoric.
- Avoid inadequate time management, as it can lead to rushing or exceeding the allocated time.
Wrapping Up! Now, you have a complete guide to writing an informative speech outline. However, if you need professional help in creating a speech that is an attention-getter, consult MyPerfectPaper.net.
Our team of professional writers will help you create an engaging, interesting, and creative speech. Whether it be a demonstration speech, explanatory speech, informative essay, or persuasive speech, our team of experts is ready to help you. All you have to say is ‘ do my paper ’, and writers will take your writing stress away!
So, contact us now and get our essay writer help at affordable rates.
Cathy has been been working as an author on our platform for over five years now. She has a Masters degree in mass communication and is well-versed in the art of writing. Cathy is a professional who takes her work seriously and is widely appreciated by clients for her excellent writing skills.
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COMM 101: Fundamentals of Public Speaking - Valparaiso
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A basic speech outline should include three main sections:
- The Introduction -- This is where you tell them what you're going to tell them.
- The Body -- This is where you tell them.
- The Conclusion -- This is where you tell them what you've told them.
- Speech Outline Formatting Guide The outline for a public speech, according to COMM 101 online textbook The Public Speaking Project , p.p. 8-9.
Use these samples to help prepare your speech outlines and bibliographies:
- Sample Speech Preparation Outline This type of outline is very detailed with all the main points and subpoints written in complete sentences. Your bibliography should be included with this outline.
- Sample Speech Speaking Outline This type of outline is very brief and uses phrases or key words for the main points and subpoints. This outline is used by the speaker during the speech.
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7+ Informative Speech Outline Templates for the Podium – PDF
It has been two weeks since Martin Luther King Jr. day, which is around the date of the Civil Rights Movement’s leader’s birthday. More than 40 years ago, at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, in the fight to end legal racial segregation in the country, Martin Luther King delivered his impassioned “I Have A Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, cementing his place in not only American but also world history. It was given at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, echoing to the corners of the troubled Deep South and resonating across all 50 states. You may also like formal outline templates .
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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 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.
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.
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:
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:
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 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.
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).
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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