Knowing the purpose of your speech will help you decide how to organize the speech, what type of language is most appropriate, and what materials you will need to support your speech.
When your goal is to inform, you are acting as an instructor or a guide for your audience. Your job as the speaker is to relay information to your audience in such a way as it may be useful, clearly understood, and remembered. Use the three part format for an informative speech: Introduction (tell them what you are going to say), Body (say it), Conclusion (tell them what your have said). Here are some other tips for informative speaking:
Start you speech with something that will catch the audience's attention and make them want to listen.
Organize your main points clearly and be definite in your transitions from one point to the next.
Use neutral, non-emotive language. Define or eliminate technical terms your audience may not be familiar with.
Get your facts straight and cite the sources of your facts.
Utilize visual aids wherever they would serve to clarify, add interest or promote retention of your points.
End with a reiteration of your main points and a dramatic statement. Do NOT call for an action.
When you desire an audience to change their mind about a subject, take a course of action, or purchase a product or service, you are speaking to persuade. The two most vital elements of a speech to persuade are: 1) addressing the audience's needs or desires, and 2) preparing a sound argument.
Addressing the audience's needs:
In order to motivate an audience into action there must be a reason for this action, and the reason must fulfill a perceived need. According to Abraham Maslow, human needs can be broken down into five basic categories, the first being the most fundamental and the latter building on the satifaction of previous needs.
1. Physiological - fundamental physical needs such as food, oxygen, water, shelter
Showing people food when they are hungry might motivate them by stimulating their physiological needs.
2. Safety - the need to be free of danger, to feel protected.
Triggering thoughts of danger might motivate an audience to want toprotect themselves.
3. Love/Belonging - the need to feel accepted, part of a group or a connection with others.
A person might be motivated to buy certain clothing or attend an event based on the feeling that it is hip or accepted by a peer group to do so. People will refrain from doing certain things based on the fear that they will be rejected by others.
4. Self Esteem - the need to good about oneself, to feel accomplished and responsible.
Many students are motivated to study for exams based on the perceived need to do well in their classes. This desire to do well is based on the need for self esteem. Accomplishing goals fulfills the need for self esteem.
5. Self Actualization - the lifelong process of understanding the self in relation to the world.
Some people have tried skydiving based on their need to see how they respond to facing their own fears. Also sometimes included in the need for self actualization are the needs for aesthetic pleasure (beauty) and knowledge.
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Copyright Alisa M. Shubb, 1999