Five Major Types of Speeches and their Purpose

It is the responsibility of every speaker to make their speeches interesting and meaningful to their audience. Find ways to talk about the topic in terms of your listeners. Avoid too many distractions and try to personalize your ideas. No matter what your subject, you can almost always find a way to act it in human  terms.

A speech occurs in different situation and context. The major purpose of delivering a speech informs the manner of presentation. A formal speech, for instance, requires adequate substance and impeccable diction. Speeches meant for special occasions such as weddings, funerals, dedications, audience and the occasion. The speaker’s success will depend on how well he or she puts into language the thoughts and feelings appropriate to the occasion. Speeches are made in various categories.

There are five major types of speeches. These are the informative speech, convincing speech, entertaining speech, persuasive speech, and speeches meant for special occasions.

Five Major Types of Speeches and their Purpose

There are a variety of different types of speeches that can be given in any situation of public speaking, but the five most common types of speeches are informative speech, convincing speech, entertaining speech, persuasive speech, and special occasions speech. Here are the list of five major types of speeches and their purpose:

1. Informative Speech

The informative speech is one of the five major types of speeches and it remains the cornerstone upon which the superstructure of other categories of speeches are built.

It is also referred to as the expository speech. Choosing a topic and specific purpose, analyzing the audience, gathering materials, choosing supporting details, organizing the speech, using words to communicate meaning and delivering the speech must be done effectively if your informative speech is to be a success.

The ultimate goal of a good informative speaker is to make the audience say “I see, I can understand”. They must not be left confused. Therefore, the speaker is expected to be objective, thorough and clear in his presentation.

The purpose of an information speech is to make issues very clear and impart knowledge. Be sure to give your listeners enough help in sorting out facts  and ideas during the speech. One way of   doing this is by previewing the conclusion. Another way is by using effective transitions, internal previews, internal summaries and signposts.

To have an effective information speeches, the following guidelines are indispensable for effective information speeches.

  • Proper presentation of your subject

Let your audience know the perspective in which you are looking at the subject matter. Your point of view may be as a communicator, a scientist or an engineer.

  • Arouse interest in your topic

Speakers have been known to give much the same answer in saving face  after a dismal informative speech. It is the speaker’s responsibility to get listeners interested.

  • Avoid being too technical

An informative speech is said to be too technical when the subject matter is too specialized for the audience. Even when the subject matter is not too technical, the language used to explain it may be. Every discipline has its jargons. An informative speaker should to know what can  be explained to  an ordinary audience and what cannot. You need to make your presentation easy for your listeners to get a mental picture of your message.

  • Avoid Abstractions

A speech is not a literary genre. Many informative speeches would remain memorable through description. Description can be used to communicate external events and internal feelings. A vivid description is able to lend reality to the speech and draw the audience further in.

2. Convincing Speech

Convincing speech is also among the five major types of speeches. The convincing speech seeks to influence the listeners’ judgement concerning a particular subject-matter.

The speech to convince may serve as a preparation for persuasion or it may serve as an end itself. An element of conviction is required to be able to be a good persuasive speaker. You may be persuaded to take a cause of action but may not be convinced. A speaker who aims at altering the opinions and beliefs of his listeners on any subject has conviction as a general purpose.

Conviction is stronger than persuasion. For persuasion to last, the need to achieve conviction is not debatable. For conviction to be effective, a speaker relies solely upon facts, logic and authoritative opinions.

3. Entertaining Speech

Entertaining speeches aim to amuse a crowd of people. Often less formal and shorter than traditional speeches, entertaining speeches communicate emotions rather than giving the audience facts and figures. Rather, they often include humor or funny stories. You can often find entertaining speeches at a birthday party or a wedding. Some examples of entertaining speeches include a best man’s speech at a wedding or a principal’s speech before a school talent show.

4. Persuasive Speech

Persuasive speech or actuation speech is the process of gaining action through emotional appeal. A speech intended to persuade is not to influence attitudes and beliefs but to modify and stimulate actions. When you speak to  persuade, you act as an advocate. Your assignment is to change listeners refute an opponent, to market or to inspire people to action.

A persuasive speaker needs all the skills used in informative speech because he must communicate information clearly and concisely. Of all the aspects of public speaking, persuasion is the most complex and most difficult. The speaker’s objective is more ambitious than in speaking to inform, and audience analysis and adaptation become much more demanding. No matter how expert you are on the topic, no matter how skillfully you prepare the speech, no matter how captivating your delivery. Some listeners will not agree with you. But this does not mean persuasion is impossible.

5. Special Occasion Speech

Special occasion speeches don’t fall into a particular category and don’t follow a set format. Instead, they aim to fit the special occasion, whether it’s a wedding, an award show or a birthday party. Special occasion speeches aim to fit the context of the environment to effectively communicate the message and gain the audience’s attention. While they’re often short and upbeat, they’re still interesting and direct. Unlike a lot of other speeches, special occasion speeches don’t require the use of statistics or data.

Big tips: Most speeches have a beginning, middle, and end. The beginning should have a hook that makes the audience want to learn more, the middle should have information regarding the main topic, and the end should provide some sort of recap of the information and thank the audience for winning and listening.

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