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Learn About The Different Types Of Speeches

As famously put forward by Thomas Mann, speech is civilization itself.  The word, even the most contradictory word, preserves contact it is silence which isolates.

Delivering a speech before an organized audience is different from having an informal chat with a group of friends.

Public speaking essentially involves a definite purpose and the purpose is to communicate something to the audience.

Speech is the conduit through which your ideas and thoughts are communicated to those listening to you.

General purposes for giving speeches

You can use your speech for three primary purposes;

To entertain

To inform, and

To persuade

There can be other purposes also for which you can use your speech effectively.

Additionally, you can inspire or motivate people with your speech, you can advocate for something or some idea with your speech. You can also show your gratitude or honor somebody by an appropriate speech.

On the other hand, speeches can be used to criticize or condemn certain acts; whereas speeches can be employed for uniting people and move them in a positive direction.

Speeches are also delivered in ceremonies to commemorate a special day. This kind of speech is referred to as ceremonial speeches.

Thus, depending on the type of occasion you offer the speech, the type and theme of the speech also keep on changing.

Although there are many different types of speeches, the four main categories of speeches are persuasive, informative, demonstrative, and commemorative.

What would be the type of your speech, will be determined by the occasion where you are going to deliver the speech.

Along with the type, the occasion will also determine the length of your speech. What should be the tone of the speech and what to expect from the audience also depends on this factor?

For example, you can maintain a humorous tone throughout a commemorative speech that you are delivering on a wedding ceremony. But it will not serve the purpose of your speech if you do not maintain a formal tone in an industrial presentation.

Four (4) Basic Types of Speeches

Now, let us discuss several types of speeches. There are several types of speeches, but the four basic ones are:

  1. Persuasive Speeches

The main consequence of persuasive speech is; it inflicts some changes in the minds of the people. It helps the audience to make a decision.

In persuasive communication, the speaker is regarded as the sender who tries to influence the values, beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors of the listeners who are regarded as receivers.

For example, a persuasive speech may attempt to persuade the audience to believe something that they do not presently believe. Or it can also persuade the audience to do something that they presently do not.

The success of persuasive speech is determined by the degree to which the speaker was able to make the audience go for the change as put forward by the speaker.

However, persuasive speech intends to inflict changes in the minds of the audience but it involves influence, not control.

Lawyer convincing the jury board or a politician seeking support from the electorate are classic examples of persuasive speech.

2. Informative Speeches

This type of speech is like teaching and explaining a subject or idea. It tries to explain how things work or how to do something.

You also have to convince the audience of the value and usefulness of the information you are sharing with them. The speech is constructed on a body of related facts.

The success of the speaker with regard to this type of speech depends on how well the audience was able to grasp the subject explained by the speaker.

If the audiences understand the subject well they will think about the matter long after the speech is over and remember the basic points of the speech. The classroom lecture of the teacher on any new subject is a typical example of informative speech.

Types of informative speech

An informative speech is of several types, they are categorized into four which are speeches about concepts, speeches about objects, speeches about events, and speeches about processes.

However, the types of informative speech considered as major are definition, demonstration, explanatory, and the descriptive informative speech.

Definition speech: It is also called speeches about objects because it expresses the essential nature of something, especially things that are tangible, hence, recognized by touch, hearing, sight, or touch. 

It explains the philosophy, meaning, and theory of a particular topic, which the audiences don’t really know much about.

Demonstration speech: It’s a kind of informative speech that primarily teaches the audiences how to complete a task.

The speaker demonstrates the series of steps to take to complete a process, which is the basic aim of the speech.

It is also called “how-to speech” because it practically teaches listeners or audiences how to do something.

Explanatory speech: As the name implies, this type of informative speech gives in-depth details and nuanced information on a particular subject. 

The speaker primarily aims at giving a precise explanation, which is based on ‘why’ or ‘how’ an event occurs, instead of giving a description.

Descriptive speech: Are the speeches that focus on narrating a phenomenon, an object or event in such a way that the audience visualizes through portrayed pictures.

This is a spontaneous type of informative speech, which does more than teaching, answering, commanding, or reading.

It’s achieved using a graphical representation, movie, or picture of a place person or thing to create an accurate mental picture in the audience’s mind.

3.  Demonstrative Speeches

Demonstrative speech is a genre of public speaking and clear step-by-step information that teaches the audience how to perform a specific task. The major objective is to inform a specific purpose.

It has many similarities with an informative speech. Like the informative type, the demonstrative speech also tends to teach you about something.

The point of difference lies in the inclusion of practical teaching of how to do that thing. The speech is successful if the audience can do on their own the act what you taught them.

The chefs teaching at the television cooking show is a good example of demonstrative speech. That is to say that the chefs give information on cooking instructions or steps.

Note that you should make an outline of demonstration speech. In this way, you can organize your thoughts in a way that’s quite logical.

How to make a demonstrative speech outline  

The tasks to demonstrate might be easy or difficult, but whichever one it must be done. You need to follow a list of steps to accomplish them.

Here is an outline of a demonstrative speech for any kind of task, be it an easy or a difficult one.

  • Let the audience understand the ‘WHY’ behind it. Start with why as a way to conceptualize the barriers that may hinder listeners – to create and/or inspire the audience to take action.
  •  Provide an overview that briefly explains the whole process.
  • Describe each step, and show it one after the other.
  • You may wish to talk about variations or extras. That is to discuss other options, though elective.
  • Allow time for questions and answers.
  • Give a brief summary.

4. Entertaining speeches

An entertaining speech is a type of speech where the speaker aims at entertaining the audience by providing pleasure or amusement.

Entertaining speakers normally use little stories based on hearsay, rather than hard facts to provide fun and entertainment i.e. something anecdotal.

The purpose is obviously to provide pleasure for the audience, and communicate emotions; therefore they are speeches that involve less fact.

Other types of speech are:

Motivational speech: The target of a motivational speaker provides the audience with confidence, thus, encouraging them to pursue their well-being.

Impromptu Speech: A speech that the speaker delivers without predetermination or initial planning.

Oratorical speech: Can be a funny or discourse story delivered in the style of an orator. On the other hand, it can formal talk meant to call the audience to action.

Debate speech: A formal discussion involving a certain topic. It includes a moderator and an audience, and debate participants, as well as an opposing argument between two parties (one “speaks for” while the other “speaks against”).

Special occasion speech: They are special occasion speeches, epideictic, commemorative, or ceremonial speeches that pay compliment an event, idea, a place, or institution as the case may be.

Forensic speech: The practice of linguistics, phonetics, and acoustics to legal investigations and proceedings is called forensic speech. Simply, it is referred to as the study of public speaking.

Bottom Line

Generally, speech as the ability to express thoughts and feelings by articulate sounds has different purposes. The reason behind your speech determines the type of speech to be rendered.

Read through the post carefully to understand fully the types of speech, what they are, how and when to use them.

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