THE SPEECH TO INFORM

Question: How can one easily choose interesting material?

Answer: There is no easy way. Interesting material is found by research and personal experience.

The speech is due: July 24th

Time limits: 4-5 minutes

Speaking notes: 10 word maximum limit.

Sources of information: Two are required, preferably three. For each source give the specific magazine or book it was taken from, title of the article, author’s full name, date of publication, and the chapter or pages telling where the material was found. If a source is a person, identify him completely by title, position, occupation, etc. List these on the outline form.

Outline your speech: Prepare a 75-100 word complete sentence outline. Designate the exact number of words in your outline.

PURPOSE OF THE SPEECH TO INFORM

No one knows how many speeches are given each year. Neither does anyone know exactly what kinds of speeches are presented. We do know, however, that of the millions and millions of talks, many of them are made specifically to inform people – to tell them something they will find beneficial to include in their knowledge. While no one can foretell accurately what kind of speeches you may be called upon to present in the future, it is a safe bet that you will speak many times to inform people. Because so many speeches are informative in nature, you are offered here the opportunity to become acquainted with the informative speech.

EXPLANATION OF THE SPEECH TO INFORM

The speech to inform people provides them a clear understanding of the speaker’s ideas upon a subject. It also arouses interest in the subject because the material which is presented is relevant to the lives of those who hear it. It is incumbent upon the speaker to provide this relevant material with its accompanying interest if he is to inform intelligently. To accomplish the ends of informative speaking, one is obliged to select a subject of interest to himself and his listeners. This can be done by an apt analysis of the audience – in this case your classmates. You, as the speaker, are charged further with the serious responsibility of knowing what you are talking about, knowing more about it, in fact, than anyone in your audience does. For this reason, your talk demands that you study not one but several (no less than two) sources of information. Under no consideration should you be satisfied to glance hurriedly through an article in a popular magazine, jot down a few notes, toss the periodical aside, and rush off to a "coffee drink," content with the world and a "sloppy" job of acquiring knowledge. This kind of preparation does not even begin to prepare you to give an informative discourse.

Occasions for the informative speech are many. They occur on the lecture platform, in the pulpit, in the classroom, at business meeting; in fact wherever you find reports being made, instructions given, or other ideas being presented by means of lectures and discussions. The point to bear in mind is that any time information is disseminated, an occasion for an informative speech arises.

SUGGESTED TOPICS FOR SPEECHES

Marriage customs

Peculiar customs

Jet propulsion

Human organ transplant

Sports (how to play a certain game)

Mining safety

Living in outer space

Swimming

Rescuing a drowning person

Musical instruments

Pollution

How a bill becomes a law

New inventions

Precious stones

History of anything

How to get along with people

The environment

How to make something

Card tricks

Speaker’s choice

HOW TO CHOOSE A TOPIC

Study the above list carefully. Select something that interests you and that is appropriate to the audience you are to address. Be sure that you can find information about the topic you select. Do not put off choosing a topic.

HOW TO PREPARE A SPEECH TO INFORM

To prepare for this speech, or any speech, you must know and follow certain fundamentals of preparation. These consist of the following steps: (1) choose your subject; (2) analyze the occasion; (3) diagnose the audience; (4) gather your material; (5) organize and support your main points with evidence; (6) word your speech by writing it out in full, in part, or by rehearsing it from an outline; (7) practice aloud.

If you wish to organize your thoughts logically, you should decide early what objective you hope to attain and what reaction you want from this particular audience. Next, if you wish, you may divide your discourse into three conventional parts: an introduction, the body, and the conclusion. To be more effective, some speakers break down their talks by using various combinations of the following steps: (1) gain attention; (2) make your audience want to hear your ideas; (3) present your ideas; (4) tell why this material important to your listeners and how it affects them; (5) ask your audience to study the topic further or to take some action on it. The time required for any one division of a speech varies greatly; however, more time is given to the presentation of ideas than any other division of the speech.

The wording of your talk may be accomplished either by writing it out in full from the outline, or by considerable practice. In any event, rehearse before a mirror as many times as necessary (usually about four) to fix the proper steps and the order of their content, along with desirable stage appearance and bodily action. Do not memorize the words.

The use of notes is somewhat a matter of opinion. If you are adequately prepared, you will not need notes. You will talk extemporaneously, which is the most commanding method known. If you must refer to notes, they should be either short sentences, phrases, or single words which have a particular meaning to you. Whatever notes you hold in your hands should be brief, concise, meaningful, and entirely familiar. A glance at your notes should be sufficient for you to gather their full meaning so that you may speak fluently yet logically. The notes should be on a piece of paper the size of a postal card or larger.

One other point is important. The information you present must be accurate. For accuracy of information, acceptable sources of information written by reliable and competent authorities must be consulted. Your audience should know where you get your material. What is more, you are the person to identify these sources and authorities. You are expected to go even further in this matter of giving information: you are expected to offer your conclusions and views and evaluations of your information. All this entails the neat assimilation of all you have pulled together – that is, your entire speech.

A few hints might well be offered at this point. First, have only two or three main points to your speech. Buttress these well with examples, illustrations, analogies, and facts. Second, do not be afraid to inject humor and anecdotes into your thought to add interest. Be sure these additions are suited to your subject and audience. Third, be sure your speech moves ahead. Do not allow the speech to drag or become stalemated. And, last, bend plenty of effort toward an interesting introduction and an equally effective conclusion.

OUTLINE YOUR SPEECH

Outlining your speech is necessary if you wish to secure organization, logical order of material, coherence, and unity. Without these rhetorical qualities, your thought will be jumbled mass of words with little direction or defined goal. An outline is to the speaker what a map is to a person taking a trip; it shows him where he is going and how to get there.

After neatly constructing a 75-150 word sentence outline, be prepared to hand the outline to you instructor when you rise to speak. He will undoubtedly wish to follow this while listening to your speech. He may write suggestions on it for your improvement. Remember that this outline is not to be used while you are speaking. State two or three sources of information.

HOW TO PRESENT A SPEECH TO INFORM

Use an easy, energetic presentation. Be enthusiastic and original in what you have to say. Use your hands to demonstrate how to do things. Draw pictures, exhibit charts, in fact, do whatever is necessary to make your ideas understood and interesting. Take stage properly, utilize expressive bodily action, maintain direct eye contact, observe time limits, and stop when your speech is finished. Your conclusion should be as strong and appropriate and as well prepared as your beginning remarks.

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