Public Speaking – Tips on Selecting the Type of Speech to Use

There are two types of speeches used in public speaking, either you are “selling” something or you are “telling” something. The type of speech you select will depend on the reason you are presenting, and the nature of your audience.

In public speaking selecting the right type of speech will increase the effectiveness of your speech. The purpose of your speech can range from enjoyment to convincing the audience to take a certain action. How much the audience knows about your topic and their attitude towards it, also needs to be considered when selecting the type of speech you will deliver.

The “telling” speech is made up of either an informative or entertaining speech. The “selling” type of speech where you seek to convince the audience to take a certain action is either persuasive or motivational.

Entertaining – The reason for delivering the speech is for the audience to enjoy themselves and to be entertained. However, it is more than a string of jokes, it is entertaining material woven around a central theme. This type of speech is common as an after dinner speech.

Informative – The purpose of this speech is to inform your audience. The speech involves teaching and describing, explaining or describing your topic. You are not seeking to persuade or motivate but provide information. Your audience may know of your topic but are not familiar with the content. An example is when presenting the results of your department in a meeting.

Persuasive – the goal is to persuade the audience to take a certain action. You reason with people to agree with your point of view. Your audience will be familiar with your topic but is either opposed to, or undecided about, your purpose.

Persuasion is typically used in a self-centred “sell” for example, an insurance salesman trying to convince on the benefits of life insurance.

Motivation – the aim is to convince people to take an action that will improve their lives. You are attempting to inspire your audience to make the change. It involves the use of personal and emotional appeals. Your audience will normally agree with your purpose but require the inspiration to take action. A motivational speech can be used for a “selfless” sell such as convincing the audience they should have regular medical checkups

When you have matched the type of speech that will achieve the goal you seek to achieve, then you should consider using elements from the other types of speech. A persuasive speech will be more convincing if it includes elements from informative speech and is entertaining.

In summary to be more effective in public speaking you first determine your purpose or objective and get to know your audience. Then select the right type of speech you will be more effective in achieving your objective.