The Informative Speech
Before you begin to write your speech, consider your objective. Is it primarily to persuade the audience to believe in or do something? Are you supposed to keep the audience laughing? Do you just want to educate them about an interesting topic? To some extent, these categories of persuasion, entertainment, and information sharing overlap, since you want to use elements of each to maximize the effect of your talk. This chapter will focus on the substance of all speeches: how to present facts in a way that will help the audience understand their meaning and remember what you said.
Much has been made of different kinds of speeches. Two of these, the persuasive and the entertaining speeches, require quite a bit of specialized effort. In order to deliver a speech of persuasion, you have to develop lawyerly skills of argumentation, whether or not you are sharing the podium with someone representing an opposing view (see Chapter 9). To be able to deliver a primarily entertaining speech, you would want to develop a strong sense of humor (see Chapter 6).
But most speeches need to inform the audience to one degree or another. To convince people of your point of view, you need to provide background to the issues. For the audience to appreciate a joke at a roast, it needs to be reminded of the joke's basis in the characteristics of the person being celebrated. So let's take a closer look