Chapter 1: Mastering the ABCs of Public Speaking
You can only shape your speech once you understand what you want your speech to accomplish and settle on one or more of the following objectives:
- To Inform: Informative speeches are designed to educate your audience on a particular topic. Depending on your subject matter, you can do this by using facts, anecdotes, or other illustrations.
The point to remember is that the primary objective of an informative speech is to provide the audience with some new, interesting, and compelling information.
Though informative speeches can offer several main points, most experts suggest that your talk highlight no more than five main points.
- To Persuade: In persuasive speeches you're trying to sway the audience to your point of view.
In most cases, persuasive speakers want to get the audience to buy products or services or at least get buy-in for a particular viewpoint. Lawyers, salespeople, and politicians are avid users of this approach.
While informative speeches can have several main points, persuasive talks should only have two. The first point presents the issue that need to be solved, answered, or changed.
While the second point focuses on what you believe to be the correct response to the problem.
As you might imagine, a persuasive speech is only effective if you're able to convince the audience of your point of view and get them to act accordingly.
If the audience seems to buy your presentation but was not moved to purchase the books or CDs that are in the back of the room, then your presentation was not successful.
At the same time, if your speech moved them to cast their vote for your candidate during an election then your speech hit the mark!
- To Motivate or Inspire: This speech is highly related to the persuasive speech but it can differ in that it's not necessarily a call to make a purchase.
Motivational or inspirational speeches are sometimes designed to improve the lives of the listeners.
People who deliver these types of speeches have a deep passion for the subject matter and want to pass that enthusiasm on to the people in the audience.
If after the speech, the audience members are fired up then the speaker has done his or her job. At the same time, if listeners are no more inspired than they were before the speech, then the presenter failed to deliver.
- To Entertain: Comediennes, actors and other performers sometimes make speeches to entertain the audience.
Sometimes these celebrities use their platform and notoriety to also persuade or inform their listeners but their primary goal is to captivate their audience's attention through amusement.
How does an entertainer know if his speech was successful? One way to determine this is to assess the audience's feedback. Did they laugh? Did they cheer? Was there a standing ovation or a request for an encore?
The answers to these questions will help determine the success of a speech in this category.