Does Every Presentation Need To End With A Question-And-Answer Session What’s the Difference Between Informative and Persuasive Speeches?

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What’s the Difference Between Informative and Persuasive Speeches?

The average audience member listening to a speech probably does not spend much time thinking about the type of speech he or she is hearing. After all, a speech is a speech is a speech, right? In fact, speeches come in many types and each type has a different purpose. Just because a speaker is proficient in one type of speech does not mean that he is equally effective in another type.

The most common type of speech given throughout the United States is the informative speech. A speaker delivers information to an audience in a business, civic or social situation. On the other hand, a persuasive speech is one of the most difficult types of speeches to give. The speaker must have polished speaking skills but must also capture the attention of an audience who may not agree with the speaker’s main premise. The speaker’s job is to change the audience’s mind. Not a simple task. Often this is not even possible.

Let’s look at the purpose of each of these two speeches:

Wise Words: In an informative speech you are usually talking to the audience about a process, an object or idea, or an event. Your purpose is to deliver information. You may be explaining how to do a particular thing, describing something or teaching.

In an informative speech you are presenting information to an audience that is usually willing to listen. Your information is not controversial and your goal is to provide information, not try to change anyone’s opinion. People expect that they will gain knowledge or understanding as a result of listening to your speech.

A major problem with writing and presenting an informative speech is the potential for information overload. When you’re trying to talk about a particular topic it’s hard to know when to stop. If you like your topic and you know it, it’s natural to try to spread as much information as possible. This has the opposite effect of what you intended, however. Your audience can only absorb a certain amount of information and if you keep adding more it becomes frustrating for the audience and they turn off. It is better to have 3-4 points about your topic that you discuss in more detail. You can never cover everything and it is better to remember that “less is more.”

For each of the points you choose to cover there are examples of each- preferably a story that grabs the audience’s attention and helps personalize the topic.

Persuasive Speech: Persuasive speeches often deal with a controversial topic. Your goal is to change a belief or behavior or at least create a willingness to consider your perspective.

It is important when giving a persuasive speech that you do not belittle or degrade your audience because of their faith. If you’re a Planned Parenthood representative, referring to anti-abortion audience members as “Doctor killers’ won’t convince any of them that your viewpoint is legitimate. Don’t shout, use slurs or inflammatory language. The your goal is to show them that those who are part of Planned Parenthood are reasonable, knowledgeable, trustworthy and likable.

Your speaking style should be conversational, as if you were chatting about your issue with a friend. Make sure you have facts and statistics to back up what you say. If images help the audience visualize your message, then use them. Include a call-to-action at the end of your speech. In the Planned Parenthood example, you might invite this audience to attend an open house tour of the facility and then a question and answer session afterwards. If you can convince audience members to take this first step your speech will be a success.

Persuasive speeches must be well prepared. Don’t think for a minute that you can give an effective persuasive speech off the top of your head. It takes a lot of practice and preparation. If you don’t see it as sincere, knowingly willing and reasonable the chances of changing anyone’s opinion are nil.

Here are some tips that will help you write an effective informative or persuasive speech:

Tips for Informative Speeches

  • Don’t cover too much information. Choose 3-4 ideas. It is often better to cover a small amount of information more thoroughly than to simply recite a long list of information that the audience will not remember.
  • Give examples for each point.
  • Summarize your points at the end to add continuity.
  • Try to use stories to illustrate your points whenever possible
  • Use simple, familiar words and be very clear, especially when you are discussing complex information.

Tips for Persuasive Speeches:

  • Your job is to convince your audience to share your point of view and take action as a result.
  • Be very clear in giving your position and why it is right.
  • Be the same. Likeability is a big issue when you’re giving a persuasive speech. If the audience doesn’t like you or relate to you, they probably won’t listen to what you have to say.
  • Be passionate and logical and credible in presenting your argument. Yelling, yelling and screaming will not encourage anyone to listen to you.
  • Realize that changing someone’s mind with a short speech is not a realistic goal. Your goal is to get the audience to agree to consider your point of view enough to be open to more information.

If you are asked to give a speech, make sure you know the specific purpose of the speech. The first key to an effective speech is to make sure you know exactly what the audience expects. If you are asked to give an informative speech, what they expect is to learn new information of some kind. When you are asked to give a persuasive speech you are expected to convince your supporters for your point of view. As with any speech, the key is preparation and practice!

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