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Speaking to inform

 

The main purpose of speech to inform is to provide the listeners with the information which they do not already know. Examples: reports at business meeting, classroom lessons and demonstrations, report at labour unions, speeches given at civic clubs etc.

Along with imparting new information the speaker may also wish to persuade listeners by influencing their beliefs, attitudes, or behaviour. Example: speeches of teachers.

 

Types of informative speeches:

 

- Speeches about objects (deal with anything you can see, feel, hear, taste or smell; deal with particular items in our physical world). Speeches about objects may be given in chronological, spatial or topical order.

- Speeches about events (speech about an event may be about anything that either has happened or is happening)

- Speeches about processes (topics of the process speech can be focused into specific purpose statements, for example, my purpose is to inform my audience about how to make the basis shots in tennis). The purpose of some speeches about processes is only to have the audience understand the process. In others, it is to enable the listeners to perform the process themselves.

- Speeches about concepts. Example: speeches which deal with beliefs, theories, ideas and principles. 

Beginning an informative speech:

 

One can use the introduction to attract the audience’s attention, use attention devices such as:

 

· Humor. Humor which is closely related to one’s speech topic, the occasion, or the audience is usually more effective;

· Anecdote. Speakers who use anecdotes in their introduction are almost sure to capture listeners’ attention. As with humor, a story that has a natural connection with the speech topic is far better than one without any connection.

· Common ground technique.  The common ground technique includes anything that highlights the fact that speaker and listeners share common interests.

· Shock technique.  Example: mentioning an unusual, frightening, or hard-to-believe fact, statement or statistics to demand quick, almost instantaneous attention from the audience. The shock technique works best when it is closely tied to the main message of the speech.

· Suspense is useful for developing rapid listener attention in an introduction. A speaker who is building suspense talks “around” the topic for several moments, teasing the audience into trying to guess what the topic will be.

 

Methods of building interest in the speech:

 

· To start a speech with questions related to the topic. The speaker does not expect an “out-loud” (=audibly, as distinct from silently) answer from the audience. It is intended that the listeners will mentally try to answer the questions. Occasionally, rhetorical questions are asked.

· To start a speech with a quotation that highlights an important aspect of your topic.

· To challenge the audience directly. Asking rhetorical questions challenges the audience to formulate answers.

 

Previewing the topic is a significant function of most speech introductions.

 

The most obvious method of previewing the topic consists of simply stating your speech purpose to the audience during the introduction.

 

According to Aristotle three forces influenced an audience –the speaker’s logic, appeals to the listeners’ emotion, and the character of the speaker. (which he called ethos). One of the most powerful is character of the speaker.

 

Specific techniques for building ethos are as follows:

 

· Research and preparation which one made for one’s speech.

· Mentioning some experience you have had that qualifies you as an “expert” on your topic.

 

Body of a speech:

 

The central part of an information speech is the body of the speech.

The body contains the essential message of the speech, completely developed.

Careful preparation regarding nonverbal attention-factors can also help to capture audience attention effectively.  

Nonverbal attention-factors.

 

1.  The way your audience is seated.  Audience attention generally remains at a higher level the closer the audience members are to one another. Audience members generate attention among themselves.

2. Listening condition. The more you, the speaker, can assure the comfortable conditions for effective listening, the more likely you will have the continuous attention of your audience.

 

Feedback:

 

In order to respond to feedback you must first learn to interpret it. Some people appear more interested, more alert, and more intense in their reactions. You should pay closer attention to these individuals as you speak, and look for signs of understanding, puzzlement, agreement, or disagreement in their faces, in their posture, and in their eyes. Once you have developed the ability to recognize the positive and negative reactions, you can begin to adjust your message, language, and delivery techniques a bit to lessen negative reactions and increase positive forms of speech.

 

Transitions:

 

Well-planned transitions go unnoticed by the listeners but give them an impression of a smoothly following speech. Transitions between minor points (subheads) can offer be made with just a word or  phrase such as: “First….”, “Second…”

 

Concluding a speech:

 

Speech conclusions comprise summarizing the main points, reinforcing the central idea, and psychologically close the speech.

One of the simplest ways for giving your audience a clear signal that you are about to conclude is by beginning your conclusion with signal words such as “In closing”, “My purpose has been”, “Let me end by saying”, “Let me leave you with”, or “Finally”.

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