O.K. I’m not really condoning an information dump here. What I’m referring to is the informational speech, a speech that informs the audience on a specific topic.
You are not training them to do something, you are simply informing them. You see these kinds of speeches at symposia, conventions and other gatherings where speakers are there to share knowledge, not sell you something.
How do you prepare an informational speech?
The key to doing an informational speech well is often in the organization. The flow of facts and information must appear logical to the audience, often building one upon the other.
Let’s say I wanted to give an informational speech on the origins of the Lilith myth (I just learned about it in a book I read recently and was fascinated!). This is how I might organize it:
- What is the Lilith myth today?
- What is the most likely earliest myth that lead to this?
- How did it evolve over time to what it is today.
As you can see, the organization I chose is partially chronological. I started with today to give people context, then leaped back in time.
How you open your informational speech is important. It gives the audience the context and basic framework with which to understand the rest of the presentation.
How do you avoid being boring with your information dump?
Yes, many informational speeches can be boring. Often, they don’t have to be … if you add in a little bit of SPICE:
- Stories – People learn best in the guise of a story. Bring your information to life with stories.
- Personality – Infuse your presentation with your personality. Just because you’re being factual doesn’t mean you can’t be yourself.
- Inflection – Nothing is more yawn-inducing than a speech delivered in a monotone. Let your voice rise and fall, speed up and slow down as the information you are sharing dictates.
- Context – always give your facts and figures context. If you can relate that context to something your audience if familiar with, so much the better.
- Entertain – If you can add a little entertainment value to your information, do it. If you are naturally funny, add humor. Does your topic lend itself to fun visuals? Use them.
Resources for developing your informational speech:
- Colorado State University: Structuring an Informative Speech
- Developing Informative Speeches
- 43 Informative Speech Outline Templates & Examples
Did you miss these?
Here are the previous posts in this “Type of Speeches” series:
- The Keynote Address
- The Training Session
- The Motivational Speech
- The Entertaining Speech
- The Demonstration
Additional Related Posts
- Top 10 Ways to Butcher Your Presentation and How to Avoid Them
- The Power of Vocal Variety
- Vocal Variety – Spice of the Speech
- The Power of Storytelling
- The Power of Organization
- The 5 Ws and an H of Public Speaking
The next post in this series is The Inspirational Speech.