The materials below are attributed fully from the free online Open Education Resource, Exploring Public Speaking: The Free Dalton State College Public Speaking Textbook, 4th Edition in their Chapter 12 materials.
After reading this chapter, the student will be able to:
- Recognize opinion versus factual information
- Recognize the different types of informative speeches
- Decide on the best organizational approach for types of informative speeches
- Follow proven guidelines for preparing an informative speech
- Construct an informative speech.
Section 1 – What is an Informative Speech?
Section 2 – Types of Informative Speeches
Section 3 – Guidelines for Selecting an Informative Speech Topic
Section 4 – Guidelines for Preparing an Informative Speech
Section 5 – Giving Informative Speeches in Groups
12.1 – What is an Informative Speech?
Defining what an informative speech is can be both straight-forward and somewhat tricky at the same time. Very simply, an informative speech can first be defined as a speech based entirely and exclusively on facts. Basically, an informative speech conveys knowledge, a task that every person engages in every day in some form or another. Whether giving someone who is lost driving directions, explaining the specials of the day as a server, or describing the plot of a movie to friends, people engage in forms of informative speaking daily. Secondly, an informative speech does not attempt to convince the audience that one thing is better than another. It does not advocate a course of action. Consider the following two statements:
2 + 2 = 4
George Washington was the first President of the United States.
In each case, the statement made is what can be described as irrefutable, meaning a statement or claim that cannot be argued. In the first example, even small children are taught that having two apples and then getting two more apples will result in having four apples. This statement is irrefutable in that no one in the world will (or should!) argue this: It is a fact.
Similarly, with the statement “George Washington was the first President of the United States,” this again is an irrefutable fact. If you asked one hundred history professors and read one hundred history textbooks, the professors and textbooks would all say the same thing: Washington was the first president. No expert, reliable source, or person with any common sense would argue about this.
(Someone at this point might say, “No, John Hanson was the first president.” However, he was president under the Articles of Confederation for a short period—November 5, 1781, to November 3, 1782—not under our present Constitution. This example shows the importance of stating your facts clearly and precisely and being able to cite their origins.)
Therefore, an informative speech should not incorporate opinion as its basis. This can be the tricky part of developing an informative speech, because some opinion statements sometime sound like facts (since they are generally agreed upon by many people), but are really opinion.
For example, in an informative speech on George Washington, you might say, “George Washington was one of the greatest presidents in the history of the United States.” While this statement may be agreed upon by most people, it is possible for some people to disagree and argue the opposite point of view. The statement “George Washington was one of the greatest presidents in the history of the United States” is not irrefutable, meaning someone could argue this claim. If, however, you present the opinion as an opionion from a source, that is acceptable: it is a fact that someone (hopefully someone with expertise) holds the opinion. You do not want your central idea, your main points, and the majority of your supporting material to be opinion or argument in an informative speech.
Additionally, you should never take sides on an issue in an informative speech, nor should you “spin” the issue in order to influence the opinions of the listeners. Even if you are informing the audience about differences in views on controversial topics, you should simply and clearly explain the issues. This is not to say, however, that the audience’s needs and interests have nothing to do with the informative speech. We come back to the WIIFM principle (“What’s in it for me?) because even though an informative speech is fact-based, it still needs to relate to people’s lives in order to maintain their attention.
The question may arise here, “If we can find anything on the Internet now, why bother to give an informative speech?” The answer lies in the unique relationship between audience and speaker found in the public speaking context. The speaker can choose to present information that is of most value to the audience. Secondly, the speaker is not just overloading the audience with data. As we have mentioned before, that’s not really a good idea because audiences cannot remember great amounts of data and facts after listening. The focus of the content is what matters. This is where the specific purpose and central idea come into play. Remember, public speaking is not a good way to “dump data” on the audiene, but to make information meaningful.
Finally, although we have stressed that the informative speech is fact-based and does not have the purpose of persuasion, information still has an indirect effect on someone. If a classmate gives a speech on correctly using the Heimlich Maneuver to help a choking victim, the side effect (and probably desired result) is that the audience would use it when confronted with the situation.
12.2 – Types of Informative Speeches
While the topics to choose from for informative speeches are nearly limitless, they can generally be pared down into five broad categories. Understanding the type of informative speech that you will be giving can help you to figure out the best way to organize, research, and prepare for it, as will be discussed below.
Type 1: History
A common approach to selecting an informative speech topic is to discuss the history or development of something. With so much of human knowledge available via the Internet, finding information about the origins and evolution of almost anything is much easier than it has ever been (with the disclaimer that there are quite a few websites out there with false information). With that in mind, some of the areas that a historical informative speech could cover would include:
(Example: the baseball; the saxophone). Someone at some point in history was the first to develop what is considered the modern baseball. Who was it? What was it originally made of? How did it evolve into the baseball that is used by Major League Baseball today?
(Example: your college; DisneyWorld). There is a specific year that you college or university opened, a specific number of students who were initially enrolled, and often colleges and universities have name and mission changes. All of these facts can be used to provide an overall understanding of the college and its history. Likewise, the DisneyWorld of today is different from the DisneyWorld of the early 1970s; the design has developed over the last fifty years.
(Example: democracy; freedom of speech). It is possible to provide facts on an idea, although in some cases the information may be less precise. For example, while no one can definitively point to a specific date or individual who first developed the concept of democracy, it is known to have been conceived in ancient Greece (Raaflaub, Ober, & Wallace, 2007). By looking at the civilizations and cultures that adopted forms of democracy throughout history, it is possible to provide an audience with a better understanding of how the idea has been shaped into what it has become today.
Type 2: Biography
A biography is similar to a history, but in this case the subject is specifically a person, whether living or deceased. For the purposes of this class, biographies should focus on people of some note or fame, since doing research on people who are not at least mildly well-known could be difficult. But again, as with histories, there are specific and irrefutable facts that can help provide an overview of someone’s life, such as dates that President Lincoln was born (February 12, 1809) and died (April 15, 1865) and the years he was in office as president (1861-1865).
This might be a good place to address research and support. The basic dates of Abraham Lincoln’s life could be found in multiple sources and you would not have to cite the source in that case. But it you use the work of a specific historian to explain how Lincoln was able to win the presidency in the tumultuous years before the Civil War, that would need a citation of that author and the publication.
Type 3: Processes
Examples of process speech topics would be how to bake chocolate chip cookies; how to throw a baseball; how a nuclear reactor works; how a bill works its way through Congress.
Process speeches are sometimes referred to as demonstration or “how to” speeches because they often entail demonstrating something. These speeches require you to provide steps that will help your audience understand how to accomplish a specific task or process. However, How To speeches can be tricky in that there are rarely universally agreed upon (i.e. irrefutable) ways to do anything. If your professor asked the students in his or her public speaking class to each bring in a recipe for baking chocolate chip cookies, would all of them be the exact same recipe?
Probably not, but they would all be similar and, most importantly, they would all give you chocolate chip cookies as the end result. Students giving a demonstration speech will want to avoid saying “You should bake the cookies for 12 minutes” since that is not how everyone does it. Instead, the student should say something like:
“You can bake the cookies for 10 minutes.”
“One option is to bake the cookies for 10 minutes.”
“This particular recipe calls for the cookies to be baked for 10 minutes.”
Each of the previous three statements is absolutely a fact that no one can argue or disagree with. While some people may say 12 minutes is too long or too short (depending on how soft or hard they like their cookies), no one can reasonably argue that these statements are not true.
On the other hand, there is a second type of process speech that focuses not on how the audience can achieve a result, such as changing oil in their cars or cooking something, but on how a process is achieved. The goal is understanding and not performance. After a speech on how to change a car tire, the audience members could probably do it (they might not want to, but they would know the steps). However, after a speech on how a bill goes through Congress, the audience would understand this important part of democracy but not be ready to serve in Congress.
Type 4: Ideas and Concepts
Sometimes an informative speech is designed to explain an idea or concept. What does democracy mean? What is justice? In this case, you will want to do two things. First, use the definition methods listed in Chapter 6, such as classification and differentiation. The second is to make your concept concrete, real, and specific for your audience with examples.
Type 5: Categories or divisions
Sometimes an informative speech topic doesn’t lend itself to a specific type of approach, and in those cases the topics tend to fall into a “general” category of informative speeches. For example, if a student wanted to give an informative speech on the four “C’s” of diamonds (cut, carat, color, and clarity), they certainly wouldn’t approach it as if they were providing the history of diamonds, nor would they necessarily be informing anyone on “how to” shop for or buy diamonds or how diamonds are mined. The approach in this case would simply be to inform an audience on the four “C’s” and what they mean. Other examples of this type of informative speech would be positions in playing volleyball or the customs to know when traveling in China.
As stated above, identifying the type of informative speech being given can help in several ways (conducting research, writing the introduction and conclusion), but perhaps the biggest benefit is that the type of informative speech being given will help determine, to some degree, the organizational pattern that will need to be used (see Chapter 6). For example, a How To speech must be in chronological order. There really isn’t a way (or reason) to present a How To speech other than how the process is done in a time sequence. That is to say, for a speech on how to bake chocolate chip cookies, getting the ingredients (Main Point 1) must come before mixing the ingredients (Main Point 2), which must come before baking them (Main Point 3). Putting them in any other order will only confuse the audience.
Similarly, most Histories and Biographies will be organized chronologically, but not always. It makes sense to explain the history of the baseball from when it was first developed to where it is today, but certain approaches to Histories and Biographies can make that irrelevant. For an informative speech on Benjamin Franklin, a student might choose as his or her three main points: 1) His time as a printer, 2) His time as an inventor, 3) His time as a diplomat. These main points are not in strict chronological order because Franklin was a printer, inventor, and diplomat at the same time during periods of his whole life. However, this example would still be one way to inform an audience about him without using the chronological organizational pattern.
As for general informative speeches, since the topics that can be included in this category are very diverse and cover a range of subject matter, the way they are organized will be varied as well. However, if the topic is “types of” something or “kinds of” something, the organizational pattern would be topical; if it were the layout of a location, such as the White House, it would be spatial (refer to Chapter 6 for more on Organization).
12.3 – Guidelines for Selecting an Informative Speech Topic
While some of the guidelines for selecting a topic were discussed in Chapters 2, 4, and 5, this section will more specifically focus on informative speech topics and problems that can arise when choosing them.
Pick a specific or focused topic
Perhaps one of the biggest and most common misconceptions students have about informative speech topics is that the topic needs to be broad in order to fill the time requirements for the speech. It is not uncommon for a student to propose an informative speech topic such as “To inform my audience about the history of music.” How is that topic even possible? When does the history of music even begin? The thinking here is that this speech will be easy to research and write since there is so much information available. But the opposite is actually true. A topic this broad makes doing research even harder.
Let’s consider the example of a student who proposes the topic “To inform my audience about the Civil War.” The Civil War was, conservatively speaking, four years long, resulted in over 750,000 casualties, and arguably changed the course of human history. So to think that it is possible to cover all of that in five to seven minutes is unrealistic. Also, a typical college library has hundreds of books dealing with the Civil War. How will you choose which ones are best suited to use for your speech?
The better approach in this case is to be as specific as possible. A revised specific purpose for this speech might be something like “To inform my audience about the Gettysburg Address.” This topic is much more compact (the Gettysburg Address is only a few minutes long), and doing research will now be exponentially easier—although you will still find hundreds of sources on it. Or, an even more specific topic would be like the one in the outline at the end of this chapter: “To inform my classmates of the specific places in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, that are considered haunted.”
Instead of looking through all the books in your campus library on the Civil War, searching through the library’s databases and catalog for material on the Gettysburg Address will yield a much more manageable number of books and articles. It may sound counterintuitive, but selecting a speech topic that is very specifically focused will make the research and writing phases of the informative speech much easier.
Avoid faux or fake informative speech topics
Sometimes students think that because something sounds like an informative speech topic, it is one. This happens a lot with political issues that are usually partisan in nature. Some students may feel that the speech topic “To inform my audience why William Henry Harrison was a bad president” sounds factual, but really this is an opinion. Similarly, a number of topics that include conspiracy and paranormal subject matter are usually mistaken for good informative topics as well.
It is not uncommon for a student to propose the topic “To inform my audience about the existence of extraterrestrials,” thinking it is a good topic. After all, there is plenty of evidence to support the claim, right? There are pictures of unidentified objects in the sky that people claim are from outer space, there are people who claim to have seen extraterrestrials, and most powerful of all, there are people who say that they have been abducted by aliens and taken into space.
The problem here, as you have probably already guessed, is that these facts are not irrefutable. Not every single person who sees something unknown in the sky will agree it is an alien spacecraft, and there can be little doubt that not everyone who claims to have been abducted by a UFO is telling the truth. This isn’t to say that you can’t still do an informative speech on alien sites. For example, two viable options are “To inform my audience about the SETI Project” or “To inform my audience of the origin of the Area 51 conspiracy.” However, these types of speeches can quickly devolve into opinion if you aren’t careful, which would then make them persuasive speeches. Even if you start by trying to be objective, unless you can present each side equally, it will end up becoming a persuasive speech. Additionally, when a speaker picks such a topic, it is often because of a latent desire to persuade the audience about them.
12.4 – Guidelines for Preparing an Informative Speech
Don’t Be Too Broad
In preparing and writing an informative speech, one of the most common mistakes students make is to think that they must be comprehensive in covering their topic, which isn’t realistic. Take for example an informative speech on Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was 56 years old when he died, so to think that it is possible to cover his entire life’s story in 5 to 7 minutes is un-realistic. As discussed in Chapter 4, the better option is to select three aspects of his life and focus on those as a way to provide an overall picture of who he was. So a proposed speech on Lincoln might have the specific purpose: “To inform my audience about Abraham Lincoln’s administration of the Civil War.” This is still a huge topic in that massive books have been written about it, but it could be addressed in three or four main points such as:
- The Civil War began in the aftermath of Lincoln’s Election and Inauguration
- Finding the right military leaders for the Union was his major challenge at the beginning.
- The Emancipation Proclamation changed the nature of the War.
- Lincoln adopted a policy that led to the North’s victory.
Regardless of the topic, you will never be able to cover everything that is known about your topic, so don’t try. Select the things that will best help the audience gain a general understanding of the topic, that will interest them, and that they hopefully will find valuable.
Be Accurate, Clear, and Interesting
A good informative speech conveys accurate information to the audience in a way that is clear and that keeps the listener interested in the topic. Achieving all three of these goals—accuracy, clarity, and interest—is the key to being an effective speaker. If information is inaccurate, incomplete, or unclear, it will be of limited usefulness to the audience.
Part of being accurate is making sure that your information is current. Even if you know a great deal about your topic or wrote a good paper on the topic in a high school course, you will need to verify the accuracy and completeness of what you know, especially if it is medical or scientific information. Most people understand that technology changes rapidly, so you need to update your information almost constantly. The same is true for topics that, on the surface, may seem to require less updating. For example, the Civil War occurred over 150 years ago, but contemporary research still offers new and emerging theories about the causes of the war and its long-term effects. So even with a topic that seems to be unchanging, carefully check the information to be sure it’s accurate and up to date.
What defines “interesting?” In approaching the informative speech, you should keep in mind the good overall principle that the audience is asking, “what’s in it for me?” The audience is either consciously or unconsciously wondering “What in this topic for me? How can I use this information? Of what value is this speech content to me? Why should I listen to it?” One reason this textbook uses examples of the Civil War is that the authors’ college is located by several Civil War sites and even a major battlefield. Students see reminders of the Civil War on a regular basis.
You might consider it one of the jobs of the introduction to directly or indirectly answer these questions. If you can’t, then you need to think about your topic and why you are addressing it. If it’s only because the topic is interesting to you, you are missing the point. For example, why should we know about Abraham Lincoln’s administration of the Civil War? Obviously, because it had significant, long-term consequences to Americans, and you should articulate that in terms the audience can understand.
Keep in Mind Audience Diversity
Finally, remember that not everyone in your audience is the same, so an informative speech should be prepared with audience diversity in mind. If the information in a speech is too complex or too simplistic, it will not hold the interest of the listeners. Determining the right level of complexity can be hard. Audience analysis is one important way to do this (see Chapter 2). Do the members of your audience belong to different age groups? Did they all go to public schools in the United States, or are some them international students? Are they all students majoring in the same subject, or is there a mixture of majors? Never assume that just because an audience is made up of students, they all share a knowledge set.
12.5 – Giving Informative Speeches in Groups
There are instances where you will be called upon to give an informative speech as part of a group of other informative speakers. This situation may be referred to as a panel or as a symposium. The difference is that in a panel, the focus is on a discussion by experts in front of an audience. The expert speakers may start with an opening statement, but typically the panelists are seated and their opening remarks are designed to present their basic position or stance and the bulk of time is spent in question-and-answer from the audience, from the moderator, or from each other. Some tips for panels are given here.
A symposium is more formal and the experts or presenters have put together prepared speeches on different aspects of an overall topic. For example, they may all be experts on juveniles in the criminal justice system, but they have chosen or been assigned a specific informative topic for the audience, who are probably also professionals in that field. One might speak on challenges with legal representation for juveniles, another on family reconciliation, another on educational opportunities, and so on. While there may be time for question and answers at the end, the bulk of the time is taken up by the prepared speeches.
The author has used the symposium format in her teaching of the informative speech for over 25 years. The students at first are skeptical, but usually afterward they see the benefit of the experience in the classroom. For one thing, instead of a class of 25-30 separate and unrelated informative speeches in the class, there are four sets of related speeches that explore a topic in more depth. Some popular topics have been physical and mental health issues (diabetes, breast cancer, pets, schizophrenia, phobias), the arts (musical genres, history of film), travel, and food. In those years, there have been topics that didn’t work. Serial killers and sexually transmitted infections were two of them. One speech on that is acceptable. Six or seven, not so much. Just to clarify, the author always assigns the groups but the students pick the topics.
Here are some pointers if you are assigned to give a symposium-style informative speech. 1. Spend ample time discussing the topics so that everyone is supportive of the overall topic and the way the topic is broken down into separate speech topics. Do not let one person run the show and insist on a specific topic. A strong personality can sway the rest of the group and then later the other members become unhappy about the topic and resentful of the persuasive member. 2. Try to develop topics in different ways; for example, let’s take the overall topic of phobias. The temptation is for each separate speech to be a specific phobia. While this is all right, it becomes repetitive to the audience. There are other ways to develop the subtopics (origins, different treatment options, phobias related to certain demographic groups) instead of six or seven speeches on different phobias. 3. Be in constant communication with your peers so that you know exactly what their topics are and how they are being developed. You don’t want one or two co-presenters to “go rogue” and change their topics without the knowledge of the others in the group. You also do not want to end up overlapping, so that part of your speech is actually in someone else’s speech. Share phone numbers so you can text or call each other, if the members are willing. 4. You should appoint a moderator who will introduce the speeches and speakers and close or call for questions when the speeches are completed, and possibly summarize the set of speeches at the end. This member does not have to be the first or last speaker in the group. 5. Be sure the order of speeches is logical, not random. 6. Be sure to get to the class early so you can set up and feel secure that your team members are present. 7. If you are required to have a question-and-answer session at the end, the moderator should try to make sure that the participation is balanced and one talkative person doesn’t answer all the questions. There will be questions you cannot answer, so just be honest and say, “I didn’t find that answer in my research.”
Many instructors use this format because it not only teaches informative speaking skills, but because it emphasizes team work. You will be expected to do many team projects in your educational and professional careers, and this is a good way to start learning effective teamwork skills.
Learning how to give informative speeches will serve you well in your college career and your future work. Keep in mind the principles in this chapter but also those of the previous chapters: relating to the informational needs of the audience, using clear structure, and incorporating interesting and attention-getting supporting evidence.
Something to Think About
Here are three general topics for informative speeches. Write specific purposes for them and explain how you would answer the WIIFM question.
- Type 1 diabetes
- The psychological effects of using social media
Two outlines for informative speeches are provided on the following pages. They utilize slightly different formats; other outline formats are included in one of the appendices. Your instructor will let you know which one he or she prefers or will provide examples of another format.
Sample Outline: Informative Speech on Lord Byron
By Shannon Stanley
Specific Purpose: To inform my audience about the life of George Gordon, Lord Byron.
Central Idea: George Gordon, Lord Byron overcame physical hardships, was a world-renowned poet, and an advocate for the Greek’s war for freedom.
- Imagine an eleven year old boy who has been beaten and sexually abused repeatedly by the very person who is supposed to take care of him.
- This is one of the many hurdles that George Gordon, better known as Lord Byron, overcame during his childhood.
- Lord Byron was also a talented poet with the ability to transform his life into the words of his poetry.
- Byron became a serious poet by the age of fifteen and he was first published in 1807 at the age of nineteen.
- Lord Byron was a staunch believer in freedom and equality, so he gave most of his fortune, and in the end, his very life, supporting the Greek’s war for independence.
- While many of you have probably never heard of Lord Byron, his life and written work will become more familiar to you when you take Humanities 1201, as I learned when I took it last semester.
- Lord Byron was born on January 22, 1788 to Captain John Byron and Catherine Gordon Byron.
- According to Paul Trueblood, the author of Lord Byron, Lord Byron’s father only married Catherine for her dowry, which he quickly went through, leaving his wife and child nearly penniless.
- By the age of two, Lord Byron and his mother had moved to Aberdeen in Scotland and shortly thereafter, his father died in France at the age of thirty-six.
- Lord Byron was born with a clubbed right foot, which is a deformity that caused his foot to turn sideways instead of remaining straight, and his mother had no money to seek treatment for this painful and embarrassing condition.
- He would become very upset and fight anyone who even spoke of his lameness.
- Despite his handicap, Lord Byron was very active and liked competing with the other boys.
- At the age of ten, his grand-uncle died leaving him the title as the sixth Baron Byron of Rochdale.
- With this title, he also inherited Newstead Abbey, a dilapidated estate that was in great need of repair.
- Because the Abbey was in Nottinghamshire England, he and his mother moved there and stayed at the abbey until it was rented out to pay for the necessary repairs.
- During this time, May Gray, Byron’s nurse had already begun physically and sexually abusing him.
- A year passed before he finally told his guardian, John Hanson, about May’s abuse; she was fired immediately.
- Unfortunately the damage had already been done.
- In the book Lord Byron, it is stated that years later he wrote “My passions were developed very early- so early, that few would believe me if I were to state the period, and the facts which accompanied it.”
- Although Lord Byron had many obstacles to overcome during his childhood, he became a world renowned poet by the age of 24.
- Lord Byron experienced the same emotions we all do, but he was able to express those emotions in the form of his poetry and share them with the world.
- According to Horace Gregory, The author of Poems of George Gordon, Lord Byron, the years from 1816 through 1824 is when Lord Byron was most known throughout Europe.
- But according to Paul Trueblood, Childe Harold was published in 1812 and became one of the best-selling works of literature in the 19th century.
- Childe Harold was written while Lord Byron was traveling through Europe after graduating from Trinity College.
- Many authors such as Trueblood, and Garrett, the author of George Gordon, Lord Byron, express their opinion that Childe Harold is an autobiography about Byron and his travels.
- Lord Byron often wrote about the ones he loved the most, such as the poem “She Walks in Beauty” written about his cousin Anne Wilmont, and “Stanzas for Music” written for his half-sister, Augusta Leigh.
- He was also an avid reader of the Old Testament and would write poetry about stories from the Bible that he loved.
- One such story was about the last king of Babylon.
- This poem was called the “Vision of Belshazzar,” and is very much like the bible version in the book of Daniel.
- Although Lord Byron is mostly known for his talents as a poet, he was also an advocate for the Greek’s war for independence.
- Lord Byron, after his self-imposed exile from England, took the side of the Greek’s in their war for freedom from Turkish rule.
- Byron arrived in Greece in 1823 during a civil war.
- The Greek’s were too busy fighting amongst themselves to come together to form a formidable army against the Turks.
- According to Martin Garrett, Lord Byron donated money to refit the Greek’s fleet of ships, but did not immediately get involved in the situation.
- He had doubts as to if or when the Greek’s would ever come together and agree long enough to make any kind of a difference in their war effort.
- Eventually the Greek’s united and began their campaign for the Greek War of Independence.
- He began pouring more and more of his fortune into the Greek army and finally accepted a position to oversee a small group of men sailing to Missolonghi.
- Lord Byron set sail for Missolonghi in Western Greece in 1824. 1. He took a commanding position over a small number of the Greek army despite his lack of military training. 2. He had also made plans to attack a Turkish held fortress but became very ill before the plans were ever carried through.
- Lord Byron died on April 19, 1824 at the age of 36 due to the inexperienced doctors who continued to bleed him while he suffered from a severe fever.
- After Lord Byron’s death, the Greek War of Independence, due to his support, received more foreign aid which led to their eventual victory in 1832.
- Lord Byron is hailed as a national hero by the Greek nation.
- Many tributes such as statues and road-names have been devoted to Lord Byron since the time of his death.
- Byron arrived in Greece in 1823 during a civil war.
- In conclusion, Lord Byron overcame great physical hardships to become a world-renowned poet, and is seen as a hero to the Greek nation and is mourned by them still today.
- I have chosen not to focus on Lord Byron’s more liberal way of life, but rather to focus on his accomplishments in life.
- He was a man who owed no loyalty to Greece, yet gave his life to support their cause.
- Most of the world will remember Lord Byron primarily through his written attributes, but Greece will always remember him as the “Trumpet Voice of Liberty.”
Garrett, M. (2000). George Gordon, Lord Byron. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Gregory, H. (1969). Poems of George Gordon, Lord Byron. New York, NY: Thomas Y. Crowell Company.
Trueblood, P. G. (1969). Lord Byron. (S. E. Bowman, Ed.). New York, NY: Twayne Publishers.
Sample Outline: Informative Speech on Haunted Places in Gettysburg
By Leslie Dean
Specific Purpose: To inform my classmates of specific places in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, that are considered to be haunted.
Introduction: Do you believe in paranormal activity? Have you ever been to a place that is haunted? My personal opinion on this subject matter is open to question; however, there are a lot of people that have had firsthand encounters with the paranormal. Throughout the world there are countless places that are considered to be haunted by tormented souls that still lurk among us in search of a way to free their souls. Most places that claim to be haunted are intertwined with tales of battles and as a result many fatalities. Tragic times in history make for the perfect breeding grounds for the haunted places that exist today.
Thesis/Preview: Gettysburg is a city that is plagued by historical events that play a role in the manifestations that haunt Gettysburg today. These include locations at The Devil’s Den, Little Round Top, and the Hummelbaugh House.
- The Devil’s Den is considered a site for paranormal activity.
- The Devil’s Den has historical significance retained during the American Civil War.
- Location held heavy fighting during battle that took place on July 2, of 1863.
- The total death toll estimated during battle consisted of 800 for the Union and more than 1,800 for the Confederates.
- Some reported paranormal activity at the Devil’s Den.
- According to author, consultant, and lecturer Dennis William Hauck, he states in his book Haunted Places that if you stand outside at the Devil’s Den there can be the sounds of drum rolls and gunshots heard.
- According to many visitors there have been many people that claim to have seen and/or taken pictures of and had conversations with a friendly soldier who either disappears or doesn’t show up in photographs.
- The Devil’s Den has historical significance retained during the American Civil War.
Transition: Spooky, unexplainable things happen at the Devil’s Den but there is also paranormal activity in another area of Gettysburg, Little Round Top.
- Another location said to be haunted is Little Round Top.
- Little Round Top’s historical significance.
- A site where Union soldiers held up to maintain an advantage over the Confederate soldiers.
- According to James Brann, an author from Civil War Magazine, this was a site Union Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain led his 20th Maine Regiment in perhaps the most famous counterattack of the Civil War.
- Manifestations at Little Round Top.
- During filming of the movie Gettysburg (1993), extras portraying Union soldiers were greeted by a man in the uniform of a Union private.
- Handed them musket rounds.
- Actual rounds that dated back to the Civil War.
- Ghostly solders can still be seen marching in formation and riding horses in the fight against their enemy.
- During filming of the movie Gettysburg (1993), extras portraying Union soldiers were greeted by a man in the uniform of a Union private.
- Little Round Top’s historical significance.
Transition: It seems that a lot of landmarks are haunted but there are also structures known to be stricken with paranormal activity.
- Hummelbaugh House is a non-battlefield place for ghost-sightings.
- Historical significance of Hummelbaugh House.
- The house is located on the east side of the city and was just behind the Union lines.
- It was used for a hospital and because of the times amputated limbs would be thrown out the windows resulting in a huge pile of body parts.
- Paranormal activity at the house.
- The windows in the house often startle people with loud vibrations.
- The calls for help from soldiers can still be heard in and around the house.
- Historical significance of Hummelbaugh House.
Conclusion: In closing, according to History.com the Battle of Gettysburg was one of the biggest in the Civil War, resulting in over 150,000 causalities. With these statistics it is no surprise that lost souls still lurk the eerie grounds of this historical place. Whether it is vibrating windows or actual encounters with soldiers from 1863, Gettysburg has more than enough encounters with the paranormal to convince the biggest of doubters. Going to Gettysburg would guarantee a chance to literally step back in time and encounter something that is only remembered in history books. So believer in the paranormal or not, Gettysburg is a place to go to experience a part of history whether it be historical sites or a random run in with a ghostly soldier.
Brann, J. R. (1999). The full story. America’s Civil War, 12(5), 34. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=fth&AN=2281134&site=eds-live&scope=site
Hauck, D. (1994). The national directory of haunted places. Athanor Press. Battle of Gettysburg. (2019, May 20). History.com. Retrieved from https://www.history.com/topics/american-civil-war/battle-of-gettysburg
Informative Speaking Chapter Attribution:
Manley, J. A., & Rhodes, K. (2020). Exploring Public Speaking: The Free Dalton State College Public Speaking Textbook, 4th Edition. Manifold. Retrieved from https://alg.manifoldapp.org/read/exploring-public-speaking-the-free-dalton-state-college-public-speaking-textbook-4th-edition/
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.
Authors and Contributors
Barbara G. Tucker (Editor and Primary Author)
As chair of the Department of Communication at Dalton State College, Dr. Tucker oversees programs in communication, general studies, music, theatre, and interdisciplinary studies. She is Professor of Communication and has worked in higher education for over 40 years. She lives in Ringgold, Georgia, with her husband; they have one son. She is a novelist and playwright. Her research areas are the basic course, open educational resources, historical perspectives on rhetoric, and gratitude.
Matthew LeHew (Editor)
As Assistant Professor at Dalton State College, Matthew LeHew teaches courses in public relations, integrated marketing communication, film studies, and video production. His research interests include various areas of media studies, especially examination of virtual communities for online games. He is currently writing his dissertation for the Ph.D. in Communication (Media and Society track) at Georgia State University. He lives in Marietta, Georgia with his wife, son, and two dogs.