When do we Give Informative Speeches?
Informative Speeches are used to teach, explain, tell — often things we do as a matter of course in our everyday lives. For example, at the dentist’s’ office, the hygienist explains in detail and clarify the process of flossing (or what happened because one did not floss). Prior to a surgery, it is common to gather similar patients together for a “class” on knee replacement or whatever the procedure the groups share. Even as we share how to use a new “App,” explain directions to a concert, or help a friend with their online homework, we are “informing.”
Lisa Schreiber, Phd., (2011) writes:
Without a doubt, information plays a vital role in our everyday lives. In the dictionary, the term “inform” has several meanings, including to impart knowledge; to animate or inspire; to give information or enlightenment; to furnish evidence; to make aware of something; to communicate something of interest or special importance; to give directions; and to provide intelligence, news, facts or data. When you deliver an informative speech, your primary purpose is to give your audience information that they did not already know or to teach them more about a topic with which they are already familiar (p. 15-1).
This unit shares how this informal (or sometimes formal) “everyday use” of informative speaking is essential to our professional and student-centered lives. As you read the chapter, keep in mind there are some common reasons students who don’t do well on an Informative Speech assignment. Here are some reasons why:
1) they tell us what we already know vs. adapting the speech to the specific group.
2) they depend only upon personal experience, not research (or forget to “cite” the sources used – that is stating, “who (said it),” “where (it came from),” and “when (it was published).”
3) they have too much information (neglecting the time and effort to carefully practice/edit) and, as a result, go over the time limit.
4) they begin to persuade (convince a change is needed) rather than simply keep the speech informative.
5) they read the speech.
As you work through the materials, remember your instructor and classmates want you to succeed! Seek out help. Listen to others as they give their speeches, support your peers, learn from them — what you “put into the world” often comes back to you. They will also support you in your speech delivery….at least we hope so!