Informative Speech

Parts of the Speech
Part 1-The Introduction (“Tell them what you’re going to tell them.”)
The first minute of your speech is critical. If you don’t catch your audience’s
attention, they might tune you out. Look at your outline, look back through notes.
What can you tell us about your topic that will make us really want to listen?
Because the introduction is so important, I’d like you to write it out and try to
memorize it.
Your intro should consist of (1) attention-getter (2) transition into topic (3) thesis.
Here are some ideas for attention-getters:
o Make a dramatic or shocking statement. State a problem or a popular
misconception that relates to your topic. Use an unusual analogy. For
“You’d be healthier by eating the weeds growing in your front yard than
vegetables from the grocery store. Weeds have more vitamins and
minerals and you can grow them without chemicals.” (in a speech about
pesticides in foods)
o Ask a rhetorical question. Many speakers use this method to involve the
audience and get them thinking about the topic to be discussed. For
“It’s your senior year. Just two more months until graduation. That may
be the only thing on your mind, but let me ask you this. Have you thought
about where you’ll be in five years? (pause and look around the room)
What if I said you could be making a six-figure income, in perfect health,
and your own boss? Today I’m going to talk to you about becoming a
small business owner in the health and fitness industy.”
o Share an anecdote. Tell us an interesting story about your topic that will
grab our attention. Be descriptive. Build your story and then…lead us in to
how it relates to what you’ll be speaking about. For example:
“The victim’s body was found in the ocean off the coast of Ventura,
California on January 28. According to the coroner’s report, the young
woman had sustained a number of wounds including one that gouged a
13-inch wide chunk of flesh from her right thigh. The woman and her
boyfriend, both 24, were university students on spring break and they had
been surfing together on a clear, bright, sunny winter morning. They had
been missing for four days. From the size of the wound, biologists
concluded she had been the victim of a shark attack. This woman was one
of 14 to die that year as a result of attacks by great white sharks. Today
I’m going to be speaking about shark attacks and what you can do to
prevent them or defend yourself against one if you are attacked.”
o Use one of your audio or visual aids. People tune in when you do more
than just speak. For example, a speech about a musician might begin by
playing 30-45 seconds of that person’s music on CD or showing a brief
video clip of this person performing. It’s also wise to use another
attention-getter in addition to this, perhaps an anecdote or a shocking
statement right before or after your audio or visual. Of course, the audio or
visual can’t stand alone. You must weave in some sort of lead-in or
PART 2 – The Body (“Now, tell them.”)
Write a phrase outline to guide you as you speak. Every point you make should be
part of your outline. There’s no “winging it” allowed for this speech. You must
have a phrase outline in order to give your speech. Do not write out the body
of your speech word for word.
Here are a few hints for writing your outline:
o Be logical. Think about the best way to convey your information and do
so logically so that your audience can easily follow you.
o Be concise. You only have 5-7 minutes so don’t try to tell us everything
about a subject. Refer back to your thesis, and keep your focus.
o Cite your sources. We’re a smart audience and we want to know where
you’ve gotten your information. If you give us a statistic or cite a study,
for example, be sure to tell us where you got your information.
o Use examples, anecdotes, and personal connections to keep us
interested and attentive. People are interested about people. For example,
you could tell us that many people die each year from smoking-related
illnesses, but it’s hard for us to care about “many.” How about giving us
an actual number or follow your statistic with a specific anecdote about
someone who was personally affected. Tell us some stories, too.
o Be descriptive. Include opportunities in your speech to really paint a
picture for your listeners. Help us visualize a situation or understand how
something works.
o Use examples. Either use (and cite, of course) examples from your
research or examples from your own life. Listeners really enjoying hearing
examples that drive home a point or make an idea clear. They add a
human and emotional touch to the speech.
PART 3 –The Conclusion (“Tell them what you told them.”)
o A strong, well-formed conclusion brings your speech to a satisfying end for your
audience. A weak conclusion can ruin a good speech. Never just say, “Well, that’s
pretty much it…” Or “Ok, I’m done…”A great way to end any speech is to tie
your conclusion back to the introduction. Refer back to that shocking statistic or
that anecdote you told earlier. Remind us of the reason we tuned into you in the
first place. And finally…pause for a moment and simply say “thank you.”
o Again, as you did in your intro, I’d like you to write out your conclusion and try
to memorize it. A strong conclusion will do the following:
o Remind the audience of the importance of the information you’ve shared.
You may want to use a different attention-getter to accomplish that or
even refer back to the one you used in your introduction for added effect.
o Summarize your thesis and your main points. You may want to use a
visual to help you do this.