The Informative Speech

Informative Speaking might be less done than Persuasive Oratory, but it still requires as much skill. Some of the nuances of Informative Speaking are difficult to overcome if used to the persuasive style, but with a good deal of preparation it can be mastered. The following article will outline a few major differences in the rules of Informative and Persuasive Oratory. It will also supply tips on how to successfully compete in this unique category.

To those used to Persuasive Oratory, there are two major rule differences in Informative Speaking. It is critical to not only understand them, but know how they affect the overall speech. The first is the seven minute timeline. With three less minutes there is certainly less time to make an impact. Therefore, a speech’s points need to be precise. However, there still must be the depth of a Persuasive speech. The one advantage is that no time has to be allotted to persuading an audience of anything. Thus, use this time to further support the speech.

Secondly, props are allowed which adds a different element to the category as a whole. It is suggested props are only used under circumstances where they are essential. The idea behind allowing props is that the orator will be able to demonstrate how something works or describe a specific object or task better. The catch is that the object or task could become the focus. The speaker then is turned into the emcee of an infomercial (unwanted). This is still a speaking event. How an orator creates and executes their topic is essential.

With that said, it is important to note that the best Informative speeches will be formulated around a great, up-to-date topic and will use irony and humor as tools of delivery.

With any form of Oratory, Informative starts with a great topic. Because persuasion is not used, the topics chosen from have limits. In Informative Oratory, there is no luxury of timeless topics such as virtues and moral lessons. Also, because the audience is being informed of something, it should be a relatively new idea, object, or concept of which they are being informed (with slight exception which will be discussed later). For instance, back in 2004, a state champion in Original Oratory talked about the revolution of bottled water. At the time, bottled water usage had increased dramatically from years past, and the competitor used this opportunity to make fun of America’s obsession with paying a high price for something we already had for free. She went on to conclude that this was indicative of our ego-centered lifestyles. The speech was funny, timely, and well-done. Most of all, she took a relevant topic and brought information to the surface in a humorous manner.

Although most successful topics in Informative Oratory cannot always be timeless, there are exceptions. A few years ago, a competitor informed the audience about the power of our hair. She mentioned that regardless of culture or decade, hair has always played a critical role in shaping who we are. This was extremely well-done because she picked a topic that most people would have never thought of and made a powerful point that was creative and timeless – a rare combination. Therefore, selecting issues unrelated to time and the present can work.

Once a topic is picked it is important to note that there will be much less time to work with. The body of the speech will only be about five to six minutes long, and this can severely limit the depth of the speech’s content if not approached cautiously. Lack of time mixed in with the lack of persuasive elements can further impeded the ability to stand out. This is where humor and irony will play a major role.

Humor must play a major part in an Informative piece to create a better speech. The nature of the category lends itself to be less serious and more laid back. The audience and judge are not expecting to be moved in any great way; they are looking to learn something and be entertained in the process. This is where Informative Oratory becomes difficult. Not only is information being crammed into a short amount of time, it should also be done in a humorous way. The timing is what will make or break these efforts. The first way to add humor is to have a humorous introduction. By doing this, the mood of the room is lightened and the chances of winning over the audience increases. Humor is the great equalizer. Any topic can have mixed reviews, but everyone loves humor. Utilize it every chance available. In the middle of a speech make a point and use irony. Take advantage of subtle humor techniques including facial expressions and pausing. These are two elements of humor that are hysterical. If they are done right a new dimension can be added to a speech.

Ultimately, Informative Oratory is about how good the topic is and how effectively an orator can input humor into the speech. It really is that simple. The category is not nearly as heavy as Persuasive, and those who try to do too much will fall. Keep it simple, keep it current, and keep it funny. Then the orator can find themselves standing at the end of the competition, victorious.