How to Write an Informative Speech from Scratch
The informative speech is a great way to teach.
The goal is to get an idea from your mind into the mind of each audience member.
As simple as this goal sounds, it can get complicated real quick.
Because we either lack frameworks and/or lack intention.
And when we lack either of those 2 variables, we go from being clear & precise to confusing the audience.
The purpose of this post is to clarify your thinking.
An informative speech is meant to be a fun experience for your audience & even a more enjoyable experience for you.
And we will do that via simplicity.
In this blog, you’ll learn what an informative speech is, how to zone in on your big idea & the process of reverse engineering your talk.
Spreading knowledge is what makes a public speaker powerful.
So let’s unlock your power & learn how to write an informative speech.
What is an Informative Speech?
“Inform” means to mold the mind.
And that’s exactly what you are doing.
Currently, you have knowledge about a topic that the audience does not.
And your goal is to take the knowledge from your mind to the mind of EACH audience member.
This can be difficult because of the noise.
We follow a simple principle known as the signal to noise ratio.
The signal is the meaningful message.
And the noise is all the clutter.
The goal of a public speaker is to amplify the signal & reduce the noise as much as possible.
Sometimes the noise is from your end, and other times it is from the audience’s end.
Noise from the audience’s end includes them having poor concentration levels, they are distracted by a big life problem/s, the room is set up in a way where they can’t hear you, etc.
Unfortunately, those noises are out of your control.
But the noise on your end can be due to making your message too complicated, using big words, lacking energy etc.
We can only control our moves, not theirs.
So focus on reducing the noise from your end.
The signal is the knowledge that you are relaying.
Turn the topic from blurry to clear in the audience’s mind.
That is it.
Be the sculptor who is taking away the layers of fuzziness.
What is your Big Idea?
In the last section, we talked about how an informative speech is about molding someone’s mind.
You are teaching someone something new.
Now the question is, what are you teaching them?
The goal is to get super specific on your BIG idea.
And unless you can get specific, then you will try to teach the audience too much.
This is a key idea to internalize when learning how to write an informative speech.
The average human mind is only able to retain a small amount of information at a time.
They don’t like going from idea to idea.
However, due to our ego’s, we try to teach someone too much.
We feel like, the more big ideas we give them, the more valuable the speech is.
1 big idea > 10 big ideas.
One of the best examples to speech building is to envision a tree.
- The tree has 1 trunk – Big Idea.
- Multiple branches hanging off the trunk – Supporting Points.
- Multiple leaves hanging off the branches – Supporting Details.
Notice I said 1 trunk.
The trunk is your big idea.
You should be able to say your big idea in 1 sentence.
Otherwise, you may be confused yourself.
- My goal is to teach the audience about the history of basketball.
- My goal is to teach the audience about the future of information technology in the social media space.
- The intent of this speech is to talk about the biological effects of speech anxiety.
You get the point.
This intent sets a STRONG trunk.
You may not fully have a specific big idea yet.
But at least have a general idea.
The more you work on your speech, the more your big idea clarifies.
Working on your Supporting Points
Once you have a big idea that you are trying to teach the audience, it becomes easier to segment the speech.
We can focus on the introduction and conclusion last.
‘Why not now?’
Because once you have your big idea, supporting points & details, the intro & conclusion take care of themselves (more on that later).
Let’s talk about the history of basketball.
That will be our trunk aka: the big idea that our informative speech is based on.
So what are the branches of this speech?
Keep these general for now…
Well, here are a few examples.
Outline of Supporting Points
- Branch 1: The origins of basketball.
- Branch 2: Evolution of the game since commercialization.
- Branch 3: Basketball in the 21st century.
These are 3 high-level points that your speech is built around.
These points create the structure for your talk.
Remember, what separates the informative speech from the persuasive speech is that you are not trying to change someone’s mind for the informative speech.
You are simply trying to enrich their mind.
The supporting points’ goals are to inform the audience further about your big idea.
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Working on the Details
In this section, we are going to start to get specific.
Thus far, we have been pretty HIGH level focused.
And that’s what great speech planning looks like.
It’s going from the macro to the micro.
In this section, we are adding details that your audience is capable of understanding on a deeper level.
We are adding leaves to each branch.
Let’s zone in on supporting point 1: The origins of the game.
Supporting Details can be:
- Leaf 1: Talk about the founder of basketball.
- Leaf 2: Explain how the game used to be played on a peach basket.
- Leaf 3: Talk about the first-ever team who played a full game.
These are details that are being added to your branch.
And each leaf is making your branch stronger.
I recommend 2-3 leaves.
But this part depends on the speech.
For the leaves, you can bring up statistics, quotations, case studies etc.
Whatever you feel will make your supporting points more concrete.
So thus far, we have done the:
- Big Idea.
- Create supporting points.
- Create details for the supporting points.
At this point, most of your speech outline is created!
Now let’s give you an overview of what the introduction and the conclusion look like.
Saving the Intro & Conclusion for Last
You may still be curious why we are planning the intro & conclusion for last.
Well, if you look at what you have done thus far for the speech creation process…
You’ll notice that the heavy lifting is done!
-An introduction is an overview of what you are going to tell the audience in the speech.
-A conclusion is a summary of what you covered.
In this case..
“Do you enjoy the NBA? I’m sure many of you do. But how many of you know the origins of the game?
Well, ladies and gentlemen, you all are in for a treat. Today, we are going to be going on a powerful journey to learn the origins of basketball, how the game evolved, all the way to the way the game is played today.”
This is a highly simplified opener, but you get the point.
Let the audience know what your informative speech contains.
A passenger feels more comfortable getting in the car when the driver lets them know where they are going.
“Well, now you know the game of basketball more than plenty of others. You know how the game started all the way to how the game is played today. In order to appreciate something, learn its history. Hopefully nowadays, when you watch the game, you watch it with a renewed lens.”
Once again, a simplified conclusion, but you get the point.
A conclusion is just a recap of your speech in an enthusiastic manner.
Practicing your Informative Speech!
Your outline is complete!
Now it’s all about practice.
Your goal with practice is to keep polishing up the informative speech more.
Practice with the intent to amplify the signal & reduce the noise.
Here are a few points to look out for…
Ask yourself if your big idea is clear?
If it’s not, keep polishing your speech until you can say the big idea in one sentence.
Make sure you transition smoothly from one supporting point to the next.
Does the sequence of points feel right to you?
You are the subject matter expert.
So do your best to put yourself in your audience’s shoes as you analyze the FEEL of your speech.
How are the details?
Do you have enough details to give the audience a grasp of your subject?
On the flip side, are you giving TOO many details? If so, trim off the excess.
Keep practicing and keep building a relationship with this speech.
Each rep gets your talk more clarified.
Inform & Teach with Power
Congrats, now you know how to write an informative speech!
Once you have practiced, you will feel confident.
Remember, this is all about getting your knowledge from your mind into each individual audience member’s mind.
Keep your ego out of it!
A great speaker is able to amplify the signal (meaningful message) and reduce the noise (junk).
So keep your talk simple.
Make it super easy to understand.
Heck, if an audience member brought their 5-year-old, that kid should be able to follow along!
That’s how you keep your ego out of the speech.
And that’s a key to remember when learning how to write an informative speech.
Your informative talk will teach many people.
Good luck & dominate!
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