When you think of impressive speeches, you might think of pieces that have the power to inspire and motivate entire nations of people to greatness. Speeches such as Jawaharlal Nehru’s “Tryst with Destiny”, or John F. Kennedy’s “We choose to go to the moon” have been studied by students and communicators for decades.
In the corporate realm too, speeches can have great power. Steve Jobs’s keynote presentation announcing the iPhone in 2007, for example, is the stuff of legend.
While you might not be addressing millions around the world anytime soon, there are many platforms on which you’ll have to use types of public speaking in the professional arena. By studying different types of speeches, you can learn a lot about impactful communication.
What Are The Types Of Speeches?
While political speeches at historical moments are brilliant oratorical examples we can all learn from, we’ll be taking a closer look at the types of public speech in a business context. We can broadly divide these into three types of public speaking: speeches, lectures and seminars or workshops. These aren’t the only categories, but they’re the most common ones you’ll encounter in your professional life.
Public speaking types: Motivational or inspirational
Speeches are typically “big” talks that are meant to be heavily persuasive and informative to large crowds—usually comprising several hundred people or more. Most speeches will include at least one focal point you want your audience to remember after they leave. Top management might give speeches to commemorate an important milestone such as a centenary celebration, or to announce a new product.
Public speaking types: Informative or inspirational
Lectures are also considered a form of public speaking, meant for smaller groups or classes of people. You’ll probably use lectures in a workplace setting more often, because speeches are usually reserved for special events. They are typically more of an explanation of something the speaker is an expert at. Organizational leadership and management might be invited to share their knowledge at an industry forum or at an internal meet.
Seminars Or Workshops
Public speaking types: Demonstrative or informational
Seminars are also considered public speaking, but they’re usually for smaller, more intimate groups of people—though some seminars can have large attendance as well. Most workplaces conduct seminars or workshops throughout the year, and they’re very useful for explaining information and processes the business needs employees to know. Training meetings and inductions are examples of this type of speech.
Different forums, audiences and venues call for different types of speeches. By understanding your audience, you can create maximum effect.
The Purpose Of The Speech
To determine the kind of speech you need to deliver, you need to define the purpose of the speech.
Often, when people need inspiration, they’ll either turn to a motivational speaker or attend a seminar. A motivational speaker needs to quickly establish rapport and credibility. Think of online talks by management gurus Tony Robbins or Simon Sinek, who do this so effectively. They are viewed by millions for a reason. .
Whether that’s the sort of speech you’d like to make, or if you’re attempting something more casual, here are three critical components that will help you connect to the audience:
A professional speech needs to be interesting for the audience. For this, it must be relevant. The speaker must have established their expertise, and the audience must be keen to hear what they bring to the table.
Research your subject as much as you can. It’s very important that a good professional speech needs to be logical and orderly. Express a simple idea clearly and concisely, backed up with data where necessary.
As we’ve seen, it’s very important for a good professional speech to motivate the audience. It isn’t just about wizardry with words, it’s also about content. What do you want the audience to take away from the talk? Tell them how it’s possible and inspire them to go out and do it.
Identifying the purpose of your speech will help you connect with your audience and deliver an impactful message.
How To Prepare For Your Speech
If you’ve worked out the kind of speech you’re delivering, its purpose and have put together ideas for content, you’ll need to work out the logistics. Here are few areas to address:
Time Is Of The Essence
Know how much time you’ll get for your speech. Depending on the organization, the venue, and even the audience, there are maximum time limits for speeches. Knowing the time available will help you get your thoughts down and rehearse.
Depending on what your topic is, use visual aids to show your audience what you’re talking about. These should always apply to the speech and help with understanding your material.
Decide if your talk calls for a handout. Are you presenting a lot of data? A handout will help your audience process and remember it. A handout could be a copy of your presentation slides, or you could prepare something specifically for the purpose. Make sure all necessary materials are ready beforehand.
Most people are nervous about public speaking and are afraid they aren’t good at it. That’s okay! You don’t have to be a brilliant speaker to make your speech effective—and preparation and the right tools can go a long way.
How To Make A Speech Impactful
Once you’ve decided what type of speech you’re going to give, you can work on making your content as impactful as possible.
Your speech should cover all the information and it must follow a logical flow. Here are a few tips for structuring your speech or presentation:
Introduce Your Speech
Make sure you introduce yourself and where you’re coming from. This is a good chance to share a little about yourself. It helps establish a connection with your audience.
Give Background Information
Now give some background information about the topic itself. If your speech is persuasive, you’ll want to be straightforward about it. Clear and concise language makes for the most impact.
Make Your Point
Now that you’ve shared the information, it’s time to drive home the main point. Finishing strong will make your message stick.
Different types of speeches have unique characteristics—but they also have much in common. Organization and practice will help you get past your stage fright.
Tips For Delivery
There are many ways of learning to improve one’s voice and ability in public speaking. Writing down your thoughts and rehearsing are crucial—no matter how much you think you can speak off the cuff, it’s usually a bad idea. Here are some strategies used by public speakers:
Working on your voice modulation can make a big difference when giving all types of speeches. Varying loudness, pitch and tempo are some skills to practice. Amplification is also important for a speech, so your voice doesn’t fade out. Voice modulation improves speech clarity by eliminating the problem of shouting and muffled sounds. Voice amplification is a necessity when speaking in large spaces.
No speech can be effective if the words are unclear. Above all, you must be easy to understand. If you’re having trouble, try to speak slower at first and then increase your speed as you get more comfortable.
There are two parts to an excellent speech—the person delivering the speech and the listener. There are many ways of connecting with the audience and making them really feel what you’re saying. Storytelling skills come into play here—drawing from your own life experience usually makes for an impactful presentation. Humor, if appropriate, can be effective, too. Inject emotion and energy into your delivery.
Remember that no matter what public speaking types you’d like to master, you can improve your delivery through preparation and practice.
Hone Your Speech Skills
With Harappa’s Speaking Effectively course, you can increase the impact of your verbal communication. Whether you’re delivering a speech to thousands of people or making a presentation to a prospective client, public speaking is a core skill for so many professionals today. If you’re in a client-facing role and would like to learn how to make your point clearly, concisely and persuasively, this is the course for you. Sign up to take your career to the next level!
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