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Chapter 14- Informative Speaking

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Informative speech
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The general purpose is to teach your audience something new, interesting, and useful. You want your listeners to learn. Do not usually stir disagreement and dissension. May arouse your listeners concerns on a subject. This concern may trigger a desire to correct a problem. May act as a precursor, or steppingstone, to a subsequent persuasive speech advocating strong action.
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Persuasive speech
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The general purpose is to convince your listeners to change their viewpoint and behavior. Your want your listeners to think and act differently. Also inform. You often have to teach your audience about the magnitude of a problem that listeners may not have been aware of before advocating solutions.
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The five types of informative speeches can overlap.
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a. Reports: Facts in Brief b. Explanations: Deeper Understanding c. Demonstrations: Acting Out d. Narratives: Storytelling e. Comparisons: Pros and Cons
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Report
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Is usually a brief informative presentation that fulfills a class assignment, updates a committee about work performed by a subcommittee, reveals the results of a study, provides recent findings or identifies the latest developments in a current situation of interest. Need to be clearly presented. Make sure you have your facts straight and that all information presented is accurate. Present the main points and the most significant specifics.
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Lecture (Explanations)
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Is a common example of informative speeches that explain. Often last an hour or more. They work best when they are highly entertaining.
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Demonstration
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Is an informative speech that shows the audience how to use an object or perform a specific activity. Cooking and home improvement TV programs are essentially demonstration speeches. Require the speaker to show the physical object or to display the activity for the audience. Is not a mere description of objects or activities.
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Narratives
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May be about you or about other people. Instructors may give a short presentation at the beginning of a course informing students about their number of years spent teaching, where they taught, they joys and challenges of teaching and prospects for teaching in the future. Are most effective when they entertain an audience.
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Comparisons (Pros and Cons)
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Presenting the positive and negatives of various solutions without taking a stand on any of them is structured as an informative speech. You leave it to the audience to make choices based on a balanced presentation of possible remedies for problem.
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Informative speeches must:
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1. Inform: Tell Us What We Don’t Know 2. Adapt: Audience Analysis 3. Organize Carefully: Clarity is Critical 4. Support Materials Revisited: Follow the Rules 5. Avoid Information Overload: Don’t Drown in Data 6. Tell Your Story Well: Narrative Tips
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INFORM
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An informative speech first and foremost must tell your audience something it doesn’t already know, provide new information to your listeners.
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ADAPT
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Chose what will likely interest your listeners and is well suited to their knowledge, concerns, and expectations. Strive for language simplicity and avoid highly complex language that may confuse even a well-educated audience. If your subject fairly simple and you are addressing an educated audience, be careful not to condescend to your listeners.
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ORGANIZE CAREFULLY
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The basic structure of most speeches divides the speech into an introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction grabs attention, explains the significance of the topic to the audience, provides a clear purpose statement, and previews the main points of the speech. The body of the speech, which tames the most time to present, develops the main points previewed in the introduction. The conclusion provides a quick summary of the main points, often makes reference to the introduction, and offers a memorable finish. Key terms should be defined clearly and precisely.
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Signposts
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Are organizational markers that indicate the structure of speech and notify listeners that particular point is about to be addressed.
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Transitions
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Connect what was said with what will be said.
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Internal summary
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Restates a key point in a speech. It occurs in the body of the speech, not in the conclusion. Internal summaries help listeners follow the sequence of ideas, connecting the dots so the picture drawn by the speaker comes into focus. It signals that a main point has concluded and suggest a new point is about to be addressed.
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SUPPORTING MATERIALS
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Information should be credible, relevant, and sufficient. First consider when choosing supporting materials should be credibility and strength.
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AVOID INFORMATION OVERLOAD
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Timing your speech will immediately indicate whether you have provided too much information for the time allotted. Be careful not to offer needless details.
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TELL YOUR STORY WELL
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Telling an effective story when giving a speech: 1. First choose a story that fits your audience. 2. Second make sure the story fits your purpose and illustrates a key point. Don’t tell stories just to entertain if they have no relevance. 3. Third keep the stories concise. Don’t get bogged down in details that can become confusing or tedious for your listeners or lose sight of the key theme. 4. Fourth practice telling your story. 5. Fifth do not read your story to your listeners. 6. Sixth be animated, even visual, when telling a story.
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Visual Aids
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Should only be used if they serve a clear purpose. 1. First they clarify difficult points or descriptions of complex objects. Showing an object to audience helps listeners understand. 2. Second, effective visual aids gain and maintain audience attention. A riveting image can capture attention during the opening of a speech. 3. Third visual aids enhance speaker credibility. Presenting impressive statistics in a graph, chart, or table drives home an important point in your speech and improves your credibility. 4. Fourth, visual aids can improve your delivery. 5. Fifth, effective visual aids can be memorable.
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There are several types of visual aids, each with its advantages and disadvantages.
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-Objects -Models – Graphs -Bar graph – Line graph -Pie graph -Tables – Photographs – Drawings
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Objects
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Sometimes there is no substitute for the actual object of your speech. Limitations of use objects as visual aids are it might be too large, also impractical to bring to most speaking venues, are illegal, dangerous, potentially objectionable to at least some audience members, inanimate objects are usually preferable to living, squirming objects, some living objects can frighten audience members.
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Models
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Can act as effective substitutes when objects are too large, too small, expensive, fragile, rare or unavailable.
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Graphs
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A visual representation of statistics in an easily understood format.
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Bar graph
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Compares and contrasts two or more items or shows variation over a period of time. Can make a dramatic visual impact.
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Line graph
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Useful for showing a trend or change over a period of time.
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Pie graph
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Depicts a proportion or percentage for each part of a whole.
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Maps
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Helps audience members see geographic areas to make important points. Most effective when they are large, simple, and directly relevant to the speaker’s purpose. Should be exact to be effective.
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Tables-
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An orderly depiction of statistics, words, or symbol in columns or rows. Can provide easy-to-understand comparisons of facts and statistics.
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Photographs-
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Make a point, clarify a concept, draw attention. When objects are too big or unwieldy, unavailable or too fragile to use as visual aids, photographs can take the place. One drawback is they may need to be enlarged. They should be large enough for everyone in the audience to see easily.
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Drawings
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When photographs are unavailable, drawings can replace them.
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Chalkboards or whiteboards
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Useful because mistakes can be erased. But it is sometimes too time consuming, breaks eye contact with the audience.
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Poster board
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You can draw, stencil, make graphs or tables but making it professional is a challenge and you can do that by: i. All lettering and numbering should be large enough for anyone in the back of the room to see easily. ii. Should be neat and symmetrical. Headings, lettering and numbering should be even. iii. Strive for simplicity. Don’t clutter the poster with a collage of pictures that create a blob.
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Handouts
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Advantage is tables, amps, drawings, PowerPoint slides, photographs can be put onto one and listeners can keep it long after the speech has been presented. But disadvantages include if you pass out the handout during your speech time is wasted, the flow of speech is broken, and it can be a huge distraction and hard to regain audience attention.
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Video Excerpts (DVDS, YouTube)
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Can be dramatic, informative, and moving. They are great attention grabbers. But do have some limitations: i. The sound on a video will compete with the speaker for attention. ii. A video with its dramatic action can male your speech seems tame, even dull by comparison. iii. A video isn’t a speech.
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Projection Equipment
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Overhead projectors can be used to display enlarged images. Transparencies can help enlarge a table, map, picture, graph, or drawing and are very simple to prepare. Computer projectors are very new (pictures taken directly from computer software presentations can be shown on a large screen)
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PowerPoint
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Drawbacks include the time it takes to prepare the slides, the potential for glitches to happens during the speech and the tendency to become so enamored with the software capability that it detracts from the speech.
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Suggestions for improving PowerPoint presentations
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i. Don’t overwhelm listeners with complicated slides. ii. Do not read the slides to your audience and do not wait for your listeners to read lengthy slides. iii. Narrate your PowerPoint slides. iv. Most slides should have a full sentence headline at the top with a descriptive graphic underneath v. Don’t get graphic crazy. vi. Use a remote to advance slides.
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Guidelines for the competent use of visual aids
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1. Keep Aids Simple 2. Make Aids Visible- people in the back of the room should be able to see the aid. 3. Make Aids Neat, Attractive, and Accurate 4. Don’t Block the Audience’s View- don’t stand in front of the aid because its awkward and self-defeating, you want your audience to see the aid. Simply stand beside the aid while you explain it to the audience. 5. Keep Aids Close to You 6. Put the Aid Out of Sight When Not in Use- cover it when not referring to it, it can distract the audience if it is left uncovered while you talk. 7. Practice with Aids 8. Don’t Circulate Your Aids- don’t pass it around while you talk. 9. Don’t Talk in the Dark 10. Anticipate Problems- the more complicated technology the grater the likelihood that problems will occur before or during your presentation. Think about what might go wrong and anticipate ways to respond appropriately.