What’s the point in your speech? – Terry Pullin

What’s the point in your speech?

An important speech technique to know about is purpose, what is the general purpose of your speech?

In almost every situation when you are going to give a speech, you will be looking to inform, entertain, persuade or inspire an audience.

Make sure you identify what is the purpose of your speech before you even get writing it.

A speech without a purpose is a chat, and a chat is better in small interactive groups, not when you are presenting to a group of people, they will miss out on the opportunity to be interactive loose interest in what you are saying.

Here are some tips on what you might include in speeches with the purpose to inform, entertain, persuade or inspire

Speeches that inform

A speech that has the purpose to inform will be about you sharing information on a subject, so the audience come away from your speech having learnt something they might not have known before.

To do this effectively you should make the content easy to follow, don’t be too technical, and lay it out in a logical order that people can consume simply.

It is also important in informative speeches to build credibility with the audience. People like to know that what they have learnt comes from someone who knows more about the subject than they do, be sure to lay out why you are able to inform the audience and use references to other sources wherever possible to validate your content.

Speeches that entertain

If the sole purpose of your speech is to entertain the audience, you might consider a story a good way to do this.

We’ve all been entertained by story’s in books and on screen since an early age, an entertaining speech should be delivered in the same style.

Normally we will have a character who goes on a journey through some entertaining situations, all of which are amusing to the audience and make them laugh. The more dramatic effect you can inject in to the character the better.

Speeches that persuade

If you want to persuade an audience to your way of thinking, the best way is to call on their emotions. Make you speech personal to them or their business and explain why they are missing out by not seeing things your way.

this is often best done by identifying and highlighting a problem they are likely to be incurring and how good a situation would be without the problem in place.

The skill is to then persuade them that by following your solution, the problem will go away and life will be perfect. The key is to make the difference between the problem and perfection is worth the change required to achieve.

Speeches that inspire

Inspiring an audience is one of the most difficult speech skills. The best way to do this is to give an entertaining speech, which also persuades people to change.

To inspire people you need to keep them engaged by entertaining them, and then get them to persuade themselves to change something in their life that will make things even better than they already are.

In the speech a character who follows the journey you wish to inspire people to take is a good technique.

Perhaps someone who falls on hard times, looses a job, and has a trigger moment that means they take several steps in their life to not only get a new job, to get a great job which makes them happy.

The key is to keep it light hearted enough that the audience can laugh at the reflection of character in themselves, while making the need to change important enough to follow.


Beyond the general purpose

Obviously the general purpose of your speech won’t give you the actual content. What you want to inform, entertain, persuade or inspire with, is called a specific purpose.

Starting with the general though, you can create the correct content, structure and delivery techniques with your specific purpose in mind.


Thanks to those people who’s images I’ve used in this blog, I’ve linked the pictures to those websites out of goodwill. Massive thanks goes to Toastmasters International for my learning of the subject and I couldn’t go without a link back to my, probably the best Toastmaster Club in London, London Victorians

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