Ideas for Informative Speeches


THIS PAGE is Part Two of my
8 step informative speech writing process:

  1. How to get an idea informative speech topic

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Brian Carter, acupuncturist, herbalist, and author

Brian Carter

Idea Informative Speech
by Brian Benjamin Carter, MS, LAc

Brian has been a public speaker for five years, has been a guest on national radio shows, and is president of his local speaking club, Toastmasters of La Jolla. He teaches at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine and maintains a private practice in San Diego, California, and is the author of Powerful Body, Peaceful Mind: How to Heal Yourself with Foods, Herbs, and Acupressure.

Once you get the right idea informative speech writing is no problem.

I've never had trouble coming up with an idea. Informative speech writing is natural for me. I started speaking after I was already learning alternative health, and there's plenty that people don't know about that.

What qualifies as a good idea informative speech-wise?

A lot of people are fascinated by alternative medicine. So, I was already part of the way there- my idea for my informative speech was interesting. When you choose your informative speech topic, don't pick something your audience is going to groan about as soon as they hear it! Or if it is a 'groaning' informative speech idea, come at the topic so differently that they don't even realize what you've told them about. For example, you could explain the design of a micro chip from the point of view of a tiny tiny person to whom it would seem as big as several city blocks.

When you write the speech, you can make any informative speech idea interesting... so it's really more up to you - how hard do you want to work?

Let's get more basic. How do you make yourself have any ideas at all?

There are a couple of keys to brainstorming for ideas, and these will help you come up with your informative speech idea... First, write down everything that comes to mind. Second, don't judge anything yet, or you'll prevent the good ideas from coming out. Third, drink lots of caffeine. Well... you'd better do that first. :-)

Here are some questions that might stimulate informative speech ideas:

  • What do you know how to do that no one else knows how to do?
  • Where you come from is there something interesting or historical or factual that other people should know about?
  • Think through some of the things you do on a daily basis- they may seem normal to you now, but were strange or impossible at first.

What kind of informative speech does your audience want to hear?

Choose an informative speech topic either your audience knows nothing about, or that hasn't given much thought to - for the second one, I mean things that are commonplace, but when you think about it, you realize you don't know how it works or what it is - e.g., what is escrow? Why does inflation happen? What happens to your trash after the garbage truck takes it? Who determines TV and radio ratings? And so on. Look around your life and see if something like this sticks out.

Your idea informative speech should be entertaining, or useful. What happens to your trash is trivial unless you make it funny, or there's an ethical implication. But don't get into persuading - just inform! Not that it's bad to persuade here, but when you're learning the basics of each kind of speech, make sure you learn it! Likewise, don't entertain so much that you forget to teach.

What does Toastmasters say about informative speech topic ideas?

According to Toastmasters International, the best known public speaking organization, people learn when the information is relevant, relates to what they already know, involves them, is clearly organized, is presented in an interesting way, is repeated, and involves visual aids.

So, in some ways, the actual idea informative speech is not as important as the spin you put on it, how your package it, and how you present it.

First it must be interesting to you. Second, the information must reach your audience by being interesting to them... there are all kinds of presentation tricks you can do to involve them, but that's another topic! But that's why I suggest doing something autobiographical, because you'll give a much better talk... you'll have experiences or insights (ideas) that will be more engaging than if you just thought about something you read in a book.

But here's an example- I wanted to inform people about something specific with acupuncture. People are afraid it will hurt. Yet, most of my patients think it's basically painless, and were pleasantly surprised the first time how good it made them feel. I wanted to contrast the negative expectation with the positive reality. So my informative speech topic was "How Acupuncture Feels" but I used surprise as a tactic to deliver the message. I also used analogy, because the "Acu Buzz" was so elusive- I compared it to a number of good and complicated experiences (swimming and the taste of oysters) that were hard to describe but fairly commonplace. I answered their questions, kept it interesting, delivered something unexpected, and related it to something they already knew about.

Next step: Brainstorming and developing your good informative speech topic


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All information herein provided is for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of appropriate local experts and authorities.

Copyright 1999-2074, Pulse Media International, Brian Carter, MSci, LAc, Editor