How to Write an Informative Speech (Tips, Format, and Types)

author By Mary Boies

If you have attended seminars, demonstrations, lectures, and sermons, you have already encountered informative speech in action. In this sense, you can give an informative speech depending on the context, which is an important aspect of public speaking.

informative speech writing process and outline

Out of the many speech skills you can have, knowing how to write and deliver a masterpiece informative speech is the most critical skill.

A speech is an address that targets a specific audience. The person delivering the speech is the speaker, while those listening are the audience.

In this guide, we look at the definition of informative speech, the four different types of informative speeches, the steps for crafting an informative speech, some informative speech tips and topics, and an informative speech outline. Basically, this guide sets you up to master informative speech writing like no other guide on the internet.

The aim of an informative Speech

The purpose of an informative speech is to provide information about a specific subject to an audience. It educates the audience about a subject or topic they are unfamiliar with through illustrating a process, explaining a documentary, explaining a scientific discovery, how to use a given program or device, the life story of a person of interest, or an expedition.

When writing an informative speech, you should know your audience, their needs, and what will set your speech apart. Unlike a persuasive speech where you persuade the audience, in an informative speech, your role is to inform the audience.

And to do so, you must elaborate on different aspects of the chosen topic in chronological order. You can choose to use spatial or chronological order when explaining facts.

Consider how the information you are delivering would be important for the audience. As yourself?

These questions can help you develop a powerful informative speech both in writing and when giving it in person. And since there are different variations, let's look at the different types of informative speeches.

How long is a standard Informative Speech?

A good informative speech strikes a perfect balance between the data, research findings, statistics, and opinions/perspectives, to enrich the knowledge of an uninformed audience. Moreover, it communicates to the audience authentic and interesting information.

When asked to write a 5 minutes informative speech, you should write about 500-750 words. According to Daphne Gray-Gant, a speech, and publication coach, people speak at a rate of 100-160 words per minute. This means that a:

What are the types of informative Speeches?

The four main types of informative speeches are definition, demonstrative, explanatory, and definitive speeches.

Note that while all informative speeches are meant to educate your audience, they do so in different formats and approaches.

1. Definition Speeches

The definitional speeches explain concepts or meanings of words, theories, contexts, concepts, ideologies, phenomena, or vocabularies related to a given subject so that an uninformed audience can understand it better.

In most cases, such speeches feature broad and narrow topics. Nevertheless, the scope of the speech is determined by the amount of time allotted to the speaker. The definitive speeches explain in-depth facts to the audience.

You can write a speech on mental health, how to identify a sociopath, how to define a disaster, etc.

Even though they can be given as part of assignments, when professionals give short speeches describing new concepts, company names, or theories in conferences and seminars, they deliver definition informative speeches.

Definition informative speeches help the audience use the theories, terms, and names accurately depending on applicable contexts.

2. Demonstrative Speeches

A demonstration speech plays a significant role in informing the audience about the steps to complete something. It elaborates on the step-by-step approach to performing a task.

For instance, when a professor shares a lecture on how to format a paper in APA or MLA or how to write an annotated bibliography, they are giving an informative speech.

If you are making a presentation in nursing class addressing how to solve a given problem in your community, say an epidemic or disaster, your speech is demonstrative. Interestingly, most how-to videos on YouTube, TikTok, Facebook Reels, and Instagram are demonstrative speeches.

A demonstrative speech, otherwise called a how-to speech, creates vivid mental images and pictures using visual illustrations to drive the point home. A well-written and presented speech that is demonstrative sticks in the audience's memories for a long time.

3.  Descriptive Speeches

The purpose of a descriptive speech is to create a vivid image or picture in the audience's mind regarding a subject (place, object, event, animal, season, human, etc.).

A speech describing a specific presidential candidate before a presidential debate is descriptive. If you want to depict something to your audience, you can use this type of speech.

When talking to an audience that has not experienced or seen the subject of your speech, it is important to approach. For example, you can give a speech describing artifacts, religions, cultures, countries, destinations, and animals.

When writing descriptive speeches, provide as much descriptive detail as you can. However, in most cases, these speeches are flat; they do not involve critical analysis.

4. Explanatory Speeches

Finally, explanatory speeches inform or educate the audience about the state of something and describe why. They are the how and the what speeches.

They share characteristics with descriptive speeches only that there is little if any, use of visual details about the topic or subject of the speech. Instead, in explanatory speeches, you offer specific information about why something is the way it is.

When giving an explanatory speech, you must condense and serve information by packaging them into units the audience can consume and remember.

A speech explaining the global pandemic, the consequences of a specific law (say gun control), or one explaining why budgetary allocations for a given ministry are reduced are explanatory. Likewise, most presidential speeches covering special matters are always explanatory. For instance, when President Trump explained how financing the wall would help America become great again.

Informative Speech Outline, Format, and Example

An outline for an informative speech follows the same structure as that of an informative essay outline. You can write the outline either with complete sentences or by outlining the key points.

When you write the outline using complete sentences, you will write full sentences that can help you define the organizational approach and the content of your speech. However, when you outline the key points only, you will note the key points that can help you remember the parts of your speech.

You can choose any format when writing your speech; it does not matter if you have a comprehensive speech outline.

To write an informative speech outline, you must begin by choosing a good topic, crafting a great title, doing research, coming up with a thesis statement, and structuring your informative speech's introduction, body, and conclusion.

The informative Speech Outline Format
Topic: Title that suggests the topic of your speech
General Purpose: To inform
Specific Purpose: Your specific purpose identifies the information you want to communicate in the mode you have chosen.
Thesis: The central idea of your speech.
I. Introduction
A. Attention Getter: Something that grabs the attention of the audience.
Examples are startling statistics, stories, rhetorical questions, quotations, scenarios, etc. This point should be more than one sentence long.
B. Reason to Listen: Why should the audience listen to your speech? Make it personal to each of them.
C. Thesis Statement: Exact same statement as above.
D. Credibility Statement:
1. What personally connects you to this topic?
2. What type of research have you done to establish credibility?
E. Preview of Main Points: (this preview should reinforce the mode you have selected)
1. First, I will describe ?
2. Second, I will examine ?
3. Third, I will discuss?
II. Restate the thesis, an exact statement as above.
A. Statement of the first main point; you should not use a source in this sentence.
1. Idea of development or support for the first main point
a. Support material (ex: statistics, quotation, etc.- cite source)
b. Support material (ex: statistics, quotation, etc. - cite source)
2. More development or support
a. Support material (ex: statistics, quotation, etc.- cite source)
b. Support material (ex: statistics, quotation, etc. - cite source)
3. More development if needed
Transition: (Required) Statement of movement that looks back (internal summary) and looks forward (preview).
B. Statement of the second main point. Do not use a source in this statement.
1. Idea of development or support for the first main point
a. Support material (ex: statistics, quotation, etc. - cite source)
b. Support material (ex: statistics, quotation, etc. - cite source)
2. More development or support
a. Support material (ex: statistics, quotation, etc. - cite source)
b. Support material (ex: statistics, quotation, etc. - cite source)
3. More development if needed
Transition: (Required) Statement of movement that looks back (internal summary) and looks forward (preview).
C. Statement of the third main point. Do not use a source in this statement.
1. Idea of development or support for the first main point
a. Support material (ex: statistics, quotation, etc. - cite source)
b. Support material (ex: statistics, quotation, etc. - cite source)
2. More development or support
a. Support material (ex: statistics, quotation, etc. - cite source)
b. Support material (ex: statistics, quotation, etc. - cite source)
3. More development if needed
III. Conclusion
A. Review of Main Points:
1. Restate your first main point.
2. Restate your second main point.
3. Restate your third main point.
B. Restate Thesis: Exact same as above.
C. Closure: Develop a creative closing that will give the speech a sense of ending. This point may be more than one sentence. Again, you should refer to your Attention Getter.

Informative Speech Outline Example

Now that we have outlined the general format of an informative speech outline, we can go to the specifics and do one on a chosen topic before we look at the steps to take when writing an informative speech.

Title: How to Survive in the Wilderness

Specific Purpose: To inform the audience about the hacks and tips to use when stranded in the wilderness.

Central Idea/Thesis: Anyone can get stranded in the wilderness, but you must stay alive and safe by learning these survival tactics.


Attention Getter: With many people exploring the wilderness to camp and unforeseeable accidents occurring in the wilderness, it is necessary to learn some survival tactics in case one finds themselves stranded in the wilderness.

Reason to Listen: I thought I never needed these survival tactics until one day, I found myself stranded with my friends whom we had gone for a camping and hunting expedition in the wilderness. We could leverage our skills, knowledge, and abilities to stay alive long enough until we got help. Knowing these skills can help you help a family member stranded in the wilderness as you get external help.

Thesis Statement: Anyone can get stranded in the wilderness, but you must stay alive and safe by learning these survival tactics.

Credibility statement: Surviving in the wilderness is about skills, knowledge, and ability; it is not about endurance or resilience. I have read and studied a collection of survival books and accounts of experts about surviving in the wilderness and researched to this end.

Preview of the Main Points:

  1. Size up the situation
  2. Survival basics
  3. Finding help

I. You need to begin by sizing up the situation, which entails preparing yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically and connecting with the surroundings.

  1. Size up the surroundings
  2. Size up your physical and mental states
  3. Size up your equipment

Transition: having discussed how to size up the surroundings, and physical and mental states, let us now consider the survival tactics you need to master and use when stranded.

II. Next, you need to understand and apply the survival basics.

  1. Obtaining water
  2. Acquiring food
  3. Building a fire
  4. Locating shelter

Transition: Knowing the survival tactics that will secure you and those you are with, you need to understand the steps to get help.

  1. You then need to find help wherever you can, and there are different strategies.
  2. Call or signal rescue personnel
  3. Wilderness navigation
  4. Leaving "bread crumb" trail

III. Conclusion

  1. I began by giving a personal account of how these survival tactics came in handy when we were stuck in the wilderness.
  2. To get yourself home safe and secure, size up the situation, apply the survival basics and find help using the strategies we discussed.
  3. Restate the thesis: Learning survival tactics can help you escape the wilderness unharmed.
  4. As can be seen from what I have discussed, surviving when stranded in the wilderness should not be challenging if you know what to do. Survival tactics help you manage the situation better.

After the conclusion, you should include all the references used in your speech. And if you are stuck with writing a perfect outline for your informative speech, we have expert writers who understand the art of public speaking; they will be glad and ready to help.

So, what steps should you take after writing the outline?

Steps for Creating an informative Speech

Your aim in writing an informative speech is to teach your audience something using factual and objective information.

1. Select a sound, informative speech topic

Whether you are writing a formal, informal, vocational, or impromptu informative speech, you must begin by choosing a befitting topic. Your topic can be anchored on events, people, processes, places, concepts, phenomena, issues, and objects. For example, you can write about things such as identity theft, gun violence, social networking, data privacy, cryptocurrencies, ethical hacking, elections, Pi day, scrapbooking, photo essays, road accidents, teenage pregnancy, or concepts such as sustainability, greenwashing, price gouging, and/or feminism. To select a good topic for an informative speech, consider the length requirements, your interests, and the audience of the speech. Then, narrow down the topic to a realistic topic idea that resonates with the audience. Experts recommend that you ask yourself these questions to help narrow down your topic:

You can then refine your topic using the SOCRAPR model. First, select a subject you are interested in when you have not been assigned a topic. Next, gather various resources that are reliable to understand your topic better. Also, understand the concepts or processes you are describing.

2. Research your topic

This is where you bring your research skills, which will make or break your informative speech. You can only excel at being an excellent informative speaker if you know what you are talking about.

Look up information from books, periodicals, newspapers, magazines, and credible websites. Any credible source can be used to support ideas in your informative speech.

Find engaging information that can attract your audience's attention. Successful students who score high marks on their informative speeches have information that surprises or defies the audience's expectations.

For instance, if you are writing an engaging speech about the reincarnation of Ponzi schemes during the cryptocurrency age, inform your audience about Charles Ponzi and the tactics he used back then, then connect them to what swindlers are using today. Such a speech will have a 3-D engagement with the audience. To research and find credible sources, you can use the CRAAP test.

3.  Write an outline

Create an outline for your informative speech to determine what falls where and in what order. You can use a point-by-point outline format or the complete sentence format. The outline will depend on your chosen organizational strategies and the type of informative speech you are writing.

You must be sure of the organizational pattern to present ideas in your speech. You can take three approaches when giving ideas in your speech:

4. Write your first draft for the informative speech

When you have an outline ready, you can take a break to refresh your mind and begin drafting your speech.

You should begin or start your informative speech with an attention-grabber or a hook. It could be a fact, shocking statistics, anecdote, rhetorical question, or fact. You should then give some background information on the topic, including why the audience should listen to your speech, and finalize the introduction paragraph by highlighting the thesis and signposting the ideas in your speech.

After you are done with the introduction, develop the body paragraphs of your speech. As you draft the body of your informative speech, begin by writing topic sentences that bear the central idea of the paragraphs.

You should then incorporate evidence into your speech. You need to determine how to incorporate evidence through the supporting sentences. The scope of this will be determined by the type of informative speech you are writing. You can use definitions, descriptions, demonstrations, and explanations. Ensure that you cite the information accordingly. Also, have your concluding sentences refined and presented to create a good flow.

You should then end your informative speech with a vivid conclusion. Your conclusion paragraph should re-cap the main points, restate the thesis, and offer some closure to the audience. Finally, the concluding paragraph should have a call-to-action, something the audience should know or do.

5. Revise, refine, and polish the draft to a final draft

After everything is written, and because your focus is to write first and edit later, you need to edit and proofread the informative speech. Mainly, a speech should be edited and proofread after taking a break.

The first thing you should do is to ensure that your speech is not boring or too long. Next, you should rephrase your statements, cut out the ambiguous points, and incorporate transitions, vocabulary, and words that add flavor to the speech.

To edit and proofread even better, imagine yourself as the listener or audience of the same informative speech. Remove information overload from your speech as you refine it.

When composing the informative speech, ensure you read it aloud to determine areas that make little or no sense. Check out our self-editing checklist in case you are wondering where to start. You can hire an editor to edit your informative speech for you.

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