How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Types of speech
There are a number of common types of speech. Here are many of them with brief descriptions.
Speeches of introduction are often relatively short as they present another speaker or make a newcomer known to a regular group.
The introduction speech typically names the person and gives some detail of their history and perhaps qualifications, with the general purpose of increasing the credibility of the person and the general trust that the audience might place in them.
Introductions are typical at meetings and when a person speaking at a conference is presented to the audience by the master of ceremonies.
Welcoming is a process of acceptance and may be a ritual gatekeeping activity where a person formally joins a group. It is similar to the introduction, which may be given at the same time, with the welcome being addressed to the new person and introduction addressed to current people.
The welcome also includes orientation, describing the environment in which people will be working or living, and is generally intended to make the person feel comfortable in that context.
A typical place where a welcome speech is used is at the beginning of a conference. It may also be found in the formality of joining an established organization.
A nomination speech is a formal process where a person who is hoping to be elected to an official post is presented to electing body or group, for example where a person is nominated to be on a board of trustees.
Nomination speeches are usually relatively short and typically praise the person, listing their qualifications and experience that will make them an ideal candidate.
A presentation speech occurs where a person or group is being given an award of some kind. typically in recognition of work that they have done.
Presentation speeches can be like nomination speeches or introductions in the way they praise the person, although the focus is usually on the past rather than a hoped-for future. They can be very formal, such as in the presentation of medals, or fun and informal, such as when a person is leaving a company. Where the audience does not know the award, this may be described in further detail, showing how it is to be coveted by describing what has to be done to win it and listing other award-winners.
Tribute speeches are similar to other speeches of praise described above and may be included in them. Tributes can also be to people who have died and include eulogies, farewells and dedications. They may also be included in speeches of thanks or acceptance, where a person pays tribute to those who have helped.
Speeches of thanks cover a wide range of situations where a person has received something, which may be an award or simple honor.
Thanking is a reciprocal activity, where the thanker repays the thanked for some benefit they have received and, by doing so, restores the balance of social capital.
Thanks may be given by people speaking at conferences to the organizers, the audience, their mentors and so on.
A speech of acceptance is used when a person has been formally given something, such as an award, tribute or other items mentioned in the sections above.
Acceptance speeches can be a point of ritual closure, where a person offered something formally takes it on. They often give thanks and praise in return and may offer a humble commitment to be worthy of the honor bestowed. Where others might have won the award, such as where it is a competition of some kind, then the speaker may be generous in praise of them.
Speeches that inform are typical of conferences where research or opinion is presented for the audience to understand and possibly use.
Information speeches may be simple and factual or they may be enlivened with various props, images and animated presentation. If the goal is that the audience remembers, then this can be important and merit much preparation and practice.
Persuasion speeches go beyond information as they seek to change the beliefs or viewpoints of the audience. In doing so they may use many of the methods and devices described in this website.
Typical persuasion speeches include sales presentations and political speeches, where the speaker's livelihood may depend on them succeeding in their goals.
Some speeches seek only to entertain and may well include significant humor. They may also use amazing facts and weird stories of what people get up to.
Speeches of information and persuasion may also include aspects of entertainment (as can other speeches) as this is a method by which the audience may be relaxed, trust gained and attention held. Entertainment coupled with education has been called 'edutainment' and is another useful coupling. Even political speeches use humor and entertainment to connect the feel-good factor with strong messages.