Informative Speech

Step One: Select Your Topic and Purpose

First, how do  you select a topic? What makes a topic suitable?

Topics are everywhere. A topic is suitable if it is worthwhile and appropriate for both you and your audience.

You should select a topic that you already know something about and that you are interested in. Try not to cover a large topic area, instead focus on a small area or niche of the broader category. For example if your topic is the benefits of education you might focus in on the benefits of joining a sport in school, or the benefits of education in a social environment.

After you have picked your topic-pick your purpose. The purpose in an informative speech is to create understanding on a topic. For example you choose to inform your class about the History of Ceramics, this is your purpose, but your topic is the History of Ceramics.

Step Two: Analyze Your Audience

We have talked a great deal about analyzing your audience. Your audience should guide your topic and purpose. Ask yourself: Who are they? What do they already know? What do you think they would like to know more about? What special interests do they have? What opinions, attitudes, and beliefs do they have? What needs might they have?

Step Three: Research Your Topic

Researching your topic will help you not only give y our speech, but it will make you more believable, knowledgeable, and confident.

How do you start to research?

  1. Examine what you know. Think about your previous knowledge that you might have read, seen on the internet, talked about with friends, or even experienced yourself.
  2. Begin with a general overview. Start your research with an encyclopedia, article, book chapter, web article or something similar. This beginning research will not be your whole speech, just a small part of it. All of your information cannot come from broad sources, or your speech will not inform, but just introduce a topic.
  3. Research more specific sources. Check the sources you already have used for other places to research, many times there will be a reference or links to similar sites or articles. Get statistics, quotes, live news stories and interviews.

Important!! Open a blank word document and keep the URL's of the websites you visited on the word doc.  This will make it easy for you to come back to them when it is time to detail all of your resources in the works cited page.

Step 4: Develop Your Thesis and Main Points

Your Thesis is what you want your audience to remember. For example: Your topic is Ceramics. You want your audience to remember that without early ceramics artists we would not have computers, cell phones and anything with a silicon chip in it.

Here is a separate paper specific to developing your thesis. That paper will also clearly show you the difference between a thesis statement and a purpose statement, make sure you read it.

Once you have your thesis develop your main points. Main points can be found by asking yourself questions like what or how? For example, what were some early uses of mud/clay? -ceramic figurines, tiles, bricks.

How was it that glass was first formed and how does it relate to clay? Overheating of a kiln when firing clay produced a type of glazing.

You will want to develop several main points in your initial draft. As you a re researching jot down several things that interest you and develop main points from those.

Step Five: Support Your Main Points

Now that you have your; Topic, purpose, thesis and main points it is time to put your research to work and plug in the supportive facts for each main point. The research will be used to describe, illustrate, define and clarify your materials. Here is an example of how you might support a main point.

Main Point One:When was clay first discovered?

  1. It Is thought that clay was used as early as 24,000 BC.
  2. Clay initially was used to create animal and human figurines.
  3. The figurines were fired in kilns partially dug into the ground.
  4. 14,000 BC established human settlements in Mesopotamia and India were using clay for tiles.

Main Point Two: How was it that glass was first formed and how does it relate to clay?

  1. Glass was believed to be discovered in Egypt around 8000 BC.
  2. Overheating of kilns was found to produce a colored glaze on the pottery.
  3. Experts estimate that it was not until 1500 BC that glass was produced independently of ceramics and fashioned into separate items.

As you are developing your main points this is also the time you will begin to consider what visual aids will best serve you in presenting your informative speech.

Step 6: Organizing Your Speech Materials

Organizing your speech with an outline will help you know your material without having to write and read your materials verbatim. This is a simple process you can do for any speech or paper for that matter.  In 9th Speech you will have an outline for each speech you create.

  1. Start with your title, topic and purpose.
  2. Move on to your introduction.
  3. Then to your main points and supported materials for each.
  4. Then your conclusion.

Finally, plug-in your transitional statements between each section.

You will need to prepare an outline draft as well as a final outline. You can see an outline_example at the link. This is an  example of the outline. You rough draft will look just like this except the areas highlighted will be your information. Areas not highlighted will read just as the example does for the rough draft. Note that your rough draft does not have an introduction or conclusion yet. Your final draft will be ALL your researched and written information in the exact format.  You likely will have more than three main points and perhaps will have more support for each main point as well.

Step7: Word Your Speech

Make what you say intelligent, but make sure you do not talk down to your audience. Choose simple words over complicated. If some of the words pertaining to the speech are complicated define them for the audience so they better understand what you are talking about.

Use lots of pronouns: I, me, you, our. Avoid contractions such as can't, cannot, I'll. Try not to write your speech word for word. You will lose the conversation factor that is essential to giving a good speech. Instead use your outline. Always title your speech with something simple but catchy.

NOTE: This is important! Your assignment that is due Friday October 25th consists of your Informative speech outline (rough draft). To finish that you will need to write your Specific purpose Statement, Thesis statement and develop three main points with support. The other part of the assignment was that you read ALL of the steps on this page, write them down and bring them with you Friday. In the assignments area it said you might need them. It is highly likely that you will need them. MAKE sure you bring the 12 steps to class, written down, not on a device, on paper. If you are reading this congratulations, you are doing what needs to be done. Do not say anything to others, let them read it for themselves.

Step 8: Construct Your Introduction, Conclusion and Transitions


  1. The purpose of an introduction is to gain your listeners attention. You can do this by finding a touching story, telling a joke, using an interesting fact or anything else that is creative.
  2. Then you want to make a connection between you, the topic, and the audience. This is simple; just tell them why you are speaking on the topic you have chosen.
  3. Last, introduce what you will be talking about, like a summary of events. Your summary may be your main points, or just what you want them to know after listening to your speech.


  1. The purpose of a conclusion is to summarize your ideas.
  2. Develop a creative ending that makes your audience remember you and your speech.

Transitions: The purpose of transitions is to make each part of your speech flow naturally.

Here are some of the resources to help with this section

Introduction and conclusion paper

Transitional words and phrases

Step 9: Create, format and edit your bibliography

A bibliography, works cited or reference page is where you properly list each one of your resources. This is most likely one of the hardest pieces of this project because of the amount of detail you need to provide.

You are required to use 2 book sources, a minimum of 1 magazine, newspaper or interview, and no more than 3 web sites. We will be citing using what is called MLA guidelines. It is likely that for a five minute speech you will use more resources than the minimums. Each resource has a special way it has to be listed and punctuated. You will need to read the works cited example very carefully and spend a great deal of time on Purdue Universities site that explains the MLA guidelines. Do this before you conclude your research. You will likely need to get the information for the reference page when you are putting the page together. If you followed instructions in the research section you will have a list of websites, books or other resources on a word document so it will be much easier to track down exactly where the information came from. The works cited page is worth one hundred points.

Works Cited Rubric         Works Cited Example

Step 10: Rehearse Your Speech


Rehearse your speech at least a dozen times OUT LOUD from start to finish. Use a full length mirror; practice your facial expression and your body language. Make sure your are using the correct pronunciation. Practice using your outline and visual aid effectively. Your audience can tell if you have practiced.

Step 11: Present Your Speech

When it is your turn, go to the front of the classroom with enthusiasm. This will hide your nervousness. Notice when you are speaking, do you sounds quiet or loud? Adjust accordingly. Maintain eye contact with your whole audience not just a few people or just the teacher.

Informative Speech Rubric_present


Other Directions and information

The informative speech has several components that you will be graded on. There is one grade for a topic paragraph, an initial rough outline,  a final outline, a grade for the presentation itself, and a grade for a bibliography and how you cite your sources.  This is a long project and overall is worth more than 500 points. The presentation itself to needs to meet the following requirements.

Presentation Length
The speech needs to be 5 minutes long. There is a very small window of error, 30 seconds each side. So another words it HAS to be between 4:30 to 5:30 to get a C or above. If it is outside of that window the best you can do is a D.  The only way you know if it will be in that window is to practice…a bunch. You will also be using a visual aid.  This can be a powerpoint, a poster, short video clips, a prezi or some other means of creating a nice visual aid for your audience.


Remember, during a speech, the average person speaks at twice his/her normal rate. Make certain you have five minutes worth of material. Practice, practice, practice.