Much has been made of different kinds of speeches. Two of these, the persuasive and the entertaining speeches, require quite a bit of specialized effort. In order to deliver a speech of persuasion, you have to develop lawyerly skills of argumentation, whether or not you are sharing the podium with someone representing an opposing view (see Chapter 9). To be able to deliver a primarily entertaining speech, you would want to develop a strong sense of humor (see Chapter 6).
But most speeches need to inform the audience to one degree or another. To convince people of your point of view, you need to provide background to the issues. For the audience to appreciate a joke at a roast, it needs to be reminded of the joke's basis in the characteristics of the person being celebrated. So let's take a closer look at informative or informational speeches as a model for creating any kind of presentation. Examples include:
Training employees to use a new software program
Reporting on a comparison of competitive products to the sales force
Teaching a Sunday school class about the life of St. Paul
Giving an oral report about the French Revolution in a college class
Providing an eyewitness account in court
Giving the toast at a wedding Being interviewed on TV
Delivering a financial status report to the board of directors of a nonprofit organization
Presenting an award to someone at an industry convention
Teaching a class on how to invest
Offering the eulogy at a funeral
Almost everyone will have the occasion to need the ability to deliver informative speeches, no matter how short. If you are selected to give a presentation, it will probably be because people believed you would provide a fair and thorough account of the subject within the time limit. Remind yourself of that when you pick and choose among the available facts and information on your topic.