The Types of Speech According to Purpose

What are the Types of Speech According to Purpose?

The art of speechmaking transcends mere verbal communication; it is a powerful tool that serves a myriad of purposes from informing and persuading to entertaining and inspiring. Understanding the various types of speeches and their purposes can significantly enhance one’s effectiveness as a communicator. Whether it’s an academic setting, a corporate boardroom, or a social gathering, the type of speech you choose can make a significant difference in how your message is received and acted upon.

The key to effective speaking lies in matching the purpose of your speech to the needs and expectations of your audience. Below, we explore the diverse landscape of speeches, categorized by their primary goals: Informative, Persuasive, and Entertaining/Special Occasion. Each category has its unique set of characteristics, aimed at fulfilling specific communicative functions.

Article Highlights

  • Informative Speeches: Offering unbiased, well-researched information.
  • Persuasive Speeches: Changing or reinforcing audience opinions or behaviors.
  • Entertaining and Special Occasion Speeches: Amusing, celebrating, or commemorating.
  • Technical and Expository Speeches: Breaking down complex information.
  • Sales Pitch: Promoting products or services.
  • Political Speech: Advocating for policy or candidate support.
  • Narrative Speech: Storytelling for impact.
  • Audience Engagement: Knowing the audience’s needs and expectations.
  • Speech Effectiveness: Matching speech type to communicative function.

The Types of Speech According to Purpose

Informative Speeches:

Informative Speech: An informative speech aims purely to educate or enlighten the audience about a particular subject. This form of speech relies heavily on research, factual evidence, and data to convey information effectively. It leaves out opinions and attempts to offer a neutral point of view. For example, a climate scientist might deliver an informative speech on the mechanics of global warming, explaining the greenhouse effect, the role of human activity, and current global statistics.

Expository Speech: Expository speeches go beyond the straightforward dissemination of information and often include the speaker’s interpretation or viewpoint. While they still aim to inform, they also seek to clarify, explain, or demystify complex topics. For instance, a financial analyst might offer an expository speech about a new government tax policy, explaining not just the mechanics but also its implications on the economy and public opinion.

Technical Speech: A technical speech focuses on providing specialized or complex information in a way that makes it accessible to the general audience. These speeches are common in academic and professional settings, where in-depth understanding of a subject is required. For example, a medical researcher might offer a technical speech on the latest advancements in immunotherapy for cancer, breaking down complex medical jargon into layman’s terms.

Persuasive Speeches:

Persuasive Speech: Persuasive speeches are intended to sway the audience toward a specific viewpoint or action. These types of speeches use not only facts but also emotions, logic, and sometimes ethical appeals to influence the audience. For instance, a human rights activist might deliver a persuasive speech advocating for the rights of refugees, using factual evidence, emotional storytelling, and ethical arguments to convince the audience.

Sales Pitch: A sales pitch is a targeted form of persuasive speech that aims to prompt the audience into making a purchase or investment. The focus is usually on the benefits and advantages of the product or service being offered. A real estate agent, for example, might use a sales pitch to showcase the positive aspects of a property, from its prime location to its investment potential, to persuade potential buyers.

Political Speech: Political speeches generally aim to persuade the audience to support a particular candidate, policy, or political ideology. These speeches often combine factual information, emotional appeal, and ethical considerations to achieve their purpose. For example, a politician running for office might outline their vision for healthcare reform, using statistics on current inefficiencies, stories of individuals impacted, and ethical considerations about the right to healthcare.

Entertaining and Special Occasion Speeches:

Entertaining Speech: An entertaining speech aims primarily to amuse the audience, although it can also inform or persuade in a lighter, more engaging manner. Comedians, motivational speakers, and entertainers often use this form of speech. For example, a comedian might use humor to highlight societal issues, making the audience think while they laugh.

Special Occasion Speech: Special occasion speeches are designed for specific events like weddings, graduations, or award ceremonies. These speeches are often shorter and can be either informative or entertaining, depending on the occasion. For instance, a wedding toast might share anecdotes about the couple, bringing humor or sentiment to the celebration.

Narrative Speech: Narrative speeches involve storytelling to make a point or engage the audience. These speeches can be both entertaining and informative, serving multiple purposes. A guest speaker at a college commencement might share their personal journey, offering life lessons and inspiring the graduates as they step into a new phase of life.


The power of a well-crafted speech lies not only in its content but also in its intent. By understanding the different types of speeches and their purposes, speakers can more effectively reach their audience, conveying not just information but influencing opinions and evoking emotions. Whether it’s to inform, persuade, or entertain, choosing the right type of speech amplifies the message and enhances the impact it can have on an audience.

In the words of Winston Churchill, “A good speech should be like a woman’s skirt; long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest.” No matter the setting or the audience, being mindful of the purpose of your speech will guide its structure, its content, and its delivery. In this ever-connected world, the power of the spoken word remains undiminished, and understanding its types and purposes is key to being an effective communicator.

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