Informative Speeches about Objects, Processes, and Concepts

Learning Objectives

Identify characteristics of informative speeches about objects, processes, or concepts.

Speeches about Objects

An object is something that has physical existence—it can be perceived with the senses. Examples of objects would include institutions like the college you attend, places like the Grand Canyon, substances like coffee, and inanimate things like a musical instrument.

Conrad recently bought a piece of Puerto Rican artwork during his trip to the island. He is very excited about this beautiful painting and wants to share how he procured it with his friends. When his friends drop by for a visit, he tells them all about the painting. He is engaging in an informal informative speech about an object.

Unlike an informal description of an object, however, a formal speech about an object needs to have a clear purpose and structure. The audience members need to know why they are learning about this object, and they need to learn about it in a clear and structured way. (We’ll dive deeper into the question of structure in the next section.)

To watch: Steve Jobs

One of the most famous speeches about an object is the speech in which Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone.

You can view the transcript for “Steve Jobs introduces iPhone in 2007” here (opens in new window).

Speeches about Processes

A process is an action involving a predictable series of changes, phases, or steps. When you give a speech about a process, you are informing your audience about how something works or how something is made or done. A speech about how to apply for a scholarship, how to bake bread, or how recycling works would be examples of process speeches, as would any speech where you physically demonstrate how to do something—such as how to change a flat tire or how to play a guitar.

To Watch: Shantell Martin

In this video, visual artist Shantell Martin discusses her process of drawing.

You can view the transcript for “Shantell Martin: Follow the Pen” here (opens in new window).

What to watch:

Since Martin’s artistic work is so process-oriented, her description of the art is closely connected to the way she creates. “Put the pen down and then just go with it. The pen knows where it’s going.” Halfway through the video, Martin also talks about her process of becoming an artist and how her environment affected the visual works she created.

Speeches about Concepts

A concept is an idea, belief, principle, or theory. Bioethics, human rights, free speech, religious freedom, and karma are examples of concepts. What all concepts have in common is that they are abstract or general ideas. As a result, speeches about concepts can often be more difficult to prepare and deliver than speeches about more concrete subjects like people or events.

To Watch: Brian Green, “That whole General Relativity thing”

In this clip from the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, physics professor and science educator Brian Greene explains how gravity works. (The explanation begins at 3:35.)

You can view the transcript for “Brian Greene Explains That Whole General Relativity Thing” here (opens in new window).

What to watch for:

Green’s speech shows how effective a visual demonstration can be to explain difficult concepts. Saying that gravity warps the fabric of space-time is one thing, but demonstrating it on a piece of actual fabric makes the concept clear and memorable.

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