Public Speaking – 5 different SPEECH TYPES

This is an AI generated transcript so please forgive any errors and spelling mistakes. 

When you create a speech or write presentation, do you know what the purpose of it is and you know which of the five categories of speech that it falls into? That’s what I get to discuss today.

Before I do that let me say hello, my name is Shola Kaye. I’m a professional speaker, a speaking coach and a performer based in London. I have clients all around the world. Typically corporations, organisations and individuals who want to move their career forwards or grow their business with public speaking.

Public Speaking – how knowing the speech types will help you

Do you understand the five different kinds of speech you might be needing to make? And do you know exactly which category it falls into? Because this could make the actual speech creation and delivery process a lot simpler and clearer for you. That’s what I want to chat about today.

I was running a workshop online with a group of people that I work with in my coaching program and there was one of the participants, just yesterday, who is making a speech at a big conference. She’s very keen to turn audience members into potential clients. However, the speech that she had created was pretty much an informational speech, with very little in the way of call to action or even creating some sort of pain points or desires in the audience for them to take the next step with her.

That led me to thinking “I’m gonna film a few videos tomorrow, what can I talk about?” and so this seemed like a natural topic to share. I’m actually going to share a bit of information from my book How to be D.I.V.A. at Public Speaking because why reinvent the wheel when the content is already here? So in the chapter on being a valuable speaker I discussed the five different kinds of presentation you may want to make. I want to go through them now with you.

Public Speaking – inform or educate

So the first one is to inform or to educate. Typically, if we are lecturers, teachers, have some information that we want to convey to the audience this is our go-to presentation type. I love inform and educate together because they are pretty similar, really. If you’ve got some information perhaps it’s a new development in your industry or your profession, or you want to move people onto understanding something but they didn’t know before, then this is your go-to presentation type. So that’s number one, work just to inform or to educate.

Public Speaking – persuade or sell

Now moving on from that is number two, which is to persuade or to sell. I understand that if you are trying to get people to take action, the action may not be that they have to buy something. But persuasion and sales are quite, I’d say, inextricably linked. If you want to get someone to buy something you have to persuade them into it. Or if you want to persuade someone of something, you’re selling them an idea.

And just to mention here that your presentation could be a mixture of more than one type. So you might be informing but then also persuading. So you inform at the beginning and then you persuade people to take action based on the information you’ve given them. That’s number two persuasion or selling.

Public Speaking – entertaining or amusing

The third type of presentation that you may want to make is entertaining or amusing. Perhaps you’ve been brought in as an after-dinner or an after-lunch speaker and typically at a conference people have just eaten their lunch or dinner. Their bellies are full, their brains might be a little bit sluggish and you’re there for some light entertainment, and to kind of get people moving through that sort of slump on to the next stage. You might be witty, you might be humorous, you might be a comedian, you might just be telling some enjoyable stories that people can relax and kick back and get into. That could be your goal.

Public Speaking – inspiring or motivational

The fourth one is to inspire or to motivate. We have those optical motivational speakers, very much rah-rah-rah. “You want to do this, you want to do that, this is important rah-rah-rah“. They can get you fired up and juiced up during the talk. One of the issues with motivational speaking is that quite often it doesn’t last beyond the actual talk, the presentation, the speech. As soon as you walk out of the door and that speaker is not there anymore, and they’re not using their energy to inspire you, then you just sort of fall back to where you were beforehand.

I’ve tied in with that inspirational speaking. Inspirational speaking, instead of it being so kind of rah-rah-rah it might be telling you a story that moves you within and inspires you to change your life or to take action on an important area for you. I thought those together inspire and motivate, they are actually quite a little bit different. These days speakers are moving on from calling themselves motivational and they’re more likely to call themselves an inspirational speaker, just to separate themselves from that kind of rah-rah you can do it, but you’re on your own type of attitude.

Public Speaking – transformational

Then finally we’ve got a transformational speaker. The idea here is that when you’re speaking to the audience you’re actually getting them to take some action in the room. That will then give them not so much the motivation but the momentum to carry on. So you start something off for them there and then in the room while you’re speaking. Maybe you’re getting them to take part in exercises or activities that get them over that initial hurdle, the initial hump. That means that they can carry on with those exercises and activities and change their lives or change their circumstances in some way. So that’s being a transformational or transformative speaker.

Public Speaking – before you create your speech think about what you want to achieve

Those are the five types. There are probably more, but you’ve got these five areas that you can work with. As you create your presentation, before you even get into it into the nuts and bolts, think about what it is that you’re trying to achieve. Are you 1 trying to inform or educate, are you 2 trying to persuade or sell, are you 3 trying to entertain or amuse your audience, are you 4 for trying to inspire or motivate, and finally 5 are you trying to transform your audience?

I think in an ideal world all speeches would be transformative in some way. If you’re sharing information you want that to transform that person’s life or you want the person to act upon it and make change in the world. If you are persuading or selling again that should be transformative. The idea that you’re getting someone to change their opinion about something might then lead them to take a different action. Or you’re spelling them a product or service which changes their lives and again makes them act in a different way.

I think in the same way as I’ve made the case for those two types of presentation being transformative, you can carry on through the other two kinds entertaining, amuse and also inspire and motivate and see how you might work those two have a transformative element also. If you think about entertaining, it could be the healing power of laughter makes people walk out of the room they feel better, they take decisions that perhaps they wouldn’t have done before because they feel energised and infused. That’s enough to change their lives. You could be surprised.

Public Speaking – work with these to make your life easier

To summarise, I’ve talked about the five different kinds of presentation. The most important thing here is before you sit down – or stand at your standing desk – to create a new talk or new presentation, understand what it is that you’re trying to achieve. See if it fits into the one of these five categories or perhaps more than one of them. That should make your life a bit easier as you create the presentation because you should keep in mind all the way through what it is that you’re trying to do. Is it to educate? Is it to amuse? Is it to transform?

That’s it from me. If you’d like to find out some more then go to and you can download my freebie. It’s called five short speech frameworks, that you can use to help you write a speech in a hurry. I’d love to hear more from you, reach out to me on LinkedIn. Keep in touch and I’ll see you next time.


P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways I can help you improve your speaking or grow your business:

1 – Get my free guide – 27 places to find speaking opportunities.

Find out where your next speaking opportunity might come from – whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or experienced speaker.

2 – Join my Facebook Group – Public Speaking for Female Coaches and Entrepreneurs.

Join us for tips, discussions and community!

3 – Are you an ambitious coach, consultant or small business owner? If you’d like to wow your audiences and find more speaking opportunities, then watch the FREE on-demand training video here:

4 – Find out about my VIP Days and private coaching. Book me for a VIP half or full-day session if you want to make some serious progress!