4 Types of Public Speaking (A Complete Guide)

Types of Public Speaking

The four main types of public speaking are informative, persuasive, demonstrative, and ceremonial. Understanding these will help specialize how you speak to the intention of your speech. The article goes over all the basic information, examples, and key things to note when delivering these types of speeches.

Public speaking is multifaceted. It can be done in various ways, depending on the speaker’s intention. Knowledge of these types will help you establish specific ways you can perform public speaking well. It is not typically taught in schools, but so are many other important things. Public speaking can help you in many ways in the future, so let’s get right to it!

Informative Speaking

The speaker simply intends to convey information in this. It is the most straightforward type of public speaking, which is why this category might make you wonder whether public speaking can get easier than this.

Examples of this type:

  1. A lecturer delivering content at a university
  2. A student explaining his dissertation to the class
  3. A public official explaining changes due to new policy
  4. An office worker providing information on the quarterly sales
  5. A person explaining how a game is done to his friends

Few key points to note here:

Research the topic for imformative speaking
  • Heavily research your topic: The key here is to have a large amount of knowledge about the concerned topic so you can supplement the required information with examples, statistics, etc. This will help provide you with credibility.
  • Do not look at a paper or your presentation for all your information- they should only be used for cues. Otherwise, it seems like you do not know about the topic, and your only role is to convert that written text into spoken, which can appear quite awkward. 
  • Try to keep it simple. Many believe that using complicated words will make you look smarter. To an uninformed speaker, it might. However, you might not achieve the purpose (which is to convey the information), and others might dislike you if they can sense you’re using superfluous language.
  • Keep it concise. A lot of unnecessary information and beating around the bush will take away the audience’s attention span, and you may fail to achieve your purpose again. If there is extra information that may help a select few, you may make it so that others are not affected by it by either having them reach out later if needed or providing a disclaimer so only those interested may listen to that part.

Persuasive Speaking

Persuasive Speaking

The speaker intends to persuade or convince the audience of something. This is tricky because it requires understanding the nuances of the audience’s desires and somehow relating them to your viewpoint. 

Examples include:

  1. A politician explaining why he’s the better candidate and appealing to vote for him
  2. A marketing team explaining why their product is better than competitors
  3. A lawyer explaining to the jury why the defendant is innocent
  4. A group member explaining to his peers why the project should be done his way
  5. A person explaining to their friends why their view on a topic makes sense

One mistake people make here is putting people down for particular opinions, which tends to make them defensive and then less likely to be receptive to any change. This makes sense because these opinions may have been there for a long time or in any other way strongly associated with their identity, and by putting them down for it, you’re attacking them. Even if their opinion is wrong according to you, it’s better suited to show understanding of their current beliefs and provide a convincing narrative of your topic of persuasion.

Few communication techniques are especially helpful here, although they should be used in other types of public speaking as well. 

AIDA principle is also something you might want to look into. It essentially attempts to grab consumer Attention, develop Interest, stimulate Desire to purchase, and spurs them to Action step-by-step. So what you do is contingent on these stages. For instance, to grab their attention, you might talk about an interesting story then relate it to them to develop interest then talk about how the product solves the issue, which creates a desire to purchase, and lastly, let them know easy of ordering the product and a limited time offer that spurs them to action.

Demonstrative Speaking

The intention is to teach the audience to perform a certain action. The speaker actually performs the action that is being taught while explaining it. Hence, it allows the audience to see exactly how it is done and model that behaviour later. 

The speaker must be clear and descriptive enough when explaining the process while also making sure the audience is engaged enough to take that information with them.


  1. An employee might market a laptop by talking about its features while using them simultaneously.
  2. A swimming instructor might explain how to swim while doing it.
  3. A professor might explain how to experiment while doing it.
  4. A bartender might explain how to make a cocktail while doing it.
  5. A person might explain how to perform a trick while doing it.

So as you can see, it’s just informational speech with more nonverbal communication mixed in for better understanding.

Ceremonial Speaking

Ceremonial Speaking

The intention is to get an emotional response from the audience. They are done on special occasions and tend to mark major milestones in people’s lives, such as birthdays, graduation, parties, wedding, anniversary, and funerals. 


  1. Graduation ceremony
  2. Wedding speech addressed to groom/bride.
  3. Birthday speech to a friend
  4. Party speech addressed to the host.
  5. Funeral speech for the person who passed away.

While we may appear very confident and natural when we give our speech at a party, we’re also well aware of how much time and effort it takes to get around writing the perfect speech. But it’s really not that complicated. You just need to know your audience and provide a concise, personalized speech. 

For example, if your audience includes friends and family and you’re giving this speech at a wedding ceremony, your content could include some experience involving the groom/bride, which highlights one of their positive qualities and possibly an amusing component to it. 

However, in these kinds of speeches, it’s also necessary to be careful not to forget to read the room when the audience is not receptive to certain comments. If you’re talking about a very embarrassing experience that the person would not have liked you to share, it might tense up your relationship with him. Alternatively, if you’re trying to force a positive emotional reaction by saying things you do not mean or exaggerating some experience that did not mean much for the person involved, it will be poorly received, and things might become awkward. Hence, it’s important to be genuine, even if it means starting off on a seemingly negative scenario: “We haven’t hung out as much as I wish we had. Regardless, the times we spent together have been meaningful and….” Genuinity is most commonly well-received.

Examples of all these types of public speaking

InformativePresentation on “what is good mental health.”
PersuasiveConvincing the audience to purchase a product by understanding its benefits.
DemonstrativeTeaching others how to use an application.
CeremonialGiving a speech on university farewell.

Aren’t there just three main types of public speaking? Or are there five different types of public speaking?

We have mentioned the ones that are most relevant. When people say three, they usually mean informative, persuasive and entertaining, and when people say five, they usually mean informative, persuasive, entertaining, demonstrating, and actuating. What we haven’t mentioned in the article so far are entertaining and actuating.

Entertaining includes ceremonial, along with other forms of public speaking, such as storytelling and humorous content. Essentially, this form is informal, while most others tend to be formal. The only difference is that you may add a personal touch and be more relaxed on these occasions. Feel free to check out how to make public speaking fun.

Actuating is simply a form of persuasive speaking which focuses on the action component, like getting the consumer to purchase the product. We frequently get things done through other people, so it’s quite a useful form of public speaking.

Here is a video that can help you improve your public speaking skills in all these areas:

Additionally, you can check out 20 unique ways to get better at public speaking. It’s never too late to opt for public speaking coaching!

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