Focus – what types of speeches are there?

Updated: Nov 1, 2018

What types of speeches are there?

You may as well ask, how long is a ball of string?

What the different speech types are is not set in stone. There isn’t a three thousand year old rule about this.

However, categorising our speeches can be useful. When you’re feeling lost about the direction your speech is taking, working out a category that it lies under can help.

The four speech types

It is often said that there are four types of speeches. They are:

  • The speech to inform

  • The speech to entertain

  • The speech to motivate/inspire

  • The special occasion speech

The speech to inform

This is where the speaker is telling the audience about an event, a process, a place, a thing or about people. It is designed to elevate the knowledge of the person.

The speech to motivate/inspire

This speech is designed to persuade the person to carry out a particular action or to believe a particular thing. The word motivate comes from the Latin word, movere, which means ‘to move’.

The word inspiration can be traced back to another Latin word, inspiratio, which means to breath into, or inhale, the spirit.

An inspirational or motivational speech is designed to compel someone to modify their behavior, or change the way they think.

The special occasion speech

This type of speech can be as varied as a eulogy, a wedding speech, a roast or a toast. It may be humorous or serious, and the length may run from a few minutes to much longer.

Royal Arcade Melbourne Victoria

The entertaining speech

This may be a humorous speech or it may be a speech designed to elicit excitement or drama. It may be a story or a series of events that form a whole.


There is overlap in these speech types; in fact, there needs to be overlap. An informative speech may also need to motivate or inspire the audience. A special occasion speech should also entertain you. It’s not unusual for a eulogy to provoke some laughter in the audience.

Let these categories help you, not hinder you. When you get stuck next time, ask yourself this: ‘What kind of speech am I writing?’

Knowing this may very well point you in the right direction.

Likable links: & Speech Topics


Recent Posts

See All