Now that you’ve had a good look at some informative speech topics, let’s focus on the speech itself. The purpose of an informative speech is—yes, you guessed it—to inform your audience about a particular subject. But let’s face it: there is a ton of information that can be given about almost any subject. So how do you focus your speech?
Part of the way to focus your speech is to identify your audience. What does your audience need to know? What do they already know? Are they completely ignorant about your topic? If so, some background info or basic knowledge needs to be given, either in your introduction or as the main purpose of your speech. If the audience is already familiar with your subject, maybe you want to provide info on a specific issue. Considering your audience is the best way to begin to focus your informative speech.
The second way to focus your speech is to develop an informative speech outline. An outline is like railroad track. If your speech is the train that carries your thought to the audience, the outline is the track that gets it there. Laying the track ahead of time is critical to delivering a successful informative speech.
Here’s a helpful informative speech outline template to get us started.
Title: Give your speech a catchy title that makes people pause and say, “Yes, I would like to hear that!”
Audience: Consider your audience and tailor your speech to meet the needs of that audience.
Purpose: To inform my audience about…
Thesis: I will show or describe how/why…
1. The Hook
a. Grab the audience’s attention with:
i. a brief anecdote
ii. a question
iii. or a statement
b. Keep it brief but frame it so that it feeds right into your topic
2. The Why
a. Why this information is worth listening to
i. Tell the audience what makes this topic special
ii. What will the audience gain from it?
b. Explain how your speech has been tailored just for them
3. The Purpose
a. Tell the audience the purpose of your talk
i. What is your objective?
ii. How will you achieve it?
b. Give them a reason to want to hear it
4. The Authority
a. Tell your own background in the subject
i. If you have some background in the subject, tell your audience so that they can feel more comfortable about accepting you as an authority on the matter
ii. Getting the right tone and perception at the outset is important, so make sure all these things align—the hook, the purpose, what’s in it for the audience, and why they should listen to you
b. If you’ve done the research, give a brief statement of what books you have examined or where the bulk of your research comes from so they can check up on it themselves
5. The Map
a. Tell your audience exactly how your talk will proceed
i. Give them a preview of what’s to come
ii. List the main topics or points you will cover
b. Be sure that you cover each one!
1. First Part
a. If you need to start off with background information, this is where you do it
b. Give your audience everything they need to know to better understand your next point
c. Get them caught up to speed on your topic if you plan on introducing new material that they are not likely to know
2. Second Part
a. Develop the main idea of your speech
b. What new information are you giving about the subject?
c. How does it connect to the first part?
3. Third Part
a. Explain the meaning of the new information revealed in the Second Part
b. What does it mean going forward?
c. How does it change prior conceptions?
1. Re-state the main idea.
2. Re-cap the main points
3. Give the audience a key idea—something that they can go away with to think about more on their own
Now let’s have a look at how an actual informative speech outline might appear after a good subject is picked and researched. Remember that no matter what topic you choose, you’ll have to do some background reading so that you actually have information to share with your audience. So be sure to choose something that you yourself are interested in. This will make the research part of the process that much easier. For this outline, we’ll say our subject is “How False Intelligence Led to the Iraq Invasion.” Now let’s plug in the parts.
Title: “How False Intelligence Led to the Iraq Invasion”
Audience: College Students
Purpose: To inform my audience about how false intelligence was used to drum up support for the post-9/11 invasion of Iraq.
Thesis: I will provide information on how the plans for destabilization in the Middle East were set in motion by a small group of people in government office.
a. 9/11 was a great tragedy for the United States. It was also a great opportunity for military intervention abroad.
2. The Why
a. Understanding how 9/11 allowed for a small office in the State Department to cook up false intelligence to provide a pretext for war in Iraq is critical to making sure such scenarios don’t happen again. Currently, we can see a re-run of this approach with regard to Syria and its alleged use of “chemical weapons”—an allegation that a simple assessment of the facts will quickly demolish. In the post-9/11 world, however, allegations come quick and hard and support is given them by world leaders before they are adequately assessed as true or false. This is dangerous both for the Middle East and for the United States, as blowback is one potential form of fallout that can result in more tragic consequences.
3. The Purpose
a. The purpose of this speech is to provide you with the information surrounding the invasion of Iraq, how the idea evolved, and why it happened.
4. The Authority
a. Having read many works on this subject and obtained a clear understanding of what happened during the lead-up to the invasion, I would like to share with you the information that I have found in hopes of helping you to better understand the reasons for the invasion.
b. The first source I will use is the Israeli policy paper by Oded Yinon from the 1980s entitled “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties.” It lays out the vision for how Israel should expand its borders and destroy its enemies.
c. The second major source is an article in The New Yorker by Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh entitled “Selective Intelligence.”
5. The Map
a. First, I will discuss the background of Middle Eastern policy, where it originated, and how it came to be adopted by the U.S.
b. Second, I will show how 9/11 set the stage for a massive military campaign in the Middle East.
c. Third, I will explain how intelligence was fabricated in order to provide a pre-text for the invasion.
d. Fourth, I will indicate how all of these points have fit together to form the basis for our present involvement in the Middle East.
1. Part One: A New Middle East
a. It is important to understand the context in which the post-9/11 invasion of Iraq was situated.
b. In 1948 Israel was recognized as a state in the area formerly known as Palestine. It was a small state roughly the size of New Jersey. By the end of the 1960s, however, it had expanded its borders—notably through the Six Days War—and virtually doubled its size.
c. By the 1980s, when Oded Yinon published “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties” in the Hebrew journal KIVUNIM (Directions): A Journal for Judaism and Zionism, the nation was looking for ways to expand its influence even more.
d. The resources of the Middle East were valuable for all. Oil and natural gas and water were (and still are) all in demand—and the strategic laying of pipelines was an issue that would involve both Middle Eastern countries as well as countries outside of the region—from Russia to Europe to the U.S. Who controlled the flow of oil and gas controlled to some extent the market.
e. Oded Yinon’s Plan in the 1980s was for Israel to assert itself in the region by destabilizing its neighboring countries, which it deemed a threat. Yinon wrote, and I quote:
“The dissolution of Syria and Iraq…into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front in the long run, while the dissolution of the military power of those states serves as the primary short term target. Syria will fall apart, in accordance with its ethnic and religious structure, into several states such as in present day Lebanon, so that there will be a Shi’ite Alawi state along its coast, a Sunni state in the Aleppo area, another Sunni state in Damascus hostile to its northern neighbor, and the Druzes who will set up a state, maybe even in our Golan, and certainly in the Hauran and in northern Jordan. This state of affairs will be the guarantee for peace and security in the area in the long run, and that aim is already within our reach today. Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel’s targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel” (Yinon, 1982, par. 22-23).
f. Here one can plainly see that what happened in the years immediately following 9/11 was spelled out in a strategic vision by Yinon some two decades prior.
2. Part Two: Bogus Intel
a. But what does Yinon’s strategy have to do with the U.S. invasion of Iraq? This was an Israeli strategy—not an American strategy, you will say. And you would be correct. However, leading up to the invasion there existed within the U.S. government “a cabal,” as they called themselves—which Seymour Hersh (2003) points out in The New Yorker—led by pro-Israel agents such as Abram Shulsky, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Doug Feith, Scooter Libby and others. Hersh (2003) tells us that the Cabal—“a small cluster of policy advisers and analysts…based in the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans (OSP)”—cooked up and paraded the bogus intel that resulted in Colin Powell testifying before the UN about Iraqi mobile weapons labs and WMDs.
b. Indeed, all the actual evidence indicated that Iraq posed no threat whatsoever to the U.S. The United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission had conducted over 700 inspections in Iraq from November 2002 to March 2003. The UN reported that there was no evidence of Iraq having “weapons of mass destruction or significant quantities of proscribed items” (Cirincione, Mathews, Perkovich, Orton, 2004, p. 35).
c. Yet the OSP fed the Bush Administration their own reports, which they based on an unverifiable source codenamed CURVEBALL. According to CURVEBALL, the UN had been unable to find evidence of Iraq’s WMD program because the program was literally on wheels—i.e., Saddam was using mobile weapons labs (Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community’s Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq, 2004, p. 181). This was not hard evidence but rather what the CIA termed “soft” data—data that really could not be relied upon because there was no way to establish its veracity.
3. Part Three: A Failure of Will
a. Yet where was the CIA in all of this? Unfortunately, the CIA did little to try to dissuade the Bush Administration from acting on the OSP’s bogus intel. The CIA and MI6, “both of whom realized that policymakers were expressing an unwarranted alarmist stance toward Iraq, stood by mutely for the most part” (Pfiffner, Phythian, 2008, p. 178). CIA Director George Tenet along with Britain’s MI6, which did nothing to correct the mistaken assumption that UK and US leaders were making regarding the “soft” data put forward by CURVEBALL and the OSP, stood by as the media began beating the drums of war.
b. With the specter of 9/11 still fresh in everyone’s mind, the OSP took advantage of Bush’s desire to act decisively. It thus produced false evidence (such as the smuggling of uranium into Iraq via Niger) to give a pretext for invasion. Linking Saddam to 9/11 in everyone’s mind gave the invasion even greater “moral” grounds.
c. But as everyone would come to realize afterwards, the intelligence had been wrong. The OSP had essentially tricked the US and the UK into executing the strategy penned by Yinon two decades earlier.
d. Policy had trumped actual intelligence. The leaders of the West had made themselves into the puppets of a self-identifying Cabal.
1. When Israel became a state in the Middle East in 1948, a new order in the region began to be set in motion. Today, this order is still being worked out—but, as has been shown, it is following perfectly the strategy laid out in the 1980s by Israel’s Oded Yinon. The invasion of Iraq and—even today’s war in Syria—has been linked to the work of pro-Israel agents in the Pentagon and the U.S. State Department.
2. And, even today, as Russia helps Syria to combat those trying to destabilize the state and turn it into another Iraq, Western media has ratcheted up the attacks on Russia. Senator McCain has called Russia a greater threat than ISIS in an attempt to fuel the fire.
3. The lesson that can be learned from this is that in order to stop the senseless wars that few want, Americans must be aware of the actual people who describe themselves as a Cabal; they must be aware of their policies and why they are being implemented and put into place. Only then can Americans begin to take action.
Using an informative speech outline to help guide you is a great way to ensure that you stay on track and stay focused in your delivery. Imagine your audience as guests on your train of thought. You want them to enjoy the ride and go with you to your destination in comfort and security. So be thoughtful, give them everything they will need to get where you want them to get with as few obstacles as possible. The outline is the surest way to make that happen!
Cirincione, J., Mathews, J., Perkovich, G., Orton, A. (2004). WMD in Iraq: Evidence and implications. DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Hersh, S. (2003). Selective Intelligence. The New Yorker. Retrieved from http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2003/05/12/selective-intelligence
Pfiffner, J., Phythian, M. (2008). Intelligence and National Security Policymaking on Iraq: British and American Perspectives. TX: Texas A&M University Press.
Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community’s Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq. (2004). United States Select Senate Committee on Intelligence.
Yinon, O. (1982). A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties. KIVUNIM (Directions): A Journal for Judaism and Zionism, 14: 5742.