4 speaking essentials to inform an audience

Clarity is key to getting information through—but making it stick? Try storytelling with vivid images.

If you are delivering a public speech, the goal should be to communicate as clearly as possible. In business settings, the more succinctly you communicate information, the better. This might not be true of an after-dinner or humorous speech. A speech can be entertaining even though it contains little or no new information. However, when you are speaking to inform, your audience will appreciate hearing information that is relevant to their concerns delivered in a manner they can absorb.

I believe there are four main ways of speaking to inform. More or less information can be delivered in a clear or unclear manner.

1. The foreign policeman

The least-useful form of communication is to deliver little or no information in an unclear manner. A classic example would be a tourist in France, who does not speak the language, hearing a command from a gendarme. The amount of information is minimal, but failure to understand it could be fatal.

Acronyms convey information in an abbreviated form. But if members of the audience do not understand them, they are left in the dark. As brief as they are, always spell them out.

2. Road signs

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