4 Fundamental Types of Speeches and Their Uses

It’s easy to think of public speaking as one indistinguishable category of speeches. In reality, there are distinct classifications that make up unique styles. Knowing the difference can help you decide which you should use and how to prepare. Here are four fundamental types of speeches. 

Impromptu Speech: Unprepared speech, not written, not memorized

Impromptu speeches are the most common of all speech types. Any occasion that calls for you to deliver an unexpected monologue in front of a group qualifies. Although they sound daunting, people successfully deliver these spur-of-the-moment speeches every day. You may be asked to speak in a business meeting, give an acceptance speech for an unexpected award, or offer inspiring words to your soccer team. Impromptu speeches are typically given to deliver a quick, informal message.

Manuscript Speech: A prepared, written speech, presented word-for-word with aid of a teleprompter or physical document

A manuscript speech is appropriate when professionalism is of the utmost importance. Because the presentation is written and edited well in advance, you have the opportunity to practice your pacing, tone, and pauses. Manuscript speeches are perfect for scenarios that require precise words and little-to-no deviation from the script. Important meetings, testimonies, and formal public speeches often rely on manuscript formats.

Memorized Speech: A prepared speech that is totally committed to memory

Memorized speeches are similar to manuscript speeches, in that they are carefully crafted and thoroughly rehearsed. The major difference is manuscript speeches rely on written prompts. Memorized speeches use nothing more than your mind. Memorized speeches are useful if you plan to be mobile while presenting. They are also useful if you want to maintain steady eye contact with your audience. Live demonstrations and motivational speeches regularly employ memorization.

Extemporaneous Speech: A prepared speech, not fully memorized, presented with aid of notes or outline

Extemporaneous speeches are a combination of manuscript and memorized speeches. While they aren’t expected to be completely memorized, they don’t rely on a scripted read. Extemporaneous speeches land somewhere in the middle. They offer a written outline to help you remember your format and important points. Class presentations and business proposals are two familiar examples of extemporaneous speeches. 

All four fundamental types of speeches align with an appropriate time and place. Study these descriptions to learn which will be most effective for your upcoming events. 

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