Informative Patterns

2.3.2

Topical patterns are broken into categories.

Chronological patterns time based or a series of steps that get to a result.

Spatial patterns are arranged by how something is arranged in space or geographically.

Compare-Contrast patterns describe what ideas have in common and how they are different.

Narrative/Biographical patterns tell a story of a person's life.

Problem-Solution is a pattern that presents a problem and then offer a solution.

Cause-Effect is a pattern that identifies the cause of a problem and then effects of the problem.

Effect-Cause is a pattern that presents the effect of a problem and then the cause of the problem.

          Informative speeches can be broken into several patterns:

  • Topical: points are broken into categories

    • Break the idea down into topics and subtopics.

    • This is the most widely used pattern for informative speeches.

    • Example: Shih Tzu breed, its history, characteristics, famous Shih Tzu’s.

    • Example: The branches of government.

 

  • Chronological: points are time based or a series of steps that get a result

    • This pattern is based on a time orientation, sequence of events, or steps in a process.

    • Example: How to change the oil in a car.

    • Example: The history of Shih Tzus.

 

  • Spatial: points are arranged by how something is arranged in space or geographically

    • Think: Is it up or down? Right or left? Forward or backward? Top or bottom? Inside or outside?

    • Example: National Parks in Utah—start in the north and go south in your description.

    • Example: The Eiffel Tower—start at the bottom and go to the top.

 

  • Compare – Contrast: points describe what ideas have in common and how they are different

    • Use your main points to compare or contrast ideas/objects/theories with another idea/object/theory.

    • Provides information for the audience with no particular “side.”

    • Can also be solely comparison—tell them the qualities/characteristics/attributes that are similar.

    • Can also be solely contrasting—tell them the qualities/characteristics/attributes that aren’t similar.

    • In an informative speech, don’t provide your audience your viewpoints or stance—remain impartial.

    • Example: Compare two novel’s styles of writing.

    • Example: Compare two processes for building a bridge structure.

    • Example: Contrast two articles on a topic with relevance to the class

 

  • Narrative/Biographical: points tell a story of a person’s life

    • This may be similar to a chronological arrangement of points.

    • This pattern uses a story with content and plot to explain/highlight the main idea/thesis/point of your speech.

    • It takes on a storytelling form and uses features such as character, plot, context, rhythm, and action to tell a story.

    • Narrative patterns have a beginning, middle, and end.

    • Example: Describing the journey of immigrants through Ellis Island using their stories.

    • Example: Telling of the accomplishments of a historical figure through the stories of that person.

 

  • Problem – Solution: points present a problem and then the solution

    • This pattern usually contains two main points.

    • The first addresses the problem or issue that is seen or encountered by others.

    • The second presents a solution to alleviate the problem.

    • This pattern may be difficult for informative speeches as you must remain impartial.

    • Example: Lack of a voter registration plan for college students on campus (problem) – Have registration attached to registration for classes (solution).

    • Example: Need for stronger support of the lacrosse team at school (problem) – Start a media/advertising campaign promoting the team and provide incentives for students to attend (solution).

 

  • Cause – Effect: points present the cause of a problem and then the effects of the problem

    • Address the cause of something first. Look for the deep causes of an issue to truly address it. Don’t just look at the “band-aid” covering up the true issue.

    • Address the effect of the cause second. Look at all the effects being caused.

    • Be aware it may be more difficult to remain impartial when used in an informative speech.

    • Example: What are some of the causes of low voter turnout for college students? – and what effects does this have on the student and community at large?

    • Example: What are some of the causes of lower student retention in college? – and what effects can these low rates have on the job market?

 

  • Effect – Cause: points present the effect of a problem and then the cause of the problem

    • The reverse of the cause-effect pattern.

    • Address the effect of something first. Look at all the effects being caused.

    • Address the cause of something second. Look for the deep causes of an issue to truly address it. Don’t just look at the “band-aid” covering up the true issue.

    • This pattern may be difficult to remain impartial in an informative speech.

    • Example: What are the effects of low student retention in college? – What are the perceived causes of these lower rates?

    • Example: What are the effects of lower student voter numbers? – What is causing students not to vote?

 

          Remember: With informative speeches, it is important to remain impartial in the presenting of your message. This may prove to be difficult as humans tend to be emotional and persuasive by nature. Present only the information not adding the value aspect to it or moving an audience to change their thoughts, beliefs, or actions.

Review Questions

1) If you were giving a speech about your life, what pattern(s) would you likely use?

2) Which pattern would you use when describing the buildings in your neighborhood or community?