The Toastmasters educational program includes a wide variety of speech types, including speeches that inform, entertain, persuade, and inspire. Individual speech projects may also focus on specific speech concepts such as organization, research, vocal variety, eye contact, gestures, or using visual aids.
One example of a high-level speech project is a speech intended to inspire. The purpose of an inspirational speech is to motivate an audience to improve personally, emotionally, professionally or spiritually. It encourages listeners to experience greater success, adopt higher goals or ideals, or contribute to the success or goals of an organization.
The most common inspirational speeches are commencement addresses, speeches to motivate business or sports teams, political rally speeches and religious sermons. An inspirational speech brings the audience together in a mood of fellowship and shared desire, builds the audience’s enthusiasm, then proposes a plan and appeals to the audience to follow this plan.
The inspirational speech relies more heavily on emotional appeal than on the logical appeal found in the other types of persuasive speeches. It strives to:
- Connect with listeners’ feelings, fears or goals at this particular time and occasion;
- Explain why and how the situation is changing or why these feelings, fears and goals may be inadequate or counterproductive; and
- Motivate and challenge listeners to adopt higher, nobler feelings, values and goals.