Difference Between a Speech & a Lecture

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Know the difference between speeches and lectures to keep your audience listening.

Many speakers don't know the difference between a lecture and a speech. If someone asks you to speak at a gathering, it helps to know the difference. Lecturing an audience that came for a speech can alienate them; giving a speech to students who came to learn can frustrate them. Use these guidelines to help you prepare and deliver the right kind of public speaking at the right time.

  1. A Speech Has a Script; a Lecture Doesn't

    Speeches Persuade; Lectures Inform

    • A speech may rely on emotion much more than a lecture does.
      A speech may rely on emotion much more than a lecture does.

      Speeches rely on persuasive techniques that may include not only information, but emotional pleas and earnestness for their impact. A lecturer doesn't try to persuade the audience; rather, a lecturer only wishes to inform them. The lecturer usually has some expertise she shares, while a speaker shares conviction.

    The Speaker is a Leader: the Lecturer is a Teacher

    Speeches Form an Emotional Bond; Lectures Encourage Intellectual Understanding

    • At the end of a speech, the audience members should feel they know and like the speaker. The speeker is one of them. At the end of a lecture, the audience members may find it irrelevant whether they liked the lecturer, but they appreciate the new understanding they have reached.

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