Difference Between a Speech & a Lecture

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