Demonstrative Speech Shares The How-To

Demonstration speech - how to build a birdhouse

A demonstrative speech (or demonstration speech) shows how to do something. It may describe how to prepare or make something, how to complete a process, or how something works. The goal is to help the audience learn, so it should be clear and accurate, as well as compelling.

Speeches can inform, persuade, motivate, and entertain, but one of the most valuable types of speech is a demonstrative speech that shows how to do something, often in a step-by-step manner.

What Is A Demonstration Speech?

In a demonstration speech, you either show or tell someone how to accomplish a task. Your demonstrative presentation might walk the audience through how to make a birdhouse, point out the steps for making money online, or offer steps to relieve stress.

What Is The Purpose Of A Demonstration Speech?

The purpose of a demonstrative speech is to either teach or explain something. One of the best ways to accomplish that task is to show the audience how.

If you were building a birdhouse, how do you prepare your presentation?

  • Materials: What tools, wood, and fasteners will you need?
  • Step-by-step directions: Write out step-by-step instructions beforehand to determine if you are missing anything. This can serve as a rough sample outline.
  • Result: Have a finished product on hand to show those who are listening. If your “how-to” is about something like how to write a business plan, have some samples that you can display in a PowerPoint presentation or other visual aid.
Gather the materails for a demonstrative speech on building a birdhouse

What Are The Benefits Of Demonstrative Speech?

So why choose this type of speech? In other words, what are the benefits of doing a demonstrative speech?

  • In this type of speech, you can teach others in a straightforward, step-by-step process.
  • Supplying a visual of what you are teaching is perhaps one of the best ways to get your point across. When giving a demonstration speech, you can tell them and show them the process and the finished product.
  • To conclude, you can summarize important portions of what you have just shown the audience and display the finished product. Whether you are building a birdhouse, making lasagna, or showing listeners how to do intermittent fasting, always take the time to give an example of what the result should be.

How Is a Demonstrative Speech Different From An Informative Speech?

A demo speech actually walks the public speaker through the process, whereas an informative speech just tells them about the topic. How are those two types of speeches different?

Think about a public speaker presenting to a group of college track athletes. In an informative speech, the guest speaker would explain why dynamic warmups are important and might give a few examples.

In a demonstrative speech, the speaker might explain how to work through a dynamic warmup to the athletes. The speaker could present why a dynamic warmup is essential before showing how it is done, but the meat and potatoes of the speech is to describe the process step-by-step.

Demonstrative speech on dynamic warmup exercises

This explanation might include having athletes demonstrate sample movements on stage or the exercises could be shown in a PowerPoint presentation.

The big difference is that in an informative speech, your speaker is not focusing on the “how to,” whereas this is the main point of a demonstrative speech.

What Is A Demonstrative Speech Example?

As a high school English teacher, one of my favorite demonstration speech examples I would start with is having students explain how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The students would write their instructions down, telling others word for word, step by step, what to do.

To illustrate how important it is to give clear directions, students would trade sets of directions. Another student would do exactly what the presenter suggested in their paper. The resulting sandwiches did not always turn out right.

It was an excellent way to show the kids how clear, concise, and specific they must be when giving directions. To see how this played out at another school, check out this video.

Demonstration speech - making a peanut buter and jelly sandwich

How Is A Demonstrative Speech Organized?

A demonstration speech is almost always organized chronologically. In other words, you explain how to do something in the order you would follow to accomplish the task.

Start with a demonstration speech outline to organize your thoughts and ensure you put the tasks all in the correct order. Then, create a list of things you need. If you are building a birdhouse, what materials and tools will you need? Those items will become your visual aids for the speech.

Are you planning to supply handouts or some other type of visual aid for those watching? Perhaps you want a slideshow for the audience to reference while you go through the steps. Put your handouts together so they are easy to follow.

Strong presentation skills include walking those you are teaching through the task clearly and concisely. Bear in mind that if the speech drags on too long, you will lose your audience. That is one reason speeches often have a time limit. Depending on what you are modeling and the age of your audience, be certain their attention span will withstand what you have planned.

College students can stay attentive longer than high school students, who should have better listening stamina than middle school students. Knowing your audience is important regardless of the type of presentation you are doing. Are the people you are instructing beginners, or do they have some prior knowledge? This will impact how you approach the demonstration.

Before jumping right into your demonstration, consider an attention-getter that will ensure you have your audience hooked from the very first few statements you make. The last thing you want is to lose them before you really get going.

Steps in how to manage stress  demonstrative speech

What Are Some Good Demonstration Speech Topics?

Many excellent demonstration speech ideas are how-to speeches. Some how to speech topic ideas:

  • Put on makeup
  • Paint a watercolor
  • Train a dog
  • Build a fire
  • Run a mile
  •  Do a pushup
  •  Pet-proof your home
  •  Build a fence
  •  Compost
  •  Propagate a plant
  •  Prune a rosebush
  •  Make a bird feeder
  •  French braid hair
  •  Casting a line
  •  Fly fish
  •  Build a tree fort
  •  Wash dishes
  •  Write a college essay
  •  Fill out a job application
  •  Start a home-based business
  •  Learn Excel
  •  Loss weight
  •  Start a blog
  •  Start a local Toastmasters club

Pam Berg

A former English teacher and currently an elementary principal in a rural school, Pam has honed her speaking skills in the classroom and before professional groups. Pam enjoys sharing her insights about public speaking almost as much as she enjoys running, which she does daily.

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