Specific Purpose Statement

The general purpose of any speech will be either to Inform; Motivate/Persuade; or Entertain your audience. As soon as you know the general purpose of your speech you can develop your Specific Purpose Statement (What the speaker will accomplish). Your Specific Purpose Statement is used to develop your speech. You don't acutally say it in your speech.

Restrict your Specific Purpose to one idea only. In Speech 151 for the informative speech your general purpose is to inform. For an informative speech you will want to start your specific purpose statement with "I will inform my audience about...." A Specific Purpose Statement for an informative speech will be phrased much like the following statements. Click here for more examples of Specific Purposes, Central Ideas, and Main Points.

Informative speech specific purpose statements:

  • I will inform my audience about the two major forms of hula.
  • I will inform my audience about what lifegaurds do as part of their jobs.

When you have your specific purpose statement you are ready to compose your Thesis Statement/Central Idea (they are one in the same). This is the most important part of your speech. This is one sentence that encompasses the central idea of your speech.

Writing your thesis statement/central idea is a four step process:

  1. Choose your topic
  2. Determine your general purpose
  3. Write your specific purpose statement
  4. Tie it all together by composing a clear concise thesis statement/central idea
The following are effective Thesis Statements/Central Ideas for the informative specific purpose statements above:

"The two major forms of hula that have played an important role in Hawaiian history and have developed into unique dances are the Kahiko and 'Auana."

"Lifegaurding is a great way to spend your days on the beach, but the work includes training, teaching, and lots of practice making it more challenging than what you see on "Baywatch."

Your next step is to compose the main points of your speech. Main points are complete sentences that create a dialogue with your audience. With your main points you want to create questions in the mind of your audience. You will answer the question in your support of your main points. You make a claim in your main points and you support your claim in your subpoints, sub-subpoints, sub-sub-subpoints and so on.

The following are examples of Main points:

Specific Purpose: I will inform my audience about the two major forms of hula.

Central Idea: "The two major forms of hula that have played an important role in Hawaiian history and have developed into unique dances are the Kahiko and 'Auana."

  1. (Main Point 1) "The ancient hula or Kahiko is a unique form of hula."
  2. (Main Point 2) "The Kahiko plays an improtant role in the history of Hawaii."
  3. (Main Point 3) "The 'Auana or modern hula has played an important role in Hawaiian history."
  4. (Main Point 4) "The 'Auana has developed into a unique form of dance and storytelling."
Speech 151 students can find more examples of specific purpose statements and central ideas on pages of 240-251 of our text. You can also find examples of Main Points.


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Page Designer: Ron St. John
Copyright 2002 - Ka Leo Kumu
Last Revised: September 16, 2002