Module 1: Introduction to Public Speaking

Elements in a speech, learning objectives.

  • Describe the fundamental elements in a speech.
  • Identify the main differences between writing a paper and delivering a speech.

Most college students are familiar with writing research papers or perhaps engaging in class discussions. Preparing and delivering a speech, however, differs from these activities in fundamental ways. All these elements will be covered in more detail elsewhere in the course.

A teacher in her office

  • You can’t really adapt an essay to the context in which it is received. Is the reader (your professor) at home or in their office? Are they reading at night or in the morning?
  • Because a speech is delivered at a particular moment in time, you need to adapt its content to the speaking context. Great speeches fit the moment. Reflect on the purpose of your speech, the amount of time you’ll have, and the speaking environment. These elements will influence what you can realistically hope to accomplish with your audience. Consider the differences you might make to a presentation if you are delivering it first thing in the morning, just after lunch, or late Friday afternoon. The context of your speech can also help you determine which delivery type to use: impromptu, speaking notes, memorized, or a manuscript. If you are speaking for an hour, it may not be realistic to memorize a speech, but speaking notes or a manuscript can be very helpful. If your context will be highly emotional or require careful wording, then using a manuscript may be the best delivery type.
  • In writing , your audience has the benefit of reading at their own pace, visually grasping your organization through paragraphs or headings, looking up definitions for unfamiliar terms, and looping over detailed information.
  • In a speech, your audience doesn’t have any visual guideposts about the organization of the material. To adjust, you must provide clear, audible, organizational indicators or signposts. It helps to use language that is relatable, simple, and familiar, and to include vivid imagery and anecdotes.
  • In a research paper , your credibility is established through research, which is cited in the text as well and with a bibliography or footnote.
  • In a speech, citations are a bit more tricky. If your speech uses researched support, you must properly attribute your sources.  Although they may be included in your written outline, stating a full-source citation when delivering your speech can quickly lose your audience. Therefore, you will instead use abbreviated source citations, often with just the publication and date, or the author and title when citing a book.
  • Especially when they rely on complex data or visual information, essays can include graphs, charts, and illustrations.
  • In a speech, visual aids are often used to illustrate an idea, evoke emotion, summarize data, or draw attention to an important concept. A visual aid adds interest, can refocus your audience, and can help them remember an important aspect of your speech. If you use a visual aid, consider when to use it in your speech and what type of visual aid would best illustrate what you’ve chosen to highlight. The most common visual aid is PowerPoint, but visual aids can also be objects or any sort of pictorial representation. For example, a speech about a guitar could use a PowerPoint with pictures of various parts of a guitar—or an actual guitar.
  • In the case of an essay, we only perceive the writer through the style of their writing. Unless we have seen them in person, or look them up on the internet, we probably know very little about how they look, what they sound like, or how they carry themselves.
  • Unlike the invisible author of an essay, the speaker is physically or virtually present to deliver the speech. Their appearance, dress, posture, confidence, delivery style, and energy level will have profound effects on the audience’s experience of the event.

A person sleeping on his computer

Ready to present? Maybe not so much…

  • When turning in a paper, it doesn’t matter if you finished well in advance or the night before. Whether you wore yourself out finishing it or cruised to completion, the paper will be judged on its quality rather than your emotional and physical state at its completion.
  • In a speech, the quality of delivery will impact how well it is received, regardless of how carefully it was written and prepared. Verbal and nonverbal cues set the tone and engage your audience. Even when using speaking notes or a manuscript, you must be familiar enough with your speech that you avoid simply reading it. Therefore, you must build in plenty of time to practice.

To Watch: John McWhorter

In this TED talk, linguist John McWhorter discusses some of the differences between speaking and writing. For our purposes, the first five minutes will be the most informative, but the latter half is very interesting as well, particularly if you’re curious about the linguistic changes brought about by texting.

You can view the transcript for “John McWhorter: Txtng is killing language. JK!!!” here (opens in new window) .

What to watch for:

Notice how McWhorter starts his speech: “We always hear that texting is a scourge.” This statement sets up his thesis, which is that texting isn’t the downfall of language, but rather a “miraculous thing.” This style of opening, sometimes called “stabilization-destabilization,” can be a great way to get a speech off the ground. First you state the  stable  condition, the thing that everyone thinks is true. Then you  destabilize this idea by showing how it’s  not  true, or at least more complicated than the listener might think. The destabilizing move says “yet . . .” or “however. . . .” (McWhorter says “The fact of the matter is that it just isn’t true.”)

Note as well how McWhorter uses visual aids in this presentation. Even though he puts a lot of words on the screen, he is not expecting the audience to read and engage with the meaning of these passages. Instead, the words are there to say something about language style. When you really want your audience to engage with the meaning of words on a slide, you should keep the text as minimal and concise as possible. We’ll cover this concept in more detail when we learn about visual aids.

  • Tired. Authored by : Shanghai killer whale. Located at : https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chronic_fatigue_syndrome.JPG . License : CC BY-SA: Attribution-ShareAlike
  • Teacher in office. Authored by : jsoto. Located at : https://pixabay.com/photos/woman-office-teacher-613309/ . License : Other . License Terms : Pixabay License
  • John McWhorter: Txtng is killing language. JK!!!. Provided by : TED. Located at : https://youtu.be/UmvOgW6iV2s . License : Other . License Terms : Standard YouTube License
  • Elements in a Speech. Authored by : Anne Fleischer with Lumen Learning. License : CC BY: Attribution

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Rice Speechwriting

Beginners guide to what is a speech writing, what is a speech writing: a beginner’s guide, what is the purpose of speech writing.

The purpose of speech writing is to craft a compelling and effective speech that conveys a specific message or idea to an audience. It involves writing a script that is well-structured, engaging, and tailored to the speaker’s delivery style and the audience’s needs.

Have you ever been called upon to deliver a speech and didn’t know where to start? Or maybe you’re looking to improve your public speaking skills and wondering how speech writing can help. Whatever the case may be, this beginner’s guide on speech writing is just what you need. In this blog, we will cover everything from understanding the art of speech writing to key elements of an effective speech. We will also discuss techniques for engaging speech writing, the role of audience analysis in speech writing, time and length considerations, and how to practice and rehearse your speech. By the end of this article, you will have a clear understanding of how speech writing can improve your public speaking skills and make you feel confident when delivering your next big presentation.

Understanding the Art of Speech Writing

Crafting a speech involves melding spoken and written language. Tailoring the speech to the audience and occasion is crucial, as is captivating the audience and evoking emotion. Effective speeches utilize rhetorical devices, anecdotes, and a conversational tone. Structuring the speech with a compelling opener, clear points, and a strong conclusion is imperative. Additionally, employing persuasive language and maintaining simplicity are essential elements. The University of North Carolina’s writing center greatly emphasizes the importance of using these techniques.

The Importance of Speech Writing

Crafting a persuasive and impactful speech is essential for reaching your audience effectively. A well-crafted speech incorporates a central idea, main point, and a thesis statement to engage the audience. Whether it’s for a large audience or different ways of public speaking, good speech writing ensures that your message resonates with the audience. Incorporating engaging visual aids, an impactful introduction, and a strong start are key features of a compelling speech. Embracing these elements sets the stage for a successful speech delivery.

The Role of a Speech Writer

A speechwriter holds the responsibility of composing speeches for various occasions and specific points, employing a speechwriting process that includes audience analysis for both the United States and New York audiences. This written text is essential for delivering impactful and persuasive messages, often serving as a good start to a great speech. Utilizing NLP terms like ‘short sentences’ and ‘persuasion’ enhances the content’s quality and relevance.

Key Elements of Effective Speech Writing

Balancing shorter sentences with longer ones is essential for crafting an engaging speech. Including subordinate clauses and personal stories caters to the target audience and adds persuasion. The speechwriting process, including the thesis statement and a compelling introduction, ensures the content captures the audience’s attention. Effective speech writing involves research and the generation of new ideas. Toastmasters International and the Writing Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill provide valuable resources for honing English and verbal skills.

Clarity and Purpose of the Speech

Achieving clarity, authenticity, and empathy defines a good speech. Whether to persuade, inform, or entertain, the purpose of a speech is crucial. It involves crafting persuasive content with rich vocabulary and clear repetition. Successful speechwriting demands a thorough understanding of the audience and a compelling introduction. Balancing short and long sentences is essential for holding the audience’s attention. This process is a fusion of linguistics, psychology, and rhetoric, making it an art form with a powerful impact.

Identifying Target Audience

Tailoring the speechwriting process hinges on identifying the target audience. Their attention is integral to the persuasive content, requiring adaptation of the speechwriting process. A speechwriter conducts audience analysis to capture the audience’s attention, employing new york audience analysis methods. Ensuring a good introduction and adapting the writing process for the target audience are key features of a great speech. Effective speechwriters prioritize the audience’s attention to craft compelling and persuasive speeches.

Structuring Your Speech

The speechwriting process relies on a well-defined structure, crucial to both the speech’s content and the writing process. It encompasses a compelling introduction, an informative body, and a strong conclusion. This process serves as a foundation for effective speeches, guiding the speaker through a series of reasons and a persuasive speechwriting definition. Furthermore, the structure, coupled with audience analysis, is integral to delivering a great speech that resonates with the intended listeners.

The Process of Writing a Speech

Crafting a speech involves composing the opening line, developing key points, and ensuring a strong start. Effective speech writing follows a structured approach, incorporating rhetorical questions and a compelling introduction. A speechwriter’s process includes formulating a thesis statement, leveraging rhetorical questions, and establishing a good start. This process entails careful consideration of the audience, persuasive language, and engaging content. The University of North Carolina’s writing center emphasizes the significance of persuasion, clarity, and concise sentences in speechwriting.

Starting with a Compelling Opener

A speechwriting process commences with a captivating opening line and a strong introduction, incorporating the right words and rhetorical questions. The opening line serves as both an introduction and a persuasive speech, laying the foundation for a great speechwriting definition. Additionally, the structure of the speechwriting process, along with audience analysis, plays a crucial role in crafting an effective opening. Considering these elements is imperative when aiming to start a speech with a compelling opener.

Developing the Body of the Speech

Crafting the body of a speech involves conveying the main points with persuasion and precision. It’s essential to outline the speechwriting process, ensuring a clear and impactful message. The body serves as a structured series of reasons, guiding the audience through the content. Through the use of short sentences and clear language, the body of the speech engages the audience, maintaining their attention. Crafting the body involves the art of persuasion, using the power of words to deliver a compelling message.

Crafting a Strong Conclusion

Crafting a strong conclusion involves reflecting the main points of the speech and summarizing key ideas, leaving the audience with a memorable statement. It’s the final chance to leave a lasting impression and challenge the audience to take action or consider new perspectives. A good conclusion can make the speech memorable and impactful, using persuasion and English language effectively to drive the desired response from the audience. Toastmasters International emphasizes the importance of a strong conclusion in speechwriting for maximum impact.

Techniques for Engaging Speech Writing

Engage the audience’s attention using rhetorical questions. Create a connection through anecdotes and personal stories. Emphasize key points with rhetorical devices to capture the audience’s attention. Maintain interest by varying sentence structure and length. Use visual aids to complement the spoken word and enhance understanding. Incorporate NLP terms such as “short sentences,” “writing center,” and “persuasion” to create engaging and informative speech writing.

Keeping the Content Engaging

Captivating the audience’s attention requires a conversational tone, alliteration, and repetition for effect. A strong introduction sets the tone, while emotional appeals evoke responses. Resonating with the target audience ensures engagement. Utilize short sentences, incorporate persuasion, and vary sentence structure to maintain interest. Infuse the speech with NLP terms like “writing center”, “University of North Carolina”, and “Toastmasters International” to enhance its appeal. Engaging content captivates the audience and compels them to listen attentively.

Maintaining Simplicity and Clarity

To ensure clarity and impact, express ideas in short sentences. Use a series of reasons and specific points to effectively convey the main idea. Enhance the speech with the right words for clarity and comprehension. Simplify complex concepts by incorporating anecdotes and personal stories. Subordinate clauses can provide structure and clarity in the speechwriting process.

The Power of Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal cues, such as body language and gestures, can add emphasis to your spoken words, enhancing the overall impact of your speech. By incorporating visual aids and handouts, you can further augment the audience’s understanding and retention of key points. Utilizing a conversational tone and appropriate body language is crucial for establishing a genuine connection with your audience. Visual aids and gestures not only aid comprehension but also help in creating a lasting impression, captivat**ing** the audience with compelling visual elements.

The Role of Audience Analysis in Speech Writing

Tailoring a speech to the audience’s needs is paramount. Demographics like age, gender, and cultural background must be considered. Understanding the audience’s interests and affiliation is crucial for delivering a resonating speech. Content should be tailored to specific audience points of interest, engaging and speaking to their concerns.

Understanding Audience Demographics

Understanding the varied demographics of the audience, including age and cultural diversity, is crucial. Adapting the speech content to resonate with a diverse audience involves tailoring it to the different ways audience members process and interpret information. This adaptation ensures that the speech can effectively engage with the audience, no matter their background or age. Recognizing the importance of understanding audience demographics is key for effective audience analysis. By considering these factors, the speech can be tailored to meet the needs and preferences of the audience, resulting in a more impactful delivery.

Considering the Audience Size and Affiliation

When tailoring a speech, consider the audience size and affiliation to influence the tone and content effectively. Adapt the speech content and delivery to resonate with a large audience and different occasions, addressing the specific points of the target audience’s affiliation. By delivering a speech tailored to the audience’s size and specific points of affiliation, you can ensure that your message is received and understood by all.

Time and Length Considerations in Speech Writing

Choosing the appropriate time for your speech and determining its ideal length are crucial factors influenced by the purpose and audience demographics. Tailoring the speech’s content and structure for different occasions ensures relevance and impact. Adapting the speech to specific points and the audience’s demographics is key to its effectiveness. Understanding these time and length considerations allows for effective persuasion and engagement, catering to the audience’s diverse processing styles.

Choosing the Right Time for Your Speech

Selecting the optimal start and opening line is crucial for capturing the audience’s attention right from the beginning. It’s essential to consider the timing and the audience’s focus to deliver a compelling and persuasive speech. The right choice of opening line and attention to the audience set the tone for the speech, influencing the emotional response. A good introduction and opening line not only captivate the audience but also establish the desired tone for the speech.

Determining the Ideal Length of Your Speech

When deciding the ideal length of your speech, it’s crucial to tailor it to your specific points and purpose. Consider the attention span of your audience and the nature of the event. Engage in audience analysis to understand the right words and structure for your speech. Ensure that the length is appropriate for the occasion and target audience. By assessing these factors, you can structure your speech effectively and deliver it with confidence and persuasion.

How to Practice and Rehearse Your Speech

Incorporating rhetorical questions and anecdotes can deeply engage your audience, evoking an emotional response that resonates. Utilize visual aids, alliteration, and repetition to enhance your speech and captivate the audience’s attention. Effective speechwriting techniques are essential for crafting a compelling introduction and persuasive main points. By practicing a conversational tone and prioritizing clarity, you establish authenticity and empathy with your audience. Develop a structured series of reasons and a solid thesis statement to ensure your speech truly resonates.

Techniques for Effective Speech Rehearsal

When practicing your speech, aim for clarity and emphasis by using purposeful repetition and shorter sentences. Connect with your audience by infusing personal stories and quotations to make your speech more relatable. Maximize the impact of your written speech when spoken by practicing subordinate clauses and shorter sentences. Focus on clarity and authenticity, rehearsing your content with a good introduction and a persuasive central idea. Employ rhetorical devices and a conversational tone, ensuring the right vocabulary and grammar.

How Can Speech Writing Improve Your Public Speaking Skills?

Enhancing your public speaking skills is possible through speech writing. By emphasizing key points and a clear thesis, you can capture the audience’s attention. Developing a strong start and central idea helps deliver effective speeches. Utilize speechwriting techniques and rhetorical devices to structure engaging speeches that connect with the audience. Focus on authenticity, empathy, and a conversational tone to improve your public speaking skills.

In conclusion, speech writing is an art that requires careful consideration of various elements such as clarity, audience analysis, and engagement. By understanding the importance of speech writing and the role of a speech writer, you can craft effective speeches that leave a lasting impact on your audience. Remember to start with a compelling opener, develop a strong body, and end with a memorable conclusion. Engaging techniques, simplicity, and nonverbal communication are key to keeping your audience captivated. Additionally, analyzing your audience demographics and considering time and length considerations are vital for a successful speech. Lastly, practicing and rehearsing your speech will help improve your public speaking skills and ensure a confident delivery.

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How to write a speech that your audience remembers

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Whether in a work meeting or at an investor panel, you might give a speech at some point. And no matter how excited you are about the opportunity, the experience can be nerve-wracking . 

But feeling butterflies doesn’t mean you can’t give a great speech. With the proper preparation and a clear outline, apprehensive public speakers and natural wordsmiths alike can write and present a compelling message. Here’s how to write a good speech you’ll be proud to deliver.

What is good speech writing?

Good speech writing is the art of crafting words and ideas into a compelling, coherent, and memorable message that resonates with the audience. Here are some key elements of great speech writing:

  • It begins with clearly understanding the speech's purpose and the audience it seeks to engage. 
  • A well-written speech clearly conveys its central message, ensuring that the audience understands and retains the key points. 
  • It is structured thoughtfully, with a captivating opening, a well-organized body, and a conclusion that reinforces the main message. 
  • Good speech writing embraces the power of engaging content, weaving in stories, examples, and relatable anecdotes to connect with the audience on both intellectual and emotional levels. 

Ultimately, it is the combination of these elements, along with the authenticity and delivery of the speaker , that transforms words on a page into a powerful and impactful spoken narrative.

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What makes a good speech?

A great speech includes several key qualities, but three fundamental elements make a speech truly effective:

Clarity and purpose

Remembering the audience, cohesive structure.

While other important factors make a speech a home run, these three elements are essential for writing an effective speech.

The main elements of a good speech

The main elements of a speech typically include:

  • Introduction: The introduction sets the stage for your speech and grabs the audience's attention. It should include a hook or attention-grabbing opening, introduce the topic, and provide an overview of what will be covered.
  • Opening/captivating statement: This is a strong statement that immediately engages the audience and creates curiosity about the speech topics.
  • Thesis statement/central idea: The thesis statement or central idea is a concise statement that summarizes the main point or argument of your speech. It serves as a roadmap for the audience to understand what your speech is about.
  • Body: The body of the speech is where you elaborate on your main points or arguments. Each point is typically supported by evidence, examples, statistics, or anecdotes. The body should be organized logically and coherently, with smooth transitions between the main points.
  • Supporting evidence: This includes facts, data, research findings, expert opinions, or personal stories that support and strengthen your main points. Well-chosen and credible evidence enhances the persuasive power of your speech.
  • Transitions: Transitions are phrases or statements that connect different parts of your speech, guiding the audience from one idea to the next. Effective transitions signal the shifts in topics or ideas and help maintain a smooth flow throughout the speech.
  • Counterarguments and rebuttals (if applicable): If your speech involves addressing opposing viewpoints or counterarguments, you should acknowledge and address them. Presenting counterarguments makes your speech more persuasive and demonstrates critical thinking.
  • Conclusion: The conclusion is the final part of your speech and should bring your message to a satisfying close. Summarize your main points, restate your thesis statement, and leave the audience with a memorable closing thought or call to action.
  • Closing statement: This is the final statement that leaves a lasting impression and reinforces the main message of your speech. It can be a call to action, a thought-provoking question, a powerful quote, or a memorable anecdote.
  • Delivery and presentation: How you deliver your speech is also an essential element to consider. Pay attention to your tone, body language, eye contact , voice modulation, and timing. Practice and rehearse your speech, and try using the 7-38-55 rule to ensure confident and effective delivery.

While the order and emphasis of these elements may vary depending on the type of speech and audience, these elements provide a framework for organizing and delivering a successful speech.

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How to structure a good speech

You know what message you want to transmit, who you’re delivering it to, and even how you want to say it. But you need to know how to start, develop, and close a speech before writing it. 

Think of a speech like an essay. It should have an introduction, conclusion, and body sections in between. This places ideas in a logical order that the audience can better understand and follow them. Learning how to make a speech with an outline gives your storytelling the scaffolding it needs to get its point across.

Here’s a general speech structure to guide your writing process:

  • Explanation 1
  • Explanation 2
  • Explanation 3

How to write a compelling speech opener

Some research shows that engaged audiences pay attention for only 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Other estimates are even lower, citing that people stop listening intently in fewer than 10 minutes . If you make a good first impression at the beginning of your speech, you have a better chance of interesting your audience through the middle when attention spans fade. 

Implementing the INTRO model can help grab and keep your audience’s attention as soon as you start speaking. This acronym stands for interest, need, timing, roadmap, and objectives, and it represents the key points you should hit in an opening. 

Here’s what to include for each of these points: 

  • Interest : Introduce yourself or your topic concisely and speak with confidence . Write a compelling opening statement using relevant data or an anecdote that the audience can relate to.
  • Needs : The audience is listening to you because they have something to learn. If you’re pitching a new app idea to a panel of investors, those potential partners want to discover more about your product and what they can earn from it. Read the room and gently remind them of the purpose of your speech. 
  • Timing : When appropriate, let your audience know how long you’ll speak. This lets listeners set expectations and keep tabs on their own attention span. If a weary audience member knows you’ll talk for 40 minutes, they can better manage their energy as that time goes on. 
  • Routemap : Give a brief overview of the three main points you’ll cover in your speech. If an audience member’s attention starts to drop off and they miss a few sentences, they can more easily get their bearings if they know the general outline of the presentation.
  • Objectives : Tell the audience what you hope to achieve, encouraging them to listen to the end for the payout. 

Writing the middle of a speech

The body of your speech is the most information-dense section. Facts, visual aids, PowerPoints — all this information meets an audience with a waning attention span. Sticking to the speech structure gives your message focus and keeps you from going off track, making everything you say as useful as possible.

Limit the middle of your speech to three points, and support them with no more than three explanations. Following this model organizes your thoughts and prevents you from offering more information than the audience can retain. 

Using this section of the speech to make your presentation interactive can add interest and engage your audience. Try including a video or demonstration to break the monotony. A quick poll or survey also keeps the audience on their toes. 

Wrapping the speech up

To you, restating your points at the end can feel repetitive and dull. You’ve practiced countless times and heard it all before. But repetition aids memory and learning , helping your audience retain what you’ve told them. Use your speech’s conclusion to summarize the main points with a few short sentences.

Try to end on a memorable note, like posing a motivational quote or a thoughtful question the audience can contemplate once they leave. In proposal or pitch-style speeches, consider landing on a call to action (CTA) that invites your audience to take the next step.

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How to write a good speech

If public speaking gives you the jitters, you’re not alone. Roughly 80% of the population feels nervous before giving a speech, and another 10% percent experiences intense anxiety and sometimes even panic. 

The fear of failure can cause procrastination and can cause you to put off your speechwriting process until the last minute. Finding the right words takes time and preparation, and if you’re already feeling nervous, starting from a blank page might seem even harder.

But putting in the effort despite your stress is worth it. Presenting a speech you worked hard on fosters authenticity and connects you to the subject matter, which can help your audience understand your points better. Human connection is all about honesty and vulnerability, and if you want to connect to the people you’re speaking to, they should see that in you.

1. Identify your objectives and target audience

Before diving into the writing process, find healthy coping strategies to help you stop worrying . Then you can define your speech’s purpose, think about your target audience, and start identifying your objectives. Here are some questions to ask yourself and ground your thinking : 

  • What purpose do I want my speech to achieve? 
  • What would it mean to me if I achieved the speech’s purpose?
  • What audience am I writing for? 
  • What do I know about my audience? 
  • What values do I want to transmit? 
  • If the audience remembers one take-home message, what should it be? 
  • What do I want my audience to feel, think, or do after I finish speaking? 
  • What parts of my message could be confusing and require further explanation?

2. Know your audience

Understanding your audience is crucial for tailoring your speech effectively. Consider the demographics of your audience, their interests, and their expectations. For instance, if you're addressing a group of healthcare professionals, you'll want to use medical terminology and data that resonate with them. Conversely, if your audience is a group of young students, you'd adjust your content to be more relatable to their experiences and interests. 

3. Choose a clear message

Your message should be the central idea that you want your audience to take away from your speech. Let's say you're giving a speech on climate change. Your clear message might be something like, "Individual actions can make a significant impact on mitigating climate change." Throughout your speech, all your points and examples should support this central message, reinforcing it for your audience.

4. Structure your speech

Organizing your speech properly keeps your audience engaged and helps them follow your ideas. The introduction should grab your audience's attention and introduce the topic. For example, if you're discussing space exploration, you could start with a fascinating fact about a recent space mission. In the body, you'd present your main points logically, such as the history of space exploration, its scientific significance, and future prospects. Finally, in the conclusion, you'd summarize your key points and reiterate the importance of space exploration in advancing human knowledge.

5. Use engaging content for clarity

Engaging content includes stories, anecdotes, statistics, and examples that illustrate your main points. For instance, if you're giving a speech about the importance of reading, you might share a personal story about how a particular book changed your perspective. You could also include statistics on the benefits of reading, such as improved cognitive abilities and empathy.

6. Maintain clarity and simplicity

It's essential to communicate your ideas clearly. Avoid using overly technical jargon or complex language that might confuse your audience. For example, if you're discussing a medical breakthrough with a non-medical audience, explain complex terms in simple, understandable language.

7. Practice and rehearse

Practice is key to delivering a great speech. Rehearse multiple times to refine your delivery, timing, and tone. Consider using a mirror or recording yourself to observe your body language and gestures. For instance, if you're giving a motivational speech, practice your gestures and expressions to convey enthusiasm and confidence.

8. Consider nonverbal communication

Your body language, tone of voice, and gestures should align with your message . If you're delivering a speech on leadership, maintain strong eye contact to convey authority and connection with your audience. A steady pace and varied tone can also enhance your speech's impact.

9. Engage your audience

Engaging your audience keeps them interested and attentive. Encourage interaction by asking thought-provoking questions or sharing relatable anecdotes. If you're giving a speech on teamwork, ask the audience to recall a time when teamwork led to a successful outcome, fostering engagement and connection.

10. Prepare for Q&A

Anticipate potential questions or objections your audience might have and prepare concise, well-informed responses. If you're delivering a speech on a controversial topic, such as healthcare reform, be ready to address common concerns, like the impact on healthcare costs or access to services, during the Q&A session.

By following these steps and incorporating examples that align with your specific speech topic and purpose, you can craft and deliver a compelling and impactful speech that resonates with your audience.

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Tools for writing a great speech

There are several helpful tools available for speechwriting, both technological and communication-related. Here are a few examples:

  • Word processing software: Tools like Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or other word processors provide a user-friendly environment for writing and editing speeches. They offer features like spell-checking, grammar correction, formatting options, and easy revision tracking.
  • Presentation software: Software such as Microsoft PowerPoint or Google Slides is useful when creating visual aids to accompany your speech. These tools allow you to create engaging slideshows with text, images, charts, and videos to enhance your presentation.
  • Speechwriting Templates: Online platforms or software offer pre-designed templates specifically for speechwriting. These templates provide guidance on structuring your speech and may include prompts for different sections like introductions, main points, and conclusions.
  • Rhetorical devices and figures of speech: Rhetorical tools such as metaphors, similes, alliteration, and parallelism can add impact and persuasion to your speech. Resources like books, websites, or academic papers detailing various rhetorical devices can help you incorporate them effectively.
  • Speechwriting apps: Mobile apps designed specifically for speechwriting can be helpful in organizing your thoughts, creating outlines, and composing a speech. These apps often provide features like voice recording, note-taking, and virtual prompts to keep you on track.
  • Grammar and style checkers: Online tools or plugins like Grammarly or Hemingway Editor help improve the clarity and readability of your speech by checking for grammar, spelling, and style errors. They provide suggestions for sentence structure, word choice, and overall tone.
  • Thesaurus and dictionary: Online or offline resources such as thesauruses and dictionaries help expand your vocabulary and find alternative words or phrases to express your ideas more effectively. They can also clarify meanings or provide context for unfamiliar terms.
  • Online speechwriting communities: Joining online forums or communities focused on speechwriting can be beneficial for getting feedback, sharing ideas, and learning from experienced speechwriters. It's an opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and improve your public speaking skills through collaboration.

Remember, while these tools can assist in the speechwriting process, it's essential to use them thoughtfully and adapt them to your specific needs and style. The most important aspect of speechwriting remains the creativity, authenticity, and connection with your audience that you bring to your speech.

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5 tips for writing a speech

Behind every great speech is an excellent idea and a speaker who refined it. But a successful speech is about more than the initial words on the page, and there are a few more things you can do to help it land.

Here are five more tips for writing and practicing your speech:

1. Structure first, write second

If you start the writing process before organizing your thoughts, you may have to re-order, cut, and scrap the sentences you worked hard on. Save yourself some time by using a speech structure, like the one above, to order your talking points first. This can also help you identify unclear points or moments that disrupt your flow.

2. Do your homework

Data strengthens your argument with a scientific edge. Research your topic with an eye for attention-grabbing statistics, or look for findings you can use to support each point. If you’re pitching a product or service, pull information from company metrics that demonstrate past or potential successes. 

Audience members will likely have questions, so learn all talking points inside and out. If you tell investors that your product will provide 12% returns, for example, come prepared with projections that support that statement.

3. Sound like yourself

Memorable speakers have distinct voices. Think of Martin Luther King Jr’s urgent, inspiring timbre or Oprah’s empathetic, personal tone . Establish your voice — one that aligns with your personality and values — and stick with it. If you’re a motivational speaker, keep your tone upbeat to inspire your audience . If you’re the CEO of a startup, try sounding assured but approachable. 

4. Practice

As you practice a speech, you become more confident , gain a better handle on the material, and learn the outline so well that unexpected questions are less likely to trip you up. Practice in front of a colleague or friend for honest feedback about what you could change, and speak in front of the mirror to tweak your nonverbal communication and body language .

5. Remember to breathe

When you’re stressed, you breathe more rapidly . It can be challenging to talk normally when you can’t regulate your breath. Before your presentation, try some mindful breathing exercises so that when the day comes, you already have strategies that will calm you down and remain present . This can also help you control your voice and avoid speaking too quickly.

How to ghostwrite a great speech for someone else

Ghostwriting a speech requires a unique set of skills, as you're essentially writing a piece that will be delivered by someone else. Here are some tips on how to effectively ghostwrite a speech:

  • Understand the speaker's voice and style : Begin by thoroughly understanding the speaker's personality, speaking style, and preferences. This includes their tone, humor, and any personal anecdotes they may want to include.
  • Interview the speaker : Have a detailed conversation with the speaker to gather information about their speech's purpose, target audience, key messages, and any specific points they want to emphasize. Ask for personal stories or examples they may want to include.
  • Research thoroughly : Research the topic to ensure you have a strong foundation of knowledge. This helps you craft a well-informed and credible speech.
  • Create an outline : Develop a clear outline that includes the introduction, main points, supporting evidence, and a conclusion. Share this outline with the speaker for their input and approval.
  • Write in the speaker's voice : While crafting the speech, maintain the speaker's voice and style. Use language and phrasing that feel natural to them. If they have a particular way of expressing ideas, incorporate that into the speech.
  • Craft a captivating opening : Begin the speech with a compelling opening that grabs the audience's attention. This could be a relevant quote, an interesting fact, a personal anecdote, or a thought-provoking question.
  • Organize content logically : Ensure the speech flows logically, with each point building on the previous one. Use transitions to guide the audience from one idea to the next smoothly.
  • Incorporate engaging stories and examples : Include anecdotes, stories, and real-life examples that illustrate key points and make the speech relatable and memorable.
  • Edit and revise : Edit the speech carefully for clarity, grammar, and coherence. Ensure the speech is the right length and aligns with the speaker's time constraints.
  • Seek feedback : Share drafts of the speech with the speaker for their feedback and revisions. They may have specific changes or additions they'd like to make.
  • Practice delivery : If possible, work with the speaker on their delivery. Practice the speech together, allowing the speaker to become familiar with the content and your writing style.
  • Maintain confidentiality : As a ghostwriter, it's essential to respect the confidentiality and anonymity of the work. Do not disclose that you wrote the speech unless you have the speaker's permission to do so.
  • Be flexible : Be open to making changes and revisions as per the speaker's preferences. Your goal is to make them look good and effectively convey their message.
  • Meet deadlines : Stick to agreed-upon deadlines for drafts and revisions. Punctuality and reliability are essential in ghostwriting.
  • Provide support : Support the speaker during their preparation and rehearsal process. This can include helping with cue cards, speech notes, or any other materials they need.

Remember that successful ghostwriting is about capturing the essence of the speaker while delivering a well-structured and engaging speech. Collaboration, communication, and adaptability are key to achieving this.

Give your best speech yet

Learn how to make a speech that’ll hold an audience’s attention by structuring your thoughts and practicing frequently. Put the effort into writing and preparing your content, and aim to improve your breathing, eye contact , and body language as you practice. The more you work on your speech, the more confident you’ll become.

The energy you invest in writing an effective speech will help your audience remember and connect to every concept. Remember: some life-changing philosophies have come from good speeches, so give your words a chance to resonate with others. You might even change their thinking.

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Elizabeth Perry

Content Marketing Manager, ACC

6 presentation skills and how to improve them

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Public Speaking Resources

Speech Structure: The Complete OBC Guide

What makes a great speech? The content, of course, but also the structure. All great speakers overlay their content on a well-known structure. 

Your speech structure is the glue that binds your points together. Without it, you cannot really have the impact you desire to have on the audience.

The beauty of this is that a good structure is so subtle it is almost invisible. Its effectiveness is only evident in its impact.

Speech writing can be intimidating for some, however, we have incorporated plenty of speech examples to get a complete understanding. We aim to explain a proper structure that can be applied to any of your speeches.

There are four things you need to keep in mind about this:

Speech Structure

Table of Contents

What is the purpose of your speech?

Can too much content be harmful, who is the audience, informative speech, persuasive speech, argumentative speech, demonstration speech, humorous speech, strong statement, visual prop or demonstration, personal anecdote, problem or strong statement, summary on writing your introduction:, credibility, cause and effect:, problems and solutions:, lucky number three, summary on writing your body:, call to action, inspirational, key takeaway, summary of writing your conclusion:, meta description:, picking the right topic.

The content of a speech can largely determine how the audience receives it. For this, you will need to accurately assess who is going to be listening to your speech. There are some questions you need to ask before sitting down to write this speech.

Do you intend to introduce a concept or argue on a controversial topic? Is your purpose of imparting knowledge or guiding the audience through a demonstration? It is essential to have your intentions cleared; otherwise, you can risk creating a speech with no direction.

We understand that as daunting as speaking can be, it is, at the same time, fascinating. When you pick a topic that you are passionate about, it is easy to find yourself packing the speech with all kinds of information. However, in doing so, you can overwhelm your audience.

There is such a thing as too much information. You need to make sure that whatever information you do include is impactful and influential. Aim for something short but memorable. Pick one takeaway message and gear your speech towards that objective.

While it is vital to pick a topic that interests you, it is equally important to make sure that it can grab the audience’s attention. What is the target demographic for your speech? What is the setting for this speech? Is it a particularly controversial topic?

This is important because as humans, most people are likely to be more interested in your presentation if it benefits them somehow. At the same time, you have to consider the setting.

For instance: an office setting would not be the right setting for a controversial social speech. If your speech includes demonstration and requires volunteers, you need to ensure that this is an audience willing to participate.  

Do you understand the various types of speeches?

Before you pen down your presentation, stop to wonder whether you understand the different types of speeches. Understanding what kind of speech you are going for can help you better structure it for maximum efficiency:

An informative speech intends to explain complex topics to your audience by providing engaging information. This can include objects, events, procedures, and more. It is better if you pick a topic that you are interested in so that your enthusiasm shines through.

When you give an informative speech, you are merely trying to educate your audiences about a particular topic. You refrain from becoming too argumentative as it might come across too strong for your listeners. If this is the type of speech you intend to give, you can check out 100 Informative Speech Topics and Ideas to make your job easier. 

A persuasive speech intends to convince the audiences of your viewpoint. It uses compelling points to sway the listener’s opinions. The primary purpose of this type of speech is to affect the audiences’ thought process and persuade them to think about changing how they feel about a topic.

Some examples of a persuasive speech can be a politician’s speech, an animal activist’s speech, and so on. As you can see, the goal here is to persuade and obtain something ultimately. A politician might want to sway your vote in their favor, whereas ani activist has a cause that they’d like to advocate for.

If this is the type of speech you intend to give, you can check out 237 Easy Persuasive Speech Topics and Guide to better plan your speech.

An argumentative speech is more or less a persuasive speech. However, a persuasive speech does not always have to be argumentative. The purpose of an argumentative is to alter how the audience views a subject. 

Changing the audience’s opinion is not an easy job. This is why you need to not only pick a persuasive topic but also believe in it. You need a strong claim along with irrefutable points to support it. 

The best argumentative speeches utilize issues relating to current events. You can see this in the media in the form of mostly social, ethical, political, or religious arguments. Your arguments should make use of logic and realistic examples. Some examples of this type of speech can be: Dress codes shouldn’t be mandatory, Space exploration is a waste of money, etc.

If you’d like to see more topic ideas for an argumentative speech, you can browse the 200 Argumentative Speech Topics and ideas: A Complete Guide . 

A demonstration speech, true to its name, demonstrates to the audience how something works. This type of presentation is more common for high school or college students. It makes use of props and useful body language to properly guide the audience through an activity.

This type of speech can fall under informative speech as you are informing the listeners on a task. While this type of speech is considered a basic speech, it is an excellent way to practice your expository speaking.

If this is the type of speech you’d like to give, here’s a list of 279 Demonstration Speech Topics and Ideas: A Complete Guide , so that you can better perfect your speech.

A humorous speech is the perfect light-hearted solution for adding a fun twist to your speech. This type of presentation aims to entertain the audience. A humorous speech can incorporate any of the above examples. It is, thus, very versatile. And what’s more? You get to have just as much fun delivering it!  

The thing to keep in mind with this kind of speech is that you need to pick a proper topic. You intend to garner a joyful response to its best not to pick a sensitive topic. To help you out, you can browse the 300 Funny Speech Topics to Tickle Some Funny Bones! to structure your humorous speech.

Writing the Introduction (Opening)

The introduction of your speech is vital to the success of your speech. It is what sets the tone of your entire speech. It determines whether or not you grab the attention of the listeners. You will get only one chance to charm your audience and make sure they follow the rest of your speech.

So, how can you make this happen? There are a few different ways you can approach this:

Asking a question is an excellent way to grab your audience’s attention. It piques their curiosity and ensures that they will listen to get an answer to said question. The question can be either rhetorical or literal. For instance, “Have you ever wondered what it’d be like to live in a world without technology?” or “Have you ever felt broken-hearted?”.

Either the audience resonates with your question, or it generates curiosity. This is also a great way to get some audience participation. If you say, “With a show of hands, how many of us here have tried to change our habits and failed?” you can not only garner interest but also physically get the audience invested in your speech.

A question is a great way to get your listeners thinking about your topic while introducing your topic, all in a matter of seconds!

A strong statement is also an excellent way to create a compelling introduction. You must know Martin Luther King’s iconic, “I have a dream.” The intensity that radiates from that sentence immediately captures an audiences’ attention and creates a commanding presence.

Similarly, an excellent example of this type of opening is from Larry Smith’s speech. “I want to discuss with you this afternoon why you’re going to fail to have a great career.” This immediately generates intrigue and curiosity. That’s what you’re going for.

This statement does not have to just be cold facts. It can be a part of a personal story as well. For instance, the statement “Last week, I found out that my childhood friend got in a car accident” is bound to create a powerful silence. If your speech has such a strong emotive statement, you can use it in your introduction to engage your audience better.

Another helpful tip that goes with a strong statement in silence. Give your listener’s a chance to absorb the statement that you have put in front of them with a couple of seconds of silence before diving in further.

A prop can be a fantastic addition to your speech. Not only does it help emphasize your point, but it also helps the audience stay focused on your speech. Props are especially good for a demonstrative speech. Or you can simply incorporate demonstrations as part of your speech.

Body language speaks much louder than words can for us humans. This is why using colorful bags, a deck of cards, colored papers, etc. can be so effective as an opener for your speech. Once, I attended a speech where the speaker brought a heavy bag and simply set it on the table, talking about the bag. The audience was hooked, waiting eagerly till the end to find out what was in the bag.

A quotation can be the perfect way to capture your audience’s attention. It also helps set a tone for the speech that is to come. The quote you pick can be a well-known saying such as “They say all that glitters is not gold, well I beg to differ.” Doing so, you can ignite curiosity.

Similarly, you can also quote a person or a publication and tie it to your speech. For instance, for a motivational speech, you can take the example of someone like Bill Gates- “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” When you use a quote from a big name, you will definitely get people wanting to hear and learn more.

Humor is always a great tool to have in your arsenal. A good icebreaker can warm the listeners up to you and make them more receptive to the rest of your speech. Humor is a very endearing trait for a skilled speaker. Some ideas for your opening can be:

“It’s the funniest thing. As I was coming up to the stage, I began thinking we actually have quite a lot in common. None of us have a clue about what I’m going to say!”

“I know we are all busy, and I want to honor your time. So I will make sure to be accurate and brief, no matter long it takes me.”

The great thing about using humor is that it works on your audience subconsciously. You seem at ease with yourself and radiate confidence. You have to remember that for humor to be effective; it has to be effortless. If you seem unsure about your lines, the audience is sure to pick up on it.

A strong statistic will always add validity to your speeches. Presenting the audience with irrefutable facts backed up by a strong source is a surefire way to gain credibility. It can also add gravity to the scale of the issue that you want to draw attention to. 

However, it is easy to overdo things when it comes to numbers. It can be tempting to add strong statistics to the rest of your speech as well. But remember, the strongest points are ones that linger in an audience’s mind. If you give them too many numbers, none of them will stick out in their heads, and they are bound to feel lost.

Some examples can be: “Look to your right. Now, look to your left. One in three women and one in four women are known to have suffered physical violence. A statement like this not only ignites awareness but also physically makes your listener feel involved in your speech.

An anecdote is a short story taken from your life itself. The story usually adds to the theme of your story. Short and light-hearted anecdotes can add a lot of enthusiasm and charm to your speech. However, you don’t have to make them humorous. Even more, touching stories can be equally, if not more engaging.

When used correctly, a personal anecdote makes for the perfect introduction that draws your listeners towards your central message. Not only does it create empathy, but it also sparks interest. If you don’t have a personal anecdote itself, you can go for a third-person anecdote that speaks to you as well.

Opening with a problem can make for a strong opening. This method generates interest and keeps the audience listening with the promise of an upcoming solution. Try to aim for a problem that caters to a wider demographic for a higher relatability.

Problems that relate to current events can have a better draw. For instance: “Why should remote working be implemented even after quarantine?”

In a similar vein, a powerful statement can be an excellent way to capture your audience’s attention. A statement, when paired with silence, can make for an effective tool. Example: “The top 20% of our society makes 80% of all the money. Would you like to be part of this 20%? If so, I’m going to give you some pointers on how you can align yourself in that direction. Does that sound like something you might be interested in?”

  • Your opening plays a big role in whether or not you can grab your listener’s attention straight off the bat.
  • Give your audience a reason to pay attention by clearly stating the purpose of your speech.
  • If you are giving a speech regarding a field you have some experience with, remember to establish credibility early on.
  • Give a short highlight reel of your main points.
  • Quotations or powerful statements are a great way to catch the audience’s attention.
  • Including current events or statistics will make your speech seem more relevant to a wider range of listeners.
  • Asking a question will get your audience more involved and add intrigue to the rest of your presentation.

Structuring your content (Body)

The body of your speech will hold all of your main points. Since this is the longest section of your speech, you need to ensure that it is interesting enough to keep everyone’s attention. Depending on the objective of your speech, you will need to add examples, opinions, and facts to back up your points. What helps during this time is proper organization.

Here are some things you want to keep in mind while drafting the body of your speech:

No matter how much you believe in your point, you still need to give your audience a credible reason to take your word for it. This can be done by adding examples, detailed descriptions, statistics, and so on. Always remember to credit the source when using a statistic. You can also add a strong testimonial to add a touch of personalized support if that applies to your objective.

Transitions

When you have a lot of content packed into your speech, transitions become vital to the effectiveness of your speech. You can consider these as points of a refresh in your speech. Here, the audience can reengage and follow along more attentively. 

The best transitions are always invisible. They can seamlessly add flow to your speech without giving any indication of such to your audience. There are many ways to incorporate this into your speech. 

Some examples can be:

A connective transition is where you reiterate a previous point and introduce a connecting point. The way this method works is that it rehashes an important aspect while relating it to what’s next.

The most effective way to use this is in a problem/solution module. This is where you begin by stating a problem and transition towards a solution.

Example: Now that we’ve understood the various negative effects of junk food, let me tell you how we can plan a better diet to combat obesity.

When you do this, you are providing a summary of the problem and swiftly leading them towards a solution. If you jump straight to the next section, it can feel rushed. Besides, pauses are another important element of speech delivery.

Keywords, as the name suggests, have a certain draw to them. These are words that are central to the theme of your speech. Repetition is a very effective tool in conveying your message. 

For instance: If your speech is about the scarcity of running water in rural communities, you can draw attention by repeating the factors that cause this issue. Doing so will also let you explain in better detail these factors while keeping your audience hooked to the main theme.

Content Approach

Depending on your speech, there are various ways to approach how you frame your content. We all know that content is king; however, without the right approach, it’s easy for your message to get lost along the way. This is why it’s so important to keep your subject matter relevant and interesting. Make sure the content is as compact and concise as you can make it. Some of the methods by which you can ensure this is as follows:

Cause and effect is a great way to present your ideas. This method works best for explaining events and consequences or results. Make sure to include all the appropriate details to add emphasis. The element of ‘what’s next’ is what keeps the audience hooked to your speech. As you unfold a cause and follow it with the effects, it will feel both interesting as well as rewarding to your audience.  

Problem and solution is a speech method as old as time. But it is so because of its reliability. This approach works best for a motivational speech. This type of speech intends to address a problem and offer a systematic solution that benefits the listeners. It is also a common approach for pushing an audience to buy into a service or product. You pose a problem and then offer a solution, including a whole package. Make sure the solution you offer is versatile so that it applies to a wider range of people, thereby increasing appeal.

A narrative approach is excellent for anybody who wants to sharpen their storytelling skills. The important ingredients for a narrative speech are chronology and a simple organization pattern. Typically, any story will have a beginning, middle, and end. Going in order, with smooth transitions will make your story easy to follow. 

This type of speech is most effective for presenting events, life lessons, experiences, rituals, and personal beliefs. Try to stick to the core of the story without too many unnecessary details. Just because a narrative includes storytelling does not mean it can’t have an end goal. For instance: a personal experience of failure might be a great story of caution for the listeners.

The most important thing for a successful narrative speech is build-up. You want your audience to be invested, to care about what comes next, to raise the stakes so that when you provide the conclusion, it is that much more effective. You must always ask yourself, “What do I want the audience to remember after this speech?”.

The best way to write this would be to outline a sketch of events that are relevant to your narrative. After that, you can think about the best way to escalate the stakes. Remember that eye contact is an important visual medium in a narrative speech. It will help your audience connect better to your story.

The number three is impactful. Even the general structure of a speech is divided into three parts: Opening, Body, and Conclusion. When you want to make a point that people remember, you should consider splitting it into three, where the first two act as a build-up while your final point brings the unexpected impact.

The best thing about this method is that you can apply it to just about any kind of speech. This, in fact, adds more structure to your speech and makes it more easily digestible. The key ingredient here becomes balance and transition. Make sure you focus on all three elements of your story equally, so it does not feel rushed. Add in a seamless transition to make your story structure seem effortless.  

  • Make sure you have designed your content to suit your audience.
  • Divide your body into easily digestible sections so that your main points come across clearly.
  • Stress on keywords and clever repetitions to drive your point home.
  • Work on your transitions to establish clear sections but a seamless switch to keep your listeners hooked.
  • When using facts or statistics, always back it up with a credible source.

Closing your speech (Conclusion)

The conclusion is vital to the success of your speech. This is the parting thought that you will be leaving your audience with, so you have to make sure that it’s a good one. The conclusion is where you reiterate your key point. This is why there is so much importance put on a conclusion to be powerful enough to stay in your memory.

Here are some possible ways you can approach your conclusion:

A call-to-action refers to a statement or material that intends to encourage the listener or viewer to take the initiative. It can also be considered as instruction as it usually directs the audience towards something. 

The most effective way to approach this is to manage both your energy as well as your tempo. While it is essential to maintain a clear and well-enunciated speech throughout, when you reach a conclusion, you are going to want to speed up just a little bit. 

What this does is add a sense of urgency to the message that you are giving. Similarly, higher energy makes the audience resonate and respond equally. They will associate this high energy with your message and remember your speech for longer.

Some examples of this can be: “As we can see, the effects of depression can be life-threatening. So I encourage each and every one of you to go home today and reach out to your friends, talk to them and open up a platform where they know they can come to talk to you for anything. Because you’d rather hear their problems than hear about their death.”

For speeches that are over 5-6 minutes long, the audience can sometimes lose track of the earlier points. This is why it is necessary to summarize your main points before you leave the stage. You don’t have to take them through the entire story, but make sure you include the keywords that trigger in them the memory of that portion. 

You can do this by saying something along the lines of “Let me briefly run you through what we discussed” or “So, we talked about three main things today.” This not only does a great job of reiterating and reconfirming your main points but also signals to the audience that you are drawing towards the end of your presentation.

Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.

Even though you might be well familiarized with your speech, it is safe to assume that most of the audience is hearing it for the first time. For this reason, you need to drive your point home by essentially drilling it into their minds. Now, you can’t simply repeat the central theme over and over as that isn’t an effective strategy. But there can be an art to repetition as well.

You should aim to rephrase and reinforce your central idea as you conclude your speech. Don’t go for a word-for-word repetition, but aim to reframe your key themes and arguments. Paraphrasing, in this way, makes sure that you capture the essence of your speech without running the risk of boring your listeners with identical sentences.

We don’t even need to look too far for examples of this method. In Martin Luther King’s famous “I have a dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial, he used this method of repetition paired with a rising momentum to create impact. Repetition works best when it is subtle and works on the listeners subconsciously.

Ending your speech on a light note is a great way to brighten moods and make sure the audience remembers your message. Your joke can also be a good way to repeat your central message. If you do decide to end with a humorous story, remember to carve out more time for it. Make sure your conclusion doesn’t distract from your main message.

Some people tend to get too excited and give away the upcoming punchline. Remember that the most effective humor approach is one you don’t see coming. How you can add the subtlety to your conclusion is by following this formula:

Set up – pause – Build up – pause – Punchline

Motivational conclusions are always an upbeat way to close your speech. You will be leaving the stage on high energy that is sure to be contagious. This also ensures that your audience will be taking a piece of your conclusion with them, making sure that it is not only memorable but also useful.

There are many ways to approach an inspirational closing. You can go with an anecdote, a quote, a poem, and so on. The purpose is to give a push, to add strength, to ignite a can-do attitude. 

The trick to a powerful inspirational speech is emotion. Humans are excellent at empathizing. If you can adequately emote throughout your story, adding drama into your storytelling, then it is bound to have a more substantial effect. Vocal variety can also be an excellent element for this. Alter your tempo to weave excitement into your story. You can also use smart pauses to add more intrigue. 

Your facial expressions play a significant role in how the audience receives your speech. Whether it is a sad or happy story, make sure that your face conveys it. It can be addictive to have the audience’s attention like this, but don’t get too greedy. Remember to end on your highest note, leaving a lasting impression. 

There are many types of speeches out there. For instance: you might think that a humorous speech is just that: humorous. But think again. All the best speeches have at least one key takeaway.

A takeaway message is quite similar to an inspirational conclusion. The question you have to ask yourself is this: What is the purpose of my speech? Even if you’ve got a fantastic anecdotal story to share, you have to remember that the audience will always wonder what they are getting from the speech. That will be your takeaway.

For an effective conclusion, you have to step back and overview your speech. From your introduction to the body, what is the message you are trying to convey? Make sure your conclusion reflects it. For example: if your speech is about a drowning story, you can probably try to include what you could’ve done and how the audience can avoid being in a similar situation.

A call-back is a fun twist to add to your conclusion. There is a reason why a circle is one of the most pleasing shapes; it gives you a sense of completion. Even if you aren’t aware of it, it works on your mind subliminally. An effective way to conduct this method is to find a way to tie your ending to your introduction.

You can understand a call-back as a reference. It doesn’t have to be limited to just the introduction; you can reference the body of your speech as well. This not only makes for a great repetition tool but also adds a feeling of completion into your presentation.

However, you should pick something that the audience can connect to. This helps create a special and unique bond as if it were an inside joke just between you two. 

  • Signal your audience when you’re drawing to your conclusion.
  • Add trigger transitions like “In conclusion,” “In summary,” “That brings us towards the end,” and so on.
  • Try to end on a high note with something memorable.
  • Write your conclusion last so that it complements your introduction.
  • Try to paraphrase your words without repeating the same words over and over.
  • Your audience is more likely to remember your speech if you end with something useful to them or with a call to action.
  • Leave on an attention-grabbing note. 

Wrapping Up:

A speech typically has one of four purposes: to inform, to entertain, to instruct, or to persuade. To deliver an effective speech, you need to first make sure you understand what your objective is. Then, you can follow our guidelines to construct a solid structure and deliver a well-rounded and impactful presentation. Now that you know how to create an effective speech structure, you are ready to dominate the stage!  

The best speech structures are invisible and effective. Learn the tips and tricks to deliver the perfect opening, body, and conclusion and wow the stage.

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what are the elements of speech writing

How to Build a Speech

Structure, stories, and word choice are all key to crafting a compelling presentation..

By Ruth Nasrullah

There was a time when flowery, dense language was the standard for public speaking—18th-century North America, for instance. Here is the beginning of George Washington’s 1796 farewell speech:

The period for a new election of a citizen to administer the executive government of the United States being not far distant, and the time actually arrived when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person who is to be clothed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression ...

And that excerpt is far from the conclusion of just that first sentence. Imagine using language like that in a Toastmasters meeting!

Analyze why the opening of this august speech wouldn’t work today and two major problems quickly become apparent. First, it could have been cut down at least by half; and second, even after 20 seconds, the audience still doesn’t know much about the speaker’s purpose.

Fortunately for modern-day speakers, the Toastmasters educational program emphasizes the skill of speechwriting. Here are a few guidelines to mastering the art and technique of writing speeches.

My Kingdom for a Subject!

Need a speech topic? First identify your purpose. What do you want to do? Inform? Persuade? Inspire? Educate? Next, home in on a subject. You can select something most people can relate to—or most people in your audience can relate to—or something arcane that will require a little bit of research.

Step three: Start brainstorming.

What about your Ultimate Frisbee team? Your cat’s finicky ways? Your child’s piano recital? Your childhood dream of becoming president and what became of it? Holiday traditions in your country or region? Vanilla or chocolate? Cake or pie?

A word of caution: It may go without saying, but when it comes to controversial topics such as religion or politics, make sure you know the club policies governing such subjects—and the audience’s sensibilities.

Elena Paweta, DTM, is a member of Poland’s First Toastmasters club, based in Warsaw. She is also an organizer of TEDx events , programs in local communities that feature a diversity of speakers across several disciplines who address a variety of subjects. This gives her particular insight into crafting and refining speech topics.

“As we advance and become more experienced and confident, we can cover topics that may influence others,” Paweta says. “We can use this amazing tool [public speaking] to change people’s lives for the better.”

Blocks with numbers on them

Deceptively Simple: The Structure

Ramona J. Smith is the 2018 World Champion of Public Speaking. Watch her winning speech and you’ll get a clue to what helps make it great: a solid, simple outline. She enters the stage and crouches down in a boxer’s stance, throwing punches in the air. She explains that we may get knocked down in life, but if we persevere we will be “still standing,” a phrase she repeats throughout, for emphasis. She then goes on to describe three events in her life that she had to fight through (extending the metaphor) and expands on each.

And how does she conclude the speech? With the phrase she offered in the beginning: “still standing.” It’s simple, yet so powerful.

To supplement that structure, Smith makes the speech come alive with vocal variety, exuberant body language (shadowboxing), and even a prop (a towel thrown to the ground).

Smith, President of the Cy-Fair Super Speakers Club in Cypress, Texas, says the key to writing a great speech is to keep it simple. “I start with the skeleton, then start to throw meat on the bones,” she says.

World Champion Ramona J. Smith says the key to writing a great speech is to keep it simple. "I start with the skeleton, then start to throw meat on the bones."

She writes speeches in three parts—introduction, body, and conclusion. In the body she identifies three points, just as in her championship speech. “Then I flesh out those three points, add transitions between each and then a call to action between the third point and the conclusion.”

Smith has another key piece of advice: Call on fellow Toastmasters for help. “Look in your club for writers,” she says. “There’s an English teacher or writer in every club—see if they can help you.”

Act Out—But in a Good Way

Toastmaster Wayne Lebowitz, a retired jeweler from Somerville, Massachusetts, always knew he wanted to be an actor. Although he ultimately found his career in the family business, he brings theatrical sensibilities to public speaking.

Writing a speech is like writing a script, he says. Start with an attention-grabbing device. For instance:

“How many of you have hunted a bear? Okay, I see by the lack of hands raised that none of you have. Let me tell you about bear hunting.” Using the bear motif, he demonstrates another approach: “I just found out that there are only three bears left in Somerville, Massachusetts. That’s three more than I thought we had.”

Lebowitz emphasizes that people remember stories. “I realize when I give a speech, I’ve got to entertain them. Otherwise, whatever my message is, it’s lost.”

He suggests the same format that Ramona J. Smith uses. “The body of your speech should consist of three bullet points,” he says. “And have a story to back up each point.” Lebowitz recommends closing the speech by reiterating those bullet points and tying together the closing and opening.

At a recent meeting of his club, Somerville Toastmasters, the first speaker gave a speech about a work situation by providing three points in the beginning, then elaborating on them, and returning to them again at the end. Because she used vocal variety and good details, the simple structure worked.

“Show, don’t tell” is advice often offered to writers whose work needs a little spark. The concept can also apply to speechwriting. Paint a picture for your audience with the language you use.

Jing Humphreys, DTM, a member of the Earlybirds Club in Butler, Pennsylvania, is a believer in the power of word choice.

“I like vivid word descriptions,” she says. “Like you can feel it happening in front of you because of the choice of words the speaker uses.”

Need a speech topic? First identify your purpose. What do you want to do? Inform? Persuade? Inspire? Educate?

Despite working in a highly technical field where there isn’t as much room for creativity with language, outside of work she is a proponent of conjuring up dramatic images to move the audience. (Example: “a big, vast ocean so clear you can almost see the bottom of it.”) This is also the message she imparts as a mentor and an evaluator: To tell a story, use powerful imagery, and don’t be afraid to provoke strong feelings in your audience.

“I just evaluated one of my club members,” she says. “I told him ‘Scare me and then save me.’ The audience needs to know why am I listening to you—why is this important to me?”

Don’t forget that you need to know your audience. If the venue is in a country with a nuanced culture and/or a culture that has significant differences from your own, make sure you’ve done your homework so you avoid potentially offensive gaffes. If you want to add jokes, try them out on others first to be sure your humor isn’t tone-deaf .

Include the Visual

Visual aids can be a powerful addition, and in some cases a necessary one, to a presentation. Technical presentations generally require the speaker to provide graphics, charts, schematics, etc., in order to fully explain the topic. Non-technical presentations, too, can gain a boost from props or visual aids.

Check that all your references are correct. Did Queen Elizabeth really give the Gettysburg Address or was your mind wandering when you wrote that?

A word about PowerPoint: Don’t read from the slides. The slides should supplement your words. In most cases, you can use words for the narrative, and the projector screen for ideas that are best conveyed graphically. The words you speak and the images you show should complement each other.

I am not a fan of PowerPoint, so when I did the “Get Comfortable With Visual Aids” project in Toastmasters’ old Competent Communication manual, I opted for a wig mannequin and demonstrated different ways Muslim women wear head scarves. It gave me the opportunity to personalize my speech and present something tangible, and it supported my discussion of why Muslim women wear head scarves.

Not So Fast!

Transitional statements help the audience easily follow you from one section of your speech to the next, or from one idea to another.

There is a wide range of transitions that serve different functions. Some keep the audience focused on the topic or time frame you are discussing; some provide examples of a particular subject area, reinforcing a point and introducing examples seamlessly. Here are just a few common transitions:

1. To tie your introduction to your first point in the body of the speech:

• Let me give you an example ...

• To get started, let’s examine ...

• First, I’m going to discuss ...

2. To move from one point within the body to the next:

• In the same way, this item tends to melt in the heat ...

• Let me show you something equally troubling ...

• This is similar to the kind of speech we’re studying ...

3. To begin the conclusion to your speech:

• All in all, this educational journey was …

• Looking back, I’m glad that I …

• To sum up, these three reasons are why …

If your speech feels or sounds awkward as you move through the main points, lead the listener with transitions, like those listed above. When in doubt, try reading that section aloud to someone else; if they are unclear about the connection between two ideas or two statements, look for a proper transition.

The Final Steps

Always do a final review of your writing before turning your attention to rehearsing. A few essential areas to look over:

  • Double-check your grammar and pronunciation. This may seem like a no-brainer, but don’t assume you have it right. A great classic reference book to aid with this is The Elements of Grammar by Margaret Shertzer. Many other useful books—and grammar-related websites—exist as well, including The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, Write Right! by Jan Venolia, grammarbook.com , and www.quickanddirtytips.com/grammar-girl .
  • Examine your writing for continuity of theme; make sure you aren’t wandering from your main point. Remove or revise anything that takes your speech off track.
  • Make sure everything makes logical sense. Sometimes you get so deep into your subject that you mention ideas only you can understand.
  • Check that all your references are correct . Did Queen Elizabeth really give the Gettysburg Address or was your mind wandering when you wrote that?
  • Don’t go overboard with quotes. They can be used to enhance a speech, but make sure the quote you use is pithy, brief, and very relevant. Be sure you’re citing the correct author of the quote (pro tip: Look somewhere besides social media to verify the source).

When you’ve done all you can do to polish the writing of your speech, you will feel confident and ready. The Toastmasters guidelines for speechwriting will prepare you well.

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Listen for Lessons on Crafting a Speech

In this ToastCaster podcast , Greg Gazin speaks with Toastmaster Freddi Dogterom, DTM, AS, from Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. Dogterom, a professional speaker with more than 20 years of experience, offers up lessons on crafting your speech or presentation. Click the play button below to listen to this episode.

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The 8 Key Elements of Highly Effective Speech

…and why your words barely matter.

Posted July 10, 2012 | Reviewed by Ekua Hagan

I’d like you to take a moment to experience the following sentence, taken from a recent article exploring the nature of human consciousness: “Neuroplastic mechanisms relevant to the growing number of empirical studies of the capacity of directed attention and mental effort systematically alter brain function.”

Exciting? Hardly! In fact, most of the words you read barely register in your brain, and most of the words you speak barely register in the listener’s brain. In fact, research shows that words are the least important part of communication when you have face-to-face conversations with others. So before you utter another word to another person, memorize this list of the 8 key elements of highly effective speech:

  • Gentle eye contact
  • Kind facial expression
  • Warm tone of voice
  • Expressive hand and body gestures
  • Relaxed disposition
  • Slow speech rate
  • The words themselves

Effective communication is based on trust, and if we don’t trust the speaker, we’re not going to listen to their words. Trust begins with eye contact because we need to see the person’s face to evaluate if they are being deceitful or not. In fact, when we are being watched, cooperation increases. [1] When we are not being watched, people tend to act more selfishly, with greater dishonesty. [2]

Gentle eye contact increases trustworthiness and encourages future cooperation, [3] and a happy gaze will increase emotional trust. [4] However, if we see the slightest bit of anger or fear on the speaker’s face, our trust will rapidly decrease. [5] But you can’t fake trustworthiness because the muscles around your mouth and eyes that reflect contentment and sincerity are involuntary. Solution: if you think about someone you love, or an event that brought you deep joy and satisfaction, a "Mona Lisa" smile will appear on your face and the muscles around your eyes will soften.

The tone of your voice is equally important when it comes to understanding what a person is really trying to say. If the facial expression expresses one emotion , but if the tone conveys a different one, neural dissonance takes place in the brain, causing the person confusion. [6] The result: trust erodes, suspicion increases, and cooperation decreases.

Researchers at the University of Amsterdam found that expressions of anger, contempt, disgust, fear, sadness, and surprise were better communicated through vocal tone than facial expression, whereas the face was more accurate for communicating expressions of joy, pride, and embarrassment . [7] And in business, a warm supportive voice is the sign of transformational leadership , generating more satisfaction, commitment, and cooperation between other members of the team. [8]

You can easily train your voice to convey more trust to others, and all you have to do is slow down and drop your pitch. This was tested at the University of Houston: when doctors reduced their speaking rate and pitch, especially when delivering bad news, the listener perceived them “as more caring and sympathetic.” [9] Harvard's Ted Kaptchuk also discovered that using a warm voice would double the healing power of a therapeutic treatment. [10]

If you want to express joy, your voice needs to become increasingly melodic, whereas sadness is spoken with a flat and monotonic voice. When we are angry, excited, or frightened, we raise the pitch and intensity of our voice, and there’s a lot of variability in both the speed and the tone. However, if the emotion is incongruent with the words you are using, it will create confusion for the listener. [11]

Gestures, and especially hand movements, are also important because they help orchestrate the language comprehension centers of your brain. [12] In fact, your brain needs to integrate both the sounds and body movements of the person who is speaking in order to accurately perceive what is meant. [13] From an evolutionary perspective, speech emerged from hand gestures and they both originate the same language area of the brain. [14] If our words and gestures are incongruent, it will create confusion in the listener’s brain. [15] Our suggestion: practice speaking in front of a mirror, consciously using your hands to “describe” the words you are speaking.

what are the elements of speech writing

Your degree of relaxation is also reflected in your body language , facial expressions, and tone of voice, and any form of stress will convey a message of distrust . Why? Your stress tells the observer’s brain that there may be something wrong, and that stimulates defensive posturing in the listener. Research shows that even a one-minute relaxation exercise will increase activity in those parts of the brain that control language, communication, social awareness, mood-regulation, and decision-making . [16] Thus, a relaxed conversation allows for increased intimacy and empathy. Stress, however, causes us to talk too much because it hinders our ability to speak with clarity.

When you speak, slow down! Slow speech rates will increase the ability for the listener to comprehend what you are saying, and this is true for both young and older adults. [17] Slower speaking will also deepen that person’s respect for you, [18] Speaking slowly is not as natural as it may seem, and as children we automatically speak fast. But you can teach yourself, and your children to slow down by consciously cutting your speech rate in half. A slow voice has a calming effect on a person who is feeling anxious , whereas a loud fast voice will stimulate excitement, anger, or fear. [19]

Try this experiment: pair up with a partner and speak so slowly that … you … leave … 5 … seconds … of … silence … between … each … word. You’ll become aware of your negative inner speech that tells you that you should babble on endlessly and as fast as possible. It’s a trap, because the listener’s brain can only recall about 10 seconds of content! That’s why, when we train people in Compassionate Communication, we ask participants to speak only one sentence at a time, slowly, and then listen deeply as the other person speaks for ten seconds or less. This exercise will increase your overall consciousness about the importance of the first 7 elements of highly effective communication. Then, and only then, will you truly grasp the deeper meaning that is imparted by each word spoken by others.

But what about written communication, where you only have access to the words? When it comes to mutual comprehension, the written word pales in comparison to speech. To compensate, your brain imposes arbitrary meanings onto the words. You, the reader, give the words emotional impact that often differs from what the writer intended, which is why so many email correspondences get misinterpreted. And unless the writer fills in the blanks with specific emotional words and descriptive speech – storytelling – the reader will experience your writing as being flat, boring , dry, and probably more negative than you intended.

The solution: help the reader “paint a picture” in their mind with your words. Use concrete nouns and action verbs because they are easier for the reader’s brain to visualize. Words like “sunset” or “eat” are easy to see in the mind's eye, but words like “freedom” or “identify” force the brain to sort through too many conceptual frameworks. Instead, our lazy brain will skip over as many words as possible, especially the abstract ones. When this happens the deeper levels of meaning and feeling will be lost.

For more information on how to improve your speaking and listening skills, along with additional exercises to practice, see Words Can Change Your Brain: 12 Conversation Strategies for Building Trust, Reducing Conflict, and Increasing Intimacy (Newberg & Waldman, 2012, Hudson Street Press).

[1] Cues of being watched enhance cooperation in a real-world setting. Bateson M, Nettle D, Roberts G. Biol Lett. 2006 Sep 22;2(3):412-4.

[2] Effects of anonymity on antisocial behavior committed by individuals. Nogami T, Takai J. Psychol Rep. 2008 Feb;102(1):119-30.

[3] Eyes are on us, but nobody cares: are eye cues relevant for strong reciprocity? Fehr E, Schneider F. Proc Biol Sci. 2010 May 7;277(1686):1315-23.

[4] Evaluating faces on trustworthiness: an extension of systems for recognition of emotions signaling approach/avoidance behaviors. Todorov A. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2008 Mar;1124:208-24.

[5] Common neural mechanisms for the evaluation of facial trustworthiness and emotional expressions as revealed by behavioral adaptation. Engell AD, Todorov A, Haxby JV. Perception. 2010;39(7):931-41.

[6] Use of affective prosody by young and older adults. Dupuis K, Pichora-Fuller MK. Psychol Aging. 2010 Mar;25(1):16-29.

[7] "Worth a thousand words": absolute and relative decoding of nonlinguistic affect vocalizations. Hawk ST, van Kleef GA, Fischer AH, van der Schalk J. Emotion. 2009 Jun;9(3):293-305.

[8] Leadership = Communication? The Relations of Leaders' Communication Styles with Leadership Styles, Knowledge Sharing and Leadership Outcomes. de Vries RE, Bakker-Pieper A, Oostenveld W. J Bus Psychol. 2010 Sep;25(3):367-380.

[9] Voice analysis during bad news discussion in oncology: reduced pitch, decreased speaking rate, and nonverbal communication of empathy. McHenry M, Parker PA, Baile WF, Lenzi R. Support Care Cancer. 2011 May 15.

[10] Components of placebo effect: randomised controlled trial in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Kaptchuk TJ, Kelley JM, Conboy LA, Davis RB, Kerr CE, Jacobson EE, Kirsch I, Schyner RN, Nam BH, Nguyen LT, Park M, Rivers AL, McManus C, Kokkotou E, Drossman DA, Goldman P, Lembo AJ. BMJ. 2008 May 3;336(7651):999-1003.

[11] Use of affective prosody by young and older adults. Dupuis K, Pichora-Fuller MK. Psychol Aging. 2010 Mar;25(1):16-29.

[12] Gestures orchestrate brain networks for language understanding. Skipper JI, Goldin-Meadow S, Nusbaum HC, Small SL. Curr Biol. 2009 Apr 28;19(8):661-7.

[13] When language meets action: the neural integration of gesture and speech. Willems RM, Ozyürek A, Hagoort P. Cereb Cortex. 2007 Oct;17(10):2322-33.

[14] When the hands speak. Gentilucci M, Dalla Volta R, Gianelli C. J Physiol Paris. 2008 Jan-May;102(1-3):21-30. Epub 2008 Mar 18.

[15] How symbolic gestures and words interact with each other. Barbieri F, Buonocore A,Volta RD, Gentilucci M. Brain Lang. 2009 Jul;110(1):1-11.

[16i] Short-term meditation training improves attention and self-regulation. Tang YY, Ma Y, Wang J, Fan Y, Feng S, Lu Q, Yu Q, Sui D, Rothbart MK, Fan M, Posner MI. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Oct 23;104(43):17152-6.

[17] Comprehension of speeded discourse by younger and older listeners. Gordon MS, Daneman M, Schneider BA. Exp Aging Res. 2009 Jul-Sep;35(3):277-96.

[18] Celerity and cajolery: rapid speech may promote or inhibit persuasion through its impact on message elaboration. Smith SM, Shaffer, DR. Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 1991 Dec;17(6):663-669.

[19] Voices of fear and anxiety and sadness and depression: the effects of speech rate and loudness on fear and anxiety and sadness and depression. Siegman AW, Boyle S. J Abnorm Psychol. 1993 Aug;102(3):430-7. The angry voice: its effects on the experience of anger and cardiovascular reactivity. Siegman AW, Anderson RA, Berger T. Psychosom Med. 1990 Nov-Dec;52(6):631-43.

Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Mark Waldman

Andrew Newberg, M.D ., and Mark Robert Waldman are the authors of Words Can Change Your Brain .

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

What this handout is about

This handout will help you create an effective speech by establishing the purpose of your speech and making it easily understandable. It will also help you to analyze your audience and keep the audience interested.

What’s different about a speech?

Writing for public speaking isn’t so different from other types of writing. You want to engage your audience’s attention, convey your ideas in a logical manner and use reliable evidence to support your point. But the conditions for public speaking favor some writing qualities over others. When you write a speech, your audience is made up of listeners. They have only one chance to comprehend the information as you read it, so your speech must be well-organized and easily understood. In addition, the content of the speech and your delivery must fit the audience.

What’s your purpose?

People have gathered to hear you speak on a specific issue, and they expect to get something out of it immediately. And you, the speaker, hope to have an immediate effect on your audience. The purpose of your speech is to get the response you want. Most speeches invite audiences to react in one of three ways: feeling, thinking, or acting. For example, eulogies encourage emotional response from the audience; college lectures stimulate listeners to think about a topic from a different perspective; protest speeches in the Pit recommend actions the audience can take.

As you establish your purpose, ask yourself these questions:

  • What do you want the audience to learn or do?
  • If you are making an argument, why do you want them to agree with you?
  • If they already agree with you, why are you giving the speech?
  • How can your audience benefit from what you have to say?

Audience analysis

If your purpose is to get a certain response from your audience, you must consider who they are (or who you’re pretending they are). If you can identify ways to connect with your listeners, you can make your speech interesting and useful.

As you think of ways to appeal to your audience, ask yourself:

  • What do they have in common? Age? Interests? Ethnicity? Gender?
  • Do they know as much about your topic as you, or will you be introducing them to new ideas?
  • Why are these people listening to you? What are they looking for?
  • What level of detail will be effective for them?
  • What tone will be most effective in conveying your message?
  • What might offend or alienate them?

For more help, see our handout on audience .

Creating an effective introduction

Get their attention, otherwise known as “the hook”.

Think about how you can relate to these listeners and get them to relate to you or your topic. Appealing to your audience on a personal level captures their attention and concern, increasing the chances of a successful speech. Speakers often begin with anecdotes to hook their audience’s attention. Other methods include presenting shocking statistics, asking direct questions of the audience, or enlisting audience participation.

Establish context and/or motive

Explain why your topic is important. Consider your purpose and how you came to speak to this audience. You may also want to connect the material to related or larger issues as well, especially those that may be important to your audience.

Get to the point

Tell your listeners your thesis right away and explain how you will support it. Don’t spend as much time developing your introductory paragraph and leading up to the thesis statement as you would in a research paper for a course. Moving from the intro into the body of the speech quickly will help keep your audience interested. You may be tempted to create suspense by keeping the audience guessing about your thesis until the end, then springing the implications of your discussion on them. But if you do so, they will most likely become bored or confused.

For more help, see our handout on introductions .

Making your speech easy to understand

Repeat crucial points and buzzwords.

Especially in longer speeches, it’s a good idea to keep reminding your audience of the main points you’ve made. For example, you could link an earlier main point or key term as you transition into or wrap up a new point. You could also address the relationship between earlier points and new points through discussion within a body paragraph. Using buzzwords or key terms throughout your paper is also a good idea. If your thesis says you’re going to expose unethical behavior of medical insurance companies, make sure the use of “ethics” recurs instead of switching to “immoral” or simply “wrong.” Repetition of key terms makes it easier for your audience to take in and connect information.

Incorporate previews and summaries into the speech

For example:

“I’m here today to talk to you about three issues that threaten our educational system: First, … Second, … Third,”

“I’ve talked to you today about such and such.”

These kinds of verbal cues permit the people in the audience to put together the pieces of your speech without thinking too hard, so they can spend more time paying attention to its content.

Use especially strong transitions

This will help your listeners see how new information relates to what they’ve heard so far. If you set up a counterargument in one paragraph so you can demolish it in the next, begin the demolition by saying something like,

“But this argument makes no sense when you consider that . . . .”

If you’re providing additional information to support your main point, you could say,

“Another fact that supports my main point is . . . .”

Helping your audience listen

Rely on shorter, simpler sentence structures.

Don’t get too complicated when you’re asking an audience to remember everything you say. Avoid using too many subordinate clauses, and place subjects and verbs close together.

Too complicated:

The product, which was invented in 1908 by Orville Z. McGillicuddy in Des Moines, Iowa, and which was on store shelves approximately one year later, still sells well.

Easier to understand:

Orville Z. McGillicuddy invented the product in 1908 and introduced it into stores shortly afterward. Almost a century later, the product still sells well.

Limit pronoun use

Listeners may have a hard time remembering or figuring out what “it,” “they,” or “this” refers to. Be specific by using a key noun instead of unclear pronouns.

Pronoun problem:

The U.S. government has failed to protect us from the scourge of so-called reality television, which exploits sex, violence, and petty conflict, and calls it human nature. This cannot continue.

Why the last sentence is unclear: “This” what? The government’s failure? Reality TV? Human nature?

More specific:

The U.S. government has failed to protect us from the scourge of so-called reality television, which exploits sex, violence, and petty conflict, and calls it human nature. This failure cannot continue.

Keeping audience interest

Incorporate the rhetorical strategies of ethos, pathos, and logos.

When arguing a point, using ethos, pathos, and logos can help convince your audience to believe you and make your argument stronger. Ethos refers to an appeal to your audience by establishing your authenticity and trustworthiness as a speaker. If you employ pathos, you appeal to your audience’s emotions. Using logos includes the support of hard facts, statistics, and logical argumentation. The most effective speeches usually present a combination these rhetorical strategies.

Use statistics and quotations sparingly

Include only the most striking factual material to support your perspective, things that would likely stick in the listeners’ minds long after you’ve finished speaking. Otherwise, you run the risk of overwhelming your listeners with too much information.

Watch your tone

Be careful not to talk over the heads of your audience. On the other hand, don’t be condescending either. And as for grabbing their attention, yelling, cursing, using inappropriate humor, or brandishing a potentially offensive prop (say, autopsy photos) will only make the audience tune you out.

Creating an effective conclusion

Restate your main points, but don’t repeat them.

“I asked earlier why we should care about the rain forest. Now I hope it’s clear that . . .” “Remember how Mrs. Smith couldn’t afford her prescriptions? Under our plan, . . .”

Call to action

Speeches often close with an appeal to the audience to take action based on their new knowledge or understanding. If you do this, be sure the action you recommend is specific and realistic. For example, although your audience may not be able to affect foreign policy directly, they can vote or work for candidates whose foreign policy views they support. Relating the purpose of your speech to their lives not only creates a connection with your audience, but also reiterates the importance of your topic to them in particular or “the bigger picture.”

Practicing for effective presentation

Once you’ve completed a draft, read your speech to a friend or in front of a mirror. When you’ve finished reading, ask the following questions:

  • Which pieces of information are clearest?
  • Where did I connect with the audience?
  • Where might listeners lose the thread of my argument or description?
  • Where might listeners become bored?
  • Where did I have trouble speaking clearly and/or emphatically?
  • Did I stay within my time limit?

Other resources

  • Toastmasters International is a nonprofit group that provides communication and leadership training.
  • Allyn & Bacon Publishing’s Essence of Public Speaking Series is an extensive treatment of speech writing and delivery, including books on using humor, motivating your audience, word choice and presentation.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Boone, Louis E., David L. Kurtz, and Judy R. Block. 1997. Contemporary Business Communication . Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Ehrlich, Henry. 1994. Writing Effective Speeches . New York: Marlowe.

Lamb, Sandra E. 1998. How to Write It: A Complete Guide to Everything You’ll Ever Write . Berkeley: Ten Speed Press.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Enda's English Notes

Junior and Leaving Cert English Notes

Elements of Speech Writing

Use these eight points to help you write your own speech or to analyse a speech, for either Junior or Leaving Cert English.

  • Engage your audience by addressing them in the introduction. Say who you are and explain what you are going to talk about.
  • Structure: Speeches must have a beginning, a middle and a conclusion.
  • Personal pronouns: Using pronouns, like ‘I’ ‘we’ ‘us’ ‘you’ is an effective way of building a relationship with the reader. “It is up to every one of us here today to tackle climate change.”
  • Anecdote: Tell a story in your speech that has a meaning, it may be personal or about someone else. It is a good way to keep people interested. “I recently went to the North Pole, where I saw that many of the ice caps have melted causing polar bears great distress.
  • Repetition: This is a very effective tool, as it can have an impact on the listener. “ We must do what it takes to help our planet. We must be the pioneers of the future, we must be the light in the darkness.”
  • Rhetorical Questions: These questions do not require an answer from the audience but it makes them think about the issue and gets the audience involved in the speech. “Are we prepared to sacrifice our children’s lives by taking the easy option?” or “ Are we willing to make sacrifices now so our children’s lives can blossom?”
  • Triadic Structure: Much like repetition, triadic structure works on the same basis, where similar words are repeated in threes. It is often said that things said in groups of three have the greatest impact. “We have sought justice in the past, we seek justice today, and we will seek justice in the future.” Or “It is my dream that one day we will see a world where people of all race and creed can find equality , liberty and freedom .
  • A call to action: Most speeches have a ‘call to action.’ This means that you are encouraging the listeners to do something, to make a difference. “I ask each and every one of you to leave this room tonight and do what you can to halt global warming.”

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  • Jan 16, 2024

Speech Writing

The power of good, inspiring, motivating, and thought-provoking speeches can never be overlooked. If we retrospect, a good speech has not only won people’s hearts but also has been a verbal tool to conquer nations. For centuries, many leaders have used this instrument to charm audiences with their powerful speeches. Apart from vocalizing your speech perfectly, the words you choose in a speech carry immense weight, and practising speech writing begins with our school life. Speech writing is an important part of the English syllabus for Class 12th, Class 11th, and Class 8th to 10th. This blog brings you the Speech Writing format, samples, examples, tips, and tricks!

what are the elements of speech writing

This Blog Includes:

What is speech writing, speech in english language writing, how do you begin an english-language speech, introduction, how to write a speech, speech writing samples, example of a great speech, english speech topics, practice time.

Must Read: Story Writing Format for Class 9 & 10

Speech writing is the art of using proper grammar and expression to convey a thought or message to a reader. Speech writing isn’t all that distinct from other types of narrative writing. However, students should be aware of certain distinct punctuation and writing style techniques. While writing the ideal speech might be challenging, sticking to the appropriate speech writing structure will ensure that you never fall short.

“There are three things to aim at in public speaking: first, to get into your subject, then to get your subject into yourself, and lastly, to get your subject into the heart of your audience.”- Alexander Gregg

The English language includes eight parts of speech i.e. nouns , pronouns , verbs , adjectives 410 , adverbs , prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections.

  • Noun- A noun is a word that describes anything, such as an animal, a person, a place, or an emotion. Nouns are the building blocks for most sentences.
  • Pronoun – Pronouns are words that can be used in place of nouns. They are used so that we don’t have to repeat words. This makes our writing and speaking much more natural.
  • Verb – A verb is a term that implies activity or ‘doing.’ These are very vital for your children’s grammar studies, as a sentence cannot be complete without a verb.
  • Adjective – An adjective is a term that describes something. An adjective is frequently used before a noun to add extra information or description.
  • Prepositions- A preposition is a term that expresses the location or timing of something in relation to something else.
  • Conjunction- Because every language has its own set of conjunctions, English conjunctions differ from those found in other languages. They’re typically used as a connecting word between two statements, concepts, or ideas.
  • Interjections- Interjections are words that are used to describe a strong emotion or a sudden feeling.

Relevant Read: Speech on the Importance of English

The way you start your English speech can set the tone for the remainder of it. This semester, there are a variety of options for you to begin presentations in your classes. For example, try some of these engaging speech in English language starters.

  • Rhetorical questions : A rhetorical question is a figure of speech that uses a question to convey a point rather than asking for a response. The answer to a rhetorical question may be clear, yet the questioner asks it to emphasize the point. Rhetorical questions may be a good method for students to start their English speeches. This method of introducing your material might be appealing to the viewers and encourage them to consider how they personally relate to your issue.
  • Statistics: When making an instructive or persuasive speech in an English class, statistics can help to strengthen the speaker’s authority and understanding of the subject. To get your point over quickly and create an emotional response, try using an unexpected statistic or fact that will resonate with the audience.
  • Set up an imaginary scene: Create an imaginary situation in your audience’s thoughts if you want to persuade them to agree with you with your speech. This method of starting your speech assists each member of the audience in visualizing a fantastic scenario that you wish to see come true.

Relevant Read: Reported Speech Rules With Exercises

Format of Speech Writing

Here is the format of Speech Writing:

  • Introduction : Greet the audience, tell them about yourself and further introduce the topic.
  • Body : Present the topic in an elaborate way, explaining its key features, pros and cons, if any and the like.
  • Conclusion : Summary of your speech, wrap up the topic and leave your audience with a compelling reminder to think about!

Let’s further understand each element of the format of Speech Writing in further detail:

After the greetings, the Introduction has to be attention-getting. Quickly get people’s attention. The goal of a speech is to engage the audience and persuade them to think or act in your favour. The introduction must effectively include: 

  • A brief preview of your topic. 
  • Define the outlines of your speech. (For example, I’ll be talking about…First..Second…Third)
  • Begin with a story, quote, fact, joke, or observation in the room. It shouldn’t be longer than 3-4 lines. (For Example: “Mahatma Gandhi said once…”, or “This topic reminds me of an incident/story…”)

This part is also important because that’s when your audience decides if the speech is worth their time. Keep your introduction factual, interesting, and convincing.

It is the most important part of any speech. You should provide a number of reasons and arguments to convince the audience to agree with you.

Handling objections is an important aspect of speech composition. There is no time for questions or concerns since a speech is a monologue. Any concerns that may occur during the speech will be addressed by a powerful speech. As a result, you’ll be able to respond to questions as they come in from the crowd. To make speech simpler you can prepare a flow chart of the details in a systematic way.

For example: If your speech is about waste management; distribute information and arrange it according to subparagraphs for your reference. It could include:

  • What is Waste Management?
  • Major techniques used to manage waste
  • Advantages of Waste Management  
  • Importance of Waste Management 

The conclusion should be something that the audience takes with them. It could be a reminder, a collective call to action, a summary of your speech, or a story. For example: “It is upon us to choose the fate of our home, the earth by choosing to begin waste management at our personal spaces.”

After concluding, add a few lines of gratitude to the audience for their time.

For example: “Thank you for being a wonderful audience and lending me your time. Hope this speech gave you something to take away.”

speech writing format

Practice Your Speech Writing with these English Speech topics for students !

A good speech is well-timed, informative, and thought-provoking. Here are the tips for writing a good school speech:

Speech Sandwich of Public Speaking

The introduction and conclusion must be crisp. People psychologically follow the primacy effect (tendency to remember the first part of the list/speech) and recency effect (tendency to recall the last part of the list/speech). 

Use Concrete Facts

Make sure you thoroughly research your topic. Including facts appeals to the audience and makes your speech stronger. How much waste is managed? Give names of organisations and provide numerical data in one line.

Use Rhetorical Strategies and Humour

Include one or two open-ended or thought-provoking questions.  For Example: “Would we want our future generation to face trouble due to global warming?” Also, make good use of humour and convenient jokes that engages your audience and keeps them listening.

Check Out: Message Writing

Know your Audience and Plan Accordingly

This is essential before writing your speech. To whom is it directed? The categorised audience on the basis of –

  • Knowledge of the Topic (familiar or unfamiliar)

Use the information to formulate the speech accordingly, use information that they will understand, and a sentence that they can retain.

Timing Yourself is Important

An important aspect of your speech is to time yourself.  Don’t write a speech that exceeds your word limit. Here’s how can decide the right timing for your speech writing:

  • A one-minute speech roughly requires around 130-150 words
  • A two-minute speech requires roughly around 250-300 words

Recommended Read: Letter Writing

Speech Writing Examples

Here are some examples to help you understand how to write a good speech. Read these to prepare for your next speech:

Write a speech to be delivered in the school assembly as Rahul/ Rubaina of Delhi Public School emphasises the importance of cleanliness, implying that the level of cleanliness represents the character of its residents. (150-200 words)

“Cleanliness is next to godliness,” said the great John Wesley. Hello, respected principal, instructors, and good friends. Today, I, Rahul/Rubaina, stand in front of you all to emphasise the significance of cleanliness.

Cleanliness is the condition or attribute of being or remaining clean. Everyone must learn about cleaning, hygiene, sanitation, and the different diseases that are produced by unsanitary circumstances. It is essential for physical well-being and the maintenance of a healthy atmosphere at home and at school. A filthy atmosphere invites a large number of mosquitos to grow and spread dangerous diseases. On the other side, poor personal cleanliness causes a variety of skin disorders as well as lowered immunity.

Habits formed at a young age become ingrained in one’s personality. Even if we teach our children to wash their hands before and after meals, brush their teeth and bathe on a regular basis, we are unconcerned about keeping public places clean. On October 2, 2014, the Indian Prime Minister began the “Swachh Bharat” programme to offer sanitation amenities to every family, including toilets, solid and liquid waste disposal systems, village cleanliness, and safe and appropriate drinking water supplies. Teachers and children in schools are actively participating in the ‘Clean India Campaign’ with zeal and excitement.

Good health ensures a healthy mind, which leads to better overall productivity, higher living standards, and economic development. It will improve India’s international standing. As a result, a clean environment is a green environment with fewer illnesses. Thus, cleanliness is defined as a symbol of mental purity.

Thank you very much.

Relevant Read: Speech on Corruption

You are Sahil/Sanya, the school’s Head Girl/Head Boy. You are greatly troubled by the increasing instances of aggressive behaviour among your students. You decide to speak about it during the morning assembly. Create a speech about “School Discipline.” (150 – 200 words)

INDISCIPLINE IN SCHOOLS,

It has been reported that the frequency of fights and incidences of bullying in our school has increased dramatically in the previous several months. Good morning to everyone present. Today, I, Sahil/Sanya, your head boy/girl, am here to shed light on the serious topic of “Increased Indiscipline in Schools.”

It has come to light that instructor disobedience, bullying, confrontations with students, truancy, and insults are becoming more widespread. Furthermore, there have been reports of parents noticing a shift in their children’s attitudes. As a result, many children are suffering emotionally, psychologically, and physically. The impact of this mindset on children at a young age is devastating and irreversible.

Not to mention the harm done to the school’s property. Theft of chalk, scribbling on desks, walls and lavatory doors, destruction of CCTV cameras and so forth. We are merely depriving ourselves of the comforts granted to us by doing so.

Following numerous meetings, it was determined that the main reasons for the problem were a lack of sufficient guidance, excessive use of social media, and peer pressure. The council is working to make things better. Everyone is required to take life skills classes. Counselling, motivating, and instilling friendly ideals will be part of the curriculum. Seminars for parents and students will be held on a regular basis.

A counsellor is being made available to help you all discuss your sentiments, grudges, and personal problems. We are doing everything we can and expect you to do the same.

So, let us work together to create an environment in which we encourage, motivate, assist, and be nice to one another because we are good and civilised humans capable of a great deal of love.

Relevant Read: How to Write a Speech on Discipline?

The current increase in incidences of violent student misbehaviour is cause for alarm for everyone. Students who learn how to manage their anger can help to alleviate the situation. Write a 150-200-word speech about the topic to be delivered at the school’s morning assembly. (10)

HOW TO CONTROL ANGER

Honourable Principal, Respected Teachers, and Dear Friends, I’d like to share a few “Ways to Manage Anger” with you today.

The growing intolerance among the younger generation, which is resulting in violence against teachers, is cause for severe concern. The guru-shishya parampara is losing its lustre. Aggressive behaviour in students can be provoked by a variety of factors, including self-defence, stressful circumstance, over-stimulation, or a lack of adult supervision.

It has become imperative to address the situation. Life skills workshops will be included in the curriculum. Teachers should be trained to deal with such stubborn and confrontational behaviours. Meditation and deep breathing are very beneficial and should be practised every morning. Students should be taught to count to ten before reacting angrily. Sessions on anger control and its importance must also be held.

Remember that Anger is one letter away from danger. It becomes much more crucial to be able to control one’s rage. It’s never too late to start, as a wise man once said.

“Every minute you stay angry, you lose sixty seconds of peace of mind.”

Relevant Read: English Speech Topics for Students

Martin Luther King Jr’s ‘I Have A Dream’ is one of his most famous speeches. Its impact has lasted through generations. The speech is written by utilising the techniques above. Here are some examples:

“still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination” – emotive Language

“In a sense, we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check” – personalising the speech

“to stand up for freedom together” – a call to action.

Importantly, this is an example of how the listener comes first while drafting a speech. The language chosen appeals to a specific sort of audience and was widely utilised in 1963 when the speech was delivered.

  • The Best Day of My Life
  • Social Media: Bane or Boon?
  • Pros and Cons of Online Learning
  • Benefits of Yoga
  • If I had a Superpower
  • I wish I were ______
  • Environment Conservation
  • Women Should Rule the World!
  • The Best Lesson I Have Learned
  • Paperbacks vs E-books
  • How to Tackle a Bad Habit?
  • My Favorite Pastime/Hobby
  • Understanding Feminism
  • Fear of Missing Out (FOMO): Is it real or not?
  • Importance of Reading
  • Importance of Books in Our Life
  • My Favorite Fictional Character
  • Introverts vs Extroverts
  • Lessons to Learn from Sports
  • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Also Read: How to Ace IELTS Writing Section?

Ans. Speech writing is the process of communicating a notion or message to a reader by employing proper punctuation and expression. Speech writing is similar to other types of narrative writing. However, students should be aware of some different punctuation and writing structure techniques.

Ans. Before beginning with the speech, choose an important topic. Create an outline; rehearse your speech, and adjust the outline based on comments from the rehearsal. This five-step strategy for speech planning serves as the foundation for both lessons and learning activities.

Ans. Writing down a speech is vital since it helps you better comprehend the issue, organises your thoughts, prevents errors in your speech, allows you to get more comfortable with it, and improves its overall quality.

Speech writing and public speaking are effective and influential. Hope this blog helped you know the various tips for writing the speech people would want to hear. If you need help in making the right career choices at any phase of your academic and professional journey, our Leverage Edu experts are here to guide you. Sign up for a free session now!

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Public Affairs Council

Speechwriting 101: Writing an Effective Speech

Whether you are a communications pro or a human resources executive, the time will come when you will need to write a speech for yourself or someone else.  when that time comes, your career may depend on your success..

J. Lyman MacInnis, a corporate coach,  Toronto Star  columnist, accounting executive and author of  “ The Elements of Great Public Speaking ,”  has seen careers stalled – even damaged – by a failure to communicate messages effectively before groups of people. On the flip side, solid speechwriting skills can help launch and sustain a successful career.  What you need are forethought and methodical preparation.

Know Your Audience

Learn as much as possible about the audience and the event.  This will help you target the insights, experience or knowledge you have that this group wants or needs:

  • Why has the audience been brought together?
  • What do the members of the audience have in common?
  • How big an audience will it be?
  • What do they know, and what do they need to know?
  • Do they expect discussion about a specific subject and, if so, what?
  • What is the audience’s attitude and knowledge about the subject of your talk?
  • What is their attitude toward you as the speaker?
  • Why are they interested in your topic?

Choose Your Core Message

If the core message is on target, you can do other things wrong. But if the message is wrong, it doesn’t matter what you put around it.  To write the most effective speech, you should have significant knowledge about your topic, sincerely care about it and be eager to talk about it.  Focus on a message that is relevant to the target audience, and remember: an audience wants opinion. If you offer too little substance, your audience will label you a lightweight.  If you offer too many ideas, you make it difficult for them to know what’s important to you.

Research and Organize

Research until you drop.  This is where you pick up the information, connect the ideas and arrive at the insights that make your talk fresh.  You’ll have an easier time if you gather far more information than you need.  Arrange your research and notes into general categories and leave space between them. Then go back and rearrange. Fit related pieces together like a puzzle.

Develop Structure to Deliver Your Message

First, consider whether your goal is to inform, persuade, motivate or entertain.  Then outline your speech and fill in the details:

  • Introduction – The early minutes of a talk are important to establish your credibility and likeability.  Personal anecdotes often work well to get things started.  This is also where you’ll outline your main points.
  • Body – Get to the issues you’re there to address, limiting them to five points at most.  Then bolster those few points with illustrations, evidence and anecdotes.  Be passionate: your conviction can be as persuasive as the appeal of your ideas.
  • Conclusion – Wrap up with feeling as well as fact. End with something upbeat that will inspire your listeners.

You want to leave the audience exhilarated, not drained. In our fast-paced age, 20-25 minutes is about as long as anyone will listen attentively to a speech. As you write and edit your speech, the general rule is to allow about 90 seconds for every double-spaced page of copy.

Spice it Up

Once you have the basic structure of your speech, it’s time to add variety and interest.  Giving an audience exactly what it expects is like passing out sleeping pills. Remember that a speech is more like conversation than formal writing.  Its phrasing is loose – but without the extremes of slang, the incomplete thoughts, the interruptions that flavor everyday speech.

  • Give it rhythm. A good speech has pacing.
  • Vary the sentence structure. Use short sentences. Use occasional long ones to keep the audience alert. Fragments are fine if used sparingly and for emphasis.
  • Use the active voice and avoid passive sentences. Active forms of speech make your sentences more powerful.
  • Repeat key words and points. Besides helping your audience remember something, repetition builds greater awareness of central points or the main theme.
  • Ask rhetorical questions in a way that attracts your listeners’ attention.
  • Personal experiences and anecdotes help bolster your points and help you connect with the audience.
  • Use quotes. Good quotes work on several levels, forcing the audience to think. Make sure quotes are clearly attributed and said by someone your audience will probably recognize.

Be sure to use all of these devices sparingly in your speeches. If overused, the speech becomes exaggerated. Used with care, they will work well to move the speech along and help you deliver your message in an interesting, compelling way.

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  • 19.7 Spotlight on … Delivery/Public Speaking
  • 1 Unit Introduction
  • Introduction
  • 1.1 "Reading" to Understand and Respond
  • 1.2 Social Media Trailblazer: Selena Gomez
  • 1.3 Glance at Critical Response: Rhetoric and Critical Thinking
  • 1.4 Annotated Student Sample: Social Media Post and Responses on Voter Suppression
  • 1.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically About a “Text”
  • 1.6 Evaluation: Intention vs. Execution
  • 1.7 Spotlight on … Academia
  • 1.8 Portfolio: Tracing Writing Development
  • Further Reading
  • Works Cited
  • 2.1 Seeds of Self
  • 2.2 Identity Trailblazer: Cathy Park Hong
  • 2.3 Glance at the Issues: Oppression and Reclamation
  • 2.4 Annotated Sample Reading from The Souls of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du Bois
  • 2.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically about How Identity Is Constructed Through Writing
  • 2.6 Evaluation: Antiracism and Inclusivity
  • 2.7 Spotlight on … Variations of English
  • 2.8 Portfolio: Decolonizing Self
  • 3.1 Identity and Expression
  • 3.2 Literacy Narrative Trailblazer: Tara Westover
  • 3.3 Glance at Genre: The Literacy Narrative
  • 3.4 Annotated Sample Reading: from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
  • 3.5 Writing Process: Tracing the Beginnings of Literacy
  • 3.6 Editing Focus: Sentence Structure
  • 3.7 Evaluation: Self-Evaluating
  • 3.8 Spotlight on … The Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives (DALN)
  • 3.9 Portfolio: A Literacy Artifact
  • Works Consulted
  • 2 Unit Introduction
  • 4.1 Exploring the Past to Understand the Present
  • 4.2 Memoir Trailblazer: Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • 4.3 Glance at Genre: Conflict, Detail, and Revelation
  • 4.4 Annotated Sample Reading: from Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain
  • 4.5 Writing Process: Making the Personal Public
  • 4.6 Editing Focus: More on Characterization and Point of View
  • 4.7 Evaluation: Structure and Organization
  • 4.8 Spotlight on … Multilingual Writers
  • 4.9 Portfolio: Filtered Memories
  • 5.1 Profiles as Inspiration
  • 5.2 Profile Trailblazer: Veronica Chambers
  • 5.3 Glance at Genre: Subject, Angle, Background, and Description
  • 5.4 Annotated Sample Reading: “Remembering John Lewis” by Carla D. Hayden
  • 5.5 Writing Process: Focusing on the Angle of Your Subject
  • 5.6 Editing Focus: Verb Tense Consistency
  • 5.7 Evaluation: Text as Personal Introduction
  • 5.8 Spotlight on … Profiling a Cultural Artifact
  • 5.9 Portfolio: Subject as a Reflection of Self
  • 6.1 Proposing Change: Thinking Critically About Problems and Solutions
  • 6.2 Proposal Trailblazer: Atul Gawande
  • 6.3 Glance at Genre: Features of Proposals
  • 6.4 Annotated Student Sample: “Slowing Climate Change” by Shawn Krukowski
  • 6.5 Writing Process: Creating a Proposal
  • 6.6 Editing Focus: Subject-Verb Agreement
  • 6.7 Evaluation: Conventions, Clarity, and Coherence
  • 6.8 Spotlight on … Technical Writing as a Career
  • 6.9 Portfolio: Reflecting on Problems and Solutions
  • 7.1 Thumbs Up or Down?
  • 7.2 Review Trailblazer: Michiko Kakutani
  • 7.3 Glance at Genre: Criteria, Evidence, Evaluation
  • 7.4 Annotated Student Sample: "Black Representation in Film" by Caelia Marshall
  • 7.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically About Entertainment
  • 7.6 Editing Focus: Quotations
  • 7.7 Evaluation: Effect on Audience
  • 7.8 Spotlight on … Language and Culture
  • 7.9 Portfolio: What the Arts Say About You
  • 8.1 Information and Critical Thinking
  • 8.2 Analytical Report Trailblazer: Barbara Ehrenreich
  • 8.3 Glance at Genre: Informal and Formal Analytical Reports
  • 8.4 Annotated Student Sample: "U.S. Response to COVID-19" by Trevor Garcia
  • 8.5 Writing Process: Creating an Analytical Report
  • 8.6 Editing Focus: Commas with Nonessential and Essential Information
  • 8.7 Evaluation: Reviewing the Final Draft
  • 8.8 Spotlight on … Discipline-Specific and Technical Language
  • 8.9 Portfolio: Evidence and Objectivity
  • 9.1 Breaking the Whole into Its Parts
  • 9.2 Rhetorical Analysis Trailblazer: Jamil Smith
  • 9.3 Glance at Genre: Rhetorical Strategies
  • 9.4 Annotated Student Sample: “Rhetorical Analysis: Evicted by Matthew Desmond” by Eliana Evans
  • 9.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically about Rhetoric
  • 9.6 Editing Focus: Mixed Sentence Constructions
  • 9.7 Evaluation: Rhetorical Analysis
  • 9.8 Spotlight on … Business and Law
  • 9.9 Portfolio: How Thinking Critically about Rhetoric Affects Intellectual Growth
  • 10.1 Making a Case: Defining a Position Argument
  • 10.2 Position Argument Trailblazer: Charles Blow
  • 10.3 Glance at Genre: Thesis, Reasoning, and Evidence
  • 10.4 Annotated Sample Reading: "Remarks at the University of Michigan" by Lyndon B. Johnson
  • 10.5 Writing Process: Creating a Position Argument
  • 10.6 Editing Focus: Paragraphs and Transitions
  • 10.7 Evaluation: Varied Appeals
  • 10.8 Spotlight on … Citation
  • 10.9 Portfolio: Growth in the Development of Argument
  • 11.1 Developing Your Sense of Logic
  • 11.2 Reasoning Trailblazer: Paul D. N. Hebert
  • 11.3 Glance at Genre: Reasoning Strategies and Signal Words
  • 11.4 Annotated Sample Reading: from Book VII of The Republic by Plato
  • 11.5 Writing Process: Reasoning Supported by Evidence
  • 12.1 Introducing Research and Research Evidence
  • 12.2 Argumentative Research Trailblazer: Samin Nosrat
  • 12.3 Glance at Genre: Introducing Research as Evidence
  • 12.4 Annotated Student Sample: "Healthy Diets from Sustainable Sources Can Save the Earth" by Lily Tran
  • 12.5 Writing Process: Integrating Research
  • 12.6 Editing Focus: Integrating Sources and Quotations
  • 12.7 Evaluation: Effectiveness of Research Paper
  • 12.8 Spotlight on … Bias in Language and Research
  • 12.9 Portfolio: Why Facts Matter in Research Argumentation
  • 13.1 The Research Process: Where to Look for Existing Sources
  • 13.2 The Research Process: How to Create Sources
  • 13.3 Glance at the Research Process: Key Skills
  • 13.4 Annotated Student Sample: Research Log
  • 13.5 Research Process: Making Notes, Synthesizing Information, and Keeping a Research Log
  • 13.6 Spotlight on … Ethical Research
  • 14.1 Compiling Sources for an Annotated Bibliography
  • 14.2 Glance at Form: Citation Style, Purpose, and Formatting
  • 14.3 Annotated Student Sample: “Healthy Diets from Sustainable Sources Can Save the Earth” by Lily Tran
  • 14.4 Writing Process: Informing and Analyzing
  • 15.1 Tracing a Broad Issue in the Individual
  • 15.2 Case Study Trailblazer: Vilayanur S. Ramachandran
  • 15.3 Glance at Genre: Observation, Description, and Analysis
  • 15.4 Annotated Sample Reading: Case Study on Louis Victor "Tan" Leborgne
  • 15.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically About How People and Language Interact
  • 15.6 Editing Focus: Words Often Confused
  • 15.7 Evaluation: Presentation and Analysis of Case Study
  • 15.8 Spotlight on … Applied Linguistics
  • 15.9 Portfolio: Your Own Uses of Language
  • 3 Unit Introduction
  • 16.1 An Author’s Choices: What Text Says and How It Says It
  • 16.2 Textual Analysis Trailblazer: bell hooks
  • 16.3 Glance at Genre: Print or Textual Analysis
  • 16.4 Annotated Student Sample: "Artists at Work" by Gwyn Garrison
  • 16.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically About Text
  • 16.6 Editing Focus: Literary Works Live in the Present
  • 16.7 Evaluation: Self-Directed Assessment
  • 16.8 Spotlight on … Humanities
  • 16.9 Portfolio: The Academic and the Personal
  • 17.1 “Reading” Images
  • 17.2 Image Trailblazer: Sara Ludy
  • 17.3 Glance at Genre: Relationship Between Image and Rhetoric
  • 17.4 Annotated Student Sample: “Hints of the Homoerotic” by Leo Davis
  • 17.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically and Writing Persuasively About Images
  • 17.6 Editing Focus: Descriptive Diction
  • 17.7 Evaluation: Relationship Between Analysis and Image
  • 17.8 Spotlight on … Video and Film
  • 17.9 Portfolio: Interplay Between Text and Image
  • 18.1 Mixing Genres and Modes
  • 18.2 Multimodal Trailblazer: Torika Bolatagici
  • 18.3 Glance at Genre: Genre, Audience, Purpose, Organization
  • 18.4 Annotated Sample Reading: “Celebrating a Win-Win” by Alexandra Dapolito Dunn
  • 18.5 Writing Process: Create a Multimodal Advocacy Project
  • 18.6 Evaluation: Transitions
  • 18.7 Spotlight on . . . Technology
  • 18.8 Portfolio: Multimodalism
  • 19.1 Writing, Speaking, and Activism
  • 19.2 Podcast Trailblazer: Alice Wong
  • 19.3 Glance at Genre: Language Performance and Visuals
  • 19.4 Annotated Student Sample: “Are New DOT Regulations Discriminatory?” by Zain A. Kumar
  • 19.5 Writing Process: Writing to Speak
  • 19.6 Evaluation: Bridging Writing and Speaking
  • 19.8 Portfolio: Everyday Rhetoric, Rhetoric Every Day
  • 20.1 Thinking Critically about Your Semester
  • 20.2 Reflection Trailblazer: Sandra Cisneros
  • 20.3 Glance at Genre: Purpose and Structure
  • 20.4 Annotated Sample Reading: “Don’t Expect Congrats” by Dale Trumbore
  • 20.5 Writing Process: Looking Back, Looking Forward
  • 20.6 Editing Focus: Pronouns
  • 20.7 Evaluation: Evaluating Self-Reflection
  • 20.8 Spotlight on … Pronouns in Context

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Implement various technologies effectively to address an audience, matching the capacities of each to the rhetorical situation.
  • Apply conventions of speech delivery, such as voice control, gestures, and posture.
  • Identify and show awareness of cultural considerations.

Think of a speech you have seen or heard, either in person, on television, or online. Was the speech delivered well, or was it poorly executed? What aspects of the performance make you say that? Both good and poor delivery of a speech can affect the audience’s opinion of the speaker and the topic. Poor delivery may be so distracting that even the message of a well-organized script with strong information is lost to the audience.

Speaking Genres: Spoken Word, Pulpit, YouTube, Podcast, Social Media

The world today offers many new (and old) delivery methods for script writing. While the traditional presidential address or commencement speech on a stage in front of a crowd of people is unlikely to disappear, newer script delivery methods are now available, including many that involve technology. From YouTube , which allows anyone to upload videos, to podcasts, which provide a platform for anyone, celebrities and noncelebrities alike, to produce a radio-like program, it seems that people are finding new ways to use technology to enhance communication. Free resources such as YouTube Studio and the extension TubeBuddy can be a good starting place to learn to create these types of media.

Voice Control

Whether the method is old or new, delivering communication in the speaking genre relies not only on words but also on the way those words are delivered. Remember that voice and tone are important in establishing a bond with your audience, helping them feel connected to your message, creating engagement, and facilitating comprehension. Vocal delivery includes these aspects of speech:

  • Rate of speech refers to how fast or slow you speak. You must speak slowly enough to be understood but not so slowly that you sound unnatural and bore your audience. In addition, you can vary your rate, speeding up or slowing down to increase tension, emphasize a point, or create a dramatic effect.
  • Volume refers to how loudly or softly you speak. As with rate, you do not want to be too loud or too soft. Too soft, and your speech will be difficult or impossible to hear, even with amplification; too loud, and it will be distracting or even painful for the audience. Ideally, you should project your voice, speaking from the diaphragm, according to the size and location of the audience and the acoustics of the room. You can also use volume for effect; you might use a softer voice to describe a tender moment between mother and child or a louder voice to emphatically discuss an injustice.
  • Pitch refers to how high or low a speaker’s voice is to listeners. A person’s vocal pitch is unique to that person, and unlike the control a speaker has over rate and volume, some physical limitations exist on the extent to which individuals can vary pitch. Although men generally have lower-pitched voices than women, speakers can vary their pitch for emphasis. For example, you probably raise your pitch naturally at the end of a question. Changing pitch can also communicate enthusiasm or indicate transition or closure.
  • Articulation refers to how clearly a person produces sounds. Clarity of voice is important in speech; it determines how well your audience understands what you are saying. Poor articulation can hamper the effect of your script and even cause your audience to feel disconnected from both you and your message. In general, articulation during a presentation before an audience tends to be more pronounced and dramatic than everyday communication with individuals or small groups. When presenting a script, avoid slurring and mumbling. While these may be acceptable in informal communication, in presented speech they can obscure your message.
  • Fluency refers to the flow of speech. Speaking with fluency is similar to reading with fluency. It’s not about how fast you can speak, but how fluid and meaningful your speech is. While inserting pauses for dramatic effect is perfectly acceptable, these are noticeably different from awkward pauses that result from forgetting a point, losing your place, or becoming distracted. Practicing your speech can greatly reduce fluency issues. A word on verbal fillers , those pesky words or sounds used to fill a gap or fluency glitch: utterances such as um , ah , and like detract from the fluency of your speech, distract the audience from your point, and can even reduce your credibility. Again, practice can help reduce their occurrence, and self-awareness can help you speak with more fluency.

Gestures and Expressions

Beyond vocal delivery, consider also physical delivery variables such as gestures and facial expressions . While not all speech affords audiences the ability to see the speaker, in-person, online, and other forms of speech do. Gestures and facial expressions can both add to and detract from effective script delivery, as they can help demonstrate emotion and enthusiasm for the topic. Both have the ability to emphasize points, enhance tone, and engage audiences.

Eye contact is another form of nonverbal, physical communication that builds community, communicates comfort, and establishes credibility. Eye contact also can help hold an audience’s attention during a speech. It is advisable to begin your speech by establishing eye contact with the audience. One idea is to memorize your opening and closing statements to allow you to maintain consistent eye contact during these important sections of the script and strengthen your connection with the audience.

Although natural engagement through gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact can help an audience relate to a presenter and even help establish community and trust, these actions also can distract audiences from the content of the script if not used purposefully. In general, as with most delivery elements, variation and a happy medium between “too much” and “too little” are key to an effective presentation. Some presenters naturally have more expressive faces, but all people can learn to control and use facial expressions and gestures consciously to become more effective speakers. Practicing your speech in front of a mirror will allow you to monitor, plan, and practice these aspects of physical delivery.

Posture and Movement

Other physical delivery considerations include posture and movement. Posture is the position of the body. If you have ever been pestered to “stand up straight,” you were being instructed on your posture. The most important consideration for posture during a speech is that you look relaxed and natural. You don’t want to be slumped over and leaning on the podium or lectern, but you also don’t want a stiff, unnatural posture that makes you look stilted or uncomfortable. In many speeches, the speaker’s posture is upright as they stand behind a podium or at a microphone, but this is not always the case. Less formal occasions and audiences may call for movement of the whole body. If this informality fits your speech, you will need to balance movement with the other delivery variables. This kind of balance can be challenging. You won’t want to wander aimlessly around the stage or pace back and forth on the same path. Nor will you want to shuffle your feet, rock, or shift your weight back and forth. Instead, as with every other aspect of delivery, you will want your movements to be purposeful, with the intention of connecting with or influencing your audience. Time your movements to occur at key points or transitions in the script.

Cultural Considerations

Don’t forget to reflect on cultural considerations that relate to your topic and/or audience. Cultural awareness is important in any aspect of writing, but it can have an immediate impact on a speech, as the audience will react to your words, gestures, vocal techniques, and topic in real time. Elements that speakers don’t always think about—including gestures, glances, and changes in tone and inflection—can vary in effectiveness and even politeness in many cultures. Consideration for cultural cues may include the following:

  • Paralanguage : voiced cultural considerations, including tone, language, and even accent.
  • Kinesics : body movements and gestures that may include facial expressions. Often part of a person’s subconscious, kinesics can be interpreted in various ways by members of different cultures. Body language can include posture, facial expressions (smiling or frowning), and even displays of affection.
  • Proxemics : interpersonal space that regulates intimacy. Proxemics might indicate how close to an audience a speaker is located, whether the speaker moves around, and even how the speaker greets the audience.
  • Chronemics : use of time. Chronemics refers to the duration of a script.
  • Appearance : clothing and physical appearance. The presentation of appearance is a subtle form of communication that can indicate the speaker’s identity and can be specific to cultures.

Stage Directions

You can think proactively about ways to enhance the delivery of your script, including vocal techniques, body awareness, and cultural considerations. Within the draft of your script, create stage directions . An integral part of performances such as plays and films, stage directions can be as simple as writing in a pause for dramatic effect or as complicated as describing where and how to walk, what facial expressions to make, or how to react to audience feedback.

Look at this example from the beginning of the student sample. Stage directions are enclosed in parentheses and bolded.

student sample text Several years ago, I sat in the waiting area of a major airport, trying to ignore the constant yapping of a small dog cuddled on the lap of a fellow passenger. An airline rep approached the woman and asked the only two questions allowed by law. (high-pitched voice with a formal tone) “Is that a service animal? (pause) What service does it provide for you?” end student sample text

student sample text (bold, defiant, self-righteous tone) “Yes. It keeps me from having panic attacks,” the woman said defiantly, and the airline employee retreated. (move two steps to the left for emphasis) end student sample text

student sample text Shortly after that, another passenger arrived at the gate. (spoken with authority) She gripped the high, stiff handle on the harness of a Labrador retriever that wore a vest emblazoned with the words “The Seeing Eye.” (speed up speech and dynamic of voice for dramatic effect) Without warning, the smaller dog launched itself from its owner’s lap, snarling and snapping at the guide dog. (move two steps back to indicate transition) end student sample text

Now it’s your turn. Using the principle illustrated above, create stage directions for your script. Then, practice using them by presenting your script to a peer reviewer, such as a friend, family member, or classmate. Also consider recording yourself practicing your script. Listen to the recording to evaluate it for delivery, fluency, and vocal fillers. Remember that writing is recursive: you can make changes based on what works and what doesn’t after you implement your stage directions. You can even ask your audience for feedback to improve your delivery.

Podcast Publication

If possible, work with your instructor and classmates to put together a single podcast or a series of podcasts according to the subject areas of the presentations. The purpose of these podcasts should be to invite and encourage other students to get involved in important causes. Work with relevant student organizations on campus to produce and publicize the podcasts for maximum impact. There are many free resources for creating podcasts, including Apple’s GarageBand and Audacity .

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Literary Techniques for your Speech, with Examples Analyzed

March 2, 2021 - Dom Barnard

Planned use of language has a major impact on how your speech is received by the audience. Saying the right words at the right time, and in the right way, can achieve a specific impact.

Use language to achieve impact

Careful use of language has produced many powerful speeches over the years. Here are a few literary devices you can employ for your next speech.

Rhetorical Questions

Start your next presentation with an open question. It engages the audience and gets them thinking about your speech early on. Use questions throughout and leave pauses after, letting the audience think about an answer.

Pause at the Right Moment

This adds impact to sentence just before or after the pause. This is a good literary technique to use for the key message of your speech. Don’t be afraid to wait 3-5 seconds before speaking, adding maximum impact to your words.

Messages and words are remembered best in groups of three. The power of three is used in all aspects of speaking in public and by the media. Couple words in groups of three with alliteration for maximum impact, such as “They grew up with a long, lasting, love for each other.”

Repeat the Key Point

A technique used frequently by politicians, a word needs to be said on average 5 times before the audience begins to take in what is being said.

Dramatic Contrast

Contrasting two points, such as “Ten years ago we had a reputation for excellence. Today, we are in danger of losing that reputation.”

For additional literary techniques, check out these links:

  • Stylistic Devices (Rhetorical Devices, Figures of Speech)
  • BBC Literary Techniques

what are the elements of speech writing

Spend time planning which of these language techniques you will use in your speech. You can add these in after your first draft of the speech has been written.

Two great speeches analyzed

1. martin luther king – i have a dream, transcript snippet.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today! I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today! I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”

Literary devices and techniques used

Anaphora  – Repetition of the “I have a dream” phrase at the beginning of each sentence.

Metonymy  – The phrase “The let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia… Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee… Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi“, King uses these well-known racist locations to enhance his point.

Hyperbole  – King uses the words ‘all’ and ‘every’ many times, exaggerating his point, “when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city”

Alliteration  – used throughout the speech, alliterations add a poetic quality to the speech, for example this sentence “judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Amplification  – King repeats many of his points a second time, with greater emphasis and explanation the second time, “America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked insufficient funds.”

Speeches which mastered literary techniques

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. – I Have A Dream
  • Winston Churchill – We shall fight on the beaches
  • John F. Kennedy – Inaugural Address
  • Margaret Thatcher – The Lady’s Not For Turning
  • Barack Obama – The Audacity Of Hope
  • Elizabeth Gilbert – Your Creative Genius
  • J. K. Rowling – Harvard Commencement Address

For addition detail on these speeches, check out  this article  on speeches that changed the world.

Winston Churchill speaking

2. Winston Churchill – We shall fight on the beaches

Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end.

We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be.

We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.

And if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

Anaphora  – The repetition of the phrase “we shall fight” can be seen in the transcript snippet. This adds dramatic emphases on the words he is saying in these paragraphs.

Alliteration  – Churchill uses repetition of letters to emphasize the dark time Europe was in, “I see also the dull, drilled, docile, brutish masses of the Hun soldiery plodding on like a swarm of crawling locusts” and “your grisly gang who work your wicked will.”

Antistrophe  – The repetition of words at the end of successive sentences, “the love of peace, the toil for peace, the strife for peace, the pursuit of peace“.

Hypophora  – Churchill asks various questions and then answers them himself, “You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air” and “You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word, it is victory”.

Rule of Three  – Churchill uses this literary technique in many of his speeches, “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning” and “Never before in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many, to so few”.

Easy to use literary techniques for your next speech

Rhetoric Question

Start your next speech with a rhetoric question – “Who here has used a virtual reality headset?”

Repetition of Phrase

Repeat a key phrase around 5 times throughout the speech, the phrase should be short – “Virtual reality is changing the world”.

Use the Rule of Three

Emphasize a product or service by describing it with three words – “Our software is faster, cheaper and easier to use”. For greatest impact on your audience, combine this with alliteration.

Ask a question then immediately answer it – “How many virtual reality headsets were sold last month? Over 2 million.”

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Writing Process Blog

Tips and Tools for Writing

  • 3 Critical Elements Of The Speech Writing Process

Speech writing is a task that many people find challenging. Where to start and how to ensure that the message is clearly delivered are major concerns. Writing a speech that isn’t boring or cringe-worthy are two other important considerations.

speech writing process

The good new is that speech writing is a process and following the steps will provide the ability to deliver better speeches. It is a learned skill and practice makes perfect.

3 critical steps that form part of the speech writing process are:

Defining Goals

There are goals or targets that need to be defined and kept in mind while writing a speech:

  • What is the goal of the speech? Is it to inform or educate? Is it to inspire or motivate? Or is it simply to entertain? This is the purpose of the speech and will form the backbone of how the speech is written.
  • Who is the target audience? A wedding speech is going to be very different from a speech to a group of executives. Knowing the audience is critical to setting the language, tone or style of the speech and how to use these to best reach the target audience.
  • How long is the speech expected to be? Short, sweet and to the point should be a rule for all speeches. Time is of the essence to ensure that the goal of the speech is being achieved within the desired time-frame. Long, drawn out speeches tend to be boring and tiresome. Be brutal when editing your speech and remove any information that is extraneous and not aimed at achieving the goal or reaching the target audience.

The Speech Structure

Like most forms of writing, a speech needs an introduction, body and conclusion.

  • The introduction needs to introduce the subject matter of the speech as well as capture the attention of the audience.
  • The body is where the key message of the speech will be delivered.
  • The conclusion is there to tie up the main points of the speech and leave the audience with something to think about or take away with them.

Keep in mind the goal, target audience and duration of the speech when writing these 3 parts of the speech. The intro and conclusion should be short (no more than a couple of minutes each) where the body will form the longest part of the speech.

The Writing Process

There are 4 steps that form part of the writing process:

  • Form an idea/s for each part of the speech structure.
  • Expand on each idea allowing the ideas to flow. Don’t worry about the duration while doing this but be sure to stick to the language, style and tone relative to the target audience.
  • Proofread and edit. Proofreading identifies any grammar errors or incorrect use of language. Editing removes any information that does not add value to the speech or is irrelevant to the message and/or goal of the speech. Objectivity is crucial to the editing process.
  • Practice, revise and practice. Stand in front of the mirror and practice the speech while timing it. Record the speech and play it back. Revise or edit the speech and then repeat the practice process. This is where to get the duration of the speech just right.

The speech writing process is not hard-wired but flexible. This means that all the rules do not need to be strictly adhered to but are good guidelines to improve speech writing skills.

Do you want to learn more about the writing process and writing in general? Our site is filled with exceptional information and we’re always adding brand new content to provide you with the latest tips.

Continue checking back as we are always working to produce interesting content so that we can provide you with the answers you’ve been searching for.

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What are the 10 Principles or Characteristics of Speech Writing with Examples?

Back to: Pedagogy of English- Unit 5

Definition of Speech

According to Oxford Dictionary , “ A speech is a formal talk that a person gives to an audience.”

Speech is one of the major medium of oral communication. We find different speeches in different situations but good speeches are not always found. A good speech is really enjoyable and informative. But it is very tough to deliver a speech that can entertain the audience. A good speech has many characteristics.

Speech is an oral presentation of information or delivery of messages through the use of words of spoken words delivered in front of or to an audience who have gathered in a seminar, meeting, conference, or some other event. It is a form of oral communication which is the oldest method and also the most effective method of communication. Speech is considered to be one of the most effective ways of delivering a message in any event. A speaker can present his thoughts and opinions on various matters to a large group of audience through his or her speech. Due to its efficacy, it is widely used around the world. Be it for social purposes or religious purposes, a speech can come in handy for several kinds of events. 

Characteristics of Speech Writing

The 10 principles and characteristics of speech writing are as follows: 

(1) Clarity

The voice of the speaker should be clear, tone should vary and pitch should be pleasant. The ideas, emotions and arguments should come straight from the heart so that audience can grasp it easily. It should register with the listeners and vibrate with their feelings and thoughts. A speech is considered to be effective when it is clear and concise. The information presented in the speech should be comprehensible to the present audience and the speech should be delivered by the speaker in a fluent and eloquent manner. 

(2) Informal, personal and conversational

A good speech should be like a conversation between two good friends – personal, informal and sincere. There should be a rapport between the speaker and the audience.

(3) Concrete, vivid and imagery

A speech should help build a picture that is easy to visualize and easier to comprehend. It should be furbished by concrete examples that grasp the imagination of the listeners.

(4) Time period 

It is very difficult to hold the attention of the listeners for more than 15 to 20 minutes. A good speaker should be able to convey his complete message in that period. He should come straight to the point and say what he wants by bringing three or four points to their attention.

(5) Interesting, jovial and humorous:

A speaker wins or loses the battle in the first two or three minutes. If the speaker has impressed the audience with his opening remarks, he is well on your way to winning a space in their heart. And that is the target. It has to be a heart to heart dialogue. Lace it with short humorous anecdotes – laughter lubricates learning!

Anecdotes should be short, appropriate and in good taste. Quotations, proverbs and idioms should be like arrows piercing directly in to the heart of the audience. Experienced speakers learn to master the art of reciting these statements, giving a long pause after it has been stated to let it sink in with the audience.

(6) Listener-oriented:

Audience is your customer. It is your business to know their needs and wants, their desires and their expectations. Speaker has to be very sensitive to the body language of their audience and modify the speech to fine tune with them. If the message has to gel well with the audience, speakers‟ antenna should pick up the cues from the body language of the listeners.

(7) Dynamic

Dynamism is an important quality of a good speech. There must e variation in style, tone, voice, approach depending on the situation and timing otherwise audience will lose their attention and will suffer form monotonous presentation.

(8) Free From Error  

A good speech is always free from error. Error in speech can make the audience confused and loose the personality of the speaker.

(9) Authentic

The facts and figure presented in a speech must be authentic and true. False statement or information misleads the audience and hamper the acceptability of speech.

( 10) Well Organized

A good speech is always well organised and well arranged. The pats or points of a speech should be organized in logical sequence to attract and retain h attention of the audience.

(11)  Use rhetorical questions

Rhetorical questions are a great way to engage your audience and make them think. By asking a question that does not require an answer, you can encourage your audience to reflect on your message and consider its implications.

(12) Use inclusive language

Inclusive language is a language that avoids stereotypes or discriminatory terms and includes everyone. Inclusive language is essential when delivering a speech, as it shows respect for your audience and makes them feel valued.

(13) Practice, practice, practice

Finally, one of the most important characteristics of speech writing is practice. Practice delivering your speech in front of a mirror or with friends or family. This will help you refine your delivery and ensure you are comfortable and confident when delivering your speech.

(14) Conciseness

Along with being clear, the message presented through the speech should also be concise so that the speech does not get tedious and does not get boring. 

(15) Definiteness

The subject matter presented through the speech should be relevant and definite to the present audience. 

(16) Interesting

Apart from being clear and concise, there is also a need for the speech to have an element of interest. This interest should not be limited to the subject matter but rather, the speech itself should be delivered in an engaging and interesting manner. 

(17) Audience-centered

The message of the speech should be centered more around the audience rather than the speaker himself or herself. 

(18) Speak Slowly

If the speaker speaks too fast, the listeners may lose track of the information being presented and hence, one must speak slowly but not too slowly so asn to put the listeners to sleep. 

(19) Unbiased

The information presented in the speech should not be biased and it should be presented from a neutral point of view. 

(20) Body Gestures

One should also maintain a proper posture and use appropriate body gestures to deliver the speech. 

(21) Ensure Participation Of Audience

Asking questions to the listeners or the audience and involving them is necessary. 

(22) Free From Emotions

The speaker should not dwell too much on his or her emotions to ensure that the speech can be delivered in an effective manner. 

These are the various characteristics and principles of effective speech writing. Speech writing is a complex but rewarding skill that requires careful consideration of your purpose, audience, language, and delivery. Following these ten characteristics, you can write a powerful and effective speech that will engage your audience and leave a lasting impression. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to rehearse your speech until you are confident and comfortable with your delivery.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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COMMENTS

  1. Elements in a Speech

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  2. Beginners Guide to What is a Speech Writing

    November 22, 2023 Beginners Guide to What is a Speech Writing Speech Writing What is a Speech Writing: A Beginner's Guide What is the purpose of speech writing? The purpose of speech writing is to craft a compelling and effective speech that conveys a specific message or idea to an audience.

  3. How to Write a Good Speech: 10 Steps and Tips

    Here are some key elements of great speech writing: It begins with clearly understanding the speech's purpose and the audience it seeks to engage. A well-written speech clearly conveys its central message, ensuring that the audience understands and retains the key points.

  4. Speech Structure: The Complete OBC Guide

    Your speech structure is the glue that binds your points together. Without it, you cannot really have the impact you desire to have on the audience. The beauty of this is that a good structure is so subtle it is almost invisible. Its effectiveness is only evident in its impact.

  5. Here's How to Write a Perfect Speech

    Educate, inspire, entertain, argue a point? Your goals will dictate the tone and structure, and result in dramatically different speeches. Know your audience: Your speech should be tailored for your audience, both in terms of ideas and language.

  6. How to Build a Speech

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  7. The 8 Key Elements of Highly Effective Speech

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  8. PDF Elements of a Speech

    The following are the major elements of a speech. The Introduction: The attention getter is used to get your audience involved and interested in your subject. You can use a personal story, alarming statistic, or a joke as your attention getter. Your audience will not listen to you unless you establish relevance.

  9. How to Write a Structured Speech in 5 Steps

    How to Write a Speech in 5 Steps. 1. Make an Outline. Just like in essay writing, writing a speech outline will help surface key points. This doesn't need to be overly complicated. Most speeches contain three main sections. The intro, which might feature personal stories that illustrate the subject or problem you're addressing; the body of ...

  10. Speeches

    Ethos refers to an appeal to your audience by establishing your authenticity and trustworthiness as a speaker. If you employ pathos, you appeal to your audience's emotions. Using logos includes the support of hard facts, statistics, and logical argumentation. The most effective speeches usually present a combination these rhetorical strategies.

  11. Fundamentals of Speechwriting

    There is 1 module in this course. Fundamentals of Speechwriting is a course that enhances speechwriting skills by deepening learners' understanding of the impact of key elements on developing coherent and impactful speeches. It is aimed at learners with experience writing and speaking who wish to enhance their current skills.

  12. Elements of Speech Writing

    Structure: Speeches must have a beginning, a middle and a conclusion. Personal pronouns: Using pronouns, like 'I' 'we' 'us' 'you' is an effective way of building a relationship with the reader. "It is up to every one of us here today to tackle climate change."

  13. The 8 Key Steps to Successful Speech Writing (With Tips)

    5. Use concrete details and visual aids. Use concrete details to support your points. Brief stories, interesting examples, or factual data can help to engage your audience and convey the truth of your purpose. Consider using visual aids to further support your speech. Images can be powerful and engaging.

  14. Speech Writing Format, Samples, Examples

    FAQs What is Speech Writing? YouTube: Nihir Shah Must Read: Story Writing Format for Class 9 & 10 Speech writing is the art of using proper grammar and expression to convey a thought or message to a reader. Speech writing isn't all that distinct from other types of narrative writing.

  15. Speechwriting 101: Writing an Effective Speech

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  16. 19.7 Spotlight on … Delivery/Public Speaking

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  17. What are the Components and Features of Speech Writing?

    The various features of speech writing are as follows: Clarity A speech is considered to be effective when it is clear and concise. The information presented in the speech should be comprehensible to the present audience and the speech should be delivered by the speaker in a fluent and eloquent manner. Conciseness

  18. The 8 Parts of Speech: Examples and Rules

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  19. Literary Techniques for your Speech, with Examples Analyzed

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  21. What are the features of speech writing?

    The speech is also written to time and to the audience. The language used appeals to a certain type of listener, and is prevalent in 1963 when the speech was given. Six elements to include when writing a powerful speech. The purpose of a speech is to convince the people that listen to it that the message is important and, in most cases, to ...

  22. What are the 10 Principles or Characteristics of Speech Writing with

    The voice of the speaker should be clear, tone should vary and pitch should be pleasant. The ideas, emotions and arguments should come straight from the heart so that audience can grasp it easily. It should register with the listeners and vibrate with their feelings and thoughts. A speech is considered to be effective when it is clear and concise.

  23. Parts of Speech: Complete Guide (With Examples and More)

    The parts of speech refer to categories to which a word belongs. In English, there are eight of them : verbs , nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections. Many English words fall into more than one part of speech category. Take the word light as an example.