How it works
Transform your enterprise with the scalable mindsets, skills, & behavior change that drive performance.
Explore how BetterUp connects to your core business systems.
Build leaders that accelerate team performance and engagement.
Unlock performance potential at scale with AI-powered curated growth journeys.
Build resilience, well-being and agility to drive performance across your entire enterprise.
Transform your business, starting with your sales leaders.
Unlock business impact from the top with executive coaching.
Foster a culture of inclusion and belonging.
Accelerate the performance and potential of your agencies and employees.
See how innovative organizations use BetterUp to build a thriving workforce.
Discover how BetterUp measurably impacts key business outcomes for organizations like yours.
A demo is the first step to transforming your business. Meet with us to develop a plan for attaining your goals.
- For Individuals
Best practices, research, and tools to fuel individual and business growth.
View on-demand BetterUp events and learn about upcoming live discussions.
The latest insights and ideas for building a high-performing workplace.
- BetterUp Briefing
The online magazine that helps you understand tomorrow's workforce trends, today.
Innovative research featured in peer-reviewed journals, press, and more.
Founded in 2022 to deepen the understanding of the intersection of well-being, purpose, and performance
We're on a mission to help everyone live with clarity, purpose, and passion.
Join us and create impactful change.
Read the buzz about BetterUp.
Meet the leadership that's passionate about empowering your workforce.
How to write a speech that your audience remembers
Understand Yourself Better:
Big 5 Personality Test
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Content Marketing Manager, ACC
How to say farewell to a colleague: 35 ways to say goodbye
Create a networking plan in 7 easy steps, use a personal swot analysis to discover your strengths and weaknesses, be cool: how to manage your emotions and avoid rage quitting, are you being passed over for a promotion here’s what to do, how long should you stay in a job this guide will help you figure it out, 20+ tips for how to get better at networking even if you are shy, discover how professional coaching can boost your career growth, what is a career statement, and should you write one, similar articles, how to write an executive summary in 10 steps, 18 effective strategies to improve your communication skills, 8 tip to improve your public speaking skills, the importance of good speech: 5 tips to be more articulate, how to pitch ideas: 8 tips to captivate any audience, how to give a good presentation that captivates any audience, writing an elevator pitch about yourself: a how-to plus tips, how to write a letter of recommendation (with examples), how to write a memo: 8 steps with examples, stay connected with betterup, get our newsletter, event invites, plus product insights and research..
3100 E 5th Street, Suite 350 Austin, TX 78702
- Platform Overview
- BetterUp Lead
- BetterUp Manage™
- BetterUp Care™
- Sales Performance
- Diversity & Inclusion
- Case Studies
- Why BetterUp?
- News and Press
- Leadership Team
- Become a BetterUp Coach
- BetterUp Labs
- Center for Purpose & Performance
- Leadership Training
- Business Coaching
- Contact Support
- Contact Sales
- Acceptable Use Policy
- Trust & Security
- Cookie Preferences
If You Want to Write a Great Speech, Here’s How to Do It
Writing a speech isn’t all that different than writing for other mediums. You need to know your audience, the required length, and the purpose or topic. This is true whether your speech is for a business conference, a wedding, a school project, or any other scenario.
But there’s something about speech writing that’s especially nerve-wracking .
If you write and deliver a speech that doesn’t go over well, you’ll get feedback in real time. The people sitting in front of you could lose interest, start talking, doze off, or even wander out of the room. (Don’t worry, only audiences in movies throw tomatoes).
Of course, a poor speech is not the end of the world. You can give plenty of crummy speeches and live to tell the tale.
But we also know that a great speech is capable of changing the world. Or at least sparking an audience’s imagination, catapulting your business into success, earning an A+ on your assignment, or ensuring that the bride and groom are still friends with you after the wedding.
So if you’re feeling stressed over your impending speech writing duties, fret no more! Today we’re breaking down for you the step-by-step process of exactly how to write a great speech.
Here’s a tip: Want to make sure your writing shines? Grammarly can check your spelling and save you from grammar and punctuation mistakes. It even proofreads your text, so your work is extra polished wherever you write.
Your writing, at its best Grammarly helps you communicate confidently Write with Grammarly
1 Tips to write (and live) by
Let’s start with the 30,000 foot, big-picture view. These are the tenets that will guide you in your speech writing process (and pretty much anything else you want to write).
- Know the purpose: What are you trying to accomplish with your 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. If you’re speaking at a sound healer convention, you won’t need to explain the concept of energetic blocks. And if you’re speaking to an octogenarians-only quilting circle, you probably shouldn’t drop as many F-bombs as you would with your local biker gang.
- Know the length: You don’t want to underwhelm or overwhelm your audience.Ten minutes may be too short for your keynote address, but it’s probably too long for your best man speech. Don’t leave things up to chance. Your writing process will be much easier if you keep your eye on your target length.
- Write, revise, practice, revise, practice…: MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech wasn’t written in a day. Give yourself the time you need to practice your material and work through multiple drafts. Don’t expect to nail everything on the first try.
2 The step-by-step process
Still feeling stressed over how to get started? Here’s how to write your speech from concept to completion.
Step 1: Outline your speech’s structure. What are the main ideas for each section?
Step 2: Flesh out the main ideas in your outline. Don’t worry about finding the perfect words. Just let your creativity flow and get it all out!
Step 3: Edit and polish what you’ve written until you have a cohesive first draft of your speech
Step 4: Practice, practice, practice. The more you practice your speech the more you’ll discover which sections need reworked, which transitions should be improved, and which sentences are hard to say. You’ll also find out how you’re doing on length.
Step 5: Update, practice, and revise your speech until it has a great flow and you feel it’s ready to accomplish its purpose.
3 The universal structure
Getting hung up on Step 1? Here’s a structure you can follow for any type of speech.
Who are you, why are are you giving this speech, what is your main thesis?
The “who” and “why” can be longer or shorter depending on the context. For example, if you’re speaking at a wedding, you’ll want to explain your relationship to the bride and groom and why they mean so much to you. But if you’re presenting to your class at school, you may be able to head straight into your thesis.
If you’re presenting in a business or motivational setting, this is a crucial time to hook your audience’s attention and pique their curiosity. Typically someone else will have already introduced you and your accolades, so use this to your advantage and dive straight in.
“Hi everyone, it’s great to be here! As Kevin just said, I’ve been an urban beet farmer for 30 years, and a couple years back I got this absolutely crazy idea. What if…”
Idea 1, Idea 2, Idea 3…
The majority of your speech should be spent presenting your thesis and supporting material in a simple, organized way.
Whether you’re giving an inspirational talk or a business presentation, rambling is a sure-fire way to lose your audience’s attention. Don’t try to share absolutely everything you know on your topic, instead pick a few (two to five) key points to present to your audience.
Stick to one point at a time and finish the thought before you move on to the next. Build in clear, logical transitions from idea to idea.
Want to make your speech memorable? Studies have shown our brains are great at remember stories! As much as is appropriate, make your speech personal and include your own anecdotes and thoughts.
We’re also better at remembering big ideas if they’re condensed into a few memorable words, so do your best to sum up your thesis.
“I have a dream.”
“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
“Make good art.”
What do you want your audience to walk out of the room remembering?
Wrap everything up and drive home your main idea, whether that’s through providing a few (one to three) key takeaways, or telling one last story that perfectly illustrates your point.
Here are some examples of how your outline might look
As a researcher presenting your findings…
Introduction: Explain the key problem or question of your research.
Main message: Describe the research process, then describe your three key findings.
Takeaway: Present your conclusions and their implications, then your next steps for moving forward.
As the maid of honor giving a speech at your best friend’s wedding…
Introduction: Explain who you are and how you met the bride.
Main message: Recount three funny and heartwarming stories about your decades-long friendship with her, plus your first impressions of the groom.
Takeaway: Wrap things up by expounding on how amazing the bride and groom’s love for each other is, how they’re meant to be together, and how you know their love will last a lifetime. …L’chaim!
What are your favorite tips for writing a great speech?
Here’s a tip: Grammarly’s Citation Generator ensures your essays have flawless citations and no plagiarism. Try it for citing speeches in Chicago , MLA , and APA styles.
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.
More News & Resources
STRIDE - A Social Impact Summit
December 6, 2023
Benchmarking Reports Reveal Public Affairs’ Growing Status
November 16, 2023
Measuring and Communicating the Value of Public Affairs
July 26, 2023
Volunteer of the Year Was Integral to New Fellowship
Is the Fight for the Senate Over?
New Council Chair Embraces Challenge of Changing Profession
October 25, 2023
Are We About to Have a Foreign Policy Election?
Few Americans Believe 2024 Elections Will Be ‘Honest and Open’
Rural Americans vs. Urban Americans
August 3, 2023
What Can We Learn from DeSantis-Disney Grudge Match?
June 29, 2023
Laura Brigandi Manager of Digital and Advocacy Practice 202.787.5976 | [email protected]
Str i de: a social impact summit.
The place to share ideas, innovate and connect to improve society.
Washington, D.C. | December 6, 2023
Previous Post Hiring Effectively With an Executive Recruiter
Next post guidance on social media policies for external audiences.
Comments are closed.
Public Affairs Council 2121 K St. N.W., Suite 900 Washington, DC 20037 (+1) 202.787.5950 [email protected]
Public Affairs Council Square Ambiorix 7 1000 Brussels [email protected]
Contact Who We Are
LinkedIn X (Twitter) Instagram Facebook Mailing List
- Browse All Content
- Upcoming Events
- On-Demand Recordings
- Team Training with ‘Membership Plus+’
- Earn Your Certificate
- Content Search
- Connect with Our Experts
- PAC & Political Engagement
- Grassroots & Digital Advocacy
- Social Impact
- Government Relations
- Public Affairs Management
- Browse Research
- Legal Guidance
- Election Insights
- Benchmarking, Consulting & Training
- Where to Start
- Speaking Opportunities
- Leadership Opportunities
- Latest News
- Impact Monthly Newsletter
- Member Spotlight
- Membership Directory
- Sponsorship Opportunities
- PRO Courses Guides New Tech Help Pro Expert Videos About wikiHow Pro Upgrade Sign In
- EDIT Edit this Article
- EXPLORE Tech Help Pro About Us Random Article Quizzes Request a New Article Community Dashboard This Or That Game Popular Categories Arts and Entertainment Artwork Books Movies Computers and Electronics Computers Phone Skills Technology Hacks Health Men's Health Mental Health Women's Health Relationships Dating Love Relationship Issues Hobbies and Crafts Crafts Drawing Games Education & Communication Communication Skills Personal Development Studying Personal Care and Style Fashion Hair Care Personal Hygiene Youth Personal Care School Stuff Dating All Categories Arts and Entertainment Finance and Business Home and Garden Relationship Quizzes Cars & Other Vehicles Food and Entertaining Personal Care and Style Sports and Fitness Computers and Electronics Health Pets and Animals Travel Education & Communication Hobbies and Crafts Philosophy and Religion Work World Family Life Holidays and Traditions Relationships Youth
- Browse Articles
- Learn Something New
- Quizzes Hot
- This Or That Game New
- Train Your Brain
- Explore More
- Support wikiHow
- About wikiHow
- Log in / Sign up
- Education and Communications
- Communication Skills
- Public Speaking
How to Write a Speech
Last Updated: June 13, 2023 Fact Checked
This article was co-authored by Patrick Muñoz . Patrick is an internationally recognized Voice & Speech Coach, focusing on public speaking, vocal power, accent and dialects, accent reduction, voiceover, acting and speech therapy. He has worked with clients such as Penelope Cruz, Eva Longoria, and Roselyn Sanchez. He was voted LA's Favorite Voice and Dialect Coach by BACKSTAGE, is the voice and speech coach for Disney and Turner Classic Movies, and is a member of Voice and Speech Trainers Association. There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 2,960,320 times.
Giving an original speech for a class, event, or work presentation can be nerve-wracking. However, writing an effective speech can help to bolster your confidence. With careful planning and an eye for detail, you can write a speech that will inform, persuade, motivate, or entertain! Give yourself plenty of time to craft your speech and practice it several times for best results.
Drafting an Effective Speech
- If you are writing a speech for a class, make sure to check with your teacher to get details about the number and acceptable types of sources.
- If you are writing an informative or persuasive speech, then plan to arrange your speech with a problem and solution structure. Start the speech by talking about what is wrong, then explain how to fix the problem in the second half of your speech.  X Research source
Tip : Keep in mind that you can always refine your outline later or as you draft your speech. Include all of the information that seems relevant now with the expectation that you will likely need to pare it down later.
- For example, if you are writing a motivational speech about weight loss, then you might say something like, “Five years ago, I could not walk up a flight of stairs without needing to take a break halfway up.”
- If you hope to persuade audience members to reduce their use of fossil fuels, then you might start off by saying, “Gas-powered vehicles are the reason why global warming is threatening to destroy our planet.”
- For example, if you are giving a speech on increasing funding for Alzheimer’s research, it would be helpful to provide information on how common Alzheimer’s disease is and how it affects families. You could accomplish this with a combination of a statistic and an anecdote.
Tip: Keep your introduction less than 1 paragraph or 1 double-spaced page long. This will help to ensure that you do not spend too much time on the context and background before getting to the meat of your topic.  X Research source
- For example, in a speech about ending animal testing for cosmetics, you might start with a point about how animal testing is cruel, then explain that it is unnecessary, and then talk about the alternatives to animal testing that make it obsolete.
- For example, if you are about to cover the concept of delayed onset muscle soreness (also known as DOMS), then explain what it is in a nutshell first, then go into more detail about it and how it relates to your point, then end that section of your speech with a brief summary of the main point you are trying to make.
- In that moment
- The following week
- For example, if you have just described the effects of global warming on the polar bear population, conclude your speech by telling your audience about non-profit organizations that are working to protect the environment and the polar bear population.
- If you have just shared your weight loss story to motivate your audience, tell them what they can do to start their own weight loss journey and share resources that you found helpful.
Making Your Speech More Engaging
- For example, instead of saying, “Achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight is the pinnacle of human existence because it enables you to accomplish physical feats that boost your confidence and give you a sense of accomplishment,” say, “A healthy body weight allows you to do more physically, and this may make you happier overall.”
- Keep in mind that it is also important to vary your sentence structure. You can include a longer sentence once or twice per page to add variety to your speech. Just avoid using lots of long sentences in your speech.  X Research source
- For example, if you are giving a speech for a group of sales associates who are trying to increase sales of a new product called “Synergy,” then you might repeat a simple phrase to that effect, such as “Tell your customers about Synergy,” or you could simply say, “Synergy” a few times during your speech to remind your audience of this product.
- If you are writing a motivational speech about how running can help people to overcome emotional hurdles, then you might repeat a phrase in your speech to emphasize this idea, such as, “Run through the pain.”
- For example, if you are giving a speech about moose mating patterns, 2 numbers that show the decline in the moose population over a 50 year period may be a striking addition to your speech. However, sharing a complex set of moose population statistics would be less compelling and possibly even confusing to your audience.
- Choose quotes that are easy to follow and make sure that you explain how each quote you use supports to your argument. Try to stick with quotes that use simple language and take up no more than 2 lines on your page.
- For example, when describing your love of food in a motivational speech about becoming a chef, you might decide to include a joke and say something like, “I always wanted to become a chef, ever since I was a little kid and I discovered that people actually make donuts and they don’t just randomly fall from the sky.”
- Avoid relying on the slides to make the speech for you. You will still need to deliver your speech in an engaging manner. Only use the slides as a complement to your words.
- Make sure to read your speech out loud when you review it! This will help you to determine if it sounds natural and if there are any awkward sections that you can cut, smooth out, or explain more clearly.  X Research source
You Might Also Like
- ↑ http://teacher.scholastic.com/writewit/speech/tips.htm
- ↑ Patrick Muñoz. Voice & Speech Coach. Expert Interview. 12 November 2019.
- ↑ https://www.write-out-loud.com/howtowritespeech.html
- ↑ https://www.academicwritingsuccess.com/7-sensational-essay-hooks/
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/speeches/
- ↑ https://www.unr.edu/writing-speaking-center/student-resources/writing-speaking-resources/speech-introductions
- ↑ https://pac.org/content/speechwriting-101-writing-effective-speech
About This Article
To write a speech, start off with an attention-grabbing statement, like "Before I begin my speech, I have something important to say." Once you've gotten everyone's attention, move on to your strongest argument or point first since that's what audiences will remember the most. Use transitions throughout your speech, like "This brings us back to the bigger picture," so the audience doesn't get lost. To conclude your speech, restate the key points and leave your audience with a question or something to think about. To learn how to edit your first draft, scroll down! Did this summary help you? Yes No
- Send fan mail to authors
Reader Success Stories
May 8, 2018
Did this article help you?
Aug 9, 2016
Apr 27, 2017
Apr 24, 2018
Apr 9, 2016
- Do Not Sell or Share My Info
- Not Selling Info
wikiHow Tech Help Pro:
Develop the tech skills you need for work and life
25,000+ students realised their study abroad dream with us. Take the first step today
Here’s your new year gift, one app for all your, study abroad needs, start your journey, track your progress, grow with the community and so much more.
An OTP has been sent to your registered mobile no. Please verify
Thanks for your comment !
Our team will review it before it's shown to our readers.
- Updated on
- Dec 1, 2023
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!
Must Read: Story Writing Format for Class 9 & 10
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.
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.”
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
- Why should every citizen vote?
- 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!
Team Leverage Edu
Leave a Reply Cancel reply
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
Contact no. *
This site has been very helpful to me
Wow i have gained more knowledge
lt’s a nice One and l have loved it
Thank you for your feedback! Happy that you loved it.
Thank you for your feedback!
thanks for your valuable feedback
This is indeed very helpful
Thanks for your valuable feedback!
I have learned alot thank you
Hi, Thanks for your feedback!
Wow so reliable, thanks.
8 Universities with higher ROI than IITs and IIMs
Grab this one-time opportunity to download this ebook
How would you describe this article ?
Please rate this article
We would like to hear more.
Connect With Us
20,000+ students realised their study abroad dream with us. take the first step today..
Resend OTP in
Need help with?
UK, Canada, US & More
IELTS, GRE, GMAT & More
Scholarship, Loans & Forex
Which English test are you planning to take?
Which academic test are you planning to take.
Not Sure yet
When are you planning to take the exam?
Already booked my exam slot
Within 2 Months
Want to learn about the test
Which Degree do you wish to pursue?
When do you want to start studying abroad.
What is your budget to study abroad?
Improve with practice.
Enhance your soft skills with a range of award-winning courses.
Sign up to our newsletter
How to Write a Speech to Engage your Audience
Updated february 19, 2021 - dom barnard.
In order to write a speech, you need to think about your audience, the required length, and the purpose or topic. This is true whether you are writing a wedding speech, conference presentation, investor pitch, or any other type of speech.
Being a great speech writer can help you get a promotion, motivate people, sell a business idea, persuade others and much more – it’s an essential skill in the modern world. In this article, we cover key tips for writing a speech.
Initial planning - Why? Who? What?
You should invest time strategically considering the speech. This will help you decide on the key message and content about your topic. Here are some points to consider.
- What do I want to achieve?
- When I achieve this, what will that do for me?
- Why am I speaking?
- What is the purpose of this speech?
- Who are the audience and who do they represent?
- Who do I represent?
- What do I know about them? (culture, language, level of expertise)
- How much influence do they have?
- What is the main message and key points?
- What specific action is implied?
- What level of information should I include?
- What is important to them?
Popular speech structure
You need to catch the audience attention early, very early (see section below). Deliver a memorable beginning, a clear middle and structured ending.
Popular speech structure:
- Explanation 1
- Explanation 2
- Explanation 3
Secondary Point (Optional: supports main)
Tertiary Point (Optional: supports secondary and main)
Build Career Skills Online
Fast-track your career with award-winning courses and realistic practice.
Attention span of your audience
Research shows that attention span is greatest at the beginning of a speech, reduces considerably during the middle of your speech and picks up again towards the end when your audience know you about to finish.
Don't try to put too many ideas into your speech. Research shows that people remember very little from speeches, so just give them one or two ideas to hang onto.
These two articles explain audience attention span in more detail, and how to write a speech to extend it:
- How many minutes is the audience's attention span?
- What to do when you’re losing your audience
Make sure your opening few seconds are memorable as this is when your audience will make up their minds about you. Use a bold sentence to grab their attention, works best with numbers reinforcing your point.
An example sentence might be – "After this speech, I’m confident 50% of you will go out and buy a VR headset." Follow these tips on how to write a speech intro:
Remember the INTRO model
This is more focused on presentations but sections can be applied broadly to other general speeches.
You: Introduce yourself confidently and clearly Audience: Why should I listen to you?
You: Remind the audience the reasons for this speech Audience: What’s in it for me?
You: State length of speech at beginning, “Over the next 15 minutes” Audience: How long until I can get a coffee?
You: State the main points, “Today I’m going to cover 4 main points” Audience: Which sections of the speech are important to me?
You: Clearly state the objective, “By the end of this speech, I would like to…” Audience: So that’s what you want from me today…
Example: Great speech opening
This speech opening is by Jamie Oliver, giving a TED talk on teaching every child about food.
Sadly, in the next 18 minutes when I do our chat, four Americans that are alive will be dead through the food that they eat. My name’s Jamie Oliver. I’m 34 years old. I’m from Essex in England and for the last seven years I’ve worked fairly tirelessly to save lives in my own way. I’m not a doctor; I’m a chef, I don’t have expensive equipment or medicine. I use information, education. I profoundly believe that the power of food has a primal place in our homes that binds us to the best bits of life. We have an awful, awful reality right now. America, you’re at the top of your game. This is one of the most unhealthy countries in the world.
How not to open your speech
Avoid the following opening comments:
- " Apologies, I’m a little nervous about speaking " – no need to make the audience aware of this, it will make them focus on how nervous you are instead of what you are saying
- " I’ve got the graveyard shift " – you are telling people not to expect much
- " I’m what stands between you and lunch " – even if people weren’t thinking it, after this comment, all they are thinking of is when will you finish so they can eat
- " We are running late, so I’ll do my best to explain... " – instead of this, state how long your speech will take so that people know when they will be leaving
Middle of the speech
The body of your speech is where the majority of the information is. The audience has been introduced to the subject and reasons for the speech. Now you need to present your arguments and examples, data, illustrations backing up your key message.
How to write a speech body can be difficult, the best way to build this section is to write down three points you are trying to convey in your speech, your main, secondary and tertiary points. Then write down three descriptions clarifying each of these points. The descriptions should be simple, memorable and meaningful.
The middle of your speech is where the audience start losing attention. Keep this in mind and ensure your message is clear. Use images, jokes and rhetoric questions to keep the audience engaged.
Don’t overwhelm your audience with many points. It is much more valuable to make a small number of points well, than to have too many points which aren’t made satisfactorily.
Obama and his speeches
Obama’s speeches are well prepared with a focus on powerful words “A change is brought about because ordinary people do extraordinary things“. His speeches use simple language and quotes from famous speeches his listeners can relate to.
For additional trademark Obama techniques, check out How Barack Obama prepares his speeches.
How to end a speech
Similar to the opening, your closing statements should be impactful, re-stating the key message of your speech. We advise learning your ending few lines word for word. The ending is an opportunity to:
- Leave the audience with a lasting impression of your speech
- Summarise the main points
- Provide further ideas and discussion points for the audience to take away with them
- Thank the audience for taking the time to listen
Methods to end your speech
Quotation Close – use a famous quote to get the audience’s attention and create a link to your speech.
Bookend Close – refer back to an opening statement and repeat it or add a few extra words to elaborate on it.
Open Question – ask the audience a provocative question or a call to action to perform some task on the back of your speech.
For additional tips on how to write a speech, in particular how to close your speech, read:
- 5 great ways to end a speech
- 10 ways to end your speech with a bang
- Presentations: language expert – signposting
Ideas for ending a speech
- Key message
- Refer to opening impact statement
- Objectives met
- Call to action
- End on an Up
Step-by-step process for writing a speech
Here's how to write your speech from concept to completion.
- Outline your speech's structure. What are the main ideas for each section?
- Write out the main ideas in your outline. Don't worry about making it perfect - just write as much of it down as you can
- Edit and polish what you've written until you have a good first draft of your speech
- Now you need to practice and memorize your speech . The more you practice, the more you'll figure out which sections need changing. You'll also get an idea of length and if you need to extend / shorten it.
- Update your speech, practice some more, and revise your speech until it has a great flow and you feel comfortable with it.
Classic speech transcripts
One of the best ways for learning how to write a speech is reading other well written ones. Here are a list of famous speeches to read and learn from:
- Bill Gates TED Talk Transcript from 2015: Warns of Pandemics, Epidemics
- Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg Commencement Speech at Harvard 2014
- Ronald Reagan Memorial Day Speech Transcript 1984
- I Have Been to the Mountaintop Speech Transcript – Martin Luther King Jr.
- Games, topic printables & more
- The 4 main speech types
- Example speeches
- Student Council
- Speech topics
- Poems to read aloud
- How to write a speech
- How to prepare cue cards
- Using props/visual aids
- Acute anxiety help
- Breathing exercises
- Letting go - free e-course
- Using self-hypnosis
- Delivery overview
- 4 modes of delivery
- How to read a speech
- 9 vocal aspects
- Vocal variety
- Speaking rate
- How to use pauses
- Eye contact
- Body language
- Voice image
- Voice health
- Public speaking activities and games
- About me/contact
How to write a good speech in 7 steps
By: Susan Dugdale | Last modified: 09-11-2022
- an easily followed format for writing a great speech
Did you know writing a speech doesn't have be an anxious, nail biting experience?
Unsure? Don't be.
You may have lived with the idea you were never good with words for a long time. Or perhaps giving speeches at school brought you out in cold sweats.
However learning how to write a speech is relatively straight forward when you learn to write out loud.
And that's the journey I am offering to take you on: step by step.
To learn quickly, go slow
Take all the time you need. This speech format has 7 steps, each building on the next.
Walk, rather than run, your way through all of them. Don't be tempted to rush. Familiarize yourself with the ideas. Try them out.
I know there are well-advertised short cuts and promises of 'write a speech in 5 minutes'. However in reality they only truly work for somebody who already has the basic foundations of speech writing in place.
The foundation of good speech writing
These steps are the backbone of sound speech preparation. Learn and follow them well at the outset and yes, given more experience and practice you could probably flick something together quickly. Like any skill, the more it's used, the easier it gets.
In the meantime...
Step 1: Begin with a speech overview or outline
Are you in a hurry? Without time to read a whole page? Grab ... The Quick How to Write a Speech Checklist And come back to get the details later.
- WHO you are writing your speech for (your target audience)
- WHY you are preparing this speech. What's the main purpose of your speech? Is it to inform or tell your audience about something? To teach them a new skill or demonstrate something? To persuade or to entertain? (See 4 types of speeches: informative, demonstrative, persuasive and special occasion or entertaining for more.) What do you want them to think, feel or do as a result of listening the speech?
- WHAT your speech is going to be about (its topic) - You'll want to have thought through your main points and have ranked them in order of importance. And have sorted the supporting research you need to make those points effectively.
- HOW much time you have for your speech eg. 3 minutes, 5 minutes... The amount of time you've been allocated dictates how much content you need. If you're unsure check this page: how many words per minute in a speech: a quick reference guide . You'll find estimates of the number of words required for 1 - 10 minute speeches by slow, medium and fast talkers.
Use an outline
The best way to make sure you deliver a perfect speech is to start by carefully completing a speech outline covering the essentials: WHO, WHY, WHAT and HOW.
Beginning to write without thinking your speech through is a bit like heading off on a journey not knowing why you're traveling or where you're going to end up. You can find yourself lost in a deep, dark, murky muddle of ideas very quickly!
Pulling together a speech overview or outline is a much safer option. It's the map you'll follow to get where you want to go.
Get a blank speech outline template to complete
Click the link to find out a whole lot more about preparing a speech outline . ☺ You'll also find a free printable blank speech outline template. I recommend using it!
Understanding speech construction
Before you begin to write, using your completed outline as a guide, let's briefly look at what you're aiming to prepare.
- an opening or introduction
- the body where the bulk of the information is given
- and an ending (or summary).
Imagine your speech as a sandwich
If you think of a speech as a sandwich you'll get the idea.
The opening and ending are the slices of bread holding the filling (the major points or the body of your speech) together.
You can build yourself a simple sandwich with one filling (one big idea) or you could go gourmet and add up to three or, even five. The choice is yours.
But whatever you choose to serve, as a good cook, you need to consider who is going to eat it! And that's your audience.
So let's find out who they are before we do anything else.
Step 2: Know who you are talking to
Understanding your audience.
Did you know a good speech is never written from the speaker's point of view? ( If you need to know more about why check out this page on building rapport .)
Begin with the most important idea/point on your outline.
Consider HOW you can explain (show, tell) that to your audience in the most effective way for them to easily understand it.
Writing from the audience's point of view
To help you write from an audience point of view, it's a good idea to identify either a real person or the type of person who is most likely to be listening to you.
Make sure you select someone who represents the "majority" of the people who will be in your audience. That is they are neither struggling to comprehend you at the bottom of your scale or light-years ahead at the top.
Now imagine they are sitting next to you eagerly waiting to hear what you're going to say. Give them a name, for example, Joe, to help make them real.
- How do I need to tailor my information to meet Joe's needs? For example, do you tell personal stories to illustrate your main points? Absolutely! Yes. This is a very powerful technique. (Click storytelling in speeches to find out more.)
- What type or level of language is right for Joe as well as my topic? For example if I use jargon (activity, industry or profession specific vocabulary) will it be understood?
Step 3: Writing as you speak
Writing oral language.
Write down what you want to say about your first main point as if you were talking directly to Joe.
If it helps, say it all out loud before you write it down and/or record it.
Use the information below as a guide
(Click to download The Characteristics of Spoken Language as a pdf.)
You do not have to write absolutely everything you're going to say down * but you do need to write down, or outline, the sequence of ideas to ensure they are logical and easily followed.
Remember too, to explain or illustrate your point with examples from your research.
( * Tip: If this is your first speech the safety net of having everything written down could be just what you need. It's easier to recover from a patch of jitters when you have a word by word manuscript than if you have either none, or a bare outline. Your call!)
Step 4: Checking tone and language
The focus of this step is re-working what you've done in Step 2 and 3.
You identified who you were talking to (Step 2) and in Step 3, wrote up your first main point. Is it right? Have you made yourself clear? Check it.
How well you complete this step depends on how well you understand the needs of the people who are going to listen to your speech.
Please do not assume because you know what you're talking about the person (Joe) you've chosen to represent your audience will too. Joe is not a mind-reader!
How to check what you've prepared
- Check the "tone" of your language . Is it right for the occasion, subject matter and your audience?
- Check the length of your sentences. You need short sentences. If they're too long or complicated you risk losing your listeners.
Check for jargon too. These are industry, activity or group exclusive words.
For instance take the phrase: authentic learning . This comes from teaching and refers to connecting lessons to the daily life of students. Authentic learning is learning that is relevant and meaningful for students. If you're not a teacher you may not understand the phrase.
The use of any vocabulary requiring insider knowledge needs to be thought through from the audience perspective. Jargon can close people out.
- Read what you've written out loud. If it flows naturally, in a logical manner, continue the process with your next main idea. If it doesn't, rework.
We use whole sentences and part ones, and we mix them up with asides or appeals e.g. "Did you get that? Of course you did. Right...Let's move it along. I was saying ..."
Click for more about the differences between spoken and written language .
And now repeat the process
Repeat this process for the remainder of your main ideas.
Because you've done the first one carefully, the rest should follow fairly easily.
Step 5: Use transitions
Providing links or transitions between main ideas.
Between each of your main ideas you need to provide a bridge or pathway for your audience. The clearer the pathway or bridge, the easier it is for them to make the transition from one idea to the next.
If your speech contains more than three main ideas and each is building on the last, then consider using a "catch-up" or summary as part of your transitions.
Is your speech being evaluated? Find out exactly what aspects you're being assessed on using this standard speech evaluation form
A link can be as simple as:
"We've explored one scenario for the ending of Block Buster 111, but let's consider another. This time..."
What follows this transition is the introduction of Main Idea Two.
Here's a summarizing link/transition example:
"We've ended Blockbuster 111 four ways so far. In the first, everybody died. In the second, everybody died BUT their ghosts remained to haunt the area. In the third, one villain died. His partner reformed and after a fight-out with the hero, they both strode off into the sunset, friends forever. In the fourth, the hero dies in a major battle but is reborn sometime in the future.
And now what about one more? What if nobody died? The fifth possibility..."
Go back through your main ideas checking the links. Remember Joe as you go. Try each transition or link out loud and really listen to yourself. Is it obvious? Easily followed?
Keep them if they are clear and concise.
For more about transitions (with examples) see Andrew Dlugan's excellent article, Speech Transitions: Magical words and Phrases .
Step 6: The end of your speech
The ideal ending is highly memorable . You want it to live on in the minds of your listeners long after your speech is finished. Often it combines a call to action with a summary of major points.
Example speech endings
Example 1: The desired outcome of a speech persuading people to vote for you in an upcoming election is that they get out there on voting day and do so. You can help that outcome along by calling them to register their support by signing a prepared pledge statement as they leave.
"We're agreed we want change. You can help us give it to you by signing this pledge statement as you leave. Be part of the change you want to see!
Example 2: The desired outcome is increased sales figures. The call to action is made urgent with the introduction of time specific incentives.
"You have three weeks from the time you leave this hall to make that dream family holiday in New Zealand yours. Can you do it? Will you do it? The kids will love it. Your wife will love it. Do it now!"
How to figure out the right call to action
A clue for working out what the most appropriate call to action might be, is to go back to your original purpose for giving the speech.
- Was it to motivate or inspire?
- Was it to persuade to a particular point of view?
- Was it to share specialist information?
- Was it to celebrate a person, a place, time or event?
Ask yourself what you want people to do as a result of having listened to your speech.
For more about ending speeches
Visit this page for more about how to end a speech effectively . You'll find two additional types of speech endings with examples.
Write and test
Write your ending and test it out loud. Try it out on a friend, or two. Is it good? Does it work?
Step 7: The introduction
Once you've got the filling (main ideas) the linking and the ending in place, it's time to focus on the introduction.
The introduction comes last as it's the most important part of your speech. This is the bit that either has people sitting up alert or slumped and waiting for you to end. It's the tone setter!
What makes a great speech opening?
Ideally you want an opening that makes listening to you the only thing the 'Joes' in the audience want to do.
You want them to forget they're hungry or that their chair is hard or that their bills need paying.
The way to do that is to capture their interest straight away. You do this with a "hook".
Hooks to catch your audience's attention
Hooks come in as many forms as there are speeches and audiences. Your task is work out what specific hook is needed to catch your audience.
Go back to the purpose. Why are you giving this speech?
Once you have your answer, consider your call to action. What do you want the audience to do, and, or take away, as a result of listening to you?
Next think about the imaginary or real person you wrote for when you were focusing on your main ideas.
Choosing the best hook
- Is it humor?
- Would shock tactics work?
- Is it a rhetorical question?
- Is it formality or informality?
- Is it an outline or overview of what you're going to cover, including the call to action?
- Or is it a mix of all these elements?
A hook example
Here's an example from a fictional political speech. The speaker is lobbying for votes. His audience are predominately workers whose future's are not secure.
"How's your imagination this morning? Good? (Pause for response from audience) Great, I'm glad. Because we're going to put it to work starting right now.
I want you to see your future. What does it look like? Are you happy? Is everything as you want it to be? No? Let's change that. We could do it. And we could do it today.
At the end of this speech you're going to be given the opportunity to change your world, for a better one ...
No, I'm not a magician. Or a simpleton with big ideas and precious little commonsense. I'm an ordinary man, just like you. And I have a plan to share!"
And then our speaker is off into his main points supported by examples. The end, which he has already foreshadowed in his opening, is the call to vote for him.
Prepare several hooks
Experiment with several openings until you've found the one that serves your audience, your subject matter and your purpose best.
For many more examples of speech openings go to: how to write a speech introduction . You'll find 12 of the very best ways to start a speech.
That completes the initial seven steps towards writing your speech. If you've followed them all the way through, congratulations, you now have the text of your speech!
Although you might have the words, you're still a couple of steps away from being ready to deliver them. Both of them are essential if you want the very best outcome possible. They are below. Please take them.
Step 8: Checking content and timing
This step pulls everything together.
Check once, check twice, check three times & then once more!
Go through your speech really carefully.
On the first read through check you've got your main points in their correct order with supporting material, plus an effective introduction and ending.
On the second read through check the linking passages or transitions making sure they are clear and easily followed.
On the third reading check your sentence structure, language use and tone.
Double, triple check the timing
Now go though once more.
This time read it aloud slowly and time yourself.
If it's too long for the time allowance you've been given make the necessary cuts.
Start by looking at your examples rather than the main ideas themselves. If you've used several examples to illustrate one principal idea, cut the least important out.
Also look to see if you've repeated yourself unnecessarily or, gone off track. If it's not relevant, cut it.
Repeat the process, condensing until your speech fits the required length, preferably coming in just under your time limit.
You can also find out how approximately long it will take you to say the words you have by using this very handy words to minutes converter . It's an excellent tool, one I frequently use. While it can't give you a precise time, it does provide a reasonable estimate.
Step 9: Rehearsing your speech
And NOW you are finished with writing the speech, and are ready for REHEARSAL .
Please don't be tempted to skip this step. It is not an extra thrown in for good measure. It's essential.
The "not-so-secret" secret of successful speeches combines good writing with practice, practice and then, practicing some more.
Go to how to practice public speaking and you'll find rehearsal techniques and suggestions to boost your speech delivery from ordinary to extraordinary.
The Quick How to Write a Speech Checklist
Before you begin writing you need:.
- Your speech OUTLINE with your main ideas ranked in the order you're going to present them. (If you haven't done one complete this 4 step sample speech outline . It will make the writing process much easier.)
- Your RESEARCH
- You also need to know WHO you're speaking to, the PURPOSE of the speech and HOW long you're speaking for
The basic format
- the body where you present your main ideas
Split your time allowance so that you spend approximately 70% on the body and 15% each on the introduction and ending.
How to write the speech
- Write your main ideas out incorporating your examples and research
- Link them together making sure each flows in a smooth, logical progression
- Write your ending, summarizing your main ideas briefly and end with a call for action
- Write your introduction considering the 'hook' you're going to use to get your audience listening
- An often quoted saying to explain the process is: Tell them what you're going to tell them (Introduction) Tell them (Body of your speech - the main ideas plus examples) Tell them what you told them (The ending)
TEST before presenting. Read aloud several times to check the flow of material, the suitability of language and the timing.
- Return to top
speaking out loud
Subscribe for FREE weekly alerts about what's new For more see speaking out loud
Top 10 popular pages
- Welcome speech
- Demonstration speech topics
- Impromptu speech topic cards
- Thank you quotes
- Impromptu public speaking topics
- Farewell speeches
- Phrases for welcome speeches
- Student council speeches
- Free sample eulogies
From fear to fun in 28 ways
A complete one stop resource to scuttle fear in the best of all possible ways - with laughter.
- Search this site
- About me & Contact
- Blogging Aloud
- Free e-course
©Copyright 2006-23 www.write-out-loud.com
Designed and built by Clickstream Designs