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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.
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What this handout is about
This handout will help you create an effective speech by establishing the purpose of your speech and making it easily understandable. It will also help you to analyze your audience and keep the audience interested.
What’s different about a speech?
Writing for public speaking isn’t so different from other types of writing. You want to engage your audience’s attention, convey your ideas in a logical manner and use reliable evidence to support your point. But the conditions for public speaking favor some writing qualities over others. When you write a speech, your audience is made up of listeners. They have only one chance to comprehend the information as you read it, so your speech must be well-organized and easily understood. In addition, the content of the speech and your delivery must fit the audience.
What’s your purpose?
People have gathered to hear you speak on a specific issue, and they expect to get something out of it immediately. And you, the speaker, hope to have an immediate effect on your audience. The purpose of your speech is to get the response you want. Most speeches invite audiences to react in one of three ways: feeling, thinking, or acting. For example, eulogies encourage emotional response from the audience; college lectures stimulate listeners to think about a topic from a different perspective; protest speeches in the Pit recommend actions the audience can take.
As you establish your purpose, ask yourself these questions:
- What do you want the audience to learn or do?
- If you are making an argument, why do you want them to agree with you?
- If they already agree with you, why are you giving the speech?
- How can your audience benefit from what you have to say?
If your purpose is to get a certain response from your audience, you must consider who they are (or who you’re pretending they are). If you can identify ways to connect with your listeners, you can make your speech interesting and useful.
As you think of ways to appeal to your audience, ask yourself:
- What do they have in common? Age? Interests? Ethnicity? Gender?
- Do they know as much about your topic as you, or will you be introducing them to new ideas?
- Why are these people listening to you? What are they looking for?
- What level of detail will be effective for them?
- What tone will be most effective in conveying your message?
- What might offend or alienate them?
For more help, see our handout on audience .
Creating an effective introduction
Get their attention, otherwise known as “the hook”.
Think about how you can relate to these listeners and get them to relate to you or your topic. Appealing to your audience on a personal level captures their attention and concern, increasing the chances of a successful speech. Speakers often begin with anecdotes to hook their audience’s attention. Other methods include presenting shocking statistics, asking direct questions of the audience, or enlisting audience participation.
Establish context and/or motive
Explain why your topic is important. Consider your purpose and how you came to speak to this audience. You may also want to connect the material to related or larger issues as well, especially those that may be important to your audience.
Get to the point
Tell your listeners your thesis right away and explain how you will support it. Don’t spend as much time developing your introductory paragraph and leading up to the thesis statement as you would in a research paper for a course. Moving from the intro into the body of the speech quickly will help keep your audience interested. You may be tempted to create suspense by keeping the audience guessing about your thesis until the end, then springing the implications of your discussion on them. But if you do so, they will most likely become bored or confused.
For more help, see our handout on introductions .
Making your speech easy to understand
Repeat crucial points and buzzwords.
Especially in longer speeches, it’s a good idea to keep reminding your audience of the main points you’ve made. For example, you could link an earlier main point or key term as you transition into or wrap up a new point. You could also address the relationship between earlier points and new points through discussion within a body paragraph. Using buzzwords or key terms throughout your paper is also a good idea. If your thesis says you’re going to expose unethical behavior of medical insurance companies, make sure the use of “ethics” recurs instead of switching to “immoral” or simply “wrong.” Repetition of key terms makes it easier for your audience to take in and connect information.
Incorporate previews and summaries into the speech
“I’m here today to talk to you about three issues that threaten our educational system: First, … Second, … Third,”
“I’ve talked to you today about such and such.”
These kinds of verbal cues permit the people in the audience to put together the pieces of your speech without thinking too hard, so they can spend more time paying attention to its content.
Use especially strong transitions
This will help your listeners see how new information relates to what they’ve heard so far. If you set up a counterargument in one paragraph so you can demolish it in the next, begin the demolition by saying something like,
“But this argument makes no sense when you consider that . . . .”
If you’re providing additional information to support your main point, you could say,
“Another fact that supports my main point is . . . .”
Helping your audience listen
Rely on shorter, simpler sentence structures.
Don’t get too complicated when you’re asking an audience to remember everything you say. Avoid using too many subordinate clauses, and place subjects and verbs close together.
The product, which was invented in 1908 by Orville Z. McGillicuddy in Des Moines, Iowa, and which was on store shelves approximately one year later, still sells well.
Easier to understand:
Orville Z. McGillicuddy invented the product in 1908 and introduced it into stores shortly afterward. Almost a century later, the product still sells well.
Limit pronoun use
Listeners may have a hard time remembering or figuring out what “it,” “they,” or “this” refers to. Be specific by using a key noun instead of unclear pronouns.
The U.S. government has failed to protect us from the scourge of so-called reality television, which exploits sex, violence, and petty conflict, and calls it human nature. This cannot continue.
Why the last sentence is unclear: “This” what? The government’s failure? Reality TV? Human nature?
The U.S. government has failed to protect us from the scourge of so-called reality television, which exploits sex, violence, and petty conflict, and calls it human nature. This failure cannot continue.
Keeping audience interest
Incorporate the rhetorical strategies of ethos, pathos, and logos.
When arguing a point, using ethos, pathos, and logos can help convince your audience to believe you and make your argument stronger. Ethos refers to an appeal to your audience by establishing your authenticity and trustworthiness as a speaker. If you employ pathos, you appeal to your audience’s emotions. Using logos includes the support of hard facts, statistics, and logical argumentation. The most effective speeches usually present a combination these rhetorical strategies.
Use statistics and quotations sparingly
Include only the most striking factual material to support your perspective, things that would likely stick in the listeners’ minds long after you’ve finished speaking. Otherwise, you run the risk of overwhelming your listeners with too much information.
Watch your tone
Be careful not to talk over the heads of your audience. On the other hand, don’t be condescending either. And as for grabbing their attention, yelling, cursing, using inappropriate humor, or brandishing a potentially offensive prop (say, autopsy photos) will only make the audience tune you out.
Creating an effective conclusion
Restate your main points, but don’t repeat them.
“I asked earlier why we should care about the rain forest. Now I hope it’s clear that . . .” “Remember how Mrs. Smith couldn’t afford her prescriptions? Under our plan, . . .”
Call to action
Speeches often close with an appeal to the audience to take action based on their new knowledge or understanding. If you do this, be sure the action you recommend is specific and realistic. For example, although your audience may not be able to affect foreign policy directly, they can vote or work for candidates whose foreign policy views they support. Relating the purpose of your speech to their lives not only creates a connection with your audience, but also reiterates the importance of your topic to them in particular or “the bigger picture.”
Practicing for effective presentation
Once you’ve completed a draft, read your speech to a friend or in front of a mirror. When you’ve finished reading, ask the following questions:
- Which pieces of information are clearest?
- Where did I connect with the audience?
- Where might listeners lose the thread of my argument or description?
- Where might listeners become bored?
- Where did I have trouble speaking clearly and/or emphatically?
- Did I stay within my time limit?
- Toastmasters International is a nonprofit group that provides communication and leadership training.
- Allyn & Bacon Publishing’s Essence of Public Speaking Series is an extensive treatment of speech writing and delivery, including books on using humor, motivating your audience, word choice and presentation.
We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.
Boone, Louis E., David L. Kurtz, and Judy R. Block. 1997. Contemporary Business Communication . Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Ehrlich, Henry. 1994. Writing Effective Speeches . New York: Marlowe.
Lamb, Sandra E. 1998. How to Write It: A Complete Guide to Everything You’ll Ever Write . Berkeley: Ten Speed Press.
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Speechwriting 101: Writing an Effective Speech
Whether you are a communications pro or a human resources executive, the time will come when you will need to write a speech for yourself or someone else. when that time comes, your career may depend on your success..
J. Lyman MacInnis, a corporate coach, Toronto Star columnist, accounting executive and author of “ The Elements of Great Public Speaking ,” has seen careers stalled – even damaged – by a failure to communicate messages effectively before groups of people. On the flip side, solid speechwriting skills can help launch and sustain a successful career. What you need are forethought and methodical preparation.
Know Your Audience
Learn as much as possible about the audience and the event. This will help you target the insights, experience or knowledge you have that this group wants or needs:
- Why has the audience been brought together?
- What do the members of the audience have in common?
- How big an audience will it be?
- What do they know, and what do they need to know?
- Do they expect discussion about a specific subject and, if so, what?
- What is the audience’s attitude and knowledge about the subject of your talk?
- What is their attitude toward you as the speaker?
- Why are they interested in your topic?
Choose Your Core Message
If the core message is on target, you can do other things wrong. But if the message is wrong, it doesn’t matter what you put around it. To write the most effective speech, you should have significant knowledge about your topic, sincerely care about it and be eager to talk about it. Focus on a message that is relevant to the target audience, and remember: an audience wants opinion. If you offer too little substance, your audience will label you a lightweight. If you offer too many ideas, you make it difficult for them to know what’s important to you.
Research and Organize
Research until you drop. This is where you pick up the information, connect the ideas and arrive at the insights that make your talk fresh. You’ll have an easier time if you gather far more information than you need. Arrange your research and notes into general categories and leave space between them. Then go back and rearrange. Fit related pieces together like a puzzle.
Develop Structure to Deliver Your Message
First, consider whether your goal is to inform, persuade, motivate or entertain. Then outline your speech and fill in the details:
- Introduction – The early minutes of a talk are important to establish your credibility and likeability. Personal anecdotes often work well to get things started. This is also where you’ll outline your main points.
- Body – Get to the issues you’re there to address, limiting them to five points at most. Then bolster those few points with illustrations, evidence and anecdotes. Be passionate: your conviction can be as persuasive as the appeal of your ideas.
- Conclusion – Wrap up with feeling as well as fact. End with something upbeat that will inspire your listeners.
You want to leave the audience exhilarated, not drained. In our fast-paced age, 20-25 minutes is about as long as anyone will listen attentively to a speech. As you write and edit your speech, the general rule is to allow about 90 seconds for every double-spaced page of copy.
Spice it Up
Once you have the basic structure of your speech, it’s time to add variety and interest. Giving an audience exactly what it expects is like passing out sleeping pills. Remember that a speech is more like conversation than formal writing. Its phrasing is loose – but without the extremes of slang, the incomplete thoughts, the interruptions that flavor everyday speech.
- Give it rhythm. A good speech has pacing.
- Vary the sentence structure. Use short sentences. Use occasional long ones to keep the audience alert. Fragments are fine if used sparingly and for emphasis.
- Use the active voice and avoid passive sentences. Active forms of speech make your sentences more powerful.
- Repeat key words and points. Besides helping your audience remember something, repetition builds greater awareness of central points or the main theme.
- Ask rhetorical questions in a way that attracts your listeners’ attention.
- Personal experiences and anecdotes help bolster your points and help you connect with the audience.
- Use quotes. Good quotes work on several levels, forcing the audience to think. Make sure quotes are clearly attributed and said by someone your audience will probably recognize.
Be sure to use all of these devices sparingly in your speeches. If overused, the speech becomes exaggerated. Used with care, they will work well to move the speech along and help you deliver your message in an interesting, compelling way.
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How to Write a Speech: Top Tips
Table of Contents
9 engaging speech writing tips, what are the different speech types , how to find help writing a speech.
A great speech is impactful and engaging. It should eloquently and clearly express your ideas.
Whatever the topic, a good speech should showcase your authority on a topic and demonstrate excellent communication and leadership skills.
Many people don't know how to write a speech, so the process seems daunting. But there are a few best practices and tips that can make the writing process easier.
In this article, we’ll discuss some best practices to help you write an effective speech that engages and captures your audience.
Public speaking can be nerve-racking. However, having a well-written speech can decrease some of that anxiety.
Even if you’ve never written a speech before, there are still best practices you can follow.
An engaging speech should be clear, to the point, and follow a logical order. But how do you ensure your speech follows these criteria? Follow these nine engaging speech writing tips.
Know Your Audience
Analyze your target audience to improve the effectiveness of your speech because different audiences will have different expectations.
Consider your audience’s age, level of understanding, attitudes, and what they expect to take away from your speech, then tailor your message accordingly.
For example, if your audience members are teenagers, it’s unlikely that references to the ’70s will be effective.
Start With a Clear Purpose
Decide on the main point of your speech, and make sure all your content supports that point. Choose a topic that fits the following criteria:
A topic that is relevant to your audience
A topic you’re excited about
A topic you have reasonable knowledge about
Organize Your Ideas
Use a speech outline to organize your thoughts and ideas logically.
Identify the introduction, body, and conclusion of your speech to help you stay focused and make your speech easier to follow.
Use Strong, Clear Language
Choose your words carefully, and use simple language that is easy to understand. Avoid jargon or technical terms that your audience may not be familiar with.
Again, your word choice will depend on your audience. For example, you’ll want to steer clear of slang when speaking to an older, conservative crowd.
Speech transitions are words and phrases that allow you to move smoothly from one point to another. Use transitional words and phrases like “besides” to help your audience follow your thought process and understand how your points are connected.
Add Variety to Speech
A speech that is monotonous or lacks variety may cause your audience to lose interest.
Including a variety of elements in your speech, such as anecdotes, examples, and visual aids, can help keep your audience engaged and interested.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice your speech out loud to ensure it flows well and you’re comfortable with the material. Read your speech in front of the mirror or before someone you trust to give you critical feedback. Note the points for improvement, and incorporate them into how you deliver your speech.
End With a Strong Conclusion
How would you like to leave your audience members: inspired, informed, or mesmerized? Aim to end your speech on a high note. Summarize your main points, and leave your audience with a memorable takeaway.
Edit and Revise
Proofread and revise your speech to ensure it’s well written and error free. Use a grammar checker, such as ProWritingAid, to correct any grammar issues. You’ll also get suggestions on how to improve your sentence structures and transitions.
How to Write a Good Speech Introduction
The introduction can make or break your speech. It’s where you grab your audience’s attention to keep them engaged and state the purpose of your speech.
An introduction also gives you the opportunity to establish your credibility. You should aim to give your audience a reason to listen to the rest of the speech rather than tuning out.
Here are some tips on how to create a positive first impression.
Start With a Hook
Begin your introduction with a hook that will grab your audience’s attention and make them want to listen. There are several options for a hook:
A personal anecdote
Reference to a current or historical event
When thinking of an attention grabber, consider how appropriate and relevant it is to your audience and the purpose of the speech. For example, if you’re giving a speech to an older audience, you can make a historical reference that they can easily relate to.
Provide context by giving your audience some background information about the topic of your speech. This will help them understand the importance of what you are talking about and why they should care.
State Your Thesis
Clearly and concisely state the main point or purpose of your speech. Your thesis should be easy to follow and clearly outline the main argument and your stance. This will give your audience a clear understanding of what they can expect to learn from your presentation.
Preview Your Main Points
Give your audience a sense of the structure of your speech by briefly outlining the key points or arguments you will be making. They’ll know what to expect, and your speech will be easier to follow.
Keep It Short
Your introduction should be concise and to the point, so don’t spend too much time on it. It’s important to keep your speech brief, and avoid including unnecessary or unrelated information.
The goal is to engage and interest your audience, not bore them, so aim for a few well-chosen words rather than a lengthy introduction. Aim for your introduction to be about 10-15% of the total length of your speech.
A speech is just like any other piece of writing. You’ll need to identify your purpose, audience, and intention and then write accordingly. There are many types of speeches, and each type has its own expectations.
Let’s look at some of the most popular speeches and how to write them.
How to Write a Short Speech
Short speeches may be the most tedious to write because of how condensed and concise the information has to be. However, if you ever have to give a farewell, birthday tribute, or just a quick welcome, there are still some tips available to make your speech great.
Start by identifying your topic, title, and the purpose of your speech, which will set the foundation of your outline. Then, determine the main points of your speech; keep it short with two to three points. Remember, a short speech is typically less than ten minutes long, so keep your points concise and to the point.
Since you have limited time to make the most impact, incorporate powerful words or other engaging elements. For example, you could throw out a thought-provoking question or anecdote, which will grab your audience’s attention and keep them engaged.
Finally, once you’ve written your speech, review it for brevity and clarity.
Be confident about grammar
Check every email, essay, or story for grammar mistakes. Fix them before you press send.
How to Write a Presentation Speech
A presentation speech is used to inform, persuade, explain, or demonstrate a particular topic.
Presentation speeches are well structured and follow a logical flow. They have an introduction, body, and conclusion. Use transition words and phrases to help your speech flow smoothly and prevent it from appearing disjointed.
You can use ProWritingAid to organize your speech and make it even clearer. ProWritingAid’s transition report will show you whether you’re using transitions effectively in your speech.
How to Write a Debate Speech
A debate is a formal argument on a particular topic. Debate speeches are persuasive since the aim is to convince the audience to agree with a stance.
Like most other speeches, a debate speech also follows the introduction, body, conclusion outline. This format helps the audience follow the speaker’s point in a linear and logical way.
When writing your introduction, clarify your stance so it’s clear to the audience. Anyone reading or listening to your speech shouldn’t have any doubt about your position on the topic. Take some time to prepare a solid opener, which can be an interesting fact, a personal story, or even a powerful quote.
The introduction also gives you the opportunity to explain terms your audience will need to understand throughout the speech. You should also provide an overview of your main points, but don’t spend long divulging too much.
Each body paragraph should cover a main point, whether that’s a key idea or a main claim, and each paragraph should begin with a topic sentence. The topic sentence is an initial sentence that summarizes the idea being presented.
Your conclusion should be a simple and clear reiteration of the points you made in the thesis statement and body paragraphs. Add an attention-grabbing element to leave a lasting impression on your audience.
Remember to use strong and emotive language throughout your speech, which makes it more likely for your audience to feel emotionally connected to your stance.
Always use transition words and phrases to maintain a logical flow between your arguments. Finally, edit and proofread your work for any potential grammar, punctuation, or spelling mistakes.
How to Write an Elevator Speech
An elevator speech is a brief speech that’s used to pitch a product, service, expertise, or credentials.
You have 30–60 seconds to persuade someone to act how you’d like: the same time as a quick elevator ride.
An effective elevator speech should contain an introduction, a clear value proposition, and a strong conclusion.
Your introduction should be polite and clear. Briefly explain who you are, what you do, and what you are offering. For example, if you’re pitching your expertise, condense your background into two sentences. Include things that will make your audience remember you.
End your speech with what you want to achieve. What are you trying to accomplish with this speech? Perhaps it’s a job opportunity, a follow-up meeting, or an internship.
Once you’ve written your speech, be sure to revise it for brevity. Then practice and record yourself to ensure you don’t go over the time limit.
Writing a good speech takes time, but these tips are a good start to improving your speech-writing process. If you encounter writer’s block, look up popular speeches for inspiration. Ask someone you trust to give you feedback once you’ve written your speech.
Finally, while ProWritingAid can’t write your speech for you, it can help you write in a cohesive and logical manner. It highlights any grammar, spelling, and punctuation issues. It also shows you suggestions on how to improve your sentence structure, transition, pacing, and readability, so your next speech can be impactful and memorable.
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5 Tips on How to Write a Speech Essay
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When figuring out how to write a speech, the essay form can offer a good foundation for the process. Just like essays, all speeches have three main sections: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion.
However, unlike essays, speeches must be written to be heard as opposed to being read. You need to write a speech in a way that keeps the attention of an audience and helps paint a mental image at the same time. This means that your speech should contain some color, drama, or humor . It should have “flair.” Make your speech memorable by using attention-grabbing anecdotes and examples.
Determine the Type of Speech You're Writing
Since there are different types of speeches, your attention-grabbing techniques should fit the speech type.
Informative and instructional speeches inform your audience about a topic, event, or area of knowledge. This can be a how-to on podcasting for teens or a historical report on the Underground Railroad. It also can relate to health and beauty, such as "How to Shape Perfect Eyebrows," or hobby-related, such as "Make a Great Bag Out of Old Clothing."
Persuasive speeches attempt to convince or persuade the audience to join one side of an argument. You might write a speech about a life choice, such as, "Abstinence Can Save Your Life," or getting involved in the community, such as "The Benefits of Volunteering."
Entertaining speeches entertain your audience, and topics may not practical. Your speech topic could be something like, "Life Is Like a Dirty Dorm," or "Can Potato Peels Predict the Future?"
Special occasion speeches entertain or inform your audience, like graduation speeches and toasts at celebrations.
Explore the different types of speeches and decide what speech type fits your assignment.
Craft a Creative Speech Introduction
Thoughtco.com / Grace Fleming
The introduction of the informative speech should contain an attention-grabber, followed by a statement about your topic. It should end with a strong transition into your body section.
As an example, consider a template for an informative speech called "African-American Heroines." The length of your speech will depend on the amount of time you have been allotted to speak.
The red section of the speech in the graphic provides the attention-grabber. It makes audience members think about what life would be like without civil rights. The last sentence states directly the purpose of the speech and leads into the speech body, which provides more details.
Determine the Flow of the Body of the Speech
Thoughtco.com / Grace Fleming
The body of your speech can be organized in a number of ways, depending on your topic. Suggested organization patterns include:
- Chronological: Provides the order of events in time;
- Spatial: Gives an overview of physical arrangement or design;
- Topical: Presents information one subject at a time;
- Causal: Shows cause-and-effect pattern.
The speech pattern illustrated in the image in this slide is topical. The body is divided into sections that address different people (different topics). Speeches typically include three sections (topics) in the body. This speech would continue with a third section about Susie King Taylor.
Writing a Memorable Speech Conclusion
The conclusion of your speech should restate the main points you covered in your speech and end with a memorable statement. In the sample in this graphic, the red section restates the overall message you wanted to convey: that the three women you've mentioned had strength and courage, despite the odds they faced.
The quote is an attention-grabber since it is written in colorful language. The blue section ties the entire speech together with a small twist.
Address These Key Objectives
Whatever type of speech you decide to write, find ways to make your words memorable. Those elements include:
- Clever quotes
- Amusing stories with a purpose
- Meaningful transitions
- A good ending
The structure of how to write your speech is just the start. You'll also need to finesse the speech a bit. Start by paying attention to your audience and their interests. Write the words you'll speak with passion and enthusiasm, but you also want your listeners to share that enthusiasm. When writing your attention-grabbing statements, make sure you are writing what will get their attention, not just yours.
Study Famous Speeches
Gain inspiration from others' speeches. Read famous speeches and look at the way they are constructed. Find things that stand out and figure out what makes it interesting. Oftentimes, speechwriters use rhetorical devices to make certain points easy to remember and to emphasize them.
Get to the Point Quickly
Remember to begin and end your speech with something that will gain and hold the attention of your audience. If you spend too much time getting into your speech, people will zone out or start checking their phones. If you get them interested immediately, they will be more likely to stick with you until the end.
Keep It Conversational
How you deliver the speech is also important. When you give the speech , think about the tone you should use, and be sure to write the speech in the same flow that you'd use in conversations. A great way to check this flow is to practice reading it out loud. If you stumble while reading or it feels monotone, look for ways to jazz up the words and improve the flow.
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Introduction Speech - A Step-by-Step Guide & Examples
11 min read
Published on: Nov 10, 2018
Last updated on: Nov 7, 2023
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Introduction speeches are all around us. Whenever we meet a new group of people in formal settings, we have to introduce ourselves. That’s what an introduction speech is all about.
When you're facing a formal audience, your ability to deliver a compelling introductory speech can make a lot of difference. With the correct approach, you can build credibility and connections.
In this blog, we'll take you through the steps to craft an impactful introduction speech. You’ll also get examples and valuable tips to ensure you leave a lasting impression.
So, let's dive in!
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What is an Introduction Speech?
An introduction speech, or introductory address, is a brief presentation at the beginning of an event or public speaking engagement. Its primary purpose is to establish a connection with the audience and to introduce yourself or the main speaker.
This type of speech is commonly used in a variety of situations, including:
- Public Speaking: When you step onto a stage to address a large crowd, you start with an introduction to establish your presence and engage the audience.
- Networking Events: When meeting new people in professional or social settings, an effective introduction speech can help you make a memorable first impression.
- Formal Gatherings: From weddings to conferences, introductions set the tone for the event and create a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
In other words, an introduction speech is simply a way to introduce yourself to a crowd of people.
How to Write an Introduction Speech?
Before you can just go and deliver your speech, you need to prepare for it. Writing a speech helps you organize your ideas and prepare your speech effectively.
Here is how to introduce yourself in a speech.
- Know Your Audience
Understanding your audience is crucial. Consider their interests, backgrounds, and expectations to tailor your introduction accordingly.
For instance, the audience members could be your colleagues, new classmates, or various guests depending on the occasion. Understanding your audience will help you decide what they are expecting from you as a speaker.
- Start with a Hook
Begin with a captivating opening line that grabs your audience's attention. This could be a surprising fact, a relevant quote, or a thought-provoking question about yourself or the occasion.
- Introduce Yourself
Introduce yourself to the audience. State your name, occupation, or other details relevant to the occasion. You should mention the reason for your speech clearly. It will build your credibility and give the readers reasons to stay with you and read your speech.
- Keep It Concise
So how long is an introduction speech?
Introduction speeches should be brief and to the point. Aim for around 1-2 minutes in most cases. Avoid overloading the introduction with excessive details.
- Highlight Key Points
Mention the most important information that establishes the speaker's credibility or your own qualifications. Write down any relevant achievements, expertise, or credentials to include in your speech. Encourage the audience to connect with you using relatable anecdotes or common interests.
- Rehearse and Edit
Practice your introduction speech to ensure it flows smoothly and stays within the time frame. Edit out any unnecessary information, ensuring it's concise and impactful.
- Tailor for the Occasion
Adjust the tone and content of your introduction speech to match the formality and purpose of the event. What works for a business conference may not be suitable for a casual gathering.
Introduction Speech Outline
To assist you in creating a structured and effective introduction speech, here's a simple outline that you can follow:
Here is an example outline for a self-introduction speech.
Outline for Self-Introduction Speech
7 Ways to Open an Introduction Speech
You can start your introduction speech as most people do:
“Hello everyone, my name is _____. I will talk about _____. Thank you so much for having me. So first of all _______”
However, this is the fastest way to make your audience lose interest. Instead, you should start by captivating your audience’s interest. Here are 7 ways to do that:
Start with a thought-provoking quote that relates to your topic or the occasion. E.g. "Mahatma Gandhi once said, 'You must be the change you want to see in the world."
- Anecdote or Story
Begin with a brief, relevant anecdote or story that draws the audience in. It could be a story about yourself or any catchy anecdote to begin the flow of your speech.
Pose a rhetorical question to engage the audience's curiosity and involvement. For example, "Have you ever wondered what it would be like to travel back in time, to experience a moment in history?”
- Statistic or Fact
Share a surprising statistic or interesting fact that underscores the significance of your speech. E.g. “Did you know that as of today, over 60% of the world's population has access to the internet?”
- “What If” Scenario
Paint a vivid "What if" scenario that relates to your topic, sparking the audience's imagination and curiosity. For example, "What if I told you that a single decision today could change the course of your life forever?"
- Ignite Imagination
Encourage the audience to envision a scenario related to your topic. For instance, "Imagine a world where clean energy powers everything around us, reducing our carbon footprint to almost zero."
Start your introduction speech with a moment of silence, allowing the audience to focus and anticipate your message. This can be especially powerful in creating a sense of suspense and intrigue.
Introduction Speech Example
To help you understand how to put these ideas into practice, here are the introduction speech examples for different scenarios.
Introduction Speech Writing Sample
Short Introduction Speech Sample
Self Introduction Speech for College Students
Introduction Speech about Yourself
Student Presentation Introduction Speech Script
Teacher Introduction Speech
New Employee Self Introduction Speech
Introduction Speech for Chief Guest
Moreover, here is a video example of a self introduction. Watch it to understand how you should deliver your speech:
Want to read examples for other kinds of speeches? Find the best speeches at our blog about speech examples !
Introduction Speech Ideas
So now that you’ve understood what an introduction speech is, you may want to write one of your own. So what should you talk about?
The following are some ideas to start an introduction speech for a presentation, meeting, or social gathering in an engaging way.
- Personal Story: Share a brief personal story or an experience that has shaped you, introducing yourself on a deeper level.
- Professional Background: Introduce yourself by highlighting your professional background, including your career achievements and expertise.
- Hobby or Passion: Discuss a hobby or passion that you're enthusiastic about, offering insights into your interests and what drives you.
- Volunteer Work: Introduce yourself by discussing your involvement in volunteer work or community service, demonstrating your commitment to making a difference.
- Travel Adventures: Share anecdotes from your travel adventures, giving the audience a glimpse into your love for exploring new places and cultures.
- Books or Literature: Provide an introduction related to a favorite book, author, or literary work, revealing your literary interests.
- Achievements and Milestones: Highlight significant achievements and milestones in your life or career to introduce yourself with an impressive track record.
- Cultural Heritage: Explore your cultural heritage and its influence on your identity, fostering a sense of cultural understanding.
- Social or Environmental Cause: Discuss your dedication to a particular social or environmental cause, inviting the audience to join you in your mission.
- Future Aspirations: Share your future goals and aspirations, offering a glimpse into what you hope to achieve in your personal or professional life.
You can deliver engaging speeches on all kinds of topics. Here is a list of entertaining speech topics to get inspiration.
Tips for Delivering the Best Introduction Speech
Here are some tips for you to write a perfect introduction speech in no time.
Now that you know how to write an effective introduction speech, let's focus on the delivery. The way you present your introduction is just as important as the content itself.
Here are some valuable tips to ensure you deliver a better introduction speech:
- Maintain Eye Contact
Make eye contact with the audience to establish a connection. This shows confidence and engages your listeners.
- Use Appropriate Body Language
Your body language should convey confidence and warmth. Stand or sit up straight, use open gestures, and avoid fidgeting.
- Mind Your Pace
Speak at a moderate pace, avoiding rapid speech. A well-paced speech is easier to follow and more engaging.
- Avoid Filler Words
Minimize the use of filler words such as "um," "uh," and "like." They can be distracting and detract from your message.
- Be Enthusiastic
Convey enthusiasm about the topic or the speaker. Your energy can be contagious and inspire the audience's interest.
- Practice, Practice, Practice
Rehearse your speech multiple times. Practice in front of a mirror, record yourself, or seek feedback from others.
- Be Mindful of Time
Stay within the allocated time for your introduction. Going too long can make your speech too boring for the audience.
- Engage the Audience
Encourage the audience's participation. You could do that by asking rhetorical questions, involving them in a brief activity, or sharing relatable anecdotes.
Mistakes to Avoid in an Introduction Speech
While crafting and delivering an introduction speech, it's important to be aware of common pitfalls that can diminish its effectiveness. Avoiding these mistakes will help you create a more engaging and memorable introduction.
Here are some key mistakes to steer clear of:
- Rambling On
One of the most common mistakes is making the introduction too long. Keep it concise and to the point. The purpose is to set the stage, not steal the spotlight.
- Lack of Preparation
Failing to prepare adequately can lead to stumbling, awkward pauses, or losing your train of thought. Rehearse your introduction to build confidence.
- Using Jargon or Complex Language
Avoid using technical jargon or complex language that may confuse the audience. Your introduction should be easily understood by everyone.
- Being Too Generic
A generic or uninspiring introduction can set a lackluster tone. Ensure your introduction is tailored to the event and speaker, making it more engaging.
- Using Inappropriate Humor
Be cautious with humor, as it can easily backfire. Avoid inappropriate or potentially offensive jokes that could alienate the audience.
- Not Tailoring to the Occasion
An introduction should be tailored to the specific event's formality and purpose. A one-size-fits-all approach may not work in all situations.
An introduction speech is more than just a formality. It's an opportunity to engage, inspire, and connect with your audience in a meaningful way.
With the help of this blog, you're well-equipped to shine in various contexts. So, step onto that stage, speak confidently, and captivate your audience from the very first word.
Moreover, you’re not alone in your journey to becoming a confident introducer. If you ever need assistance in preparing your speech, let the experts help you out.
MyPerfectWords.com offers a reputable essay writing service with experienced professionals who can craft tailored introductions, ensuring your speech makes a lasting impact.
Don't hesitate; hire our professionals now to procure speeches at budget-friendly rates for your " Write my speech " needs.
Barbara P (Literature, Marketing)
Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.
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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.
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How to Write a Speech: A Guide to Enhance Your Writing Skills
Speech is a medium to convey a message to the world. It is a way of expressing your views on a topic or a way to showcase your strong opposition to a particular idea. To deliver an effective speech, you need a strong and commanding voice, but more important than that is what you say. Spending time in preparing a speech is as vital as presenting it well to your audience.
Read the article to learn what all you need to include in a speech and how to structure it.
Table of Contents
The Opening Statement
Structuring the speech, choice of words, authenticity, writing in 1st person, tips to write a speech, frequently asked questions on speech, how to write a speech.
Writing a speech on any particular topic requires a lot of research. It also has to be structured well in order to properly get the message across to the target audience. If you have ever listened to famous orators, you would have noticed the kind of details they include when speaking about a particular topic, how they present it and how their speeches motivate and instill courage in people to work towards an individual or shared goal. Learning how to write such effective speeches can be done with a little guidance. So, here are a few points you can keep in mind when writing a speech on your own. Go through each of them carefully and follow them meticulously.
When you are writing or delivering a speech, the very first thing you need to do is introduce yourself. When you are delivering a speech for a particular occasion, there might be a master of ceremony who might introduce you and invite you to share your thoughts. Whatever be the case, always remember to say one or two sentences about who you are and what you intend to do.
Introductions can change according to the nature of your target audience. It can be either formal or informal based on the audience you are addressing. Here are a few examples.
- Hello everyone! I am ________. I am here to share my views on _________.
- Good morning friends. I, _________, am here to talk to you about _________.
Addressing Teachers/Higher Authorities
- Good morning/afternoon/evening. Before I start, I would like to thank _______ for giving me an opportunity to share my thoughts about ________ here today.
- A good day to all. I, __________, on behalf of _________, am standing here today to voice out my thoughts on _________.
It is said that the first seven seconds is all that a human brain requires to decide whether or not to focus on something. So, it is evident that a catchy opening statement is the factor that will impact your audience. Writing a speech does require a lot of research, and structuring it in an interesting, informative and coherent manner is something that should be done with utmost care.
When given a topic to speak on, the first thing you can do is brainstorm ideas and pen down all that comes to your mind. This will help you understand what aspect of the topic you want to focus on. With that in mind, you can start drafting your speech.
An opening statement can be anything that is relevant to the topic. Use words smartly to create an impression and grab the attention of your audience. A few ideas on framing opening statements are given below. Take a look.
- Asking an Engaging Question
Starting your speech by asking the audience a question can get their attention. It creates an interest and curiosity in the audience and makes them think about the question. This way, you would have already got their minds ready to listen and think.
- Fact or a Surprising Statement
Surprising the audience with an interesting fact or a statement can draw the attention of the audience. It can even be a joke; just make sure it is relevant. A good laugh would wake up their minds and they would want to listen to what you are going to say next.
- Adding a Quote
After you have found your topic to work on, look for a quote that best suits your topic. The quote can be one said by some famous personality or even from stories, movies or series. As long as it suits your topic and is appropriate to the target audience, use them confidently. Again, finding a quote that is well-known or has scope for deep thought will be your success factor.
To structure your speech easily, it is advisable to break it into three parts or three sections – an introduction, body and conclusion.
- Introduction: Introduce the topic and your views on the topic briefly.
- Body: Give a detailed explanation of your topic. Your focus should be to inform and educate your audience on the said topic.
- Conclusion: Voice out your thoughts/suggestions. Your intention here should be to make them think/act.
While delivering or writing a speech, it is essential to keep an eye on the language you are using. Choose the right kind of words. The person has the liberty to express their views in support or against the topic; just be sure to provide enough evidence to prove the discussed points. See to it that you use short and precise sentences. Your choice of words and what you emphasise on will decide the effect of the speech on the audience.
When writing a speech, make sure to,
- Avoid long, confusing sentences.
- Check the spelling, sentence structure and grammar.
- Not use contradictory words or statements that might cause any sort of issues.
Anything authentic will appeal to the audience, so including anecdotes, personal experiences and thoughts will help you build a good rapport with your audience. The only thing you need to take care is to not let yourself be carried away in the moment. Speak only what is necessary.
Using the 1st person point of view in a speech is believed to be more effective than a third person point of view. Just be careful not to make it too subjective and sway away from the topic.
- Understand the purpose of your speech: Before writing the speech, you must understand the topic and the purpose behind it. Reason out and evaluate if the speech has to be inspiring, entertaining or purely informative.
- Identify your audience: When writing or delivering a speech, your audience play the major role. Unless you know who your target audience is, you will not be able to draft a good and appropriate speech.
- Decide the length of the speech: Whatever be the topic, make sure you keep it short and to the point. Making a speech longer than it needs to be will only make it monotonous and boring.
- Revising and practicing the speech: After writing, it is essential to revise and recheck as there might be minor errors which you might have missed. Edit and revise until you are sure you have it right. Practise as much as required so you do not stammer in front of your audience.
- Mention your takeaways at the end of the speech: Takeaways are the points which have been majorly emphasised on and can bring a change. Be sure to always have a thought or idea that your audience can reflect upon at the end of your speech.
How to write a speech?
Writing a speech is basically about collecting, summarising and structuring your points on a given topic. Do a proper research, prepare multiple drafts, edit and revise until you are sure of the content.
Why is it important to introduce ourselves?
It is essential to introduce yourself while writing a speech, so that your audience or the readers know who the speaker is and understand where you come from. This will, in turn, help them connect with you and your thoughts.
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Speech And Debate
Last updated on: Feb 9, 2023
How to Write a Speech - Outline With Example
By: Cordon J.
Reviewed By: Rylee W.
Published on: Sep 8, 2020
Giving a speech for a class, event or work can be nerve-wracking. However, writing an effective speech can boost your confidence level.
A speech is an effective medium to communicate your message and speech writing is a skill that has its advantages even if you are a student or a professional.
With careful planning and paying attention to small details, you can write a speech that will inform, persuade, entertain or motivate the people you are writing for.
If this is your first speech. Take all the time you need.
Like other skills, you can learn speech writing too.
Give yourself enough time to write and practice it several times for the best possible results.
On this Page
You have a message that you want people to hear or you are preparing a speech for a particular situation such as a commemorative speech.
No matter what the case, it is important to ensure that the speech is well structured or else you will fail to deliver your effective message. And you don’t want that, do you?
You can also explore our complete guide to write a commemorative speech . Make sure to give the article a thorough read.
How to Create a Speech Outline?
Want to write a speech your audience will remember? A speech outline is a thing you should start with.
‘How to write a speech outline?’
A speech outline is very important in helping you sound more authoritative and in control. As you write your speech outline you will have to focus on how you will introduce yourself, your topic, and the points that you will be going to cover.
A speech outline will save a lot of your time and will help you organize your thoughts. It will make sure the speech is following a proper structure and format.
Before you start writing your own speech you need to know:
- WHO you are writing the speech for
- WHAT the speech will be going to cover
- HOW long it needs to be e.g if it is a 5-minute speech (then how many words in a 5-minute speech)
These speech tips will help you get on the right track from the start. Here is an example of how you can craft a speech outline.
- Choose your topic and the main points that your speech will cover. Know your audience and get to know what they are looking for. Pay attention to their needs
- Define the purpose of the speech and properly organize it
- A strong statement to grab the reader’s attention
- Refine the thesis statement
- State something that establishes credibility
- Provide your main idea and include some supporting statements.
- Examples and further details (if needed)
- Summarize the main points of the speech
- Closing statement
- Call to action
Paper Due? Why Suffer? That's our Job!
How to Write an Effective Speech?
‘How to write a graduation speech?’
‘How to write a speech for school?’
‘How to write a speech about yourself?’
Get your answers in the below sections.
Just like essays, the speech also follows three sections: Introduction, the main body, and conclusion.
However, unlike essays, a speech must be written to be heard as opposed to just being read. It is important to write a speech in a way that can grab the reader’s attention and helps in painting a mental image.
It is the opening statement of a speech. It is important to know how to start a speech that can grab the attention of the audience.
‘How to write a speech introduction?’
It should include a hook-grabber statement about your topic. It should end with a strong transition from a big idea of the introduction to the main body of the essay. Some great ways to begin your speech are, to begin with, a rhetorical question, a quote, or another strong statement.
Make sure the introduction is not more than one paragraph. This will ensure you do not spend much time on the background before getting to the main idea of the topic.
The introduction is a great chance to make sure your opening is memorable as this is the point when your audience will make up their mind about you.
The Main body
The majority of the speech should be spent presenting your thesis statement and supporting ideas in an organized way.
Avoid rambling as it will immediately lose your audience’s attention. No need to share everything, instead pick some points and stick to them throughout your speech.
Organize your points in a logical manner so they support and build on each other. Add as many points as needed to support the overall message of your speech.
State each point clearly and provide all the required information, facts, statistics, and evidence, to clarify each of your points.
It is a good idea to include your personal experiences to make your speech more interesting and memorable.
Another important thing to be kept in mind is the use of transition. The purpose of adding transition words is to improve the overall flow of the information and help the reader to understand the speech structure. Words like next, then, after, before, at that moment, etc. are the most commonly used transition words to make the whole writing less choppy and more interesting.
The conclusion should restate and summarize all the main points of the speech. Because the audience will most likely remember what they have heard last. Beautifully wrap up the whole speech and give something for the audience to think about.
For an extra element, close your speech by restating the introduction statement so it feels like a complete package.
A good approach to conclude your speech is to introduce a call to action. Encourage your audience to participate in the solution to the problem that you are discussing. Give your audience some direction on how they can participate.
Practice and more practice is key to a great speech so it is important that you read your speech and listen to yourself. When writing, take care of the required length also.
Speech Topics - Engaging Topics to Choose From
You feel relief when your teacher says you are free to choose your speech topic. Feel free to write about anything you want. The problem is students still feel stuck in choosing an effective speech topic. If you are one of them, here is a list of the best speech ideas to help you get through the process.
- What role do cats play in human’s lives
- How to improve communication disorders
- World’s fastest-growing country
- Today’s world pollution rate
- How to improve interpersonal skills
- Are paper books better than e-books
- Should the death penalty be abolished
- Should prisoners be allowed to vote
- Should voting be made compulsory
- Is it better to live together before marriage
These are some of the interesting topics that you can consider. However, if you are still not sure about the topic of your speech, you can explore our article on informative speech topics and pick any of your choices.
Tough Essay Due? Hire Tough Writers!
Stressing over on how to write a good speech? Speech examples are sure to be your best friend for effective speech writing and its effortless delivery.
Here is a sample speech example to help you get through your own speech writing process. Explore this example and get the answer on how to give a good speech.
Get Professional Help for Your Speech
If you are good at public speaking but lack writing skills or you do not have enough time to follow the mentioned points and write a speech, don't worry.
You can always contact us at 5StarEssays.com.
We have a highly qualified and amazing team of expert writers who can help you if you want to buy speeches online with high-quality content.
Contact our " write my essay " service with your requirements. Our essay writer will provide you with quality material that your audience will remember for a long time.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best introduction for a speech.
The best way to open a speech’s introduction is, to begin with, a story. Tell an inspiring story to your audience and connect it with your personal narrative.
What is the first step of speech writing?
The first step of writing a speech is to choose a topic. Choosing a good topic is important to have an engaging and great speech.
What are the five steps in speech writing?
Here are the five steps involved in writing a speech.
- Choose a topic.
- Investigate your audience.
- Built an outline.
- Rehearse the speech.
- Revise and finalize.
What are the types of speech delivery?
Here are the types of speech delivery.
What are the two P’s required for good speech delivery?
The two P’s required for proper speech delivery are Preparation and Practice.
Cordon. is a published author and writing specialist. He has worked in the publishing industry for many years, providing writing services and digital content. His own writing career began with a focus on literature and linguistics, which he continues to pursue. Cordon is an engaging and professional individual, always looking to help others achieve their goals.
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How to Write a Demonstrative Speech
Last Updated: September 19, 2023 Fact Checked
This article was co-authored by Lynn Kirkham . Lynn Kirkham is a Professional Public Speaker and Founder of Yes You Can Speak, a San Francisco Bay Area-based public speaking educational business empowering thousands of professionals to take command of whatever stage they've been given - from job interviews, boardroom talks to TEDx and large conference platforms. Lynn was chosen as the official TEDx Berkeley speaker coach for the last four years and has worked with executives at Google, Facebook, Intuit, Genentech, Intel, VMware, and others. 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 267,093 times.
Demonstrative speeches are intended to teach an audience how to do a specific thing. They can be long and detailed, or short and simple. Even if you're an expert at your topic, the process of writing your speech can seem difficult. However, once you sit down to write a great speech, you're likely to get more excited about your topic than ever.
Choosing a Topic
- For example, to give a speech about how to perform general car maintenance, you might need an hour for your presentation. That's because it's a broad topic. If you only have 15 minutes, you should narrow your speech to something like how to change a car's oil.
- If you don't have control over the length of time or the topic, you'll need to adjust your speech accordingly. If you have too much information for a short amount of time, don't go into much detail. If you have a long time for a simple topic, you can expand your speech with some history or related facts.
- For example, if you're giving a speech to professional bakers, it might not be appropriate to choose the topic, “How to Bake a Cake.” You'd probably want to make your topic more interesting to them with something like, “How to Bake Authentic French Style Pastries.”
- The age of your audience matters, too. For example, if your audience is young children, you might choose the topic, “How to Take Care of a Plant” instead of, “How to Grow Perennials.”
- Look up your topic online. Other people may have made instructional videos that you can get tips from.
- If you know any experts on your topic, ask them for advice.
- Visit your local library and checkout books on your topic. Books are excellent sources of information, and are considered reliable sources when doing research.
- You should be able to use useful visual aids via a PowerPoint presentation or manageable props and examples. So a topic like, “How to replace your car's transmission” is probably not a great topic. However, something like, “How to make a spinach salad” would be easy to do.
Writing the Speech
- The outline should contain three sections: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion.
- The body should be broken up into the various steps of the process.
- When writing a speech, you want to simply write notes. You don't need to write out the speech word for word. Write enough to make you comfortable with the material, but not so much that you'll be reading off of your paper.
- Try to remember what it was like when you learned how to do this thing. What steps required more explanation than others?
- Unplug the saw.
- Locate the screw under the blade.
- Turn the screw enough to loosen the blade.
- Remove the blade.
- To keep the audience engaged, think of how you can involve them. Will you include audience participation? Will the demonstration be hands-on? Will you tell jokes or ask the audience questions? These can all be great strategies for keeping people engaged.
- Your call to action could be something like, “By learning to change your own motor oil, you'll be able to save money and feel the empowerment of taking care of your own car!” or, “French style pastries are a welcome addition to any gathering, as you'll see when you bring them to your next party.”
- Avoid introducing new information in the conclusion. That will leave the audience confused and with unanswered questions.
- Writing the introduction last is a good idea, because then you'll have already thought hard about your speech. By now, you know everything you want to say about the speech, so you can determine what is most essential to get people excited about it.
- To get people excited, use inspiring language such as, “You may have never thought you'd be able to change a flat tire yourself, but actually, it's remarkably simple!” or, “French pastries are one of the treasures of European cuisine.”
- Even though you write the introduction last, it is always the beginning of the speech.
- Take note of anything you'll want to add to the speech to explain the visual aids. For example, do you want to say something like, “I'm using unbleached white flour, but you can also used bleached flour if you prefer.”
Practicing Giving the Speech
- Review your notes as you would before giving the speech in front of people.
- Try performing the speech in front of a mirror. You should be able to look yourself in the eye much of the time, instead of always having to look at your notes.
- Go through the complete demonstration, along with your visual aids. If you don't, you might not realize that parts of the demonstration don't work as you've written them.
- Once you've made the changes, practice and try performing the speech for yourself again.
- Always use the visual aids, even if you've already used them once.
- You may want to invite some friends who know nothing about the topic and some who are experts in the topic. That way, you can get different perspectives on how useful your speech was.
- Ask specific questions of your test audience. You can ask them if they understood the different steps, or if there was anything they felt you missed.
- You may want to write down the feedback you get, or ask your friends to write it down so you can look at it later.
- You don't always need to incorporate others' feedback. Sometimes it won't be useful or accurate. However, if you got the same feedback from more than one person, chances are that it would be worthwhile to consider.
Sample Demonstrative Speeches
Video . By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube.
- Writing a speech and giving a speech are related, but are different skills. When it's time to deliver your speech, practice good public speaking. Be warm, upbeat, and clear. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
- Watch videos of other people giving demonstrative speeches. Notice what you appreciate about the good ones, and what doesn't work for you. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 1
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- ↑ http://www.myspeechclass.com/demonstration-speech-topics.html
- ↑ Lynn Kirkham. Public Speaking Coach. Expert Interview. 20 November 2019.
- ↑ https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/what-is-demonstration-speech
- ↑ https://www.hamilton.edu/academics/centers/oralcommunication/guides/how-to-outline-a-speech
- ↑ https://www.comm.pitt.edu/visual-aids
- ↑ https://www.unr.edu/writing-speaking-center/student-resources/writing-speaking-resources/speech-delivery
- ↑ https://open.lib.umn.edu/publicspeaking/chapter/14-4-practicing-for-successful-speech-delivery/
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Stop Scripting Your Speeches
- Joel Schwartzberg
Anyone can read a script. Leaders champion their ideas.
While a speaker’s primary goal is to engage and inspire, many communicators are inclined to write out their speeches because they mistakenly believe their goal is to be perceived as a fantastic speaker or writer . This mindset has nothing to do with getting your point across or doing your job and sends you down a path of performance (“I want to impress you”), not presentation (“I want to convince you”). Writing a full speech is a process that excludes the audience, whereas delivering a speech with limited notes involves and incorporates the audience into the experience. This concept is critical, because humans are more apt to give attention to speakers who seem to, or actually do, demonstrate a sincere interest in them. Speaking spontaneously, with authentic conviction and awareness, signals that you have something to say — a point you feel so strongly about that you’re willing to express it personally and out loud. Anyone can read a script. Leaders champion their ideas.
“Don’t worry,” a coaching client once told me shortly after I saw her rehearse her presentation. “I’ll have it completely written and memorized by next week!”
- JS Joel Schwartzberg oversees executive communications for a major national nonprofit, is a professional presentation coach, and is the author of “ Get to the Point! Sharpen Your Message and Make Your Words Matter ” and “ The Language of Leadership: How to Engage and Inspire Your Team .” You can find him on LinkedIn and on Twitter @TheJoelTruth.
November 15, 2023
How Does Your Brain Remember and Retrieve Words?
Here's a look at how the brain uses its mental dictionary to remember and retrieve language
By The Conversation & Nichol Castro
Your brain processes letters, words, sounds, semantics and grammar at breakneck speed.
The days of having a dictionary on your bookshelf are numbered. But that’s OK, because everyone already walks around with a dictionary – not the one on your phone, but the one in your head.
Just like a physical dictionary, your mental dictionary contains information about words. This includes the letters, sounds and meaning, or semantics, of words, as well as information about parts of speech and how you can fit words together to form grammatical sentences. Your mental dictionary is also like a thesaurus. It can help you connect words and see how they might be similar in meaning, sound or spelling.
As a researcher who studies word retrieval , or how you quickly and accurately pull words out of your memory to communicate, I’m intrigued by how words are organized in our mental dictionaries. Everyone’s mental dictionary is a little bit different. And I’m even more intrigued by how we can restore the content of our mental dictionaries or improve our use of them, particularly for those who have language disorders.
Language is part of what makes humans special , and I believe everyone deserves the chance to use their words with others.
Your mental dictionary
While a physical dictionary is helpful for shared knowledge, your personal mental dictionary is customized based on your individual experiences. What words are in my mental dictionary might overlap with the mental dictionary of someone else who also speaks the same language, but there will also be a lot of differences between the content of our dictionaries.
You add words to your mental dictionary through your educational, occupational, cultural and other life experiences. This customization also means that the size of mental dictionaries is a little bit different from person to person and varies by age. Researchers found that the average 20-year-old American English speaker knows about 42,000 unique words, and this number grows to about 48,000 by age 60. Some people will have even larger vocabularies.
By now, you might be envisioning your mental dictionary as a book with pages of words in alphabetical order you can flip through as needed. While this visual analogy is helpful, there is a lot of debate about how mental dictionaries are organized. Many scholars agree that it’s probably not like an alphabetized book.
One widely rejected theory, the grandmother cell theory , suggests that each concept is encoded by a single neuron. This implies that you would have a neuron for every word that you know, including “grandmother.”
While not accepted as accurate, the aspect of the grandmother cell theory suggesting that certain parts of the brain are more important for some types of information than others is likely true. For example, the left temporal lobe on the side of your brain has many regions that are important for language processing, including word retrieval and production. Rather than a single neuron responsible for processing a concept, a model called parallel distributed processing proposes that large networks of neurons across the brain work together to bring about word knowledge when they fire together.
For example, when I say the word “dog,” there are lots of different aspects of the word that your brain is retrieving, even if unconsciously. You might be thinking about what a dog smells like after being out in the rain, what a dog sounds like when it barks, or what a dog feels like when you pet it. You might be thinking about a specific dog you grew up with, or you might have a variety of emotions about dogs based on your past experiences with them. All of these different features of “dog” are processed in slightly different parts of your brain.
Using your mental dictionary
One reason why your mental dictionary can’t be like a physical dictionary is that it is dynamic and quickly accessed .
Your brain’s ability to retrieve a word is very fast. In one study, researchers mapped the time course of word retrieval among 24 college students by recording their brain activity while they named pictures. They found evidence that participants selected words within 200 milliseconds of seeing the image. After word selection, their brain continued to process information about that word, like what sounds are needed to say that chosen word and ignoring related words. This is why you can retrieve words with such speed in real-time conversations, often so quickly that you give little conscious attention to that process.
Until … you have a breakdown in word retrieval. One common failure in word retrieval is called the tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon . It’s the feeling when you know what word you want to use but are unable to find it in that moment. You might even know specific details about the word you want, like other words with similar meaning or maybe the first letter or sound of that word. With enough time, the word you wanted might pop into your mind.
These tip-of-the-tongue experiences are a normal part of human language experience across the life span, and they increase as you grow older. One proposed reason for this increase is that they’re due to an age-related disruption in the ability to turn on the right sounds needed to say the selected word.
For some people, though, tip-of-the-tongue experiences and other speech errors can be quite impairing. This is commonly seen in aphasia, a language disorder that often occurs after injury to the language centers of the brain, such as stroke, or neurodegeneration, such as dementia. People with aphasia often have difficulty with word retrieval.
Fortunately, there are treatments available that can help someone improve their word retrieval abilities. For example, semantic feature analysis focuses on strengthening the semantic relationships between words. There are also treatments like phonomotor treatment that focus on strengthening the selection and production of speech sounds needed for word production. There are even apps that remotely provide word retrieval therapy on phones or computers.
The next time you have a conversation with someone, take a moment to reflect on why you chose the specific words you did. Remember that the words you use and the mental dictionary you have are part of what make you and your voice unique.
This article was originally published on The Conversation . Read the original article .
Donald Trump mocks Jimmy Carter's presidency day after Rosalynn Carter entered hospice care
Update: Rosalynn Carter died Sunday,. Read more about her life and legacy here: Rosalynn Carter, former first lady who advocated for mental health issues, dies at 96
Former President Donald Trump mocked former President Jimmy Carter at an event in Iowa on Saturday , one day after the Carter family publicly confirmed former first lady Rosalynn Carter has entered hospice care.
Trump , criticizing Biden at a rally in Fort Dodge, Iowa, told a crowd of supporters that “the happiest person anywhere in this country right now is Jimmy Carter because his administration looked brilliant compared to these clowns.”
“Compared to Biden, Jimmy Carter was a brilliant, brilliant president,” Trump said.
The Carter Center announced last week that the former first lady entered hospice care, which is typically provided to patients who choose to no longer receive treatment towards the end of their life. Jimmy Carter entered hospice care in February, and the Carter family confirmed in May that Rosalynn Carter had been diagnosed with dementia.
Jason Carter, the Carters’ grandson and chairman of the Carter Center’s Board of Trustees, told USA TODAY earlier this year that the couple remains together and in love has they face health challenges.
“They are together. They are at home. They're in love, and I don't think anyone gets more than that. I mean, it's a perfect situation for this time in their lives,” he said.
Jason Carter added that, while his grandfather faces “really significant physical challenges,” but he does spend time watching baseball games and seeing family “almost every day.”
“They're both doing as well as can be expected,” he said.
14th Amendment fight: With three major recent losses, is the effort to knock Trump off ballots in 2024 over?