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How to Write an Effective Manuscript Speech in 5 Steps


If your public speaking course requires you to give a manuscript speech, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. How do you put together a speech that’s effective and engaging? Not to worry – with a few simple steps, you’ll be prepared to pull off a manuscript speech that’s both impactful and polished. In this post, we’ll walk through the 5 steps you need to follow to craft an effective manuscript speech that’ll leave your audience impressed. So let’s get started!

Quick Overview of Key Question

A manuscript speech involves writing down your entire speech word-for-word and memorizing it before delivering it. To begin, start by writing down your introduction , main points, and conclusion. Once you have written your speech, practice reading it out loud to get used to the phrasing and memorize each part .

Preparing a Manuscript Speech

When preparing for your manuscript speech, it is essential to consider both the content of your speech and the format in which you will deliver the speech. It is important to identify any key points or topics that you would like to cover in order to ensure that your manuscript is properly organized and succinct. Additionally, when selecting the style of delivery, be sure to choose one that best fits with your specific message and goals . One style of delivery includes utilizing a conversational tone in order to engage with your audience and help foster an interactive environment . When using this delivery style, be sure to use clear and concise language as well as humor and anecdotes throughout your speech . In addition, select a pacing that allows for flexibility with audience responses without detracting from the overall structure or flow of your text. Alternatively, another style of delivery involves reading directly from the manuscript without deviating from the text. This method works best when coupled with visual aids or props that support the information being relayed. Additionally, it is important to remember to practice reading the manuscript aloud several times prior to its delivery in order to ensure quality content and an acceptable rate of speed. No matter which delivery style you decide upon, careful preparation and rehearsal are essential components of delivering an effective manuscript speech. After deciding on a style of delivery and organizing the content of your speech accordingly, you can move on to formatting your document correctly in order to ensure a professional presentation during its delivery.

Document Format and Outline Structure

Before you dive into the content research and development stages of crafting your manuscript speech, it is important to consider the structure that your specific delivery will take. The format of your document can be varied depending on preferences and requirements, but always remember to keep it consistent throughout. When formatting your document, choose a universal style such as APA or MLA that may be easily recognisable to readers and familiar to most academics. Not only should this ensure your work meets some basic standards, but it will also make sure any information sources are appropriately cited for future reference. Additionally, you should provide visibility for headings to break up topics when needed, whilst keeping the language succinct and easy to understand. Creating an outline is integral in effectively structuring both a written piece of work and delivering a speech from paper. Use a hierarchical system of divisional points starting with a central concept, followed by additional details divided into sub sections where necessary and ending with a conclusion. This overview will act as a roadmap during the writing process—keeping track of ideas, identifying gaps in the presentation structure, and helping ensure clarity when presenting your points live on stage. It may be best practice to include a few statements or questions at the end of each key point to challenge thought in your audience and keep them engaged in the conversation. This could prompt new ideas or encourage defined discussion or debate amongst viewers. Depending on the topic itself, introducing two sides of an argument can allow an all-encompassing view point from which all members of an audience can draw their conclusions from majority opinion. Once you’ve established a full document format and outlined its corresponding structure for delivery, you’re ready for the next step: carefully developing comprehensive content along with appropriate ideas behind each sentence, word choice , and syntax used in every phrase. With these vital pieces in place, you are one step closer to creating an effective manuscript speech!

Content, Ideas and Language

The content, ideas, and language you use in your manuscript speech should be tailored to the audience you are addressing. It is important to consider the scope of the audience’s knowledge, level of interest in the topic and any special needs or cultural sensitivities. The most obvious way of doing this is by understanding who will be listening to the speech. You can also research the subject matter thoroughly to ensure you have a well-rounded perspective on the issue and that your opinion is well-informed.

While incorporating facts and personal experiences can help make any point stronger, ensure all ideas included in the speech have a relevancy to the main argument. Finally, avoid using difficult words or jargons as they may detract from any points being made. In terms of language, it’s recommended to use an active voice and write plainly while maintaining interesting visuals. This will help keep listeners engaged and make it easy for them to understand what’s being said. Additionally, focus on using appropriate vocabulary that will sound classy and create a good impression on your audience. Use simpler terms instead of long-winded ones, as regularly as possible, so that your message integrates easier with listeners. Now that you’ve considered content ideas and language for your manuscript speech, it’s time to go forward with writing and practicing it.

Writing and Practicing a Manuscript Speech

When writing a manuscript speech, it’s important to choose a central topic and clearly define the message you want to convey. Start by doing some research to ensure that your facts are accurate and up-to-date. Take notes and begin to organize your points into a logical flow. Once the first draft of your speech is complete, read it over multiple times, checking for grammar and typos. Also consider ways to effectively utilize visuals, such as photos or diagrams, as props within your speech if they will add value to your content. It is essential to practice delivering your speech using the manuscript long before you stand in front of an audience. Time yourself during practice sessions so that you can get comfortable staying within the parameters provided for the speech. Achieving a perfect blend of speaking out loud and reading word-by-word from the script is a vague area that speakers must strike a balance between in order to engage their audience without appearing overly rehearsed or overly off-the-cuff. Finally, look for opportunities to get feedback on your manuscript speech as you progress through writing and practicing it. Ask family members or friends who are familiar with public speaking for their input, or join an organization like Toastmasters International – an organization dedicated to improving public speaking skills – for more constructive criticism from experienced professionals. Crafting a powerful story should be the next step in preparing for an effective manuscript speech. Rather than delivering cold data points, use storytelling techniques to illustrate your point: Describe how others felt when faced with a challenge, what strategies they used to overcome it, and how their lives changed as a result. Telling stories makes data memorable, entertaining and inspiring – all qualities which should be considered when writing an engaging manuscript speech.

Crafting a Powerful Story

A powerful story is one of the most important elements of a successful manuscript speech. It is the main ingredient to make your speech memorable to the audience and help it stand out from all the other speeches. When crafting a story, there are a few things you should consider: 1) Choose an Appropriate Topic: The topic of your story should be appropriate for the type of speech you will be giving. If you are giving a motivational speech , for example, ensure your story has an uplifting message or theme that listeners can take away from it. Additionally, avoid topics that are too controversial so as not to offend any members of the audience. 2) Relay Your Experience: You could also use your own experience to create powerful stories in your manuscript speech. This gives listeners an authentic perspective of the topic and makes them feel connected to you and your message. Besides personal experiences, you may also draw stories from current events and movies/books which listeners can relate to depending on their age group. 3) Be Animated: As you deliver your story, be sure to convey emotions with proper tone and gestures in order to keep the audience engaged and increase its resonance. Using props and visual aids can also complement the delivery of your story by making it more experiential for listeners. Finally, before moving on to writing the rest of the manuscript speech, ensure that you have developed a powerful story that captures the hearts of those who hear it. With a great story to start off with, listeners will become more invested in what is about to come next in this speech – some tips for delivery!

Key Points to Remember

Writing a powerful story is essential to creating a successful manuscript speech. When selecting topics and stories, it’s important to consider the type of speech, the message, and making sure it’s appropriate and isn’t offensive. Drawing from personal experience and current events can enhance the audience’s connection with the topic, while being animated with tone and gestures will make it more engaging. Visual aids and props can complement this as well. Introducing a great story will draw people to your speech and help them get invested in what comes next.

Tips for Delivery of a Manuscript Speech

Delivering a manuscript speech effectively is essential for making sure your message gets across to your audience. While it may seem daunting, by following a few simple tips, you can ensure that you present your speech in the most professional manner possible. Before you start delivering your speech, be sure to practice it several times in advance. This will help you become comfortable with your words so that they don’t come out stilted while presenting. It is also important to emphasize vocal variety by changing the tone and intensity of your voice to keep the audience’s focus; boring monotone voices are often difficult to listen to. Remember to slow down or speed up depending on the importance of what you’re saying; never read word-for-word from your script – instead, aim for an engaging, conversational delivery. When delivering a manuscript speech, hand gestures can prove particularly useful for emphasizing key points. You can use arm movements and body language to convey the emotions behind your words without them feeling forced or unnatural. Again, practice helps here as well; make yourself aware of your posture and make subtle adjustments throughout until you feel comfortable speaking while moving around confidently on stage. Eye contact is another key element of effective presentation . Make sure to look into the eyes of every member of your audience at least once during your presentation – this will help them feel like they are interacting with you directly and make them more receptive to your ideas. Feel free to break away from traditional powerpoint slides if they aren’t necessary – take advantage of the natural lighting in the room and navigate through the visible space instead. Finally, remember that how you conclude the speech is just as important as how you began it, so aim for a powerful ending that leaves those listening with a lasting impression of what was discussed and learned throughout your presentation. With these tips for delivery in mind, you’re almost ready to leave a lasting impression on your audience – something we’ll discuss further in the next section!

Making a Lasting Impression with Your Audience

When you first create your manuscript speech, it is of utmost importance to consider your audience. Each part of the speech must be tailored to the people who will be listening. If a speaker can connect with an audience and make an emotional impact, the work that went into crafting the document will pay off. Using a conversational tone, humor, storytelling, and analogies can help keep the audience engaged during your speech. These techniques give the listener something to connect with and remember after the presentation is over. However, be sure to balance any humorous anecdotes or stories with a professional demeanor as not to lose credibility with your audience. Considering each part of the message and its potential impression on the listeners can also help guide you in tailoring a manuscript speech. When introducing yourself, try to use language that connects with the background of your peers; focus on wanting to help others with what you have learned or experienced so they feel like you are truly talking directly to them. Conclude by summing up important points in an inspirational way and leave listeners motivated and determined to apply the advice given in their own lives. Through this manner of “closing out” an effective speech, the audience can carry away meaningful information that will stay with them long after you finish speaking. Now that you understand how essential it is for speakers to make a lasting impression on their audiences, let us move onto learning how to confidently handle questions from your listeners as part of your presentation.

How to Handle Questions from Your Audience

When writing a manuscript speech, there are certain things you should consider when handling questions from your audience. This is an essential part of giving a successful talk to a group of people. The best way to handle questions is to take notes and make sure you can answer them directly after the speech is completed. It is important to be prepared with responses to any potential questions that may arise during your presentation. This will show your audience that you have taken the time and effort towards understanding their concerns and addressing them accordingly.

Additionally, it is also beneficial to anticipate possible areas of criticism or disagreement among members of your audience, as this allows you to provide evidence or offer an alternate route for them to consider when questioning the points made in your presentation. It is also important to remain courteous and professional when answering questions , even if someone challenges your views or speaks unkindly about your topic. It is always best practice to remain composed and ensure everyone in the room feels respected. Furthermore, having an open discussion with your audience following a well-prepared manuscript speech can add value by expanding on topics outlined. It also presents an opportunity for further clarifications and understanding beyond just getting out the message. This can be done by asking the participants what they thought of the presentation, what points they found most interesting, and other general feedback they might offer. If handled correctly, these moments can be used as learning opportunities for both yourself and others. Ultimately, handling questions from your audience confidently and gracefully is an important component of delivering a successful manuscript speech. By taking the time to prepare a response tailored towards each inquiry, even if it involves debate, you show respect towards those who took their time out of their day to attend your talk.

Additionally, it presents an opportunity to expand on topics covered while allowing meaningful dialogue between participants. With that said, it’s now time turn our focus onto crafting an effective conclusion for our manuscripts speeches – one which can bring our ideas full circle and leave our audience with memorable words!

Conclusion and Overall Manuscript Speech Strategy

The conclusion of any speech is an important part of the process and should not be taken lightly. Regardless of the structure or content of the speech, the conclusion can help drive home the points you have made throughout your speech. It also serves to leave a lasting impression on the listener. The conclusion should not be too long or drawn-out, but it should be meaningful and relevant to your topic and overall message. When writing your conclusion, consider recapping some of the key points made in the body of your speech. This will help to reinforce those ideas that you want to stick with the listener most. Additionally, make sure to emphasize how what has been addressed in your speech translates into real-world solutions or recommendations. This can help ensure that you have conveyed an actionable and tangible impact with your speech. One way to approach crafting an effective manuscript for a speech is to take note of the overall theme or objective that you wish to convey. From there, think about how best to organize your information into manageable sections, ensuring that each one accurately reflects your main points from both a visual and verbal standpoint. Consider what visuals or other tools could be used to further illustrate or clarify any complex concepts brought up in the main body of your speech. Finally, be sure to craft an appropriate conclusion that brings together all of these points into a cohesive whole, leaving your listeners with powerful words that underscore the importance and significance of what you have said. Overall, successful manuscript speeches depend on clear and deliberate preparation. Spending time outlining, writing, and editing your speech will ensure that you are able to effectively communicate its message within a set timeframe and leave a lasting impact on those who heard it. By following this process carefully, you can craft manuscripts that will inform and inspire audiences while driving home key talking points effectively every time.

Frequently Asked Questions and Their Answers

What are the benefits of giving a manuscript speech.

Giving a manuscript speech has many benefits. First, it allows the speaker to deliver a well-researched and thought-out message that is generally consistent each time. Since the speaker has prepared their speech in advance, they can use rehearsals to perfect their delivery and make sure their message is clear and concise.

Additionally, having a manuscript allows the speaker the freedom to focus on engaging the audience instead of trying to remember what to say next. Having a written script also helps remove the fear of forgetting important points or getting sidetracked on tangents during the presentation. Finally, with a manuscript, it’s possible to easily modify content from performance to performance as needed. This can help ensure that every version of the speech remains as relevant, meaningful, and effective as possible for each audience.

How does one prepare a manuscript speech?

Preparing a manuscript speech requires careful planning and attention to detail. Here are the five steps to help you write a successful manuscript speech: 1. Research: Take the time to do your research and gather all the facts you need. This should be done well in advance so that you can prepare your speech carefully. 2. Outline: Lay out an outline of the major points you want to make in your speech and make sure each point builds logically on the one preceding it. 3. Draft: Once you have an outline, begin to flesh it out into a first draft of your manuscript speech. Be sure to include transitions between key points as well as fleshing out any examples or anecdotes that may help illustrate your points. 4. Edit: Once you have a first draft, edit it down multiple times. This isn’t where detailed editing comes in; this is more about making sure all the big picture elements work logically together, ensuring smooth transitions between ideas, and ensuring your words are chosen precisely to best convey their meaning. 5. Practice: The last step is perhaps the most important – practice! Rehearse your manuscript speech until you know it like the back of your hand, so that when it’s time for delivery, you can be confident of success.

What are some tips for delivering a successful manuscript speech?

1. Prepare in advance: Draft a script and practice it several times before delivering it. This will allow you to be comfortable with your material and avoid any awkward pauses when you are presenting your speech. 2. Speak clearly: Make sure that you speak loudly and clearly enough for everyone in the room to hear you. It is also important to enunciate your words properly so that your message can easily be understood by your audience. 3. Engage with the audience: Use eye contact when addressing your audience, ask questions and wait for responses, and pause to allow people time to mull over your points. These techniques help to ensure that everyone is engaged and interested in what you are saying. 4. Create visual aids: Create slides or other visuals that augment the material in your manuscript speech. This can help to keep the audience focused on what they are hearing as well as providing a reference point for them after your speech is finished. 5. Rehearse: Rehearse the delivery of your manuscript speech at least once prior to giving it so that you feel confident about how it will sound when presented in front of an audience. Identify any areas where improvements may be needed and focus on perfecting them before delivering the speech.

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5 Manuscript Speech Tips

Woman public peaking into microphone

We like presentations that are delivered without fear, and without a script. But, if you find yourself in a public speaking circumstance where you need to read from a prepared manuscript, here are five tips to help guarantee smooth delivery.

1) Large Type . Print out your speech in type that is large enough to be read easily from a lectern. Place sheets in sheet protectors and place them in an unobtrusive thin white three-ring binder. Arrange the pages so that there are always two full pages facing you, which minimizes page-turning. That means some sheet protectors will have two pages in them, back-to-back. Here’s a short video showing what that looks like.

2) Practice Reading Aloud. Practice reading out loud and turning the pages. Try to look up from the pages as much as possible so that when you deliver the speech, you will be able to make eye contact with your audience. Use intonation when reading so that you don’t sound monotone or like you are reading it for the first time. Read in a conversational tone. Make sure you are pronouncing all the words you are using correctly.

3) Focus on your vocal variety . Remember that pausing can be powerful. Pause before and after an important point. If you are a natural fast-talker, slow down when you make important points. Practice your pace. Find the right speed. Your goal for your conclusion should be that everyone will know that you are done without you have to say “thank you.”  You accomplish that by adjusting your pace and pause, and, to a lesser extent, your pitch and power.

4) Research. Before you speak, find out if the lectern will be lit well enough for you to read. Don’t forget to bring reading glasses if you need them. Also, find out if you will be speaking with a microphone and practice accordingly. If the speech is supposed to be a particular length, practice with a timer. By aware that some people read faster at a live event because of adrenaline.

5) Practice, practice, practice. Always read out loud. Practice reading it in front of friends or family. Record yourself.

By following these tips, you can turn a manuscript speech into a well-delivered presentation.

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how to write a manuscript speech

Manuscript Speech Examples |

Manuscript speech examples delivered are those speech mostly delivered during official meetings, conferences, president addressing the press.

Manuscript Speech Examples

Manuscript Speech

Examples of manuscript speech..

  • A speech given by a Congressman on a legislative bill under consideration.
  • A report read out by a Chief Engineer at an Annual General Meeting. 
  • A speech read during an international conference.
  • A President’s or Prime Minister’s address 
  • A televised news report (given using a teleprompter) seen on television. 
  • A new proclamation of the pope
  • A presentation in the board meeting
  • A speech given at a wedding by a best man, or during a funeral. 
  • A religious proclamation issued by any religious leader. 
  • A speech in honor of a well-known and revered person. 
  • Oral report of a given chapter in American history, presented as a high school assignment. 

Tips On How Write A Manuscript Speech And Manuscript Speech Delivery

Draft of manuscript speech writing.

Classification of Constitution. Constitutions are widely classified into two categories, firstly written and unwritten ; and secondly, rigid and flexible. Written and Unwritten constitution. A written constitution is one in which the fundamental principles concerning state administration are embodied and which has, as a specific document, been passed by a specific body So a written constitution can be produced and shown as a single document. The US constitution, Indian Constitution, Bangladesh Constitution provide examples of written Constitution. On The other hand, where the constitution has not been passed formally as a specific document by a specific body and the fundamental principles concerning state administration exist in political customs, Judicial decisions and in some scattered documents, the constitution is an unwritten one. The British Constitution provides the glaring example of unwritten constitution. Views, of course are expressed by different writers that this classification of Constitution ( written and unwritten ) is not a scientific one since no Constitution can, in practice, be fully written or unwritten, An unwritten Constitution must have some written elements. Likewise, a written constitution cannot be fully written , some elements of it exists in unwritten form. For example, British Constitution is unwritten but some important elements of it are contained in written documents like Magna Carta, Bill of Rights, Petition of Rights, Act of settlement etc. On the other hand , the US constitution is written but some important Constitutional subjects like political party organization, cabinet, committee of the Congress, working procedure of the Congress etc. are not written they are largely based on political custom or convention Likewise Bangladesh Constitution is a written one but political party organization, appointment of Chief Justice, formation of coalition government etc. are not written ; these are based on convention. This is why it is said that the distinction between written and unwritten Constitution is one of degree rather than of form C.F. Strong comments that a classification of Constitutions’ on the basis of whether they are written or unwritten is illusory. It is, of course, sometimes necessary to distinguish between the so-called written and so-called unwritten Constitution, and whenever we needed to do so, we shall refer to the former as a documentary and to the later as a non-documentary Constitution.  THE CONSTITUTION OF THE PHILIPPINES I. The Constitution A constitution may be defined in different ways depending upon one's attitude or point of view. They may be defined as: 1.) English Point of View A constitution is "the body of those written or unwritten fundamental laws which regulate the most important rights of the higher magistrates and the most important essential privileges of the subjects." 2.) American and Filipino Point of View A constitution may be defined as "a written instrument by which the fundamental powers of the government are established, limited, and defined, and by which those powers are disturbed among several branches for their more safe and useful exercise for the benefit of the body." In a more general way, a constitution may be defined as the fundamental law according to which the government of the state is organized and agreeably to which the relations of the individuals or moral persons to the community are determined." II. Concepts of Constitution At present there are two recognized concepts of the constitution namely: 1.) American or The Written Constitution a.) Generally the Americans conceive of a constitution as something that must be written, yet this does not mean that the working or operation of the American government is based entirely on the provisions of such written constitution. b.) A constitution is the supreme law of the land which must serve as the basis of the acts of all the different branches and officials in the government. 2.) English or The Unwritten Constitution a.) This means that it is a product of the gradual political growth and development, changing slowly according to the demands of the times. b.) A constitution is a mere formal law because its provisions are not superior to the acts of the legislature or of the parliament. III. Classification of Constitutions Depending upon their point of view, various authorities have different ways of classifying the constitutions. The constitutions may be classified as: 1.) According to the degree of popular participation or the type of government that they provide, they may be classified as democratic, aristocratic, oligarchic, or autocratic. From this point of view the Philippine Constitution may be classified as democratic. 2.) According to the procedure of amending them, they may be classified as flexible or rigid. The Philippine Constitution may be classified as rigid. 3.) According to their form, they may be classified as written or unwritten. The Philippine Constitution may be classified as largely written. 4.) According to Sir Henry Maine, constitutions may be classified into: a.) Historical and Revolutionary Those constitutions which develop gradually according to the experiences, customs, and traditions of the people. b.) A Priori Those constitutions which are founded on speculative assumptions remote from the experiences of the people . 5.) According to their origin, they may be: a.) Evolved, like the English Constitution, which is a product of growth or of a long period of development. b.) Enacted, like the constitution of the United States, which was drafted by the deliberate act of the representatives of the people. c.) Granted, like the constitution of Japan of 1889, which the ruling prince or monarch decreed to his subjects. IV Contents and Characteristics of a Written Constitution Generally, written constitutions must consist of the following: 1.) Preamble. 2.) Provisions outlining or defining the organization, form, and distribution of the powers and limitations of the functions of the government. 3.) The Bill of Rights which enumerates the civil and political rights of the people. 4.) Provisions prescribing the procedure of amendment. A good written constitution must have the following characteristics: 1.) Broad A constitution must be broad in its scope because it outlines the organization of the government for the whole state. A statement of provisions and functions of the government, and of the relations between the governing body and the governed, requires a comprehensive document. 2.) Brief A constitution must be brief because it is not the place in which the details of organization should be set forth. Some constitutions have been marred by the inclusion of pure regulation. 3.) Definite The constitution must be definite. In a statement of principles of underlying the essential nature of a state any vagueness which may lead to opposing interpretations of essential features may cause incalculable harm. Civil war and the disruption of the state may conceivably follow from ambiguous expressions in a constitution.


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22 Speaking from a Manuscript: How to Read Without Looking Like You Are Reading

Picture of Winston Churchill's manuscript

How to Write and Use Manuscripts

There will be times when reading from a manuscript is helpful. When giving a eulogy and you are likely to experience strong emotions, having your words written out and in front of you will be very helpful. Politicians often speak from manuscripts because there will be people weighing the meaning of each word. They often have speech writers who take their ideas and make them sound professional, and they likely have several people look it over for any offensive words or questionable phrases.

The advantage to speaking with a manuscript is you have your speech in front of you. This gives you an opportunity to plan interesting wordplays and to use advanced language techniques. By managing the exact wording, you can better control the emotional tone. Another advantage to using a manuscript is you can share your speech with others both for proofing and for reference. For example, many people like to have written copies of the toast given to them at a special occasion or a copy of the eulogy to the loved one.  Politically speaking, a manuscript can be helpful to help keep you on track and to help you say only the things that you mean to say.

The disadvantage to a manuscript is if not done properly, your speech may feel like an “essay with legs.” Speaking from a manuscript is a skill; I would argue that it is one of the most difficult of all types because your goal is to read without appearing to read. It can be so tempting to lock eyes on the page where it is safe and then never look up at the audience. Finally, it is very difficult for most people to gesture when reading a manuscript. Many people run their hands down the page to keep their place while others clutch the podium and never let go. These disadvantages can be overcome with practice. You can be dynamic and engaging while using a manuscript, but it does take work.

Keys to Using a Manuscript

  • Always write a manuscript in manuscript format and never in essay format. (It should look like poetry).
  • Practice your speech at a podium so you can figure out how to change pages smoothly.
  • Learn the art of eye fixations.
  • Practice with a friend so you can master eye contact.
  • If you struggle with gestures, make a note on your manuscript to remind you to gesture.
  • Practice, practice, practice–you should actually practice more than in a typical speech since it is a harder delivery method.

Formatting a Manuscript

  • Do not start a sentence on one page and then finish it on another.
  • Do not fold the manuscript–it won’t lay flat on the podium.
  • Do not print on both sides of the page.
  • Do not staple the manuscript
  • Number your pages.
  • Use a large font and then make it one size larger than you think you need.
  • It should look like poetry.
  • Have extra spaces between every main idea.
  • Bold the first word of every main section.
  • Use /// or …. to indicate pauses in your speech.
  • Emphasize a word with a larger font or by making it bold.
  • If you have a parallel construction where you repeat the same word, bold or underline the repeated word.
  • Use an easy-to-read font.
  • Make a note (SLIDE) when you need to change your slide.
  • It is OK to omit punctuation.
  • Do whatever formatting works best for you.

Sample manuscripts

Notice how this student formats her manuscript by making it spread out and easy to read:

Today // it is an honor for me to stand here before you at the Freedom Banquet and pay tribute to a man

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, that in his lifetime …………………………………. has touched ………………….. and changed …………………………… uncountable lives across the globe

Today /// we are here to honor ……………. a president, ……………………….. a father, ……………………………… a husband ……………………………………. and a true savior in Mr. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

Tribute speech by Tanica van As delivered at the University of Arkansas

Manuscript From History

Picture of a manuscript from Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill’s Speech in Response to German’s Invasion of Britain and Finest Hour Speech

Sometimes referred to as the Psalms format or free verse format, the speech is written like it will be spoken.

How to Present with a Manuscript

To best read a manuscript, we need to borrow some items from speed reading. When you were first learning to read, you learned to read each letter–D–O–G. You would look at the letter “D,” then your eyes would look at the letter “O, ” and finally, your eyes would move over to look at the letter “G.”  You would fixate (or rest) your eyes on three different places. Eventually, you got better at reading and better at seeing, so you would now look at “dog” in one eye fixation and your brain was able to take in the information–dog.  Now, you no longer read one letter at a time, that would be way too slow. Now you look at all three letters and see it as a word.

Over time, you learned to see bigger words–like “communication” (13 letters).   Now, consider this… the phase “The dog ran fast” contains 13 letters. Since you can see the word “communication” as one eye fixation and understand it as one thing,  in theory, your eyes should be able to see “the dog ran fast” as one eye fixation and understand it too.   We have been trained to look at each word individually with separate eye fixations. For example,  …the … dog… ran… fast… is four different eye fixations. With a little practice, you can train your eyes to see the whole phrase with one look. Here are some sentences, practice looking at each of the sentences with one eye fixation.

I ate the red apple

My car is green

My cat is moody

You tried it didn’t you? You can only learn if you try them out. If you didn’t try it, go back and look at those sentences again and try to see the whole sentence with one look.  With practice, you can look at an entire sentence as one thing (eye fixation). Your brain can understand all those words as one thought. Now, try this. Wherever you are right now, look up at the wall nearest you and then look back down.  Write down all the things you can recall about what you saw–I saw a yellow wall with brown trim, two bookcases, a clock, a printer, a bird statue.  Your brain is amazing; it can look up to a wall and in one eye fixation, it can take in all that it sees.

You can take in many sentences as well. You can actually see two sentences in one look.  Try to look down at these next two sentences in one eye fixation. Test yourself by looking down and then looking up and saying what you remember out loud.

The boy sang a song

The girl danced along

With a little practice, most people can see chunks of five words across and three lines down. Give it a try.  Once again, try to look at the three sentences as one and then look up and say them.

The happy frog leaped

off the lily pad

and into the cool water

It takes practice, but you can do it. The bonus feature of doing the practice and learning this skill is you will learn to read faster. Since a lot of college work and professional preparation relies on reading the information, it would benefit you for the rest of your life to learn this valuable skill. While researching, I came across this excellent slide presentation by Sanda Jameson on Reading for College that goes into more depth about the process. I highly recommend you review it to help you with your manuscript reading and to help you become a better reader in your college classes.


By now, you have figured out that using chunking and working on eye fixations is going to help you read your manuscript easier. Arranging your manuscript where you have only five to seven words on a line will make it easier to see as one fixation.  Organizing your manuscript where you can see several lines of text at once, can help you put a lot of information in one eye fixation.

Now, let’s look at a eulogy written by one of my students, Sydney Stout. She wrote this eulogy to her grandpa who loved dancing and encouraged her to do the same.  First, notice the manuscript format where it is written like it will be spoken. It is chunked into lines that are usually 5-7 words long. The list of names is written like a stair step showing the stair step in the voice when the names are spoken. Try reading this except out loud focusing on eye fixations. Try to see one whole line at a time and then read it again trying to see two lines at a time.

Dancing is a delicate art

An activity many people love and enjoy

but someone that loves dancing

more than anyone I know

is my grandfather.

You all know my grandfather

Maybe you know him as James

….. Jack

 ……… Dad

 …………. Papa Jack

      ………………… or in my case………………. . just Papa.

Papa //   you have led me through life

like any great dance partner should

And I’ve memorized the steps you’ve taught me

………………………………………. …. And they have allowed me to dance

……………………………………………………………… gracefully

………………………………………………………….. through my own life

Tribute speech by Sydney Stout delivered at the University of Arkansas

Watch this eulogy speech to Rosa Parks by Oprah Winfrey. Notice how each word is carefully chosen and how if you notice closely, you can tell that she is using a manuscript. Notice how seamlessly she turns the pages and notice how she spends most of her time looking up at the audience. Masterfully, she uses gestures to enhance the rhythmic flow o the speech and to draw the audience’s attention.

Timing Your Manuscript

Practice your manuscript at least 5 to 7 times. Trust me when I say, It is harder to speak with a manuscript than it is to give a speech with brief notes and it requires considerable more practice to get it right.

Use this chart as a general reference for the timing of your speech to the length of your manuscript.

A Speech Saved the President’s Life

Teddy Roosevelts Speech with Bullet Holes in it

Teddy Roosevelt’s life was saved when an assassin’s bullet was slowed down by his 50 paged speech manuscript. The doctor on sight determined that although the bullet didn’t puncture his lungs, he should still go to the hospital immediately. A determined Roosevelt balked and said, “You get me to that speech.” He delivered a 50-minute speech before going to the hospital.  Doctors decided it was safer to leave the bullet in his chest and declared that his speech had indeed saved his life.

More on this story from the history channel: https://www.history.com/news/shot-in-the-chest-100-years-ago-teddy-roosevelt-kept-on-talking

Please share your feedback, suggestions, corrections, and ideas.

I want to hear from you. 

Do you have an activity to include? Did you notice a typo that I should correct? Are you planning to use this as a resource and do you want me to know about it? Do you want to tell me something that really helped you?

Click here to share your feedback. 

Klein, C. (2019). When Teddy Roosevelt was shot in 1912, a speech may have saved his life. https://www.history.com/news/shot-in-the-chest-100-years-ago-teddy-roosevelt-kept-on-talking

Speech in minutes. (n.d.).  http://www.speechinminutes.com/

Stout, S. (n.d.). Eulogy to Papa with the theme of dancing. Delivered in Lynn Meade’s Advanced Public Speaking Class at the  University of Arkansas. Used with permission.

Van As, T. (n.d.) Tribute to Nelson Mandela. Delivered in Lynn Meade’s Advanced Public Speaking Class at the  University of Arkansas. Used with permission.

Winfrey, O.  (2010). Eulogy to Rosa Parks. [Video] YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cfhtfNfIPE Standard YouTube License.

Media Attributions

  • Winston Churchill’s Manuscript is licensed under a CC BY-NC-ND (Attribution NonCommercial NoDerivatives) license
  • Winston Churchill’s Speech in Response to German’s Invasion of Britain
  • Winston Churchill Finest Hour Speech
  • Teddy’s speech © Janine Eden, Eden Pictures is licensed under a CC BY (Attribution) license

Advanced Public Speaking Copyright © 2021 by Lynn Meade is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Sample outline for a manuscript speech OPENING MAIN BODY

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<strong>Sample</strong> <strong>outline</strong> <strong>for</strong> a <strong>manuscript</strong> <strong>speech</strong><br />

(from Joan Detz, author of HOW TO WRITE & GIVE A SPEECH)<br />

<strong>OPENING</strong><br />

I. I follow a standard <strong>outline</strong> <strong>for</strong>mat.<br />

A. Where there’s an A …<br />

B. … there’s a B<br />

1. Sometimes I use full sentences.<br />

2. Sometimes not<br />

a. Fragments work great<br />

b. Creative punctuation = okay, too<br />

• Bullet lists = very helpful<br />

• Clients can see them quickly<br />

II.<br />

The introduction needs to be short.<br />

<strong>MAIN</strong> <strong>BODY</strong><br />

I. Use a ragged right margin. (Never justify the right margin in a <strong>speech</strong><br />

<strong>manuscript</strong>.)<br />

Use lots of white space.<br />

A. Easier to read<br />

B. Easier to annotate<br />

1. Encourage your speaker to “mark up” the <strong>outline</strong>.<br />

2. The more comments your speaker provides on the <strong>outline</strong>,<br />

the better your <strong>manuscript</strong> will be.<br />

III.<br />

IV.<br />

Use BOLDFACE to highlight key points.<br />

Judicious underlining = helpful

V. Suppose you have two possible anecdotes, but you can only use one of them.<br />

A. Include both anecdotes. (You don’t have to polish every word. Just write<br />

enough so your speaker gets the idea.)<br />

B. Type both anecdotes in italics (so they stand out) and ask the speaker to<br />

choose. (This gets the speaker involved early in the process … and also<br />

reduces your re-write time.)<br />

1. Remember: You’re not writing the <strong>speech</strong> <strong>for</strong> yourself. You’re<br />

writing the <strong>speech</strong> <strong>for</strong> your client. There’s a difference<br />

2. You want your <strong>outline</strong> to reflect your client’s style<br />

VI.<br />

VII.<br />

Make the main body as detailed as possible.<br />

My <strong>outline</strong>s typically run 6+ pages … counting lot of white space, of course.<br />


I. This should be short.<br />

Don’t introduce anything new.<br />

Make sure your closing relates to your opening.<br />

A. Repeat key words from your opening.<br />

B. Refer to your opening point.<br />

C. Put any opening statistics/examples/anecdotes in final perspective.<br />

Wrap up with clarity and clout.<br />

“Dollar <strong>for</strong> dollar, Joan Detz’s courses are the single best investment any <strong>speech</strong>writer can make.”<br />

(George Chartier, US federal government <strong>speech</strong>writer)<br />

For seminar in<strong>for</strong>mation, visit www.joandetz.com. Register early to avoid the waiting list.

9 Steps To A Better Speech<br />

___ 1. Focus your topic.<br />

___ 2. Analyze your audience.<br />

___ 3. Target your research.<br />

___ 4. Organize your material.<br />

___ 5. Simplify your language.<br />

___ 6. Add rhetorical devices to create style.<br />

___ 7. Use humor; don’t abuse humor.<br />

___ 8. Allow enough rehearsal time to improve delivery.<br />

___ 9. Consider the power of media coverage.<br />

Joan Detz is the author of CAN YOU SAY A FEW WORDS? (St. Martin’s Press, 2006), which was noted in The New York Times.<br />

The book gives advice <strong>for</strong> “special occasion” <strong>speech</strong>es – including awards, retirements, commencements, memorial tributes,<br />

anniversaries, panels, job promotions, and dedications. The author is donating 50% of her advance royalties to libraries.<br />

Copyright 2008, Joan Detz.<br />


Audience Analysis<br />

Name and size of audience?<br />

Day/date/time of <strong>speech</strong>?<br />

Age range?<br />

Translators required?<br />

Professional backgrounds?<br />

Political involvement (legislative issues)?<br />

Social issues (community projects, fundraising, etc)?<br />

How often does this group meet?<br />

Previous speakers … upcoming speakers?<br />

What topic has this audience found most interesting … and why?<br />

Least interesting … and why?<br />

Any special concerns/problems <strong>for</strong> this group?<br />

Exact location? (Include directions. Attach map if necessary.)<br />

Type/size of room … seating arrangements?<br />

AV: lighted lectern, microphone, Teleprompter, PowerPoint?<br />

Phone # of person handling sound/light/heat/AV?<br />

Q&A session (moderator … allotted time)<br />

Who will introduce the speaker?<br />

Joan Detz is the author of IT’S NOT WHAT YOU SAY, IT’S HOW YOU SAY IT (St. Martin’s Press, 2000). “I see a lot of books on public<br />

speaking. This one I’ll keep.” (Terrance McCann, executive director, Toastmasters International)<br />

Client Data Sheet<br />

Name<br />

Place of birth / Hometowns<br />

College & summer jobs<br />

First major job<br />

Mentors<br />

Work philosophy<br />

Volunteer activities<br />

Affiliations<br />

Hobbies<br />

Sports<br />

Vacations<br />

Politics<br />

Favorite books/music/TV/film<br />

Special interests<br />

Foreign languages<br />


Parents’ occupations<br />

Spouse’s occupation<br />

Spouse’s volunteer interests<br />

Children: ages/jobs/interests<br />

Copyright 2008, Joan Detz.

Research: Use Variety<br />

___<br />

anecdotes<br />

audio<br />

charts/graphs<br />

comparisons/contrasts<br />

date in history<br />

definitions<br />

demonstrations<br />

endorsements<br />

experts<br />

interviews<br />

letters (from customers, community officials, etc)<br />

news stories<br />

polls<br />

pop culture references<br />

props<br />

quotations<br />

statistics<br />

visual support<br />

Joan Detz is the author of HOW TO WRITE & GIVE A SPEECH (St. Martin’s Press, 3 rd edition, 2002):<br />

“A how-to classic” (The Washington Post)<br />

The Power of Pronouns<br />

Here’s a quick way to see if you’re meeting your audience’s needs. Pay close attention to<br />

the pronouns you use in your presentations.<br />


PLURAL<br />

1ST PERSON I we<br />

2ND PERSON you you<br />

3RD PERSON he, she, it they<br />

Joan Detz is the author of HOW TO WRITE & GIVE A SPEECH, celebrating its 25 th anniversary in 2009.<br />

For more in<strong>for</strong>mation, visit www.joandetz.com

How To Pause <strong>for</strong> Impact<br />

Where can you pause?<br />

1) After introductory phrases or clauses<br />

• “By the time you meet with the hospital’s administration,<br />

(PAUSE) all of this material will be published.”<br />

• “Even though the Board Meeting went well,<br />

(PAUSE) we can still make improvements <strong>for</strong> next year.”<br />

2) Be<strong>for</strong>e connecting words (“but,” “or,” “and,” “because”)<br />

• “We urged them to revise the proposal,<br />

(PAUSE) but they didn’t listen to our advice.”<br />

• “Susan usually does a good job;<br />

(PAUSE) however, this time her presentation was weak.”<br />

3) When running down a long list of items<br />

• “We’ll need to review the data …(PAUSE) double-check<br />

our sources … (PAUSE) verify all statistics … (PAUSE)<br />

seek outside opinion … (PAUSE) and do an extra-careful<br />

job with proofreading.”<br />

Find more tips on delivery in IT’S NOT WHAT YOU SAY, IT’S HOW YOU SAY IT (St. Martin’s Press, 2000)<br />

“Fresh advice, keen insights” (Publishers Weekly)

I could have been a better <strong>speech</strong>writer if only …

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<strong>Sample</strong> <strong>outline</strong> <strong>for</strong> a <strong>manuscript</strong> <strong>speech</strong> (from Joan Detz, author of HOW TO WRITE & GIVE A SPEECH) <strong>OPENING</strong> I. I follow a standard <strong>outline</strong> <strong>for</strong>mat. A. Where there’s an A … B. … there’s a B 1. Sometimes I use full sentences. 2. Sometimes not a. Fragments work great b. Creative punctuation = okay, too • Bullet lists = very helpful • Clients can see them quickly II. The introduction needs to be short. <strong>MAIN</strong> <strong>BODY</strong> I. Use a ragged right margin. (Never justify the right margin in a <strong>speech</strong> <strong>manuscript</strong>.) II. Use lots of white space. A. Easier to read B. Easier to annotate 1. Encourage your speaker to “mark up” the <strong>outline</strong>. 2. The more comments your speaker provides on the <strong>outline</strong>, the better your <strong>manuscript</strong> will be. III. IV. Use BOLDFACE to highlight key points. Judicious underlining = helpful

  • Page 2 and 3: V. Suppose you have two possible an
  • Page 4 and 5: Audience Analysis Name and size of
  • Page 6 and 7: Research: Use Variety ___ ___ ___ _
  • Page 8 and 9: How To Pause for Impact Where can y

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  • How to write a speech manuscript

How to write a speech manuscript and no plagiarism

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How to write an introduction to a speech

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