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How to write a good speech in 7 steps

By:  Susan Dugdale  

- 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

Image: gourmet sandwich with labels on the top (opening) and bottom (conclusion) slices of bread and filling, (body). Text: Key ingredients for a superb speech 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

lesson on how to write a speech

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.

Ask yourself

  • 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

Infographic: The Characteristics of Spoken Language - 7 points of difference with examples.

(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.

Graphic:cartoon drawing of a woman sitting in front of a laptop. Text:How to write a speech: checking tone and language.

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.

Graphic - girl walking across a bridge. Text - Using transitions to link ideas.

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

Link/transition examples

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.

Comic Graphic: End with a bang

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.

Graphic: shoal of fish and two hooked fishing lines. Text: Hooking and holding attention

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.

lesson on how to write 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.

Graphic: Click to read example speeches of all sorts.

Step 9: Rehearsing your speech

And NOW you are finished with writing the speech, and are ready for REHEARSAL .

lesson on how to write a speech

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.)
  • 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 that your audience remembers


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. 

4. Practice

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

5. Remember to breathe

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

How to ghostwrite a great speech for someone else

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

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

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

Give your best speech yet

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

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

Elevate your communication skills

Unlock the power of clear and persuasive communication. Our coaches can guide you to build strong relationships and succeed in both personal and professional life.

Elizabeth Perry, ACC

Elizabeth Perry is a Coach Community Manager at BetterUp. She uses strategic engagement strategies to cultivate a learning community across a global network of Coaches through in-person and virtual experiences, technology-enabled platforms, and strategic coaching industry partnerships. With over 3 years of coaching experience and a certification in transformative leadership and life coaching from Sofia University, Elizabeth leverages transpersonal psychology expertise to help coaches and clients gain awareness of their behavioral and thought patterns, discover their purpose and passions, and elevate their potential. She is a lifelong student of psychology, personal growth, and human potential as well as an ICF-certified ACC transpersonal life and leadership Coach.

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Project Charisma main logo

How to Write a Speech: My Simple 6-Step Formula

lesson on how to write a speech

Ed Darling 9 min read

What you’ll learn:

  • Why great speechwriting requires a structure.
  • My exact 6-step speech structure you can steal.
  • How to start and end your speech strong.

man learning how to write a speech

How to write a speech, the easiest way possible.

How? By following a simple frame-work that’s powerful and versatile.

Whether you have a work presentation, keynote talk, or best man’s speech – by the end of this article, you’ll know exactly how to write a speech, and in what order.

I’m Ed, a public speaking coach and co-founder of Project Charisma . I help professionals, leaders and business owners to speak in public, and this is the #1 speech framework that I share with all of my clients.

I ’ll walk you through the process of how to write a speech step-by-step , explaining each section as we go. I’ll also give you some examples of how this would look in different types of speech.

The first step is something 99% of people miss.

PS. Check out our specific speech guides on:

Delivering a Business Pitch

Giving a Best Man Speech

Step 1. Find your speech's "Golden Thread"

The first lesson in how to write a speech is setting a clear objective from the get-go — so that what you write doesn’t end up being vague or convoluted.

Afterall, If you don’t know exactly what your speech is about, neither will your audience.

To avoid this, we’re going to begin by defining our “Golden Thread”. 

This is the key idea, insight or message that you want to get across. Like a thread, it will run throughout your speech, linking each section together in a way that’s clear and coherent.

To help you figure out your Golden Thread, try answering these two questions:

  • If you had to summarise your speech into a single sentence, what would that be?
  • If your audience could leave remembering only one thing, what would that be?

Golden Thread examples: A work presentation: “Customer referrals can be our our super-power”

A motivational speech: “Don’t let circumstances define you”

For a wedding/event speech: “Enjoy the journey together”

Speech Writing Tip:

Your Golden Thread isn’t something you share with the audience. You don’t start your speech by saying it out loud. Rather, it’s something we define in the preparation phase to clarify your own thoughts and ensure everything that comes next makes sense. 

That said, your Golden Thread may double-up as the perfect speech title, or memorable catch-phrase. In which case it’s fine to use it within your speech as a way to drive-home the overall message. 

Think of MLKs famous “I have a dream” speech . The Golden Thread would be his dream of a future with equality — a core idea which ran throughout the speech. But the exact phrase “I have a dream” was also spoken and repeated for effect.

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public speaking course in manchester

Step 2. Start with your Hook

Now we get into the nitty-gritty of how to write a speech.

The Hook is the first thing you will actually say to the audience – usually within the first 10-30 seconds of your speech.

Most people start a speech by introducing themselves and their topic:

“Hello everyone, I’m John from accounting, today I’ll be talking about our quarterly figures” . 

It’s predictable, it’s unimaginative, it’s starting with a yawn instead of a bang.

Instead, we’re going to open the speech with a hook that gets people sitting up and listening.

A hook can be anything that captures attention, including a:

  • Relevant quote
  • Interesting statistic
  • Intriguing question
  • Funny anecdote
  • Powerful statement

Watch how Apollo Robbins opens his TED talk with a question-hook to engage the audience.

Whichever type of hook you use, it needs to be short, punchy and ideally something that builds intrigue in your audience’s mind. Depending on the type of speech, your hook might be humorous, dramatic, serious or thoughtful. 

For an in-depth guide on how to write a speech with a great hook, I highly recommend our article on 9 Killer Speech Openers.

H ook examples:

A work presentation: “What if I told you we could increase revenue by 35%, without any additional ad-spend?”

A motivational speech: “At the age of 30, my life was turned upside down – I was jobless, directionless, and depressed”

For a wedding/event speech: “Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell! – so said Joan Crawford” 

Speech Hook Tip:

Don’t rush into things. Hooks work infinitely better when you pause just before speaking, and again just after.

Step 3. The Speech Introduction

We’ve captured attention and have the whole room interested. The next step is to formally introduce ourselves, our speech, and what the audience can expect to hear. 

Depending on the situation, you can use your introduction as an opportunity to build credibility with your audience. If they don’t know you, it’s worth explaining who you are, and why you’re qualified to be speaking on this topic.

The more credibility you build early on, the more engagement you’ll have throughout the speech. So consider mentioning expertise, credentials and relevant background.

In other situations where people already know you, there may be less need for this credibility-building. In which case, keep it short and sweet.

Intro examples:

A work presentation: “Good morning everyone, I’m Jenny from the Marketing department. For the past few months I’ve been tracking our referrals with a keen-eye. Today, I want to show you the numbers, and explain my plan double our referrals in the next 6 months”

A motivational speech: “Ladies and gentlemen, at the age of 40 I’m a speaker, an author and a teacher – but my life could have turned out very differently. Today, I want to share with you my story of overcoming adversity.”

For a wedding/event speech: “Good afternoon everyone, I’m Luke the Best Man. I can’t promise anything quite as poetic as that quote, but I’d like to say a few words for the Bride and Groom”.

Speech Intro Tip:

 In certain situations, your introduction can also be a time to give thanks – to the event organisers, hosts, audience, etc. But always keep this brief, and keep focused on your message.

Step 4. The Speech Body

The body of the speech is where you share your main stories, ideas or points. The risk for many speakers here is that they start meandering. 

One point leads to another, which segues into a story, then a tangents off to something else, and before we know it, everyone’s confused – definitely not how to write a speech.

Remember, clarity is key.

For this reason, wherever possible you should aim to split the body of your speech into three distinct sections. 

Why three? Because humans tend to process information more effectively when it comes in triads . Making it easier for you to remember, and easier for your audience to follow.

The most obvious example of this is the classic beginning, middle and end structure in storytelling .

You can also use past, present and future as a way to take people on a journey from “where  we used to be, what happens now, and what the vision is going forwards”.

Or even more simple, break things up into:

  • Three stories
  • Three challenges
  • Three case-studies
  • Three future goals

Of course, It’s not always possible to structure speeches into three sections. Sometimes there’s just more information that you need to cover – such as with a technical presentation or sales pitch.

In this case, I recommend thinking in terms of chapters, and aiming for a maximum of 5-7. Ensure that each “chapter” or section is clearly introduced and explained, before moving on to the next. The more content you cover, the greater the need for clarity.

Body examples:

A work presentation: “We’ve discovered that referrals happen when we get three things right: building the relationship, delighting the customer, and making the ask – let’s look at each of these stages.

A motivational speech: “I don’t believe our past has to dictate our future, but in order to tell my story, let me take you back to the very beginning.” For a wedding/event speech: “Of all the most embarrassing, undignified, and downright outrageous stories I could think of involving the Groom, I’ve whittled it down to three, which I think sum up why this marriage is destined for a long and happy future. It starts back in high-school…”

Speech Body Tip:

I mention “chapters” because when reading a book, there’s a moment to reflect after each chapter as we turn the page. In the same way, when speaking, make sure to give your audience a moment to process what you’ve just said at the end of each section, before moving on to your next point. 

Ready to speak with confidence ? Explore our training options...

Step 5. the conclusion.

Now it’s time to bring everything together, guiding your audience to the key conclusions you want them to take away.

Depending on your speech, this could be an idea, an insight, a moral, or a message. But whatever it is, now is your time to say it in a clear and compelling way.

Watch David Eagleman use a thought-provoking metaphor and rhetorical question to wrap up his TED talk on senses.

This final conclusion should always link back to your Golden Thread, making sense of everything that’s come before it.

Answer the following questions as prompts (you could even say one of these out-loud to lead into your conclusion)

  • What is the message I want to leave you with?
  • What have we learned from all this?
  • What is the key take-away?

Conclusion examples:

A work presentation: “So what have we learned? When we get each of these steps right, our customers are eager to give us referrals, and those referrals usually result in more happy clients.”

A motivational speech: “My journey has had many ups and downs, but if there’s one lesson I’ve learned – it’s that our circumstances don’t dictate our direction, that we can come back from failure, and find a way to win” For a wedding/event speech: “So what can I say about the Bride and Groom? They’re clearly made for each other and if history is anything to go by, their future will be full of many more stories and adventures.”

Speech Conclusion Tip:

Never use your conclusion to apologise for yourself, explain a whole new idea, or be overly thankful to everyone for watching. Keep it professional, and keep it focused on hammering-home the main idea of the speech.

6. The Call To Action, or Call To Thought

You’ve concluded your message and summarised your main points. At this point, most people think the speech is done.

Not so fast — there’s one final key step we need to take, the Call to Action .

If you’ve followed the steps so far on how to write a speech, your audience should have been listening, learning, and hopefully now feel inspired by your words. 

We’ve built up the potential for some kind of action , and now all that’s left is to direct that energy into a clear “next step” they can take.

Imagine your audience are thinking “what should I do with this information”?

Your CTA is the direct answer to that question.

It should be clear, simple and ideally – something they can act on quickly. For instance, you may request the audience to download an app you’ve discussed, connect with you online, sign up for a service, or come and speak with you afterwards.

Not every speech suits a CTA however, which is where the CTT comes in. 

This is a great variation I picked up from Justin Welsh which stands for “ Call to Thought ”. It’s a more nuanced action – typically asking people to reflect on an idea, consider a specific issue, or think differently about something. 

C TA/CTT examples:

A work presentation (CTA): “As an immediate next step to get us started, I’d like everyone to reach out to your current clients this week, and ask them to refer one new customer. We’ll be tracking the results, and rewarding the winning referral rain-maker!”

A motivational speech (CTC): “So ask yourself, where are you allowing circumstances to hold you back, and how could your life change if you took a new direction?”

For a wedding/event speech (CTA): “With that said, I’d like to raise a toast to the Bride and Groom. Now enjoy the day, and get yourself a drink at the bar!”

Speech CTA/CTT Tip:

Once you’ve stated your CTA/CTT, the only thing left to do is thank people and finish. Don’t be tempted to back-track and start repeating any of your points. It’s time to get off stage!

How to write a speech using this framework.

Without a framework to guide you, it’s easy to get lost in analysis-paralysis, or worse, create a speech which gets everyone ELSE lost. 

Now that you’re armed with this foolproof formula and know exactly how to write a speech, you can approach the situation with confidence . 

  • Define your speeches Golden Thread.
  • Hook your audience in the first 10-30 seconds.
  • Introduce yourself while building credibility.
  • Divide your body into three clear sections.
  • Conclude your main points and drive-home the message.
  • Leave them with an inspiring CTA/CTT.

Even as an inexperienced speaker, by following this formula you’ll come across with the clarity and credibility of a professional.

R emember, public speaking is simply a skillset that requires practice . The more you use this speech framework, watch other speakers in action, and gain practical experience, the more your communication skills will naturally develop. 

I hope learning how to write a speech using this frame-work makes the process of writing your next speech a breeze.

Need any further help with how to write a speech? Feel free to reach out.

Head Coach and co-founder at Project Charisma.

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Frantically Speaking

The Ultimate Guide to Structuring a Speech

Hrideep barot.

  • Public Speaking , Speech Writing

Empty pages waiting to be filled by a well structured speech

Some speakers are great writers. Some are great at delivery. And some are good at both.

The problem is that even if you are one of those speakers who can write good content as well as deliver well, if your speech is not structured properly, your message’s effectiveness will plummet. Structuring your speech is necessary as it makes it easy for your audience to understand its contents.

I’ve seen it time and again (including with myself) – speakers come on stage and start off really well…but somewhere the audience gets lost.

Have you ever been in this situation? This is probably because the speech is not structured properly. A well-structured speech helps navigate your audience through your message. And that is why it’s so important.

Without it, your speech will be scattery and not be held together, leaving the audience the same way – scattered.

Writer, Daniel Pink , put it well when he said:

Give the speech a beginning, a middle and an end. You don’t have to take the audience by the hand and walk them through each step. And you don’t have to proceed chronologically. But having that structure in your head will give your speech a shape. And it will provide your audience some guideposts about where you’ve been and where you’re going.

Daniel Pink

3 Things to Keep in Mind for a Good Speech Structure

Here are some things to keep in mind while writing your speech.

Don’t write like you write. Write like you talk

This one is tricky, especially if you’re a seasoned writer as opposed to a seasoned speaker. I learned this when I was giving my first few speeches. I was writing my speeches like a writer, not like a speaker.

That means to say that my speech was written in a way that would sound great if someone read it on paper. But when I would deliver it on stage, it wouldn’t be that good.

Nowadays, when I sit down to write a speech, I keep re-reading the words to see what they would sound like out loud. This makes me edit my speech to make it sound more natural and conversational and less “article-types”.

Don’t use fancy language.

This is not a grammar essay. When we talk with our friends, we tend to use shorter, more crisp sentences with simple language…which is exactly how we should write our speech.

You can also be informal when you speak. So no need to be worried if you’re not following every grammatical rule out there. Using informal language (to an extent) helps to make you sound more natural and makes your speech more conversational.

Writing a conversational speech might not be as easy as it sounds, and that’s why we have just the right video for you. From writing a conversational speech to delivering it, this video will definitely help you through the process.

Keep the speech simple

I stress this a lot. But it’s mainly because so many speakers (who are starting out) try and make their speech very fancy!

Keeping your speech simple, in language and thought, will make it that much easier to structure your speech and thus, that much easier for the audience to consume your speech.

It sounds like a piece of cake when we put it like that, and you might think that simply avoiding jargon or using more visuals will make your speech easy to follow.

Still, there are just three tips you need to know to keep a speech simple: Know your audience, focus on the outcome and finally, use a narrative structure. This video will tell you just how to use these three tips to your advantage.

When you write your speech draft, relook at it and see what words or sentences you can cut. It’s best to simplify…which brings us to our next point:

Focus on one idea

Keep your speech centered around one idea

Keep your speech centered around one thought or idea. If you try to cram too much into your speech, it can get cluttered. But more importantly, the audience won’t remember much of your speech anyway!

If you talk about 4-5 ideas, they’re quite likely to remember none. But if you focus on just one idea, you can structure your whole speech around that, and it will be much easier for the audience to consume your speech and remember your idea.

You can use a simple method to make sure that your speech does not have any redundancies and you do not overwhelm your audience. This framework is called the “what? so what? now what?” framework. We put out a video you can watch explaining how to use this framework for any public speaking event and has some extra tips on how to deliver a concise and clear speech.

Step by Step Guide to Structuring a Speech

Here is a step-by-step guide to writing a great speech structure, which is broken down into two parts, that is, preparation and writing. 


1. audience.

This includes researching your audience in order to better understand them and their interests. With proper audience research in place, one can adapt the speech as per the beliefs, interests, and level of understanding of the audience. 

Audience research mainly entails their educational background, profession, ethnicity, sex, age group, etc. But besides this, we should strive to also understand the knowledge the audience has on the topic that we are speaking about.

One way of researching your audience can be by sending a questionnaire to them before your speech. If that is not possible, try and speak to the host or the person who invited you to speak. They will probably have valuable insights into the crowd you are about to address.

Another way is by reaching the venue early, greeting the audience, and asking them questions to better understand them. However, with this method, you are required to be spontaneous and make changes which could be quite last-minute. 

This is an essential step to writing a speech that is relevant and will resonate with your audience.

This video has several additional tips on collecting information about the audience, what kind of questions need to be asked, and even some last resorts that might work when all else fails!

This includes knowing the purpose of your speech and what exactly you want to convey to the audience. I have attended some presentations where at the end of the speech, I was wondering what the speaker was trying to convey because the purpose of the speech was not clear at all. 

On a broader level, the purpose of your speech can be to inform, persuade, or entertain the audience. It is crucial to know which category your speech falls into. On a narrower level, we need to ask ourselves, “What do we want the listeners to take away from my speech?”. 

Once we have this down, all our efforts should be focused on driving that point.

Ethos mainly includes establishing credibility and convincing your audience that you are trustworthy. It is important to establish credibility from the start of the talk or it might be difficult for the audience to accept what you say. 

In order to identify ethos, one can ask oneself questions like “Why should I give this particular speech?”, “How can I get the audience to believe me with the contents of the speech?”. 

Once ethos is established, the audience is likely to listen to you more attentively and be persuaded.

4. Research

Delivering a good speech is not just about speaking or writing a good speech but also confidence in your ability to deliver it. This confidence stems from thorough research which gives your speech authenticity and credibility. 

Including statistics in your speech and the sources from where you have picked up the information can prove helpful. Moreover, if you are willing to go the extra mile, doing primary research in your speech can also help you gain insight and a comprehensive understanding of the topic. Moreover, it will make your research stand out and add to your ethos.

1. Narrative

There are different narrative styles when it comes to speeches. It helps us story-tell much more effectively and helps our audience retain a lot of the information. 

Choosing the right narrative style is important as it also helps us understand the type of structure we should follow. I’m noting down a few narrative styles for you to get inspiration from, but we have written extensively on the topic which you can check out here: 9 Storytelling Approaches For Your Next Speech or Presentation .

Nested Loops

In this, three stories or more stories are told but none of these stories are completed. Once the gist of all the three stories is given, we start closing the loop in reverse order, that is by finishing the last story first and so on. 

This is a better way of gaining the audience’s interest and attention as psychologists believe that people remember interrupted tasks better than the complete ones.

In Medias Res

In this, the narrative is started in the heat of the action rather than starting from the beginning. Basically, you launch your story right into the action–providing the snippets of how you got there. This works because you take your audience to the most titillating part which makes them inquisitive to know how you got there.

In this, you shift between hope and reality where you and your brand promise to bridge the gap between the ideal and contemporary situations. Basically providing a ray of hope to all the problems in one’s life. Through an emotional appeal the speaker fuels a desire for change among the audience. 

Rags to Riches

This is a narrative style where the protagonist has struggled and suffered greatly because of his/her background but later reaches success. This narrative instills hope in people and makes them relatable to the failures or difficulties faced in life. 

I’ve written an entire article on speech outlines which you can read so I’m not going to spend too much time here.

A basic outline of a speech broken down into a good ol’ Intro-Body-Conclusion:

The Opening  – While it’s important to have a  strong opening , your opening should seamlessly tie into your premise which is basically the core and the main reason for your speech.

The Body  – The body, while being the larger chunk of your speech, shouldn’t be just that – a large chunk. Break the body up! Split your ideas within the core message of your speech and transition smoothly through each idea so your audience can digest what you’re trying to communicate.

The Conclusion  – Here is where many new speakers fall short. While you must focus on having a  bang ending , tell the audience what you want them to do! Give them a clear indication or a ‘call-to-action’.

3. Transition

Speech transitions are words or phrases that help you to move from one topic to another without breaking the flow of the speech. A speech without transitions can seem disorganized and confusing to an audience. There are different types of speech transitions, as given below.

Counterpoints This particular transition is used while talking about contradicting ideas. Phrases such as on the other hand, contrary to what was said earlier, at the same time, on the flip side, etc. can be used to make this transition.

Important Ideas Having a transition for the important ideas in your speech can make them stand out and gain attention causing the audience to listen attentively. These transitions can include pausing before the important statement to make an impact or slowing down the pace of your speech while making the important statement. Posing a question before starting the main idea of the presentation can also put emphasis on it. 

Processes While speaking about the steps on how to achieve something or the process of something, numerical transitions can be simpler for the audience to follow. For instance, firstly, secondly, lastly, etc.

Example While giving an example of something, transitional phrases such as for instance, take the case of, to better understand this…, etc. can be used to maintain the flow of the presentation. 

Here’s a detailed article written on the different types of transitions along with an example for each, which is titled Effective Speech Transitions: How to Make Your Speech Flow . 

The content is the main matter of the speech which is divided into 3 parts, namely, beginning, body, and conclusion.

The Beginning

How you start your speech introduction is, of course, very important. It’s what will grip the audience. They say that people have judged you as soon as you go up on stage, so it’s crucial to catch their attention quickly.

There is no right way to start your speech, but when writing it, make sure you spend some time crafting a good beginning.

Most speakers start with a story, or ask the audience to close their eyes and imagine something, or start with some sort of outstanding fact.

The point is that the beginning should be something that sets the tone for your speech and gets your audience into the mood you want them to be in. There is no set rule as to how long your introduction should be – it can be a few lines or even just a sentence.

To learn more about how to begin your speech with powerful openers, read our extensively written article on 15 Powerful Speech Opening Lines (And How to Create Your Own)

Here’s the meat of your idea.

This is where you get into what your speech is really about. Again, if you’ve focused on too many ideas, the body gets cluttered up and it becomes hard for the audience to consume the speech. So, focus on that one idea that you want to communicate.

Talk about a personal story, throw in some researched facts, show the twists and turns. I like to use the statement-problem-solution approach. I start off with the idea, then I move on to what the problem with it is, and finally to the solution.

This might be hard to explain since every speech is different, so I rather show it to you instead.

Email me at [email protected] and I will send across a speech drafted by one of my speech mentors. It really drives home the idea of how you can structure your speech in an effective manner.

The best is for the last.

Remember, the audience does not tend to remember much of a speech.

So in the end, try to summarize your idea and give the audience some sort of actionable takeaway. That means that you should give the audience something that they can try or change about themselves right this very moment (or at least in the near future) so they can see the benefits of your idea.

Again, this is subjective for different speeches. But the basic idea is to repeat your idea towards the end so it sticks with your audience and gives them something to take away.

This video on 5 powerful speech-ending lines (And how to use them), displays some memorable speech endings and also gives tips on how to deliver a closing line of equal caliber on your own.

After forming the first draft of your speech, editing requires you to go through your speech and remove any kind of repetition or errors that you come across. 

Editing mercilessly is the key to delivering a good speech. Anything that strays from your core message should be edited. Making sure that there is clarity in your speech is also crucial in order to avoid confusion among the audience. 

While editing, the aim should be to make the speech concise by eliminating words that do not add meaning to the sentence, removing paragraphs if the meaning is conveyed fine without them, and using shorter and simpler words rather than using complex words.

Types of Speech Structures

These are some of the speech structure types that you might relate your speech to:

The ‘3 Anecdotes’ Structure

This structure implies that you start your speech off with an introduction by hinting at your main idea and then use the body to tell 3 different stories supporting that idea.

For example, if you were talking about the importance of confidence, give the audience 3 anecdotes of how you missed out on opportunities because you were not confident. Each story can address a different sub-idea within the main idea.

Again, this does not mean that you talk about multiple things, it just means that you are really fleshing out your main idea. These types of speeches work well when you want to tackle a singular idea from different angles.

Problem-Solution Approach

This is the approach I use a lot. What it basically means is that you start off your body by emphasizing the issue at hand. Really build it up to make the audience believe that this really is a problem!

Put in facts, use your own story and make your problem feel like the audience’s problem as well (does that make sense?).

When you introduce the solution, show how it has benefited you as well as how it can benefit the audience. This also makes it easier to add an actionable takeaway at the end.

These types of speeches are great when you have to persuade or convince your audience about a particular matter.

Bed Time Story

Bed time story

This follows the flow of a classic story. Start with an intro. This is where you build up the narrative by setting the scene (try not to say “once upon a time” since it’s become too clichéd).

Then, flesh out the idea. This is where you introduce the hero, the villain, and the plot twist.

Eventually, you end with a happy ending. These types of speeches are great for people who are speaking to an audience with a low attention span, like children. However, if done correctly, it can be a great speech for adults as well!

In addition to this, there are several other speech structures you can use depending on the suitability of your topic. Read the details of the various other types of speech structures (with examples) in this article called Structuring a Speech Right: 7 Simple Tips

Demonstration of the idea of your speech

Many times, when you have to make a presentation, you may have to demonstrate a product, feature, service or idea of some sort.

When doing this, don’t just jump into whatever it is you’re demonstrating. As Simon Sinek says, “talk about the WHY” of whatever it is you’re talking about. Then move on to the “HOW” of it and eventually the “WHAT” of it.

This will help you demonstrate more effectiveness rather than just talking about what you have to present. If you want to know more about “Starting with the WHY”, you can check out Simon Sinek’s best-selling book “Start with the Why”.

There are several ways to structure a speech, and there isn’t really a right or wrong way to do so. As long as you feel it’s simple and easy enough for your audience to understand, you’re good to go.

Structuring your speech is important in order to make the audience better understand the matter of the speech and also to maintain their attention and interest. The message of an unstructured speech cannot reach the audience, as the speaker is confused most of the time regarding what topic to present.

A structured speech also helps the speaker to stay calm and not stray from the topic of the presentation. If you’re still not convinced writing a speech is useful, read this article on 9 Reasons Why Writing A Speech Is Important which will change your mind.

Hrideep Barot

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  • Speech Topics For Kids
  • How To Write A Speech

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

  • Self-Introduction

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.

Self Introduction

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.

Addressing Friends/Classmates/Peers

  • 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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Informative Speeches — Types, Topics, and Examples

Daniel Bal

What is an informative speech?

An informative speech uses descriptions, demonstrations, and strong detail to explain a person, place, or subject. An informative speech makes a complex topic easier to understand and focuses on delivering information, rather than providing a persuasive argument.

Types of informative speeches

The most common types of informative speeches are definition, explanation, description, and demonstration.

Types of informative speeches

A definition speech explains a concept, theory, or philosophy about which the audience knows little. The purpose of the speech is to inform the audience so they understand the main aspects of the subject matter.

An explanatory speech presents information on the state of a given topic. The purpose is to provide a specific viewpoint on the chosen subject. Speakers typically incorporate a visual of data and/or statistics.

The speaker of a descriptive speech provides audiences with a detailed and vivid description of an activity, person, place, or object using elaborate imagery to make the subject matter memorable.

A demonstrative speech explains how to perform a particular task or carry out a process. These speeches often demonstrate the following:

How to do something

How to make something

How to fix something

How something works

Demonstrative speeches

How to write an informative speech

Regardless of the type, every informative speech should include an introduction, a hook, background information, a thesis, the main points, and a conclusion.


An attention grabber or hook draws in the audience and sets the tone for the speech. The technique the speaker uses should reflect the subject matter in some way (i.e., if the topic is serious in nature, do not open with a joke). Therefore, when choosing an attention grabber, consider the following:

What’s the topic of the speech?

What’s the occasion?

Who’s the audience?

What’s the purpose of the speech?

Attention grabbers/hooks

Common Attention Grabbers (Hooks)

Ask a question that allows the audience to respond in a non-verbal way (e.g., a poll question where they can simply raise their hands) or ask a rhetorical question that makes the audience think of the topic in a certain way yet requires no response.

Incorporate a well-known quote that introduces the topic. Using the words of a celebrated individual gives credibility and authority to the information in the speech.

Offer a startling statement or information about the topic, which is typically done using data or statistics. The statement should surprise the audience in some way.

Provide a brief anecdote that relates to the topic in some way.

Present a “what if” scenario that connects to the subject matter of the speech.

Identify the importance of the speech’s topic.

Starting a speech with a humorous statement often makes the audience more comfortable with the speaker.

Include any background information pertinent to the topic that the audience needs to know to understand the speech in its entirety.

The thesis statement shares the central purpose of the speech.


Include background information and a thesis statement

Preview the main ideas that will help accomplish the central purpose. Typically, informational speeches will have an average of three main ideas.

Body paragraphs

Apply the following to each main idea (body) :

Identify the main idea ( NOTE: The main points of a demonstration speech would be the individual steps.)

Provide evidence to support the main idea

Explain how the evidence supports the main idea/central purpose

Transition to the next main idea

Body of an informative speech

Review or restate the thesis and the main points presented throughout the speech.

Much like the attention grabber, the closing statement should interest the audience. Some of the more common techniques include a challenge, a rhetorical question, or restating relevant information:

Provide the audience with a challenge or call to action to apply the presented information to real life.

Detail the benefit of the information.

Close with an anecdote or brief story that illustrates the main points.

Leave the audience with a rhetorical question to ponder after the speech has concluded.

Detail the relevance of the presented information.

Informative speech conclusion

Before speech writing, brainstorm a list of informative speech topic ideas. The right topic depends on the type of speech, but good topics can range from video games to disabilities and electric cars to healthcare and mental health.

Informative speech topics

Some common informative essay topics for each type of informational speech include the following:

Informative speech examples

The following list identifies famous informational speeches:

“Duties of American Citizenship” by Theodore Roosevelt

“Duty, Honor, Country” by General Douglas MacArthur

“Strength and Dignity” by Theodore Roosevelt


“Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” by Patrick Henry

“The Decision to Go to the Moon” by John F. Kennedy

“We Shall Fight on the Beaches” by Winston Churchill


“I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Pearl Harbor Address” by Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“Luckiest Man” by Lou Gehrig


The Way to Cook with Julia Child

This Old House with Bob Vila

Bill Nye the Science Guy with Bill Nye

lesson on how to write a speech

How to Write an Effective Persuasive Speech Outline: 5 Key Elements

  • The Speaker Lab
  • April 14, 2024

Table of Contents

If you’re a speaker, you are probably well familiar with the path from initial speech drafts to the day you actually present. By its nature, speech delivery is a journey filled with obstacles, yet it’s simultaneously an adventure in persuasion. With a well-crafted persuasive speech outline , you can do more than just present facts and figures to your audience. You can weave them into a narrative that captivates, convinces, and converts.

A meticulously planned persuasive speech outline isn’t just helpful; it’s essential. Crafting this blueprint carefully lets you deliver your message more effectively, making sure each point lands with the impact you’re aiming for. To help you achieve this impact, we have some tips and tricks for you to try.

Writing an Effective Persuasive Speech Outline

When we talk about persuasive speeches , we’re diving into the art of convincing others to see things from a certain point of view. Your speech is your one shot to grab attention, build your case, and inspire action. Your secret weapon for achieving this is your speech outline. In your speech outline, you want to touch on several key elements.

  • Pick your fight: Start by zeroing in on what you really want to change or influence with this speech.
  • Support your claim with evidence: Identify those key points that back up your stance to appeal to your audience’s rational side .
  • The emotional hook: Weave in stories or facts that hit home emotionally .
  • Avoid the kitchen sink approach: Don’t throw everything at them hoping something sticks. Be selective and strategic with the info you share.
  • Nail that closer: Your conclusion isn’t just goodbye; it’s where you charge your audience with a call to action.

These elements form the backbone of your persuasive speech. By including these in your talk’s outline, you can’t go wrong.

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Establishing Your Main Objective and Structuring Your Points

Now that you have a general idea of what goes into a persuasive speech outline, let’s break a couple of these pieces down and look at them a little more closely.

Identifying the Purpose of Your Persuasive Speech

When writing your speech, you first need to nail down why you’re doing this in the first place. In other words, identify your main objective. After all, choosing to speak up isn’t merely about the desire to express oneself; it’s deeply rooted in understanding the effect you hope your discourse will unleash. Do you hope to sway opinions towards the belief that animal experimentation is a relic of the past? Or perhaps persuade them that social media does more good than harm? Whatever your cause, identifying your main objective will help keep you on track and avoid rambling.

Organizing Key Points for Maximum Impact

Once you’ve determined what you want to persuade your audience of, you can start building your argument. Specifically, you can determine your key points. Key points support your position on a topic, proving to your audience that you have actual reasons for taking your position.

To pack the most punch, arrange these key points in a logical order. Consider how you might connect your key points. Are there some that can be grouped together? The flow of your argument matters just as much as the argument itself, and a disjointed argument won’t do anyone any favors. As you organize your key points, consider these tips:

  • Lead with strength, but don’t throw all your cards out at once.
  • Build upon each point; important transitions between them can make or break audience engagement.
  • Finish strong by tying back everything to the emotional chord you struck at the beginning.

Nailing these steps will ensure that when you speak, your message doesn’t just echo—it resonates.

Selecting Compelling Topics for Your Persuasive Speeches

Let’s face it, picking the right topic for your persuasive speech outline is half the battle. But what makes a topic not just good, but great? First off, it needs to spark interest, both yours and your audience’s. If you’re not fired up about it, chances are they won’t be either. Second, make sure the topic is something relevant. It should resonate with your listeners’ experiences or touch on their concerns and aspirations. Lastly, your topic has to be something you can research and back up with solid facts and expert opinions.

For ideas to get you started, check out a variety of speech topics here .

Enhancing Persuasion Through Rhetorical Appeals

The art of persuasion is something that’s been studied since ancient Greece. Back then, Greek philosopher Aristotle came up with the three rhetorical appeals . Each one described a different way of convincing your audience of your position. Together, these appeals help you form a rock-strong argument, making them worth learning.

Building Credibility with Ethos

To get people on your side, you first need to win their trust. That’s where ethos comes into play. Demonstrating to your listeners that you’re both trustworthy and deserving of their attention hinges on transparency about your qualifications, genuine self, and the wisdom gained from occasional setbacks. Letting folks know why they should listen can make all the difference.

Connecting with the Audience Through Pathos

At some point, we’ve all been moved by a story or an ad because it hit right in the feels. That sort of emotional appeal is called pathos , and it’s powerful stuff. If you want people really invested in what you’re saying, then be sure to use this appeal in your presentation. To harness the power of pathos, try telling a story , especially one your audience can relate to. The key is authenticity—sharing true experiences resonates more than anything fabricated ever could.

Strengthening Arguments with Logos

Last but not least, we have logos, our logical appeal. Oftentimes, this logical appeal entails facts and data points, which are used to back up what you’re selling, turning skeptics into believers. But just because you’re listing facts and figures doesn’t mean this part has to be boring. To keep your audience engaged, craft persuasive narratives and then ground them in robust proof. Giving your story to go with your numbers doesn’t just help keep them engaged, it also helps the information stick.

The Importance of Supporting Evidence and Counterarguments

In your persuasive speech outline, you need to note compelling evidence for each key point. In addition, you’ll want to address opposing views.

Gathering and Presenting Convincing Evidence

No matter how trustworthy you seem, or how compelling your stories are, most people need tangible proof. That’s where concrete evidence steps into the spotlight. To fortify your argument and boost its believability, sprinkle in a mix of hard data, customer stories, numerical evidence, and endorsements from authorities. To illustrate this data for your audience, you may find it helpful to create a slideshow . Supporting every assertion with research is an essential part of any persuasive speech. Without it, arguments inevitably sound flimsy and unconvincing.

Addressing Opposing Views Effectively

Although it may seem counterintuitive, address counter-arguments head-on in your persuasive speech outline. It might feel like walking into enemy territory but it actually strengthens your own argument. By acknowledging opposing views, you’re showing that not only do you know what they are, but also that they don’t scare you.

When you address these counter-arguments, demonstrate your understanding. Again, this is where your good research skills are going to come in handy. Present the facts, and ditch biased explanations. In other words, don’t mock or belittle the other side’s viewpoint or you’ll undermine your own trustworthiness. Instead, explain opposing viewpoints with neutrality.

Adopting this strategy not only neutralizes possible objections but also enhances your stance. Plus, this makes for an engaging dialogue between both sides of any debate, which keeps audience members hooked from start to finish.

In essence, tackling counter-arguments is less about winning over naysayers and more about enriching discussions around hot-button issues. At its core, persuasion isn’t just convincing folks; it’s sparking conversations worth having.

Crafting a Captivating Introduction and Conclusion

Now that you have the body of your persuasive speech outline, it’s time to talk beginning and end. To really hit your message home, you want to grab your audience’s attention at the beginning and call them to action at the end.

Creating an Engaging Hook to Capture Attention

The opening of your speech is where you need a good first impression. To hook your audience, consider starting with an intriguing question, a surprising fact, or even a short story related to your topic. Whatever route you choose, keep it interesting and concise, so that you can transition into the rest of your persuasive speech outline.

Concluding with a Strong Call to Action

Crafting strong conclusions is about leaving your readers feeling pumped and ready to jump into action. After all, if you’ve argued convincingly enough, your audience should be ready to act. To channel this energy, urge listeners towards specific actions. Here are some strategies:

  • Suggest clear next steps: Don’t leave your audience hanging wondering what’s next. Give them concrete steps they can take immediately after reading.
  • Create urgency: Why wait? Let folks know why now is the perfect time to act.
  • Show benefits: Paint vivid pictures of how taking action will positively impact their lives or solve their problems.

With that captivating hook and a decisive call-to-action, you are one step closer to presenting an unforgettable speech.

Utilizing Monroe’s Motivated Sequence for Persuasive Structure

As you finish off your persuasive speech outline, you may be wondering how best to structure your speech. If that’s you, then Purdue University professor Alan H. Monroe has some answers. In his book “Monroe’s Principles of Speech,” the professor outlines Monroe’s Motivated Sequence, the best structure for persuasive speeches. Each step is broken down below.

Attention: Grabbing the Audience’s Focus

You’ve got something important to say. But first, you need them to listen. Start with a bang. Throwing out a shocking truth, posing a thought-provoking query, or sharing an enthralling tale could work magic in grabbing their attention. It’s all about making heads turn and ears perk up.

Need: Highlighting the Issue at Hand

Now that they’re listening, show them there’s a gaping hole in their lives that only your message can fill. Paint a vivid picture of the problem your speech addresses.

Satisfaction: Proposing a Solution

This is where you come in as the hero with a plan. Introduce your solution clearly and convincingly. How does it patch things up? Why does it outshine merely applying quick fixes to deep-rooted issues? Give your audience hope.

Visualization: Helping the Audience Visualize Benefits

Show them life on the other side of adopting your idea or product—brighter, easier, better. Use vivid imagery and relatable scenarios so they can see themselves reaping those benefits firsthand.

Action: Encouraging Audience Action

Last step: nudge them from “maybe” to “yes.” Make this part irresistible by being clear about what action they should take next—and why now’s the time to act. Whether signing up, voting, or changing behavior, make sure they know how easy taking that first step can be.

Learn more about Monroe’s Motivated Sequence here .

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Overcoming Public Speaking Fears for Effective Delivery

Let’s face it, the thought of public speaking can turn even the most confident folks into a bundle of nerves. But hey, you’ve got this. Dive into these expert strategies and you’ll find yourself delivering speeches like a seasoned orator in no time.

Techniques to Build Confidence in Public Speaking

If you’re feeling nervous on the big day, these three techniques are perfect for you. Take a look!

  • Breathe: Deep breathing is your secret weapon against those pesky nerves. It tells your brain that everything is going to be okay.
  • Pose like a superhero: Stand tall and strike a power pose before you go on stage. This isn’t just fun; science backs it up as a confidence booster .
  • Kick perfectionism to the curb: Aim for connection with your audience, not perfection. Mistakes make you human and more relatable.

The goal here is to calm yourself enough to be able to deliver your persuasive speech outline with confidence. Even if you still feel a little nervous, you can still present an awesome speech. You just don’t want those nerves running the show.

Practicing Your Speech for Perfect Execution

If you know that you tend to get nervous when public speaking, then you don’t want to be running through you speech for the first time on the big day. Instead, practice beforehand using these techniques.

  • The mirror is your friend: Practice in front of a mirror to catch any odd gestures or facial expressions.
  • Vary your voice: As you deliver your speech, let your voice rise and fall to match what you’re sharing. Avoid speaking in a monotone.
  • Say no to memorization: Rather than memorizing every word, learn key points by heart. You want to sound natural out there.

Remembering these steps won’t just help you tackle public speaking fear, but will also polish those all-important public speaking skills .

Once you’ve honed the skills you need to write a persuasive speech outline, the only thing left to do is to get out there and practice them. So take the rhetorical appeals—ethos, logos, and pathos—and practice weaving each element into your speech. Or take Monroe’s Motivated Sequence and work on structuring your outline accordingly.

Prepare well and when you hit the stage, you have not just a well-prepared persuasive speech outline, but also the power to alter perspectives, challenge the status quo, or even change lives.

  • Last Updated: April 11, 2024

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Public Speaking Tips & Speech Topics

Narrative Speech [With Topics and Examples]

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Jim Peterson has over 20 years experience on speech writing. He wrote over 300 free speech topic ideas and how-to guides for any kind of public speaking and speech writing assignments at My Speech Class.

Narrative Speech Topics

narrative speech

  • Your Events, Life Lessons, Personal Experiences, Rituals and Your Identity.

The main point is that you are talking about yourself.

Your  thoughts, feelings, ideas, views, opinions and events are the leading ladies in this special public speaking speech writing process.

In this article:

Your Life Lessons

Experiences, narrative speech writing tips, 10 fast showcases.

Here are example narrative speech topics you can share in a speech class or other public speaking assignment in high school, college education. Narrow the speech topics appropriately to the public speaking occasion rules with the specialized checklist I have composed with seven narrative speech writing  tips .

The checks and tips also serve as hooks for to narrate a paragraph in an college essay.

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The backbone of my advice is: try to keep the story devoted and dedicated. If you find it hard to develop speech topics for narration purposes and you are a little bit overwhelmed, then try ten ways I’ve developed to  find narrative speech topics .

Most students mark out an event in their speeches and essays. An event that stipulate a great step in life or an important moment that has impact on your prosperity or lifestyle from that particular period:

E.g. An accident or remarkable positive event that changed my life. The birth of my brother, sister or other relative and the impact on our household and family-life. My first day at high school or college. The decision I regret most at my school or in my professional job career. My day of graduation (If you have not yet graduated from an educational institution, describe your hardworking and your planning efforts to achieve the qualification). My first serious date with my boyfriend / girlfriend. A significant family event in the summer. A memorable vacation. A historical event that impressed me. The day I will move overseas. A milestone that seemed bad but turned out to be good. My heroic sports moment at the campus field.

Take personal growth and development as starting point. Widen the horizon of the audience to a greater extent with narrative speech topics on wisdom. Construct a life lesson yourself, based on a practical wisdom acquired by own experience, or one you have been be introduced to by someone else:

E.g. The influence of a special person on my behavior. How I have dealed with a difficult situation. What lessons I have learned through studying the genealogy of my family. A prejudice that involved me. An Eureka moment: you suddenly understood how something works in life you had been struggling with earlier. How you helped someonelse and what you learned from her or him, and from the situation.

For this kind of public speaking training begin with mentioning intuitively the emotions you feel (in senses and mind) and the greater perception of the circumstances that lead to apprehension of a precarious situation:

E.g. My most frustrating moment. How you handled in an emergency situation. How I break up with my love. A narrow escape. A moment when you did something that took a lot of courage. A time when you choose to go your own way and did not follow the crowd. How I stood up for my beliefs. The day you rebelled with a decision concerning you. How you cope with your nerves recently – think about fear of public speaking and how you mastered and controlled it in the end. What happened when you had a disagreement with your teacher or instructor in class, this triggering narrative speech idea is great for speech class, because everyone will recognize the situation.

This theoretic method is close related to the previous tips. However, there is one small but significant difference.

Let’s define rituals as a system of prescribed procedures or actions of a group to which you belong. In that case you have the perfect starters to speak out  feelings .

Complement the ritual with your own feelings and random thoughts that bubble up when you are practicing the ritual:

E.g. How you usually prepare for a test at high school or for a personality interview or questionnaire. Your ritual before a sports game. Your ritual before going out with friends – make up codes, choosing your dress or outfit, total party looks. The routines you always follow under certain circumstances on your way to home. Church or other religious rituals you think are important to celebrate. Special meditative techniques you have learned from old masters in East Asia.

These examples are meant to accent the cultural and personal charateristics based on values, beliefs and principles.

What do you think is making life worth living? What shaped your personality? What are the psychological factors and environmental influences?

And state why and how you ground your decisions:

E.g. My act of heroism. The decisions my parents made for me when I was young – school choice, admission and finance. How curiosity brings me where I am now. I daydream of … A place that stands for my romantic moments – a table for two in a restaurant with a great view. My pet resembles my personal habits. A vivid childhood memory in which you can see how I would develop myself in the next ten to fifteen years. Samples of self-reliance in difficult conditions, empathy towards others in society, and your learning attitude and the learning curve.

Make a point by building to a climax at the end of your speech topic, whatever the narrative speech topics may be you want to apply in some sort of public speaking training environment. Build your way to the most intense point in the development or resolution of the subject you have chosen – culminate all facts as narrator to that end point in your verbal account.

Narrative speech tips for organizing and delivering a written description of past events, a story, lesson, moral, personal characteristic or experience you want to share.

  • Select carefully the things you want to convey with your audience. Perhaps your public speaking assignment have a time limit. Check that out, and stick to it.This will force you to pick out one single significant story about yourself.And that is easier than you think when you take a closer look at my easy ways to find narrative topics.
  • What do you want your audience to remember after the lapse?
  • What is the special purpose, the breaking point, the ultimate goal, the smart lesson or the mysterious plot?
  • Develop all the action and rising drama you need to visualize the plot of the story: the main events, leading character roles, the most relevant details, and write it in a sequence of steps. Translate those steps into dialogues.
  • Organize all the text to speech in a strictly time ordered format. Make a story sequence. Relate a progression of events in a chronologically way.The audience will recognize this simple what I call a What Happened Speech Writing Outline, and can fully understand your goal. Another benefit: you will remember your key ideas better.It can help if you make a simple storyboard – arrange a series of pictures of the action scenes.
  • Build in transition sentences, words or phrases, like the words then, after that, next, at this moment, etc. It helps to make a natural flow in your text.
  • Rehearse your narrative speech in front of a friend and ask opinions. Practice and practice again. And return to my narrative speech topics gallore if you get lost in your efforts.Avoid to memorize your text to speech. When you are able to tell it in a reasonably extemp manner – everyone can follow you easily – it is okay.
  • Finally, try to make eye contact with your listeners when you deliver this educational speech and apply my public speaking tips one by one of course.
  • A good place to start finding a suitable narrative speech topic is brainstorming about a memorable moments in your life, a situation you had to cope with in your environment, a difficult setting or funny scene you had to talk your way out.

Try to catch it in one phrase: At X-mas I … and followed by a catchy anf active verb.

E.g. At X-mas I think … I want … I’m going … I was … I stated … I saw … .

After the task verb you can fill in every personal experience you want to share with your public speaking audience in a narration. These 40 speech topics for a storytelling structure can trigger your imagination further.

My most important advice is: stay close to yourself, open all your senses: sight, hearing, taste, and even smell and touch. Good for descibing the memorable moment, the intensity of it.

  • A second way to dig up a narrative speech topic is thinking about a leading prophetic or predictive incident in the previous 10 years or in your chidhood. Something that illustrates very well why and how you became who you are right now.

E.g. Your character, moral beliefs, unorthodox manner of behaving or acting or you fight for freedom by not conforming to rules, special skills and qualities.

  • The third way I like to communicate here with you is storytelling. Let yourself be triggered for a narrative speech story by incidents or a series of events behind a personal photograph or a video for example.

E.g. Creative writing on a photo of your grand-grandparents, of a pet, a horse, an exciting graduation party, a great architectural design.

  • You also can find anecdotal or fictional storylines by highlighting a few of your typical behavior or human characteristics.

E.g. Are you a person that absorbs and acquires information and knowledge, likes to entertain other people or nothing at all? Or are you intellectually very capable in solving comprehensive mathematical calculations? Or are you just enjoying life as it is, and somewhat a live fast die young type?

Or a born organizer – than write speech topics about the last high school or college meeting you controlled and administered.

  • The fifth method I would like to discuss is the like or not and why technique. Mark something you absolutely dislike or hate and announce in firm spoken language (still be polite) why. A narrative speech topic based on this procedure are giving insight in the way you look at things and what your references are in life.

It’s a bit like you make a comparison, but the difference is that you strongly defend your personal taste as narrator. It has a solid persuasive taste:

E.g. Speeches about drilling for oil in environmental not secure regions, for or against a Hollywood or Bollywood movie celebrity, our bankingsystem that runs out of trust of you the simple bank account consumer. Or your favorite television sitcom series.

  • An exciting, interesting, inspiring or funny experience or event that changed your life is the next public speaking tip I like to reveal now.

E.g.? Staying weekends at your uncle’s farm shaped you as the hardworking person you are nowadays. A narrative speech topic in this category could also be about music lessons, practical jokes. Or troublesome events like divorce, or great adventures like trips at the ocean. Or even finding faith or a wedding happiness.

And what do you think of extreme sports tournaments?

  • An important lesson you learned from someone you admire. This is a very classical narrative speech topic.

It tends to be a little bit philosophical, but if you tell you story people will recognize what you mean and compare that with their own stories and wisdom lessons.

Tell the story of a survivor of a traffic accident, and how you admire her or his recovery. Winners of awards, great songwriters, novelists, sportsheroes.

This list is almost exhaustive. Share the wisdom of their fails and achievements.

  • The moment in your life you see the light, or that was very insightful. It seems a bit like my number six advice, but focus more on the greatness and happiness of that very moment. A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life’s experience, American Judge Oliver Wendell Holmes have said.

Magnificent and breath-taking nature phenomenons, precious moments after a day of struggle, final decisions that replenish, lift your spirit.

  • A fable or myth that has a moral lesson you try to live to.

Aesop Fables are a great source for a narrative speech topic idea structure. Think about The Dog and His Reflection, The Fox and The Grapes, and Belling the Cat. Talking about fairy tales as an inspiring source: what do you think of a personal story about the moral of The Emperor’s New Clothes?

  • The relation between a brief series of important milestones in your life that mold your character is also possible – if catchy narrated storytelling of course :-).

First day of school, first kiss, Prom Night, your high school graduation, wedding, first job interview.

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Simple Steps to Create a Persuasive Speech

When creating a lesson plan to teach persuasive speech, it is important to model what a persuasive speech sounds like by providing students with specific examples.

There are countless easily accessible speeches online to help students visualize their task. One example is the TeacherTube video of Angelina Jolie discussing global action for children. Or the audio clip of Martin Luther King, Jr. delivering his historic “I Have a Dream” speech. Once students are allowed to see and hear a persuasive speech in action, they’ll be more prepared for the written portion of the assignment.

Topic ownership

Everyone wants something and is willing to try and convince someone else to provide it. That is how most environments in the modern adult world work. Students of all ages and abilities need to learn how to craft a persuasive speech to be successful later in life.

Students use persuasion in life, often without realizing it. Young children may want their parents to take them out for ice cream. Middle school children may want to have a sleepover with friends. High school students may want to persuade their parents to buy them a car when they get their driver’s license.

If students are allowed to choose their own topic, they will feel more ownership in the assignment.

Preparing and writing the first draft

Students need to create a logical argument giving details about why they should get what they want. Some persuasive strategy definitions include:

  • Claim: The main point of your argument.
  • Big Names: The experts referred to during a speech.
  • Logos: The logic or rationale of your argument.
  • Pathos: The emotional aspect to your argument.
  • Ethos: The trustworthiness of your claims.
  • Kairos: The urgency of your argument.
  • Research: The graphs, tables and illustrations that support your argument.

After outlining all areas of the argument, students can begin to write the first rough draft of their speech. To begin, the introduction should include the main topic and the argument.

Next, the body of the paper should include correct sequencing of examples as well as a counter argument. It’s very important to include a counter argument in your speech.

Finally, the conclusion of your speech should make a strong statement and give a call-to-action to the audience.

When writing a persuasive speech, students should make sure their facts are accurate and their voice is expressed. If students are having trouble creating the essay, using a graphic organizer is sometimes helpful. There are many interactive organizers that can assist students, including the  persuasion map.

Peer editing

Once students have written a rough draft of the persuasive speech, it is important to  peer edit . Teachers should put students in groups of three to four and allow them to read each other’s essays. They can give feedback about whether the speech is convincing and ways it can be improved.

Often, when students work together, they more effectively point out mistakes in their peer’s argument while also providing words of encouragement about their strengths. You want to make sure when creating the groups that there are varying ability levels grouped together.

Next, students can revise their speech. Classmates may have pointed out areas that needed improvement or clarification. Students often need a different perspective to make sure the argument they are making is clear and reasonable.

Speaking and presenting

Finally, students should be allowed to present their persuasive speeches. Although getting up in front of the class is the best way to present orally, shy students could also be allowed to create a PowerPoint presentation that integrates the audio feature so they can practice reading their speech for the presentation.

Teachers and students can complete grading rubrics for the student presentations. Students need to learn how to evaluate other students and provide appropriate feedback. Using a  grading rubric  is the best way to make sure the assessment if fair and accurate.

Creating persuasive speeches is a valuable skill for students to learn at any age. Whether they are trying to relay an idea to their parents, their peers, or their government, it’s important to know how to create logical arguments and provide accurate, reliable support. The more students practice writing and presenting persuasive speeches, the more confident they will be when a real-life situation presents itself.

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Analyzing Famous Speeches as Arguments

Analyzing Famous Speeches as Arguments

  • Resources & Preparation
  • Instructional Plan
  • Related Resources

Traditionally, teachers have encouraged students to engage with and interpret literature—novels, poems, short stories, and plays. Too often, however, the spoken word is left unanalyzed, even though the spoken word has the potential to alter our space just as much than the written. After gaining skill through analyzing a historic and contemporary speech as a class, students will select a famous speech from a list compiled from several resources and write an essay that identifies and explains the rhetorical strategies that the author deliberately chose while crafting the text to make an effective argument. Their analysis will consider questions such as What makes the speech an argument?, How did the author's rhetoric evoke a response from the audience?, and Why are the words still venerated today?

Featured Resources

From theory to practice.

Nearly everything we read and hear is an argument. Speeches are special kinds of arguments and should be analyzed as such. Listeners should keep in mind the context of the situation involving the delivery and the audience-but a keen observer should also pay close attention to the elements of argument within the text. This assignment requires students to look for those elements.

"Since rhetoric is the art of effective communication, its principles can be applied to many facets of everyday life" (Lamb 109). It's through this lesson that students are allowed to see how politicians and leaders manipulate and influence their audiences using specific rhetorical devices in a manner that's so effective that the speeches are revered even today. It's important that we keep showing our students how powerful language can be when it's carefully crafted and arranged.

Further Reading

Common Core Standards

This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.

State Standards

This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.

NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts

  • 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
  • 4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
  • 5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
  • 7. Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and nonprint texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.

Materials and Technology

  • ReadWriteThink Notetaker
  • Teacher Background and Information Sheet
  • Student Assignment Sheet
  • List of Speeches for Students
  • Queen Elizabeth I’s Speech with Related Questions
  • Historical Speech Research Questions
  • Peer Response Handout
  • Essay Rubric

This website contains audio of the Top 100 speeches of all time.

Included on this site is audio of famous speeches of the 20th century, as well as information about the speeches and background information on the writers.

The "Great Speeches Collection" from The History Place are available here in print and in audio.

This website includes information on finding and documenting sources in the MLA format.


  • Review the background and information sheet for teachers to familiarize yourself with the assignment and expectations.  Consider your students' background with necessary rhetorical terms such as claims, warrants, the appeals (logos, pathos, ethos), and fallacies; and rhetorical devices such as tone, diction, figurative language, repetition, hyperbole, and understatement. The lesson provides some guidance for direct instruction on these terms, but there are multiple opportunities for building or activating student knowledge through modeling on the two speeches done as a class.
  • Check the links to the online resources (in Websites section) make sure that they are still working prior to giving out this assignment.
  • Decide whether you want to allow more than one student to analyze and write about the same speech in each class.
  • Look over the  List of Speeches for Students to decide if there are any that you would like to add.
  • Look over the suggested Essay Rubric and determine the weights you would like to assign to each category.  For example, you might tell students that Support and Research may be worth three times the value of Style. Customize the Essay Rubric to meet the learning goals for your students.
  • Reserve the library for Session Three so the students can do research on their speeches.
  • President Obama’s Inauguration Speech.
  • Former President Bush’s Defends War in Iraq Speech.
  • Former President Bush’s 9/11 Speech.
  • Former President Clinton’s “I Have Sinned” Speech.

Student Objectives

Students will

  • analyze a speech for rhetorical devices and their purpose.
  • identify an author’s purposeful manipulation of language.
  • identify elements of argument within a speech.
  • write an analysis of a speech with in-text documentation.

Session One

  • Begin the lesson by asking students what needs to be present in order for a speech to occur. Though the question may seem puzzling—too hard, or too simple—at first, students will eventually identify, as Aristotle did, the need for a speaker, a message, and an audience.
  • The class should discuss audience and the importance of identifying the audience for speeches, since they occur in particular moments in time and are delivered to specific audiences. This is a good time to discuss the Rhetorical Triangle (Aristotelian Triad) or discuss a chapter on audience from an argumentative textbook. You may wish to share information from the ReadWriteThink.org lesson Persuasive Techniques in Advertising and  The Rhetorical Triangle from The University of Oklahoma.
  • Next distribute Queen Elizabeth’s speech to the troops at Tilbury and use the speech and its historical context as a model for the processes students will use on the speech they select. Provide a bit of background information on the moment in history.
  • Then, as a class, go over  Queen Elizabeth’s speech and discuss the rhetorical devices in the speech and the purpose for each one. Adjust the level of guidance you provide, depending on your students' experiences with this type of analysis. The questions provide a place to start, but there are many other stylistic devices to discuss in this selection.

Discuss the audience and the author’s manipulation of the audience. Consider posing questions such as

  • This is a successful speech.  Why?
  • Elizabeth uses all of the appeals – logos, pathos, and ethos – to convince all of her listeners to fight for her from the loyal follower to the greedy mercenary.  How?
  • The tone shifts throughout the selection.  Where?  But more importantly, why?
Martin Luther King, Jr. uses an appeal to pathos in his “I Have a Dream” speech through his historical allusion to Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: “Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.” This is particularly effective for his audience of people sympathetic to the cause of African American men and women who would have been especially moved by this particular reference since it had such a significant impact on the lives of African Americans.

Session Two

  • Continue the work from the previous session by distributing the  Analyzing Famous Speeches as Arguments handout and discussing the assignment and what it requires. See the  background and information sheet for teachers for more details.
  • Tell students they will be getting additional practice with analyzing a speech as an argument by showing a short  10-minute clip of a presidential speech . Ask students to think about how the particular moment in history and the national audience contribute to the rhetorical choices made by the speaker.
  • Lead a discussion of the speech as an argument with regard to purpose and intent. Work with students to identify warrants, claims, and appeals.
  • Ask students to consider how the author manipulates the audience using tone, diction, and stylistic devices. What rhetorical devices aided the author’s manipulation of his audience? Discuss a particular rhetorical device that the President used and the purpose it served.
  • Share the Essay Rubric and explain to students the expectations for success on this assignment.
  • Allow students to select a speech from the List of Speeches for Students . If they wish to preview any of the speeches, they can type the speaker's name and the title of the speech into a search engine and should have little difficulty finding it.

Session Three

  • Take the students to the library and allow them to research their speeches. They should locate their speech and print a copy for them to begin annotating for argumentative structure and rhetorical devices.
  • What was the speaker up against?  What is the occasion for the speech?
  • What did the author have to keep in mind when composing the text?  
  • What were his or her goals?  
  • What was his or her ultimate purpose?  
  • What was his or her intent?
  • Remind students that the writer of the speech is sometimes not the person who delivered the speech, for example, and this will surprise some students. Many people assume that the speaker (president, senator, etc.) is always the writer, and that’s not always the case, so ask your students to check to see who wrote the speech. (They might be surprised at the answer. There’s always a story behind the composition of the speech.)
  • Help students find the author of the speech because this will challenge some students. Oftentimes, students assume the speaker is the author, and that’s sometimes not the case. Once the speechwriter is identified, it is easier to find information on the speech. Help students find the history behind the speech without getting too bogged down in the details. They need to understand the climate, but they do not need to be complete experts on the historical details in order to understand the elements of the speech.
  • If they wish, students can use the ReadThinkWrite Interactive Notetaker to help them track their notes for their essays. Remind them that their work cannot be saved on this tool and should be printed by the end of the session so they can use it in future work.
  • For Session Four, students must bring a thesis, an outline, and all of their research materials to class for a workday. Remind them to refer to the Analyzing Famous Speeches as Arguments , the Essay Rubric , and any notes they may have taken during the first two sessions as they begin their work.
  • The thesis statement should answer the following question: What makes this speech an effective argument and worthy of making this list?

Session Four

  • Set up students in heterogeneous groups of four. Ask students to share their outlines and thesis statements.
  • Go around to check and to monitor as students share their ideas and progress. The students will discuss their speeches and their research thus far.
  • Have students discuss the elements of an argument that they plan on addressing.
  • Finally, have students work on writing their papers by writing their introductions with an enticing “grab” or “hook.” If time permits, have students share their work. 
  • For Session Five, students should bring in their papers. This session would happen in about a week.

Session Five

  • In this session, students will respond each other's drafts using the Peer Response Handout .
  • Determine and discuss the final due date with your students. Direct students to Diana Hacker’s MLA site for assistance with their citations if necessary. 
  • Remind students that their work will be evaluate using the essay rubric .  They should use the criteria along with the comments from their peer to revise and polish their work.
  • During the process of analyzing  Queen Elizabeth I’s Speech , consider showing the related scene from the film Elizabeth: The Golden Age . Though the text of the speech is drastically cut and altered, seeing one filmmaker's vision for the scene may help reinforce the notion of historical context and the importance of audience.
  • Allow students to read and/or perform parts of the speeches out loud. Then, they can share some of their thinking about the argumentative structure and rhetorical devices used to make the speech effective. This activity could happen as part of the prewriting process or after essays have been completed.
  • Require students to write a graduation speech or a speech on another topic. They can peruse print or online news sources to select a current event that interests them.  Have them choose an audience to whom they would deliver an argumentative speech.

Student Assessment / Reflections

  • After peer response has taken place, use the essay rubric to provide feedback on student work. You may change the values of the different categories/requirements to better suit the learning goals for your classroom.
  • Calendar Activities
  • Lesson Plans
  • Student Interactives
  • Strategy Guides

Students explore the ways that powerful and passionate words communicate the concepts of freedom, justice, discrimination, and the American Dream in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.

While drafting a literary analysis essay (or another type of argument) of their own, students work in pairs to investigate advice for writing conclusions and to analyze conclusions of sample essays. They then draft two conclusions for their essay, select one, and reflect on what they have learned through the process.

Useful for a wide variety of reading and writing activities, this outlining tool allows students to organize up to five levels of information.

This strategy guide clarifies the difference between persuasion and argumentation, stressing the connection between close reading of text to gather evidence and formation of a strong argumentative claim about text.

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Persuasive speech writing

Persuasive speech writing

Subject: English

Age range: 11-14

Resource type: Lesson (complete)


Last updated

4 February 2015

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pptx, 9.04 MB

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