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How to Write a Speech

We all imagine standing before an audience and finally being heard. If you want your words to have relevance and resonance, take the time to craft a proper message people will remember.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Master subject Research and master your subject, whether for class, a student council speech, a wedding toast, a personal statement, or a business lecture. Make sure you cover the topic well.
  • TIP: Because speeches are always situational and sometimes personal, there is no absolutely correct way to write one, but there are plenty of ways to write badly.
  • Step 2: Consider audience Consider your intended audience and adjust your story and vocabulary accordingly. Find the simplest vivid language to make a point.
  • TIP: Include everyone in your message, so all feel engaged.
  • Step 3: Create outline Outline information according to how you build your argument or present a clear chronology or sequence. Introduce yourself with a brief pertinent biographical profile and define your subject and purpose.
  • Step 4: Write draft Write the speech without stopping, second-guessing, or editing to get your thoughts out on paper. Don't worry about the length or timing just yet.
  • Step 5: Use detail Detail the middle of your speech with steps or progressions that advance your message, using logical transitions. Illustrate each point with factual support and avoid repitition.
  • Step 6: Limit commentary Limit editorial commentary and balance your assertions with a complete rendering of the opposing viewpoint. Your job is to give a fair and full accounting and allow your audience to decide.
  • Step 7: Edit draft Edit your draft thoroughly and ask a trusted but critical friend to critique a near-final draft. Read your written speech aloud to eliminate useless information or jokes that looked good on paper but flop when spoken.
  • Step 8: Make a final point Make sure you end with a point that wraps things up, preferably a declarative and memorable statement that will ring true; audiences need something to chew on.
  • FACT: President Abraham Lincoln made changes to the Gettysburg Address the morning of the speech.

You Will Need

  • Mastery of the subject
  • Intended audience
  • Outline
  • Bio
  • Structure
  • Self control
  • Friend with editing skills
  • Memorable final statement

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