How to write a speech: 15 steps (with pictures)

How to write a speech: 15 steps (with pictures)
How to write a speech: 15 steps (with pictures)

While speaking in public can be a difficult ordeal in itself, the exercise becomes even more complicated if you have to write it yourself. Indeed, a speech must be captivating and depending on the circumstances, it must inform, convince, motivate or entertain the audience. It is therefore essential to take the time to build and write your text. Define the purpose of your speech, research your topic, and structure your speech to engage your audience.


Part 1 of 2: Drafting an Effective Speech

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Step 1. Do some research on your topic

If you need to educate or persuade the public, your credibility is essential. You must therefore know your subject exhaustively. Do not focus on your personal point of view and look for all the arguments related to your point. You will be able to counter any question from the public and better convince them. Inform yourself using all the relevant materials available to you. Draw your knowledge from books, studies, academic articles and newspapers. Also check with experts or online sites, taking care to verify the credibility of the information.

If you are writing a speech for a school or college project, it may be best not to multiply the sources. If in doubt, ask your teacher or tutor for advice

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Step 2. Outline your speech plan

Define the purpose of your speech. It can be a professional presentation, an opening speech for an event, an intervention at a student meeting, a plea to raise public awareness of a cause or even wishes in a private ceremony. Your speech can thus be made to inform, convince, motivate, raise awareness, thank or entertain its recipients. Once you've established your goal, write down all of your ideas and pick out the ones that seem most relevant to you. Then outline the outline of your speech by organizing it as a keyword enumeration or numbered list.

If your speech is meant to be convincing, you can present it as a problem to be solved. The body of the text will therefore be made up of two parts. Raise questions of interest in the first and expand on them in subsections. In the second, present your solutions by trying to answer each element mentioned in the first part

advice: do not write your text. Concentrate on the gist of your subject matter and the organization of your ideas. The actual writing is only the final step in the process.

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Step 3. Find an effective hook

The first few minutes of your speech are crucial in generating the interest and attention of the audience. Depending on the circumstances, you can introduce it with a touch of humor, a striking fact or an eloquent number. Engage your audience by asking them an open or closed question related to your topic.

  • For example, if you want to motivate people to lose weight and have been in a comparable situation yourself, share a real life experience in order to reach them. In addition, by getting involved personally, you will strengthen your credibility. For example, start your speech by talking about how difficult it was to climb a few stairs when you were overweight.
  • To get people to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels, open your speech with a telling number or a striking fact. For example, make the connection between coal and oil exploitation, global warming and devastating weather phenomena. Ideally, rely on a concrete, recent case.
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Step 4. Contextualize your speech

Once you've found your hook, prepare the introduction to your talk. It should set the general framework for your speech and give the audience a reason to listen to you. Start by introducing yourself, as you may not be known to everyone. Plus, saying who you are gives you legitimacy, builds your credibility, and creates a bond with listeners. Whether it is to present a school project or to announce a news to collaborators, indicate the reason and the objective of your intervention. Without a clear explanation, the public may lose interest in what you are saying.

If you are organizing a fundraiser, introduce the project or cause you are supporting as an introduction. For example, if your talk is a call for donations to fund research into Alzheimer's disease, briefly describe the condition and its most serious effects. Include key figures, a description of the latest scientific advancements, or a moving experiment

advice: Prepare a short and punchy introduction. In writing, it should not exceed one paragraph. Give only the most striking elements and then develop them in the body of your speech.

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Step 5. Organize your ideas logically

A speech is all the more effective as it is simple in both substance and form. Focus your development around three to five major points. Their organization depends on the content of your speech. You can follow a chronological order, establish a comparison, highlight a causal link or opt for an academic structure. The key is to create a logical and understandable plan. Once your ideas are structured, back them up with objective facts, verified statistics or hard-hitting anecdotes. In writing, an idea can correspond to a paragraph, possibly itself subdivided.

For example, to raise awareness about the fight against animal testing in the cosmetics industry, you can have a three-part plan. First, explain how animal testing is cruelty. Second, demonstrate the uselessness of these processes. Finish by detailing the alternatives that make these methods obsolete. Develop your games by including scientific, legal, economic, business, ethical or social arguments

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Step 6. Structure each part

Prepare a sentence or two to introduce it and conclude with a summary. These elements are the milestones of your speech and participate in its construction. In addition, they will mark the minds of listeners more than the content of the part itself. You should therefore treat the introduction and conclusion of your sections by favoring conciseness and simplicity.

For example, if you are preparing a speech on the effects of running, you might devote a section to muscle soreness. Begin by reminding the audience of the point you are going to cover. Then define the symptom and detail its physiological mechanisms, preventive actions and any other element supporting your point. End by summarizing the main message of the game in one or two sentences

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Step 7. Take care of your transitions

They bind the parts together, which makes it possible to compose a fluid and coherent speech. Without these transitions, your text will appear choppy and disorganized. Depending on the content of your speech, simply incorporate connecting words or logical connectors or prepare transitions of a few sentences.

  • To introduce your speech, you can say “I want to talk to you about” or “let's talk about”.
  • Within a part, link your sentences together with simple words such as the coordinating conjunctions of "but", "or", "and", "therefore", "or", "neither" and "because".
  • To present a two-part plan, you can use the expressions “first” and “second”.
  • To announce a three-part plan, you can use the "first", "then", and "finally" connectors.
  • To underline a timeline, you can use simple words like "at the beginning", "then", "again" and "finally".
  • To emphasize a temporal dimension, opt for expressions such as "today", "at this moment", "even as we are here" or "today".
  • To emphasize a causal link, link your parts with phrases such as "which brings us to the next point" or "therefore".
  • To conclude a game, you can say "as I just explained" or "to summarize".
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Step 8. Conclude your speech with an appeal to the audience

If your goal is to present a project, to inform or raise public awareness, interact with it. At the end of the intervention, encourage listeners to learn more, to contribute financially to your project, to change their lifestyle or simply to ask you questions.

  • For example, if you devoted your speech to the effects of global warming on the polar bear population, conclude by providing contact information for associations working for this cause or for the protection of the environment.
  • If you have shared a personal experience with being overweight, end your speech by giving concrete advice or the names of people or associations that have helped you.

Part 2 of 2: take care of the shape of speech

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Step 1. Tailor the vocabulary to your audience

In general, favor simplicity and conciseness so that your speech is clear and correctly understood. If you must use specific or complex terms, take the time to explain them if necessary. For example, if you are dealing with a scientific topic, use technical language if you are speaking to professionals, but avoid jargon if you are speaking to lay people. To create a dynamic and understandable speech, punctuate your sentences regularly with periods or commas and favor the active form. Opt for simple grammatical structures, even elementary.

  • For example, if you are speaking about the importance of body weight, avoid complex sentences such as "Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is a long journey, but it is worth it because it helps you achieve success. real physical feats that nurture self-confidence and create a sense of pride. You may annoy or even annoy the public. Prefer a more direct structure such as "Control your weight to surpass yourself on a daily basis." You will be happier for it every day. "
  • The pace of a speech is important. If it is uniform and monotonous, the audience may get bored and distracted. To keep the audience alert, vary the length of your sentences and allow time for breaks. Indeed, silences can, among other things, enhance a point or help to grab the attention of listeners.
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Step 2. Limit the use of personal pronouns

To impact the public, favor the use of identifiable proper names. Name the people, places and things you mention in your speech, even if it means repeating them. Nevertheless, the use of personal pronouns and demonstrative adjectives can be a communication strategy.

  • Reserve the use of the first person singular for a presentation or talk.
  • Use the first person plural to connect with the audience and inspire them to take action.
  • Use the second person plural to directly engage the audience.
  • Limit the use of the pronoun "he" as an impersonal pronoun, as it can make your sentences heavy. For example, you can replace “we must fight” with “fight”.
  • The pronoun "on" is versatile. You can use it to denote an abstract entity or to replace another pronoun.
  • Use so-called tonic pronouns such as "me", "you", "them", "him" or "she" to emphasize a person or entity.
  • Demonstrative pronouns and adjectives like “these”, “that” or “that” allow to qualify the speech. For example, "that one" implies a distance between the speaker and the designated entity.
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Step 3. Repeat the important words

If repetition weighs down a written text, it is an oral communication strategy. The more a message is repeated, the more it impacts the subconscious of its recipient and becomes convincing. This technique is used in fields as varied as politics or advertising. To make an impression, use the figures of speech of emphasis. For example, anaphora is the repetition of the same word at the beginning of a succession of sentences. Redundancy is more subtle than simple repetition because it uses words from the same lexical field.

  • For example, to motivate salespeople to promote a new product called Synergy, repeat that name throughout your speech. Include it as is in your sentences or in puns such as "work in synergy".
  • To emphasize the idea that running contributes to mental well-being, string together short sentences such as "running helps with pain" or "run to feel better." "
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Step 4. Select the most relevant objective data

Facts and figures add credibility to what you say, provided they are verified, relevant and free from bias. It is therefore important to choose only the most interesting, at the risk of overwhelming your message and confusing the listener. Select quotes, statistics, or facts that can get the audience reacting. You can emphasize them by placing them at the beginning of a paragraph. It's best to stick with one or two elements per part, but you can fit in more depending on your speech.

  • For example, if you want to educate the public about the decline of wildlife, saying that 60% of species have been extinct since the 1970s is enough to engage listeners. It is useless, even counterproductive, to give detailed statistics by species.
  • If you are repeating the work of an expert, you can quote an excerpt if it is simple and short. In writing, it should not exceed two or three lines. If the quote is long or unclear, you can repeat it if it is particularly relevant. In this case, be sure to explain it so that it is understood by all.
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Step 5. Adjust the tone of your speech

Depending on the circumstances, you can opt for a serious, light, humorous, dramatic or passionate tone. By pairing the right tone with carefully chosen words, you can get your point across more effectively.

For example, if you bring up your passion for food in a talk about being a chef, adopt a light tone with a hint of humor. This allows you to punctuate your speech with funny anecdotes

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Step 6. Use visual aids

The use of presentation panels, projection, video or editing on software such as Power point can be useful. However, it must be mastered, at the risk of being counterproductive. Indeed, if you multiply the supports or if your diagrams are too complicated, the listener will not listen to you, because his attention will be focused on what he sees. If you are using graphics, pictures, or drawings, make sure they are clear and easy to understand.

The visual aid is a complement and a support to your speech. You should not read the content of your presentation, as this may annoy the audience

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Step 7. Perfect Your Speech

When you are finished writing, read your text aloud several times. Identify each area for improvement in order to write a coherent and impactful speech.It can be a word or phrase to change, a piece of data to be deleted, an argument to be added, or the order of the parts to be changed. If necessary, practice with a stopwatch.

Reading alone is insufficient, because your speech is intended to have an effect on the listeners. To spot any gaps, rehearse your text imagining the audience in front of you. Use the right intonations, pauses, and body language

advice: Practice in front of someone you trust such as a family member, friend, colleague, or someone affected by your speech. Take their opinion into account to improve your text.

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