The Speech
Guidelines for writing a
successful speech
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Friends, I want to thank
your teachers for inviting
me to share some tips for
writing speeches with you
today.
If you keep these tips in
mind, not only will you
write an engaging speech,
but your audience will
remember what you say!
Tip #1: know your purpose
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The most common purposes in KY schools
are:
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to narrate an incident for a specific purpose
to inform
to persuade
You will need to maintain a clear sense of
why you are writing your speech
Tip #2: Engage your audience
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The first thirty seconds of your speech are
probably the most important. You must grab the
attention of the audience, and engage their
interest in what you have to say.
For example, you could raise a thoughtprovoking question, make an interesting or
controversial statement, use a relevant quote or
even tell a joke, if appropriate.
Once you have hooked your audience, your
speech should move seamlessly to the body of
your speech.
Tip #3: Tell them what you’re going
to tell them
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Since your audience will hear your words
instead of reading them, they won’t be able
to go back and re-listen if they don’t
understand
Explain quickly what your main point is
going to be, for example
“Today I want to talk to you about the importance
of physical activity and why we should have more
gym time”
Tip #4: Choose your main ideas
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Don’t try to put too many ideas into your
speech
Develop and support all your main points in
the body of your speech
Provide a controlling idea, such as…
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A viewpoint or position
An opinion
A specific statement of purpose
An angle or special approach to the subject
Offer relevant support, such as
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Facts, statistics
Examples
Reference to personal experience
Comparisons, contrasts
Causes, effects
Reasons
Quotes
Summary of others’ ideas
Be sure to reveal your thinking by one
or more of the following…
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Explaining
Reasoning
Analyzing
Making connections
Interpreting
Evaluating
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Discussing problems
Drawing conclusions
Persuading
Discussing
advantages,
disadvantages
Offering advice,
solutions
To use your powers of persuasion…
“Problem-Solution” is a classic
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In the first part of the body of your speech you
state the problem
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“Physical activity is very important but the problem is we
don’t have enough gym time” (followed by relevant
support)
In the second part, you offer a solution
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“A solution would be to shorten the time we spend in
home room in the morning and add fifteen minutes to the
end of the day to create more time for gym…” (followed by
relevant support)
Tip #5: Write in a conversational tone
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Use short sentences. It’s better to write
two simple sentences than one long,
complicated sentence.
Use contractions. Say “I’m,” “we’re,” etc.
Read your speech aloud while you’re
writing it. You’ll hear if you sound like a
book or a real person talking!
Tip #6: Use concrete words and
examples
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Concrete details keep your audience
interested.
Which is more effective?
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a vague sentence like “time for physical activity is
limited”
or the more concrete like “we need more time in
our school day to be active in sports.”
Tip # 7: A few no-no’s
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Don’t overstate…
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Don’t grope…
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“This is absolutely and positively essential!”
“It is indeed an honor and a privilege to address
you”
“What I’m trying to get at is…” “What I mean is…”
Don’t be repetitive…
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“As I said before,” “and so I again repeat,” “let me
say again”
Tip #8: The conclusion
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Close with a strong or
memorable remark
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“If we can make physical
activity a daily activity at
our school, our students
will not only feel and
look better, they will be
on their way to
developing healthy
lifestyles for a lifetime!
Please help me spread
the word.”
Information adapted from:
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http://teacher.scholastic.com/writewit/speech/index.htm
http://www.speechtips.com/preparation.html
Dr. Charles Whitaker, Prof of English Emeritus, EKU
Prepared by:
Jennifer Bernhard
Reading/Writing Specialist
Clark County Schools
[email protected]
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