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How to help your child write a speech (without doing it for them)

how to teach speech writing

Associate Professor in Education, Deakin University

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Joanne O'Mara receives funding from The Australian Research Council and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

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It’s hard for parents to help kids with homework without doing it for them . It can be especially difficult to work out where to start when your child is preparing a speech for school.

You might find your child is procrastinating more about getting started with a speech than about other homework. This could be because they are anxious about it.

Having something that they want to say to their class can help to increase your child’s confidence and motivation when they deliver the speech. A positive speechmaking experience can increase confidence for next time, which is why some schools teach public speaking in a systematic way.

It’s important to keep in mind that public speaking has two parts to it: writing the speech, and delivering it.

Here are some tips for how to help your kid with both aspects of preparation.

how to teach speech writing

Read more: What's the point of homework?

Writing the speech

First, help your child find something they want to say to their audience.

When a child is delivering a speech to the class, they are being listened to, observed, and watched by their peers. Most other classwork is only read by the teacher. In a speech, they are sharing their ideas with the whole class.

That’s why it is really important they own what they are saying, and say it in their own words.

It’s key they own the topic (if it is a free choice of topic) or that they own the stance they are taking (if the topic is set by the teacher).

As a parent, it’s tricky to support your child to find their own words to say – but it’s very important you don’t write the speech for them.

Help them to think about what they care about and what they think is important to share with their class.

Apart from the fact the teacher will spot a parent-written speech a mile away, if your child has no ownership of their speech, they will not care about communicating the ideas to the class.

Next, help your child to think about organising their ideas.

It’s good to have a hook or a catchy introduction into the main idea of the speech. That could be a rhetorical question, an anecdote or an amazing fact. They can then think of around three main points about the topic.

Ask your child questions that help them to think about some examples or evidence that support their ideas.

Finally, help them to finish their speech. Often, the ending might return to the beginning to round off the point being made – a kind of “I told you so”!

how to teach speech writing

Delivering the speech – 4 tips for parents

1. Encourage your child to focus on communicating their idea to their audience.

If they focus on sharing their ideas, rather than worrying about themselves, everything will come together. Encourage them to think about looking at the audience and making sure everyone can hear them.

2. Practise the speed of delivery and time their speech.

One of the easiest things to practise that makes a big difference to the delivery of the speech is the pacing.

The big tip is to slow down. When speakers feel nervous they tend to speed up, sometimes just a little — but often students will deliver their speeches at breakneck speed, racing to just get it done so they can go and sit down.

I’ve listened to thousands of student speeches and have never heard one delivered too slowly. But I have heard many that sound like a horse-race call.

3. Be an affirmative audience to their speech.

Listen to your child practise when they feel ready to share with you, but don’t push them if they are resistant.

Focus on building their confidence by talking to them about the moments you felt they were connecting with you as an audience member. Be appreciative of their jokes or show you share their feelings about ideas they care about.

Your children seek your approval – don’t be stingy with it.

4. If they are feeling confident, suggest they work on nuancing their delivery.

Once they are feeling confident about delivering the speech, the child can add variety and texture.

For instance, they might slow down for emphasis on certain words, add a pause after asking a question, or think about some moments where they might speak more softly or loudly.

Variation will add interest to the delivery of the speech and help to grab and keep the audience’s attention. It also helps further convey your child’s ideas.

how to teach speech writing

Good support takes time

It’s hard to get the balance right when supporting your child to prepare their speech. The trick is to understand that it will take more than one sitting.

So, plan for a few chunks of time, and work on building their ideas and enthusiasm.

Read more: Should parents help their kids with homework?

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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

how to teach speech writing

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.

how to teach speech writing

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 .

how to teach speech writing

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.)
  • Your RESEARCH
  • 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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  • Ford’s Shop

A museum display of six all-white statues of men from the 1860s, which represent the jobseekers and visitors to the Lincoln White House. In the center, a man in a suit raises a finger as he speaks. Opposite him, a short man in a top hat is pointing to him with his mouth open, as if they are engaged in a debate.

Original Speech Writing

Students write eight original speeches.

Rubrics and example speeches are included. Each speech performance focuses on using two Podium Points (elements of effective public speaking).

Common Core Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.1

Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence

Classroom Activities

  • Classroom Activity One: Introductory Speech Students write and present a speech introducing themselves using Presence.
  • Classroom Activity Two: Brown Bag Speech Focusing on Pace and Volume, students share an item that is important to them.
  • Classroom Activity Three: Storytelling Speech Tone and Emphasis are stressed in this speech where students tell a true story that happened to them.
  • Classroom Activity Four: Tribute Speech Each student honors someone in his/her life while working on improving Eye Contact, Enunciation and Diction.
  • Classroom Activity Five: “Read to Me Speech” After picking a favorite text, students return to Emphasis and Tone in order to share a selection with the class.
  • Classroom Activity Six: Book Speech Posture and Gesture are introduced to students through a speech on a favorite book. 
  • Classroom Activity Seven: Teaching Speech In this activity, students must use all Podium Points while teaching the class a new skill.
  • Classroom Activity Eight: This I Believe Using all Podium Points, students need to share their personal philosophy with the class.

Teacher Preparation:

Catherine Plumb-Sperry is a sixth-grade reading teacher at James Bridger Middle School in Independence, MO. Over the course of a year, her students write and perform an original speech each month. This lesson gives teachers framework for how to structure eight different speeches. Catherine’s most important tips for successfully implementing this in the classroom:

  • Students do not have the option to “opt-out” of giving a speech. The teacher should perform a sample speech on the day that each speech is assigned.
  • When delivering a sample speech, pick a few moments to intentionally ignore one of the Podium Points, so that students can hone their observation skills.
  • Starting with Lesson Activity One, model Warm and Cool Feedback.
  • Focus on two Podium Points for each speech. However, once a Podium Point has been the focus of a speech, students must continue to work on that element in all subsequent speeches. The Podium Points are cumulative as they progress through the school year. 
  • It takes about three 45-minute class periods for a class of 25 students to give their two-minute speeches and receive Warm and Cool Feedback.
  • Do not time speeches until the Tribute Speech. It’s better for students to have the first three speech opportunities to stand and speak in front of the class without the added pressure of a time limit.

Additionally, Catherine believes that a podium is a necessary classroom accessory when teaching oratory. Students need to be accustomed to speaking from and using a podium. The podium is also a visual aid indicating that when someone stands to speak, we listen.

Classroom Activity One

Introductory speech.

The first speech of the year is untimed. Catherine usually does the speech on the third day of school. Students cannot use notes of any kind. 

The podium point being evaluated is presence: Can you walk to the podium confidently (even if you don’t feel confident) and use a greeting?

Students are expected to:

  • Have presence: walk to the podium confidently and stand confidently throughout their speech.
  • Greet their audience.
  • Sentence one – Tell their complete name.
  • Sentence two – Tell us something about their family.
  • Sentence three – Tell us something unique about them.
  • End with a “thank you.”

After the speech, the students in the audience spend two minutes giving warm and cool feedback.

Classroom Activity Two

Brown bag speech.

This speech is very similar to “show-and-tell” from early elementary school. 

Students are each given a brown lunch sack. They write the speech requirements on it. They bring it home that night, and select an item to share with the class for their speech. The item must fit in the sack, and may not be a previously living or presently living item. Students bring the item in the sack to school the next day.

The two Podium Points added to this speech are volume and pace. Nerves cause speakers to speak quickly so pace is a challenge. Introduce pace early in the process so student have many opportunities to practice speaking at an appropriate pace.

  • Have presence.
  • Use appropriate pace and volume.
  • Select an item to share.
  • Walk the item around and show it to the class.
  • Return to the podium to speak.
  • Greet the audience. describe where the item came from, what it is used for, why it is significant to them, why they like it, or any other information they want us to know.
  • Ask the audience if they have any questions.
  • End their speech with a “thank you.”

After the speech, the class spends two minutes giving warm and cool feedback.

Classroom Activity Three 

Storytelling speech.

In this speech, students tell a story from their life. It must be something they are comfortable sharing in front of the class.

The two podium points that are the focus of this speech are tone and emphasis. Students are telling stories that may contain strong emotion, so this is a natural way for them to add tone and emphasis. Students should write their speech down and identify the tone they are trying to achieve. They should also highlight or circle any words they are going to emphasize. They will use the written text to rehearse, and then turn in the text before giving their speech.

Students are expected to

  • Use appropriate pace, volume, tone and emphasis.
  • Greet the audience.
  • Tell a story with a distinct beginning, middle and end.
  • Have the story memorized.

Classroom Activity Four

Tribute speech.

In this speech, students are telling the class about an important person in their life, and why they admire this person.

Encourage students to bring a photograph of their person. A photograph gives the audience a nice visual reference during the speech.

The two podium points that are the focus of this speech are eye-contact and diction. Students may use a script when delivering this speech. A caveat: because a script is  allowed, students may tend to read to the audience. It takes a high level of skill to have a script and still make eye contact. Students are expected to rehearse their speech at home before the speech performance day. Assign a rehearsal log to ensure that students practice before their performance.

Teach tongue twisters in class to support development of diction. Students can practice these tongue twisters at home when rehearsing their speech. On speech performance day, the class can warm-up using the tongue twisters. Starting off class this way may also alleviate nerves, as tongue twisters can be fun and promote a bit of laughter.

This is the first speech where speeches are timed. Speeches must be at least one minute and no longer than two minutes. Discuss time with the students but do not use it as an evaluation criteria.

  • Use all previously learned Podium Points.
  • Use eye-contact and diction.
  • Section One: Tell who the person is, what their relationship is to the student, and why the student admires them. The student might also describe physical traits.
  • Section Two: Give a personality trait the person has. Students must give two examples of the person showing the trait. (If he says a person is kind, he must say two ways that they show kindness.)
  • Section Three: Give a second personality trait that the person has. The student must also give two examples of the person showing the trait.
  • Conclude by restating in a different way from their introduction why the person is so special to them.
  • End their speech with “thank you.”

Classroom Activity Five 

“read to me” speech.

Note: It might be helpful to pair this with the Refining Tone and Emphasis Lesson.

In this speech, the students read a piece of text written by someone else. The text can be lyrics from a song, a story or a poem.   The Podium Points that are the focus of this speech are emphasis and tone. Although these Podium Points have been covered in the past, the content of this speech requires “extra” attention to tone and emphasis when delivering the speech. Students should make a deliberate effort to put emotion into their delivery.

To find a text to read for performance, students may search online to find song lyrics, a story or poem that they connect with emotionally. They should cut and paste this text into a Word document. Students should read the text carefully to understand the message of the text, and determine the emotional tone. They should annotate their text by circling words they think best express the meaning and tone, and practice emphasizing those words when saying it aloud. Students should bring their annotated text with them to the podium for reference.

Speeches are timed and should be between one and maximum two minutes long.

  • Use all previously learned Podium Points, with extra effort to demonstrate tone and emphasis.
  • Credit the source of their reading.
  • Make an effort to memorize as much of their text as possible and only use their scripts as reference.

After the speech, students are expected to explain briefly how they employed tone and emphasis to convey the meaning of their speech. The class then spends two minutes giving warm and cool feedback.

Classroom Activity Six

Book speech.

In this speech, students review a book they’ve read during the school year.

The Podium Points added for this speech are gesture and posture. Students need to demonstrate confident posture. Confident posture includes standing up tall, without slouching, feet firmly on the floor, no rocking or fidgeting. Shoulders should be back and down. Students can be prompted to squeeze their shoulder blades together, or imagine  that they are tucking their shoulder blades into the back pockets. The goal is to open the chest up, without puffing it out, so that students can breath properly and look confident.

They also should use gestures to emphasize the important parts of the speech or to engage the audience. Remind students that gestures should be as natural as possible. As a frame of reference, it may be helpful to demonstrate examples of natural gestures, or play clips of famous orators and have students observe their gestures.

Students are required to use a visual aide for this speech. They have the choice between creating the visual aide (e.g. a poster advertising the book) or bringing in an item related to the topic of the book (e.g. for a baseball book, a news article from the same time period as the book, or memorabilia that relates to the book). Using the visual aid is an easy way for students to include gesture into a speech.

This is a timed speech and should be between two and three minutes.

  • Use all of the Podium Points learned previously.
  • Use gestures and have confident posture.
  • Discuss the literary elements of the book: main character, theme and plot (without giving away the ending). Share if they liked or didn’t like the book, and offer reasons why.
  • Have confident posture, with feet solidly on the floor, standing calmly.
  • Use gestures.
  • Show their visual aid and explain how it relates to the book. The visual aid must add to the understanding of the book or author of the book.
  • Ask if there are any questions about the book.
  • End the speech with “thank you.”

After the speech, students spend two minutes giving warm and cool feedback.

Classroom Activity Seven

Teaching speech.

In this speech, students teach something to the entire class. To help students decide their lesson topic, offer some suggestions. This helps students to focus their ideas, so they select something they will feel confident teaching. Some suggestions: origami, how to draw something, a sports strategy, how to do a card trick, a dance step or a simple craft project.

By lesson seven, all of the Podium Points have been introduced. Students are now assessed on their use of all Podium Points and speech requirements.

This is a timed speech and should be between three and five minutes.

  • Use all of the Podium Points.
  • Include what the class will be learning in their speech introduction.
  • If teaching a step-by-step lesson, circulate around the room to assist classmates when needed.
  • Provide all the required materials, enough for every student.
  • Answer any questions the audience might have.

Classroom Activity Eight

This i believe.

In this speech, students speak about a topic important to them. This speech introduces students to the art of persuasive speech. Students should be encouraged to think about what matters to them, and to select a topic they feel passionately about.  As they write their speeches, students should consider what they want the audience to know, understand and do about the topic as a result of listening to their speech. The speech must include a call to action to the audience.

This is speech includes a research component, to help students understand their issue, find evidence to support their belief, and learn about any opposing points of view. Students will need to be provided with time for research. Length of instructional time dedicated conducting research should be determined according to grade level and how much time the school curriculum will allow.

After researching the topic, the writing process begins. In-class time devoted to writing should be a minimum of three days. Consider a process that includes students writing drafts, editing and rewriting.  This I Believe  has an excellent teaching guide on how to help students write their own statements.

Our original speech writing lesson also has several useful techniques for helping students write their own speeches.

This is a timed speech and must be at least 1 minute 50 seconds, and no longer than 2 minutes 10 seconds.

  • Include a personal belief.
  • Share a personal story to highlight their belief.
  • Explain why this topic is important to them.
  • Include a call to action.

Each speech includes an individual rubric for assessment.

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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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How to write a speech

Part of English Non-fiction writing

Did you know?

The longest speech ever recorded in the UK Parliament was delivered in the House of Commons in 1828 and lasted for six hours!

Introduction to how to write a speech

Speeches are a powerful way of expressing your ideas to others.

When writing a speech, you need to think carefully about how you structure it to make sure it is easy for listeners to follow.

In order for it to be engaging, you need to consider the language you use, ensuring that you target your audience and their interests. In fact, there are a range of language techniques that can help to make your speech even more powerful.

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Find out how to write a speech

What is a speech?

A speech is a formal talk given to an audience. It has an aim and purpose – often to either inform and/or persuade, although it’s important to remember that some have other intentions too, eg to entertain.

Speeches are used in many different contexts. A bride or groom may give a speech at their wedding. A politician or activist may give a speech to inform others of the need for change, and persuade them of the right way to bring it about. A manager may need to give a speech to their employees or bosses. A speech may even be given when you leave school to reflect upon your time in education and inspire others to look to the future.

Speeches are not necessarily something we do every day, but speech writing is a useful skill to have.

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How to write a speech that your audience remembers

Confident-woman-giving-a-conference-with-a-digital-presentation-how-to-give-a-speech

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.

Man-holding-microphone-at-panel-while-talking--how-to-give-a-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.

People-clapping-after-coworker-gave-a-speech-how-to-give-a-speech

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.

Woman-at-home-doing-research-in-her-laptop-how-to-give-a-speech

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.

Man-holding-microphone-while-speaking-in-public-how-to-give-a-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.

Boost your speech skills

Enhance your public speaking with personalized coaching tailored to your needs

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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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How to Teach Direct and Indirect Speech

Last Updated: October 19, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Lynn Kirkham . Lynn Kirkham is a Professional Public Speaker and Founder of Yes You Can Speak, a San Francisco Bay Area-based public speaking educational business empowering thousands of professionals to take command of whatever stage they've been given - from job interviews, boardroom talks to TEDx and large conference platforms. Lynn was chosen as the official TEDx Berkeley speaker coach for the last four years and has worked with executives at Google, Facebook, Intuit, Genentech, Intel, VMware, and others. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 59,469 times.

Direct and indirect speech, also known collectively as reported speech, refer to the ways in which a person can report what someone else has said to them. To effectively teach reported speech to your students, it’s important that you first explain what these terms mean and how they should be used. Then, you can use various games and activities to help your students understand and accurately use direct and indirect speech.

Explaining Direct and Indirect Speech

Step 1 Define direct speech so your students will understand what it means.

  • For example, if your boss asks you “What did you have for dinner last night?” while you’re at work and later, you tell your spouse, “My boss asked me today, ‘What did you have for dinner last night?’,” you have reported what your boss asked you using direct speech.

Step 2 Explain the definition of indirect speech and how it's different from direct speech.

  • For example, if your boss asks you “What did you have for dinner last night?” while you’re at work and later, you tell your spouse, “My boss asked me what I had for dinner last night,” you’ve used indirect speech to report what your boss asked you.
  • Indirect speech often is marked by the word "that" before the clause containing what the other person said.

Step 3 Clarify how verb tenses change from direct to indirect speech.

  • When using direct speech to report, the tenses of the verbs within the quotations do not change, since direct speech involves an exact recitation of the original words spoken.
  • Simple present tense direct speech changes to simple past tense indirect speech. For example, “She said ‘I am happy’” becomes “She said that she was happy.”
  • Present continuous direct speech changes to past continuous tense in indirect speech. For example, “He said, ‘I am reading a book’” becomes “He said he was reading a book.”
  • Simple past tense direct speech changes to past perfect tense in indirect speech. For example, “She said, ‘Meagan arrived on Tuesday’” becomes “She said that Meagan had arrived on Tuesday.”
  • Past continuous tense direct speech changes to past perfect continuous tense indirect speech. For example, “They said, ‘We were living in Paris’” changes to “They said they had been living in Paris.” [4] X Research source

Step 4 Explain that verb tense never changes for universal truths.

  • For example, when converted to indirect speech, the direct speech sentence “They said, ‘We can’t live without water’” becomes “They said that we can’t live without water” because the words spoken are a universal truth.

Using Activities to Teach Reported Speech

Step 1 Have your students rephrase sentences using reported speech.

  • For example, you could read out the sentence, “I don’t like muffins.” The student should then report this information back to you, stating it first in direct speech (“you said, ‘I don’t like muffins’”), followed by indirect speech (“you said you don’t like muffins”).

Step 2 Ask your students to report on each other’s answers to your questions.

  • The sentences can be statements, questions, or a mix of both.
  • For example, you could write “Do we know each other?” on an index card. Hand this card to one student and have them read it to a second student. Then, ask the second student to report what the first student read to them. The second student should then respond using direct speech (“She asked me, ‘Do we know each other?’”) or indirect speech (“She asked me if we know each other”).
  • You can make this activity a bit more fun by telling the students to pretend they are at a party where everyone must circulate and talk to each other. [8] X Research source

Step 4 Get your students to correct a story using reported speech.

  • For example, write “I live in a big house” on the board. Then, tell a short story stating “I bought a new dining table but it was too big for my small apartment so I had to get another one.” The students will interrupt you after stating that you live in a small apartment. You can then have the students ask for clarification using direct (“But didn’t you say, “I live in a big house”?) or indirect speech (“Didn’t you say you lived in a big house?”). [10] X Research source

Step 5 Play reported speech telephone for a fun learning activity.

  • For example, ask the first student “What are you doing this summer?” and have them answer to a second student “I am going to the beach.” Then, have the second student report to a third student on what the first student said using direct speech (“John said, “I’m going to the beach”). The third student will then report to a fourth student using indirect speech (“Katie said that John said that he’s going to the beach”) and so on until all the students have had a turn.

Expert Q&A

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Abbreviate Years

  • ↑ https://www.theclassroom.com/teach-direct-indirect-speech-8482676.html
  • ↑ https://www.athabascau.ca/write-site/esl-eal-resources/concise-esl-support/direct-indirect-speech.html
  • ↑ https://www.olabs.edu.in/?sub=84&brch=26&sim=196&cnt=499
  • ↑ https://americanenglish.state.gov/resources/teachers-corner-reported-speech
  • ↑ http://www.onestopenglish.com/grammar/grammar-reference/verbs-and-tenses/reported-speech-tips-and-activities/152843.article
  • ↑ https://www.teach-this.com/images/resources/telephone-messages.pdf

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  • 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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Motivational Speaker Techniques To Encourage Students’ English Speaking Skills

A student stands at the front of the class demonstrating his English speaking skills

As teachers, we’re always looking for ways to improve our students’ English speaking skills and build their confidence in speaking English. An effective way to do this is to integrate motivational speaking techniques into our teaching methods and teach our students some engaging speaking strategies to use. 

It is important to point out to students that speakers in public talks such as TED talks or other significant speeches sound confident because of the key components that make up a successful talk. By adopting some of these, students can begin their journey to confidence and enjoyment in speaking English.

Great motivational speaker techniques 

Knowledge and clarity.

Great motivational speakers possess a deep knowledge of their subject, which helps their audience trust in the speaker. 

  • For students, this emphasises the importance of understanding the content they are speaking about. 
  • Encourage students to research and fully understand the topics they discuss. This will ensure they can present information clearly and confidently. 
  • This can be practised through classroom presentations or group discussions where the focus is on explaining concepts in simplified terms.

Confidence and purpose

Confidence often comes from speakers feeling well-prepared and passionate about their subject. 

  • Teach students to define the purpose of their speeches and talks – whether to inform, persuade or entertain. This clarity helps them deliver their message with conviction and engage their audience more effectively. 
  • Role-playing different scenarios in class can help students build confidence and define their speaking goals.

Storytelling

Whether it’s a personal anecdote or something else, stories can captivate an audience and make the speech memorable. 

  • Remind students that by telling a story, the audience is instantly more engaged and likely to follow along throughout the talk. 
  • Help students develop their storytelling skills by integrating stories into language lessons. They could start with narrating simple personal experiences and gradually move to more complex narratives as their skills improve.

Audience awareness

Understanding the audience is crucial for effective communication. 

  • Have students think of a talk or presentation they’ve recently seen. Then, have them think about who the audience for the talk was. 
  • Tell students that speakers tailor their content and delivery to match the audience’s knowledge level and background. This involves using appropriate language, examples and explanations that the audience understands and can relate to. 
  • In class, students can practise audience awareness by presenting the same information in different ways to different groups and tailoring the language they are using and the way they are presenting the information. 

A strong conclusion

A strong finish is essential in great motivational speaking. It reinforces the message and often includes a call to action that leaves the audience inspired. 

  • Teach students to summarise their key points effectively and end with a compelling conclusion that prompts further thought or action. 
  • This could be practised through debates or persuasive speeches in class, where students are encouraged to conclude with strong statements and a call to action.

Practical exercises to enhance English speaking skills

  • Focus on activities that enhance clarity in communication. For example, paraphrasing or connecting complex ideas with simpler concepts.
  • Have students do exercises that improve non-verbal communication, such as maintaining eye contact, using gestures and controlling hesitations.
  • Help students reflect on the purpose of their talk or presentation, and choose language that aligns with their goals, for example, to convince, inform, teach or entertain.
  • Have students discuss how best to explain complex ideas. Remind them that any information should be appropriate and understandable to the audience without requiring much prior knowledge.
  • Explore the use of extreme adjectives and the connotations of words with your students, emphasising how language choice can inspire and motivate an audience.

Incorporating motivational speaking techniques into your lessons can have a significant impact on students’ engagement and confidence in communicating their ideas. By having these skills, students will not only improve their English proficiency but also gain valuable life skills in speaking and presenting to audiences. 

You can read more about teaching your students presentation skills here. Or read our paper for in-depth advice on teaching English pronunciation.

You may also like

Helping advanced students overcome the language learning plateau, ‘play is for children’: myths about learning through play, differentiation strategies for challenging advanced learners, leave a reply cancel reply, recent posts, soft skills activities: ideas for your language classroom, keeping it human: four things every teacher should consider when using technology, how graded readers and engaging activities can ignite student interest in the magic of books, recent comments.

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how to teach speech writing

Reflective Practice Through Writing

Subscribe to Learning through Experience in Apple Podcasts , Spotify , Google Podcasts , or your favorite podcast player .

This podcast season is all about the HOW of learning through experience. We learn through experience using four core practices: challenging your perspective, stretching and building range, directing your learning, reflection and inquiry. The core practice that we are paying attention to in this episode of Learning Through Experience is reflection and inquiry .

In this episode, I spoke with reflective writing practitioner and teacher Stephanie Dunson about reflective practice through writing . We cover the practice of reflective writing, including the struggle of writing, and she offers some prompts for you to use in your own reflective writing practice.

Stephanie is a renowned facilitator who uses writing as a tool for problem-solving and collaboration in both the academic and corporate worlds.

Key Topics:

04:24 The challenge of writing : The limits of writing towards an outcome in contrast to writing for the reflection and exploration of our own thoughts and feelings;

08:33 The meander of writing : Writing doesn’t work in a straight line, rather it follows a natural sort of meander. By meandering through a piece, we get to know the writer’s mind;

15:18 Reflective writing: The concept of using writing as a tool for deep thinking and developing relationships with complex material;

21:15 Reflective writing in groups : Engaging in the moment of making new ideas as a group and combining the strengths of the individual with the power and diversity of the group;

23:03 The practice of writing : Developing the capacity to reflect, notice, and meander as a practice in life and writing;

30:48 Prompts for reflective writing : What have you considered writing about but abandoned? Explore the places of resistance and write into that space.

Additional Resources from Stephanie Dunson

Podcast: 100 Mistakes Academic Writers Make …and How to Fix Them

COMMENTS

  1. Speech Writing Outline and Format for Students

    It lets the audience know that the speech is about to end. Like the introduction, the conclusion can be broken into two parts: the review and the final statement. A. Review: During the first part of the conclusion, the speaker restates the topic of the speech and each main point. B. Final Statement: The speech ends with a strong final statement ...

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    Delivering the speech - 4 tips for parents. 1. Encourage your child to focus on communicating their idea to their audience. If they focus on sharing their ideas, rather than worrying about ...

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    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.

  4. Original Speech Writing

    This I Believe has an excellent teaching guide on how to help students write their own statements. Our original speech writing lesson also has several useful techniques for helping students write their own speeches. This is a timed speech and must be at least 1 minute 50 seconds, and no longer than 2 minutes 10 seconds. Students are expected to:

  5. How to Teach Speech Writing: Tips and Strategies

    Learn how to teach your students to write speeches that are both engaging and informative. This article covers the purpose, audience, structure, techniques, and delivery of speech writing.

  6. Writing a speech

    Using powerful language. The language used in a speech should be interesting for the listeners. The acronym A FOREST is an easy way to make sure your language is powerful. It stands for: Watch ...

  7. Speech Writing

    Speech writing is the method of conveying a thought or message to a reader using the correct punctuation and expression. Speech writing isn't much different from any other form of narrative writing. There are8 parts of speech in the English language. These parts are nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and ...

  8. The 8 Key Steps to Successful Speech Writing (With Tips)

    5. Use concrete details and visual aids. Use concrete details to support your points. Brief stories, interesting examples, or factual data can help to engage your audience and convey the truth of your purpose. Consider using visual aids to further support your speech. Images can be powerful and engaging.

  9. PDF Writing a speech

    The ways you use language and vocabulary when writing the words of a speech will depend on the audience the purposeand you are writing for ; for example, in a speech to a group of teachers and parents giving your views on a recent proposal, formal language is most appropriate. Tips for writing a speech . Language - think about: •

  10. Writing and Presenting a Persuasive Speech

    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 ...

  11. PDF HOW TO WRITE A SPEECH

    1. an INFORMATIVE speech, where you want to inform or tell your audience about a topic, an event, an area of knowledge. For example: Climate Change is happening; the school bake sale; Coral reefs are rainforests of the ocean. 2. an INSTRUCTIONAL speech, where you are explaining how to do something. For example: how to play soccer, how to give ...

  12. PDF LESSON PLAN AND TEACHING GUIDE fffi˛˝fiˇ˝ˇ˘˙ fi˛˝˙ˆˇ˘ ˜˚˛˝˙ˆˇ˘˜

    Speech League. Before taking on this role, Meadows taught Speech 1 classes and coached Kentucky high school speech and debate teams for 28 years. His team at Danville High School won nine state speech titles and a state debate title, and he has coached nineteen national speech tournament finalists including two national champions.

  13. How to write a speech for KS3 English students

    The opening. Start with an opening that hooks your audience before making the overall topic of your speech clear. Get their attention and prepare them to focus on the words that will follow. For ...

  14. How to Write a Good Speech: 10 Steps and Tips

    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.

  15. How To Use A Speech To Teach Writing: On Meryl Streep

    Literary Devices in Speech. Here's where the writing part comes in! Have your students write down examples of literary devices they hear in Streep's speech, and then have them write their own speech on a debate topic of their choice. Here are a few ( specific examples are in my worksheet in the printables library ): Metaphor. Simile ...

  16. How to Teach Direct and Indirect Speech: 9 Steps (with Pictures)

    2. Ask your students to report on each other's answers to your questions. First, ask one student a question. Once they answer, ask another student to report what the first student said using direct speech. Then, ask a third student to report what the first student said using indirect speech.

  17. Speech Writing Guide PDF Template

    This handy Speech Writing Guide PDF will help you to teach your class how to write their own speeches, using strong techniques and persuasive language. It comes with separate pages on guidance, planning and writing, making it a brilliant introduction for those who are new to this kind of writing. The templates provided will take away the pressure that comes with having a blank page, while the ...

  18. Speech Writing

    Speech writing is the method of conveying a thought or message to a reader using the correct punctuation and expression. Speech writing isn't much different from any other form of narrative writing. There are8 parts of speech in the English language. These parts are nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and ...

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    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.

  21. Lesson: To write speech and thought bubbles to show how a character is

    In this lesson, we will be going into role as the characters from 'Little Red Riding Hood' and writing speech and thought bubbles. Licence This content is made available by Oak National Academy Limited and its partners and licensed under Oak's terms & conditions (Collection 1), except where otherwise stated.

  22. Motivational Speaker Techniques To Encourage Students' English Speaking

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